How to Turn a TV Into Digital Signage: 5 Steps


How to use a tv for digital signage?

The world today demands visual intrigue to attract consumers. No one likes to stand in line or sit in a waiting room without some sort of stimulation, hence the age-old custom of dentist lobby magazine racks. Digital signage is one great way to make your brand or business more memorable in the 21st century.

There are many ways to go about setting up your TV monitor for digital signage, some more simple than others. Of course, the more professional and clean your signage, the more your audience will trust your service, and the more comfortable your job will be in the long run. What is more, digital signage is more affordable than ever!

Choose the Best Wi-Fi for Your Digital Signage

While it is possible to hook up digital signage without the need for a high-speed internet connection, if you want fewer cords and the ease of use that comes with using digital signage software, you will want great Wi-Fi. For the vast majority of businesses in this day and age, Wi-Fi is already a requirement and is incredibly easy to install.

If you are going to use a 4K television for your display, make sure that your Wi-Fi is equipped to handle the speeds that the higher screen resolution requires. Since you may be using the same Wi-Fi for your business and clients, you will want to ensure that installing 4K will not cause your connection to lag or lose significant speed.

Choosing the Best Wi-Fi Router

If you already have Wi-Fi, check to see if your plan has at least 25 Mbps to support your 4K smart TV. Keep in mind all of the other devices you are running in your business, as this will increase strain on your connection.

  • If you are streaming your digital signage on a 25 Mbps router alone, you should be fine.
  • If there are more devices, you will want faster Wi-Fi.

Most plans will allow you to bump up the available Mbps (megabits per second). The most high-speed Wi-Fi connections can go over 1 Gbps, and prices rise accordingly. Routers themselves can cost upwards of $500, though you can find a sufficient model for 4K streaming around a $50-$100 price point.

Choose a router that runs at a speed of at least 100 Mbps and offers a simultaneous dual-band. Dual-band allows your Wi-Fi to function as two separate networks, one for your 4K TV (on the 5 GHz band) and the other for regular use (the 2.4 GHz band).

A dual-band router will keep your streaming connection steady even while multiple other devices, such as those of your clients, are present in the room, potentially disrupting connectivity.

Choose Your Digital Signage TV 

The TV you select for your digital signage will be crucial. This piece of hardware is what determines the quality of the entire setup and design, and going to the store to buy any old TV will most likely cause issues down the line.

The following will walk you through the decision process for making the correct aesthetic and financial decisions for your business’ digital signage TV.

Choosing a TV Design

Whatever television you choose, it must have either an HDMI or VGA input. Most businesses opt for a sleek, LED monitor design. Since digital signage is all about the visual draw, you will want your images to look crisp and clean, with smooth transitions and vibrant colors. The best monitors on the market are 4K TVs because:

  • More pixels mean sharper font and clearer images.
  • Colors are enhanced.
  • An overall optimized viewing experience.

Luckily, television technology has taken off, making even luxury 4K televisions affordable. These can range in price from $200 to $2,000. If you only plan to use your 4K TV for digital signage, any low-cost version will get the job done and will place less demand on your Wi-Fi network.

Most smart 4K TVs will also have built-in compatibility with Amazon or Google devices and may already offer a streaming service. However, you will be better off purchasing a separate streaming device as this will be the easiest to navigate and will provide a broader range of streaming options.

If you are looking to light up an entire wall with your digital signage or need digital signage on the go, choose a projector equipped with 4K resolution. All you need is a strong enough Wi-Fi connection, a speaker system if your presentation includes sound, and the process will work much the same.

Choosing a TV Mount

Consider also what sort of wall mount you want to purchase. Drilling your TV into the wall is a relatively permanent decision, so you want to make sure you choose the TV mount that is as versatile or as stable as your display demands. You can choose between the following:

  • A swivel mount. This will allow you to place the TV in a corner.
  • A tilt mount. This will allow you to place the monitor up high towards the ceiling and tilt the screen down.
  • A fixed or stationary mount is ideal for multiple screens placed vertically or horizontally in line with each other.

Choosing Your TV’s Size and Location

You will also want to keep in mind the size of your TV relative to its projected location. You do not want your audience to have to strain their eyes or crane their neck to view your content, nor do you want them to be distracted by other noises or stimuli.

First and foremost, note the room itself. In a smaller space, you will want a smaller or medium-sized screen. You do not want your display to dominate the room and conflict with legibility. In a warehouse, you most likely want the largest screen available on the market and one that provides the crispest image.

There is a science to deciding the proper distance between your screen and the viewer, especially given the high resolution of a 4K TV. Below is a table to provide you with a general idea of optimal distances per TV size. Measure the distance between your potential audience and the monitor and select accordingly.

Size of TV43 inches57 inches71 inches86 inches
Distance from TV 6 feet8 feet10 feet12 feet

Technical and Aesthetic Considerations for TV Placement

Given that the first step in installing your monitor is mounting it to the wall, ensure that you can locate studs in the wall where you would like to install your TV mount.

Before drilling the first screw to mount the television, check to ensure there are not any external light sources, both day and night, which may create a glare. Have someone hold up the monitor as you take a step back and assess the monitor’s viewability from various angles and lighting potentials.

Also, note the general design of the area where you will be placing your digital signage. You will want your monitor on a blank wall with minimal visual distraction. The main focus is your content on the display screen, so get rid of any excess stimulation, including photographs and paintings.

Keep Your Digital Signage Wires Tidy and Discreet

Before installation, consider how you will run the cords to your digital signage monitor and how you will keep them discreet. This process will be much simpler if you can locate your TV near power outlets and Wi-Fi router boxes. If this just is not possible, consider using cable tubing or running the wires behind your walls.

If you want surround-sound or a more powerful sound system, you will again want to think about both the cords you will need to run along the walls and where you would like your speakers to be placed throughout the space.

Digital Signage Speaker System

If you want your digital signage to be a more immersive experience, consider installing a sound system. When appropriate, music will further engage your audience, and hardwired television speakers typically have poor sound quality.

  • Wired System: If you opt for a wired sound system, you should again consider how you will inconspicuously run your cords throughout the room. You can choose to use Bluetooth speakers, but note that these must recharge at a wall outlet daily.
  • Directional Sound Beaming Speakers: Use these if you want to target your audience in an open space. This speaker model will create a direct line of sound to a particular location instead of traditional speakers that tend to spread the sound throughout the area, causing unwanted disruptions or distractions.
  • Surround Sound: This type of auditory environment is much what you might find at Disney World or a music festival. Your listener will be fully enveloped in sound, and the visuals will need to be just as bold.

Choose the Best Digital Signage Streaming Video Player

There are three common types of streaming video players on the market that people typically choose from:

  • Google Chromecast
  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Apple TV

Chances are you have heard of these as they are most common for streaming content platforms such as Netflix and HBO. These devices’ beauty lies in their ability to allow consumers to easily switch between digital signage software and other applications such as Google, YouTube, Spotify, etc.

The difference between all of the above streaming devices usually comes down to the range of applications they offer. For each, it is as simple as plugging the device into your TV and connecting to your Wi-Fi router. What is more, you can find all of these products at your nearest big box store.

There are also media players explicitly made for digital signage, which function much like the above examples. Most of these are wireless and cost about the same as the examples above and will still require you to download an app. The downside is having no added benefit for switching between applications.

Connecting Your Streaming Media Device to Wi-Fi

Here is how to wirelessly connect your streaming media device to Wi-Fi:

  • Plug your media player into the TV’s HDMI port, typically located on the back and towards the monitor’s bottom end.
  • The home screen for your device should appear on the monitor. Navigate to settings using your device’s remote.
  • Select “Network.”
  • Select the Wi-Fi network you would like to use for your digital signage.
  • Enter the password and click “Connect.”

From here on out, your TV will immediately connect to the media device when powered on. You will be able to navigate to your digital signage application using the device’s remote.

You can also connect your applications across multiple devices through a single account. That way, all of your design edits can be efficiently completed on your PC, laptop, or smartphone.

Ensure Compatibility with 4K TV

All media playing devices have versions compatible with 4K TVs, which means a clearer resolution. As mentioned above, make sure that both your Wi-Fi and TV are equipped to handle the internet speeds and resolution that 4K demands.

Make sure to check if the software you use is compatible with your broadcasting device. If you opt to go through a business specializing in digital signage, each will have a particular streaming device that pairs with its application.

Your smartphone may also connect to your 4K TV. This type of connectivity is typically available for Samsung and Android clients, but note that both your Smart TV and smartphone must be compatible. While not a necessity by any means, it may be worth looking into for ease of access and functionality.

Working with Multiple TVs

Whether installing two or five monitors, make sure that you standardize your equipment. You will want to use the same devices for all display systems; this includes the TV itself and all of the connecting cables.

If you need to hook up multiple monitors to display your digital signage, you can purchase another media player. However, it is more cost-effective to buy an HDMI splitter, which will cost a minimum of around $12.

To use an HDMI splitter for a media streaming device such as the Amazon Firestick, plug the device into the input for the HDMI splitter and both monitors into the output ports.

Note that more TVs equal more cords. If your monitors are spaced farther apart, make sure you have a game plan for how to keep them hidden away. Having a messy array of black cords will appear unprofessional and cheap.

Choosing the Best Digital Signage Provider

A great example of a consumer-friendly, all-in-one digital signage company is SignPresenter. Their service uses the affordable Amazon Fire Stick 4K, which costs around $40 and provides a straightforward setup to getting started.

SignPresenter also offers a free 14-day trial, and if you opt to stick with the software longer, it will only cost $10/month. Sticking with a digital signage service provider means editing your digital signage remains straightforward and hassle-free. Plus, you will have access to round-the-clock support.

  • Buy the Amazon Firestick 4K
  • Plug it in and connect to your Wi-Fi
  • Connect your existing Amazon account or create a new one
  • Download the SignPresenter app through the Amazon app store

It is an easy process. After downloading, simply use the Amazon Fire Stick remote to select the SignPresenter app from the home screen. Upon selection, you will be redirected to the SignPresenter homepage. This will be your jumping-off point for setting up your digital signage display!

Video tutorials are provided by SignPresenter along the way to help you get started. You will first create a “Playlist” of the media you want for your digital signage. Along with many helpful add-ons, you might not have thought to include, SignPresenter makes creating personalized designs simple.

Choose Screen Displays for Your Digital Signage

Providers such as SignPresenter give you a wide range of options to configure your digital signage display screen. These providers know that the goal is to attract and maintain your audience’s attention. Thus, they provide a wide array of varied stimuli.

Here are some examples of possible media you can display through providers such as SignPresenter:

  • Weekly Weather Forecasts
  • News Feed
  • Trivia Questions
  • Reviews
  • Social Media

SignPresenter also uses a straightforward image designer, allowing you to change font types, colors, and sizes, along with overlaid images and animations. They also offer excellent customer service support, allowing you to call and get answers to your questions straight away.

Streamline Your Digital Signage Presentation

In addition to the many different media you can display, you will want your images to be visually pleasing while reflecting your company’s mission.

Think about your audience and the message you would like to convey. With digital design, you can go many different routes: professional, fun, educational, artistic, edgy. Choose a theme and stick with it throughout your digital signage designs to create a cohesive visual experience.

Keeping your theme in mind, choose a relevant centerpiece for each slide. It can be an image, logo, word, or phrase. Make sure to balance the design out with cohesive elements. When designing multiple slides, make sure your font design, size, and colors are optimized for legibility and stay consistent throughout your presentation.

Along with varied media, use different template designs while staying consistent with colors and fonts. All the while, remember that less is usually more. Opt for simple, sleek designs. These can still be fun and interactive but not too overly stimulating.

Make Your Digital Signage Pop

While consistency and simplicity are key for efficiency and digestibility, you will want to take extra steps to grab your audience’s attention. Think about how you can include the following:

  • Whether you include a video or only opt for still slides, use lively, upbeat language that makes your product stand out in a positive light.
  • Use compatible, visually pleasing colors. You can search online for color templates that match the theme of your digital signage, i.e., “color templates for children” or “color templates for aquariums.”
  • Add your logo whenever possible. It does not have to be too obvious, but a subtle design in the corner of a slide keeps the advertising for your business presence without being overwhelming.
  • Make discounts or sales big and bold.

Know that you do not need to be a design major to make a visually appealing and mission-focused display; however, it is possible to hire graphic designers for the task. More important than any other factor is making sure you have a focused and clear mission that can be easily translated into text and images.

If you are using images found on Google or from online content design websites such as Canva, make sure to brush up on copyright laws. Luckily, there are plenty of free graphic designs out there that can be used for commercial use.

Incorporate Music into Your Display

Music is one of the best ways to attract viewers to your display. By engaging another of the five senses, especially one as emotionally charged as music, you will leave a greater lasting impression.

Here is why music is a good idea for digital signage:

  • Statistics show that consumers are far more likely to remember your business or service if you use music.
  • Music lifts moods, and the better mood your audience is in, the better impression your display will leave. Your customer service interactions may also run smoother!
  • Music is a great way to convey your business or brand’s atmosphere and character, making your digital signage a more personalized experience.

Choose Music for Your Digital Signage

It is now clear why you should incorporate music, so it is time to get into the “how.” So first, contemplate how the music you choose will work cohesively with your brand’s persona. Think of the kind of music you would want to listen to if placed on hold for your product or service.

Ultimately, the better matched your music is to your brand, the greater likelihood you have of making a sale and being remembered. You have the option to experiment with different sound systems, music genres, and audio clips. Using a digital signage provider will make these trials and errors simple to navigate.

Regulate Volume and Consistency of Sound

If your audience is young, you may be able to get away with louder volume and more electronic beats. For an older audience, it is best to opt for background music that is smooth and consistent. Either way, consider the following when it comes to music for your digital signage:

  • Avoid sounds that are too loud or sudden. A sudden switch from a steady, melodic beat to a high-pitched or sudden noise may catch your audience’s attention but can be upsetting and leave the wrong impression.
  • Avoid any short, repetitive clips of music. These may tend to annoy rather than intrigue your audience, especially if they are required to stand or sit near the monitor for more extended periods.
  • Similar to the above point, keep your music sparse and varied! Constant noise will have the opposite effect of intriguing the consumer, and too much music variation may confuse the message you wish to communicate.

Select Video Content

While slides featuring text, images, and animations can be intriguing, humans are most drawn to stories. Narratives are more quickly and effectively conveyed through video, where you can overlay text and attach audio.

Given the popularity of TikTok, you will want to keep your content upbeat, straightforward, and visually pleasing. To do this, consider the following points:

  • Select the appropriate background music for your business, as discussed above.
  • Make sure you have smooth transitions.
  • Vary between stationary and active camera angles such as close-ups, wide shots, panning, and aerial shots.
  • Include aesthetically pleasing or eye-popping visuals to insert between more informational segments of your video.
  • Choose an inspiring narrative with a lot of build-up to keep your audience watching through to the end.

Your display will be a lot larger and with a much higher quality threshold than the standard smartphone. So, you should think about using professional video editing software such as iMovie or Adobe Premiere Pro, especially if your video is going to run longer.

Test Your Digital Signage Setup!

The final and most exciting stage to set up your TV’s digital signage is putting the final product on display. Before going live, allow time for you or someone else to view the presentation from your audience’s perspective.

While this step-by-step article tries to weed out any potential errors from the get-go, there are a handful of blemishes that are better worked out once the finished presentation is on the monitor.

Testing Sound, Speed, and Lighting

Sounds, speed, and lighting are huge parts of making sure your TV has properly transformed into the digital signage of your dreams. Think about these things to make sure you have everything where it needs to be:

  • Sound: If your presentation includes sound, decide the optimal volume level. Listen to the production all the way through to make sure the sound remains consistent and that there are no sudden drops or elevations in volume.
  • Speed: Similar to changing billboards, companies must decide how much time it will take a person driving to read and digest the advertisement on the screen. Make sure to pace your slides appropriately. Try reading them yourself on the screen’s larger format to gauge how long it may take the average viewer.
  • Lighting: Just as most smartphones today have an auto-adjust to optimize visibility for a wide range of lighting options, you will want to set the ideal brightness on your monitors for your space. This goes along with ensuring that there are not any glares from windows or overhead lights.

Testing Screen Formatting

While your slideshow may look great on your computer monitor, these smaller displays do not always seamlessly transfer to the big screen.

Check to make sure none of your slides are warped or cut off by the screen. This framing issue might be due to the configuration of your TV settings. Go in and edit the width and height to ensure no images are stretched and no text is falling off-screen.

Testing Connectivity

While watching through your digital signage presentation on the big screen, look for any glitches or sound mismatches. These disruptions could be a sign that your Wi-Fi network is struggling to maintain a steady connection. If the monitor becomes fuzzy, check all cords, making sure they are all securely attached.

Final Considerations for Setting Up a TV as Digital Signage

It is in your best interest to set a budget towards the beginning of the project. Designating a set amount of money to the project will ensure that you do not initially purchase an expensive 4K TV, only to then run out of funds when you end up needing to buy a more costly Wi-Fi router down the line to stream your content.

Following this train of thought, you will want to standardize your hardware across the board, a task more efficiently accomplished with a budget in mind. Also, consider assigning someone the role of managing and continually updating your digital signage display. This ensures that content and hardware remain consistent and organized.

It may be helpful to keep track of how you went about installing your digital signage display. Note down the TV model, the media streaming device, and the digital signage provider you selected.

While setting up your digital signage can seem like a monumental task when trying to decide between the many options available for installation, digital signage companies make this step-by-step process much simpler. If you want a more straightforward route, opt for a company such as SignPresenter, and your work is already halfway done.

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