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Digital signage and video walls are intriguing options for users looking to display information or media in a highly efficient way. However, although they have similar purposes, they’re not exactly the same—but which is best to use?
Because video walls are often more expensive than digital signage, most will prefer using digital signage as their display. However, video walls offer a customization level that may make it ideal for large institutions, such as universities, to communicate different pieces of information at once.
Whether you use digital signage or a video wall will ultimately impact what you have left in your wallet—as much as hundreds to thousands of dollars! For that reason, it’s definitely worth considering the costs and pros and cons of each to determine which is worth investing in for your needs.
Digital Signage vs. Video Wall: Price
You will immediately notice that a video wall will cost significantly more than digital signage, but several things contribute to this price—as well as the price for digital signage—from mounting equipment and installation to the software required to stream content on the screen.
Cost to Install Digital Signage
Here is where you need to assess just how much screen space you really need. With digital signage, you only need a single monitor to show your content without compromising as far as readability goes.
If you plan on using a media player for digital signage, like this one, you can expect to spend about $250. You will also need to pay for a subscription to use content management software with the monitor. The monitor or media player you buy may come with some kind of content management program already, which could offer a free trial the first few months and after that cost somewhere in the range of $21 a month or so, depending on the features available.
On the other hand, those who are artistically inclined can find ways to create content on their own using cheaper or even free applications.
In total, you’re looking at spending $500 to $5,000 for digital signage, which does not include the monthly cost associated with content management software or the price of mounting equipment, installation, or Wi-Fi.
Cost to Install a Video Wall
A video wall is essentially a larger-scale version of digital signage. It typically includes multiple display monitors that can be LED, LCD, or projector screens, just like single digital signs; in fact, conventional notion says that these displays would be nothing more than four monitors made into a square or rectangle.
However, it does not have to be this way with a video wall. You can go with a variety of different patterns that convey whatever message you are trying to send.
Here are the typical costs associated with video walls:
- Simple video walls (a few screens and no complex components): Approximately $3,000
- More complex, professional-level video walls: At least $10,000; the largest and most complex displays (i.e., those used in airports) can cost around $100,000
- Quality video processor: $639
Total, the simplest of video walls (marketed towards consumers, not necessarily businesses) will likely cost around $4,000, plus several hundred more dollars for mounting hardware and software. With that said, a video wall, particularly a large and more complex one, will likely cost at least several thousands of dollars more than digital signage.
Pros and Cons of Digital Signage
The digital signage option can be quite simple to set up, particularly if you are just looking to install a single monitor relatively small in size. As we mentioned above, they’re also more affordable, as long as you go with a relatively small display screen (55” or less); modest digital signage can cost less than $1,000.
However, one unfortunate aspect of digital signage is that you will have less flexibility with design; unlike video walls, you won’t be able to take advantage of multiple screens to portray your message or content. Additionally, a large wall will definitely look bare with one 75” monitor compared to one with numerous screens.
Pros and Cons of Video Walls
Since video walls typically are composed of many smaller display screens, it is easy to design a setup that fits the actual wall—and the immediate area surrounding it—well. Video walls also have the advantage of allowing viewers to look at multiple sources simultaneously; this is ideal for settings where an organization wants to portray different pieces of information across each screen.
However, because the monitors used to build out video walls are larger, they generally won’t work or display content at a good quality unless you have a quality processor like the one found here, which will usually be another cost in addition to the expensive equipment already involved with video walls. Without a decent processor, you can only expect delays in streaming, resulting in lag across all your screens.
Should I Get a Digital Signage or a Video Wall?
One thing that is nice about modern video walls and digital signage is that many can be run with hardware other than proprietary systems (i.e., the costly controllers or processors mentioned earlier). In many cases, digital signage and video walls can be operated with a single computer instead.
This makes both options more available to individuals as well as larger businesses and organizations. For example, students and professors at universities can use the technology simply by connecting their personal laptops.
But, even though both digital signage and video walls are more accessible, which one is better for you?
Most people will steer towards digital signage for its simplicity. However, Commercial Integrator notes that video walls are beginning to become more abundant as their costs continue to dip lower. However, ultimately, your circumstances will likely help you determine whether a digital sign or a video wall is better for you:
- Cost Constraints: If you are not prepared to spend as much as $10,000 or even more, then simple digital signage will be the way to go. Even if video walls have decreased in price over time, they’re still quite expensive overall.
- Academic Settings: As the above example suggests, video walls can be a useful communication tool, particularly since you can put a different display on each monitor at once. These are particularly useful in schools that want to display different types of information at once, with the simple click of a button.
- Restaurant Settings: Digital signage allows restaurant owners to update menus regularly with little effort.
- Manufacturing Settings: Video walls can display different metrics at once, even though the wall looks like one cohesive screen.
- Home Settings: Digital signage currently makes more sense in the home, where you may use small screens to display an ongoing photo album, for example.
Digital signage makes more sense to most individuals because the entire system will cost at least several thousand dollars less than a video wall. However, for businesses (and some individuals), video walls are projected to continue being a bigger piece of the pie in their overall digital communication strategy, thanks to the increase of more affordable options becoming available.