I had one happy visitor at my home last month. My dear friend Blair lives in Nova Scotia, on the Southeastern tip of Canada… up near Maine. He came for a long overdue visit, and I’m sure at the time there wasn’t a happier Canadian anywhere in the Lower 48. Plenty of th read more
I couldn’t wait for my TV to die. Crazy, right? Read on and I’ll explain.
More than half the TVs installed in outdoor spaces are engineered for indoor use. And I was like most people. Why would I spend more on an outdoor rated display when I could get something for less than half the price? If it dies I can run out and pick up a newer model and throw it up on the wall without much down time. And when my first display died I did just that. I found an old plasma in the house and hung it up outside. Eventually, as expected, its performance began to decline.
“Die, you imperfect plasma, just DIE!” I muttered to myself in the fall. Here’s a snapshot of its demise, notice the upper right hand corner image fade. It was only a matter of time!
(Full disclosure, Brian Rhatigan, my coworker and display expert tells me this isn’t a typical symptom of aging displays, and probably has more to do with the source. But that doesn’t work with my story. Read his blog here.)
Cut to earlier this month. A recent Polar Vortex had 75% of the country experiencing below freezing temperatures. I was in chilly, snowy Chicago (my hat is off to those of you who can handle that!) and I couldn’t wait to get home to my beloved South Florida, the 85°+ December weather and watching the Miami Dolphins claw and fight their way to their first winning season since 2008 in my outdoor football paradise.
Flag on the Play!
It’s a Saturday night prime-time Dolphins v. Jets showdown in New York. December football in-conference rivalry at its finest! The bevvies were ice cold, the sausage dip was made, and the propane tank was full. I was ready! But I was unprepared for a dead display. It was a football fail, to put it mildly. Yes, I’d wished ill-will upon my clunky old plasma, but the timing was terrible! I’d wanted to brag to my northern neighbors! (Karma much?) We watched the Dolphins trounce the Jets, 34-13 in the living room on the couch. Booooo!
Can this be corrected in the second half?
Earlier this fall SunBrite TV introduced their new Veranda Series 4K UHD outdoor displays for full-shade outdoor spaces. These beauties are up to 30% brighter than typical indoor TVs, and they’re weather proof! And while that was always a major selling point for buying an outdoor display for outside, now… NOW they’re affordable!
If there’s such a thing as a spirit animal, mine is an iguana. (OK, spirit reptile). Not glamorous, cuddly or even cute. What we have in common, according to Wikipedia is that we thrive only in temperatures between 79-95°F. This makes South Florida the perfect place for me to live. And ideal for outdoor winter TV watching.
You can’t keep a true Dolphins fan down for long. My Veranda is on a truck headed to South Florida. Just in time for college bowl games and the NFL playoffs… I’m holding out hope that my Dolphins are still standing by mid-January! Stay tuned for Part II, as I turn my Football Fail into Veranda Victory!
Do you have an outdoor setup you LOVE? Share a picture in the comments, I’d love to see what you’ve got!
October finished up the last of the Almo Pro AV E4 AV Tours for 2016, the last of which was in Dallas, TX.
One of the many things to do is walk through the Exhibit Hall, where all of Almo’s manufacturer partners showcase their latest and greatest products…
I really “flipped” over the all-new R Series product displayed by Sharp at our Dallas Show.
This beauty will come in a 42”, 49” and 55” display, and with the extreme tilt capabilities opens up new mounting possibilities that gives more flexibility than ever before to digital signage installations. My imagination went wild. Not only can this series be mounted in portrait or landscape mode, imagine the 42” display mounted face up on a table in a sleek apparel shop, or the 55” face down from the ceiling in a planetarium…
While I wouldn’t suggest mounting it on a floor surface that would be walked on, the design of these monitors is robust enough that they can be suspended from the four corners of the rear housing using wires. I immediately envisioned a simple, elegant look for an office lobby, like an attorney’s office or accounting firm or a retail shop where information, daily specials or other content could be simply and beautifully displayed.
The ingenuity and creativity of our dealers and integrator customers is always impressive. And I can’t wait to see what they come up with when they let loose with Sharp’s new PN-R Series!
I just returned from a much needed vacation in Puerto Rico at the Wyndham Rio Mar resort. This property recently completed a $500M addition of Wyndham vacation condos in partnership with his royal beach-iness and head Parrot, Jimmy Buffet. The Margaritaville themed portion of the resort was impressive and had that cool Buffet laid-back vibe. As a marketer, I’m amazed at how this artist, who hasn’t had a record on the charts in the last couple of decades (save collaborations Zac Brown and Alan Jackson), has managed to become a global brand commanding licensing agreements from everything to restaurants, merchandising and now resorts.
The outdoor cabana with swim up pool was the centerpieces of the resort, appropriately named Margaritaville. You even got your own mondo margarita cup shaped like, you guessed it, a blender!
Hanging above the bar was a gorgeous installation of SunBriteTV’s, made to withstand the heat, humidity, wind and sand rolling off the beach just a few feet away. Trust me when I say it’s humid down there and the TV’s looked fantastic. Note that the clock on the wall is always on 5 o’clock.
We just had training from the very smart folks at SunBriteTV who reiterated that there are very real safety concerns with putting consumer TV’s outside. Forget about there being no warranty, or that the picture will be terrible in a matter of months, or that you can’t view those TV’s in direct sunlight. If you are working with a restaurant owner who wants to go on the cheap with his outdoor TV’s, tell him to call his insurance company and get a rider for electrocution for TV’s that aren’t UL certified for outdoor use. Maybe that will get him thinking. Business owners need peace of mind that their customers will be safe and happy. Use SunBriteTV and you can chill and go to your happy place – kind of like this…
I’ve noticed over the last year the increasing use of outdoor displays in commercial applications. Once regulated to residential porches and light commercial use (such as a sports bar’s outdoor covered patio), manufacturers are now producing displays that eliminate the need for environmental enclosures and kiosks.
Today, properly specified displays provide many benefits compared to the traditional panel within an enclosure or kiosk. Some of those benefits include but are not limited to:
- Weatherproof operation at a considerable lower cost without expensive environmental enclosures & kiosks
- Better picture due to no gap between the screen and an outer enclosure glass that may hinder picture quality
- Overall reduction in physical size and weight for the application
- Simpler mounting and installation
- Ease of on-going maintenance
But how does a design engineer specify the right outdoor panel for a particular environmental application? It’s relatively simple – match the properly-rated display to the outdoor demands of the application. First, assess the application environmental demands:
- Environmental temperature extremes.
- Dust & water extremes (both type of dust and at what angles they can attack a panel).
- Under cover or in direct sunlight.
- Maintenance access (e.g., mounted high, extremely restricted location, etc.).
- Exposure to glass-breaking projectiles like rocks and such.
Now, match the display to the environmental demands of the application.
- Temperature Extremes: Coldest and warmest extremes a display can safely operate.
- Dust and Moisture: Determine a display’s rating using either a NEMA Enclosure Rating (relative dust & particle resistance measurement) or the more popular “IP’ Rating (Ingress Protection as defined by DIN EN 60529). An IP rating indicates the external conditions enclosures can withstand. It describes a display’s scope of protection during use when exposed to temperatures, fuel and oil and their fumes, chemical clouds, acid based moisture and dust entering the display. For example, the “I” in IP has a scale of 1 to 6 that defines the protection against contact and ingress of dust. The “P” has a scale of 0 to 9k that defines ingress of moisture from water droplets to high pressure steam cleaning.
- Indirect or Direct Sunlight: If direct sunlight is a factor, consider a panel with UV optical bonding that can eliminate reflection & refraction glare so it can be easily seen in direct sunlight. Note that simply being a high brightness panel (1500+ nits) doesn’t necessarily translate to good picture in direct sunlight. It’s hard to out bright the sun!
- Impact Resistant: Determine if the display needs to be protected from impacts. And should the screen be broken, make sure it is shatter proof to protect nearby viewers and property.
- Maintenance: Some displays will be mounted high or in difficult to reach places. The less maintenance of filters and the ability to be hosed-off or pressure washed can be key.
Almo ProAV partners with Peerless-AV to offer a family of outdoor displays starting with the IP55-rated UltraView Series up to the IP68-rated Xtreme series. We can match the right display for the environmental demands of temperatures, dust & moisture, direct sunlight, impact resistance, and ease of maintenance. Also, we will assist in pairing the proper outdoor, wind-rated mount. Feel free to contact me or your Almo ProAV Account Rep. We’ll be happy to assist you in specifying the right display for your outdoor application.
While we know it can be challenging to pin down application details in the early stages of a project, gathering as much info as you can early on can help save thousands of dollars from the get-go and can even save you from headaches later where you might need to modify your proposal to reflect the correct product and adjusted labor. In Part I of The Great Outdoors, we highlighted 5 questions to help our reseller partners uncover specific needs for getting outdoor digital signage right the first time.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the unique features Samsung has engineered as part of their totally new 2016 outdoor lineup and see if we can put the answers to those questions to work for you!
For example, knowing who the audience is and where the unit(s) will be located may clue you in on the need for durability features. Let’s say you’re working on an application for a movie theater, college campus or theme park, you may want to suggest a model with Magic Protection Glass which can withstand whacking from a hammer or even a baseball bat to protect the investment your clients are making in digital signage against rowdy patrons or students. Three of the five new series include Magic Protection Glass: OHF, OHD & OHE Series. (See chart at bottom). Another feature is Polarized Sunglass Support which ensures a perfect picture regardless of the viewer’s lenses and eliminates the blinding glare on most flat panels.
IP56 Certification is another important feature that can be essential to the longevity of an outdoor unit if directly placed in the elements. As defined in international standard IEC 60529, it classifies the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects (including body parts like hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water in electrical enclosures. The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof. Samsung has IP56 certification on the OHF, OHD and OHE Series outdoor units. (See chart at bottom.)
Depending on the application, some locations may require round-the-clock operation. With Samsung, select outdoor units are rated for 24/7 usage meaning they are engineered to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 5 years to half brightness. This means the display will run a full 5 years without any noticeable degradation in brightness; if used only 24 hours a day 5 days a week, this life span would be extended beyond 5 years, minimizing total cost of ownership. Don’t forget Samsung’s 3-Year On-site manufacturer’s warranty on all professional displays, plus New optional, Protection Plus extended and expedited service options to help you meet the requirements for overnight replacements for more critical installations where down-time is simply NOT an option. Ask your Almo rep for more details.
Speaking of brightness, did you know Samsung’s new 24” compact display, the OM24E can not only take direct sunlight without blacking out the panel like many outdoor units, but it has also been engineered and tested to withstand temperatures of 110 degrees! Plus, the display can now automatically optimize brightness control and increase energy efficiency using the new Auto-Brightness Sensor. This allows the display to automatically reduce brightness to 200 nits or up to 1,500 nits depending on the ambient light which maximizes effectiveness of digital signage in any lighting conditions. In addition, the OM24E also allows users to manage digital signage content wirelessly with built-in Wi-Fi and mobile app support.
Although most applications are a great fit for complete products that are ready-to-hang right out of the box, we realize there are plenty of unique applications where digital signage displays are incorporated into an overall design theme or as part of another structure – Samsung hasn’t left you hanging in this regard. In the OMD Series, Samsung offers two versions to accommodate needs for a fully-enclosed, ‘complete product’ (OMD-W) as well as a KIT version (OMD-K) which can be installed into a more customized enclosure. Both versions can stand up to direct sunlight in a store-front window or out in the elements in a weatherized enclosure (provided by others); both versions now available in 46”, 55” and 75” sizes for maximum design flexibility.
Let us know how we can personally help you on your next outdoor digital signage project and we’ll help confirm the right solution for your specific application.
Here’s a snapshot of the key specs on Samsung’s 2016 Outdoor Lineup: (see www.almoproav.com for full details)
And don’t forget to register for this Friday’s Webinar on Samsung’s High-Bright, Outdoor and Weatherized Displays!
The Great Outdoors: High Bright, Outdoor & Weatherized Displays Defined on Jun 29, 2016 2:00 PM EDT at:
Drive-thru restaurants, theme parks, stadiums, retail window displays – these are all places where specialized displays are a necessity due to the outdoor elements, lighting and more. In this session, learn the differences between these types of displays, when to use them and in what applications. Through an examination of real-world case studies, you’ll explore the essentials for installing these specialty displays and important considerations BEFORE you start to specify a project.
Presented by Jonathan Brawn, Brawn Consulting on behalf of Samsung.
There are many factors that go into choosing the correct LED sign, but a few important attributes are commonly ignored. Below are three commonly overlooked factors that should be considered when deciding on a sign manufacturer.
1) Operating Cost
Capital expenditure, or initial investment cost, is typically the first and the most influential factor that most decision makers consider. What many overlook or only give a passing consideration is the ongoing expense of the sign. The larger the sign, the more important this factor becomes over the life of the sign. Knowing that you’re installing an energy efficient sign can save you tens of thousands in operating expenses down the road.
2) Ease of Use / Management
Signs that require proprietary software, or require the purchase of third-party software can add frustration for the end user, a large learning curve, as well as push up the total cost of the project. ADTI offers the flexibility of using their included content management system, SkyShow, or any signage solution that can utilize their standard HDMI input on the SkyPanel system.
3) Ease of Installation
This is a factor that is commonly skipped over, and almost never is considered by the end user. Since it ultimately affects the bottom line, as well as the timeline of the project, I think it’s an attribute that deserves consideration. If the installation requires special structural changes because of the weight, fabrication to enclose the sign for weatherproofing, or modification to allow for extra depth, the money you saved on the lower cost hardware shrinks considerably, or is completely wiped out.
The difficulty of measuring the increase in quality in comparison to the increase in cost, can cause endless hours of agonizing research, and can freeze the final decision. Many are drawn in by the low cost LED panels they’ve seen coming out of China, and end user’s tend to lean towards the frugal choice for the initial capital expenditure and ignore the ongoing operating expense of running an LED sign; which can be an expensive mistake. With ADTI, you don’t have to make that compromise. The combination of affordable initial cost, American made quality, IP67 weatherproofing, and incredibly low power consumption, makes for a visually stunning, “no compromise” solution.
A couple of months ago, I spoke with one of our Arizona integrators about a window digital signage project for a large retail jewelry store. As we discussed the project, I asked for specifics as to display size dimensions and quickly moved to content, media player, and signal distribution scheme. The spec seemed relatively straightforward and a bill of materials would be easy to create.
But as I reviewed drawings and artist renderings, I quickly asked myself:
- What direction do the windows face? Southwest exposure?
- Coverings shading the windows?
- Portrait or landscape orientation?
- City ordinances on night time brightness?
The answers to the above questions quickly convinced me that I was actually dealing with a high ambient light specification than that of a typical within-the-building digital signage project. Additionally, this window project calls for commercial grade, 24/7 displays (for use well into the night after closing hours) that must have the following design attributes:
- Higher brightness rating than that of a typical indoor display to ensure crystal clear visibility during the daytime
- Resistant to the effects of high temperatures and direct sunlight that cause an isotropic blackening effect on liquid crystal
- Advanced heat management to provide proper cooling given high temperatures and extensive operational hours
- Polarizing film on the displays so as to be seen by polarized sunglasses in either portrait or landscape orientation
- Ambient light sensors to dim displays in low sunlight or nighttime
So, as you can easily surmise, we’re now talking about specially designed displays for this project. NEC, for example, manufactures 47”, 55”, and 75” high brightness displays designed for front-facing window display applications. The XHB Series of displays addresses the above needs with:
- High brightness (2000-2700 nits) for high ambient light conditions
- High resistance to isotropic effects from direct sunlight
- Quarter Lambda Polarizing film so content can be easily seen regardless of orientation or polarized sunglasses
- Internal heat management and self-diagnostics to insure reliable 24/7 operation
- Ambient light sensors to dim the panel for lower light and nighttime conditions
Bottom line—front-facing window signage demands are different from indoor or outdoor models. Be sure to know the application when an end user mentions windows in a digital signage application. Yes, these panels are an investment, but if you can’t see the displays, why have the signage?