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Commercial or Consumer?

The real scoop on hospitality displays.

Commercial or Consumer?

May 13, 2013 4:37 PM,
By Apryl Griswold

The real scoop on hospitality displays.

Through modern technology advancements and the transition to LED backlit and direct-lit LED flatpanels, it seems that the appearance and design of commercial and consumer displays are becoming more closely aligned. To make things more complicated, a number of display manufacturers are offering what’s referred to as “hospitality” displays. What are the real differences?

While there are still quite a few differences between commercial and consumer displays, there are two key factors that are often overlooked but should be considered make or break issues when determining which type of product to deploy in any given project. The first is durability: Commercial displays are still unmatched by consumer counterparts when it comes to impact resistance, cooling, and dust management in addition to strong power supplies built to withstand moderate power spikes or fluctuations common in commercial environments. After all, durability is the backbone of a quality commercial-grade product and is crucial to long life spans in the field.

The second factor is warranty. Commercial clients expect prompt service response with minimal (or no) downtime, both of which can be achieved with commercial warranties offered by Samsung, Panasonic, LG, and other major brands to include onsite service for three years, while most consumer warranties are typically one year and require servicing at an authorized repair center but are often voided after 90 days if a consumer display is used in a commercial environment.

Where does this leave hospitality displays? Some have speculated that these displays are simply consumer models with warranties more similar to their commercial cousins; others believe they are stripped down versions of a commercial product.

Yes, this could be hospitality as in mainstream hotel chains, but we are primarily looking at in-room entertainment outside of the major chains, such as boutique hotels, assisted living communities, and more. Here are the main features that make hospitality displays a good fit for this market:

1. Commercial grade, commercial warranties

2. Built-in USB cloning capabilities minimize installation labor and setup costs

3. Digital Rights Management (DRM) Technology such as Pro:Idiom or Samsung Lynk delivers in-room entertainment to guests while protecting satellite-delivered HD programming and video-on-demand content against piracy and reduce additional hardware required in guest rooms reducing costs, power consumption, cabling and more.

4. MPEG compression technology minimizes costs from satellite providers

5. LED technology and Energy Star 5.3 compliant ratings result in highest possible energy savings

6. Lockable TVs, including channel mapping, volume limiters, and physical lock-down features maintain content standards and minimize tampering and theft.

A top priority for the hospitality industry is resource and energy conservation. Even recyclability and sustainability can play into decision making for many clients, and leading manufacturers like Samsung and others are engineering products with this in mind. In addition to reviewing the variety of display solutions available to meet the overall objective, as an AV professional, be sure to review important issues such as durability, warranty, energy costs/savings, and ongoing maintenance or total cost of ownership with your client. While price is always important, it is really the application that should be driving the ultimate decision for choosing a commercial, consumer, or hospitality grade display.

Apryl Griswold, CSP, DSCE is a business development manager for Almo Professional A/V. She is responsible for Almo’s specialty display lines and offers expertise in audio, commercial and consumer displays, digital signage, specialty displays, and videowalls. She provides Almo Pro A/V partners technical knowledge, system design assistance, brand/product knowledge, and bid, and project registration capability while serving as a direct line to leading AV manufacturers.

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