If you have or are looking to update/upgrade some video in your audiovisual-enabled spaces, you have likely heard these phrases: TV, display, LCD, LED, OLED, SmartTV, consumer (often referred to as residential) and commercial. It’s confusing. But we can help sort this out.

Due to the complexity and amount of details for each, we will break this into a two-part series. First, we will focus on consumer/residential models and in part two, we will focus on commercial models.

TV is an acronym for television. TVs have been around now for decades and have come a long way from the first black-and-white models. They have become thinner, weigh less, are a different shape, and have direct inputs in addition to receiving over-the-air broadcasts. In addition, they have higher definition, and most of all, are now using LCD (liquid crystal display) and/or LED (light emitting diode) technology.

The difference between LCD and LED TVs is that LCDs use a fluorescent-type backlight and LEDs use an LED type backlight. The LED TV is a subset of LCD TV technology and virtually all new LCD TVs use LED technology as their backlight. LED technology is the new standard as it is more energy efficient and enables the TV to be thinner.

There are two main types of LED backlighting: edge-lit and full-array. Edge-lit is as the name implies. It has LEDs positioned in back of and around the perimeter of the LCD screen, which provide lighting across the entire back of the screen. Full-array backlighting has many more LEDs positioned across the entire back of the screen. The more expensive the model, the more LEDs and LED “zones.”

As you might guess, there are some issues with edge-lit TVs that have to do with areas that should be darker than others. Full-array TVs break up the LEDs into zones (groups of LEDs that can work independently from other zones) so areas that should be dark are dimmed more than other zones, giving you blacker blacks. The more expensive the full-array TV, the more LEDs and zones you get.

OLED is an acronym for “organic light-emitting diode” and is a unique, relatively new technology that enables the TV to be incredibly thin…only a few millimeters thick. Without going into too much detail, organic compounds the size of a pixel, make up the panel and can be turned on and off individually. Nothing can compare to this type of TV when it comes to contrast and pixel accuracy. As you might imagine, these TVs are at the high-end when it comes to price.

Now that we have some of the basics out of the way…consumer TVs are typically less expensive than commercial displays. Most TVs have a tuner built in to receive over-the-air broadcasts (you will need an antenna), are controlled from an infrared (IR) remote control and are NOT made to be “on” 10 hours or more a day. Their warranties are typically one year for parts and 90 days for labor. If you use them for a commercial purpose, like digital signage, you will void the warranty entirely!

A typical use for a TV might be in a breakroom or other areas where it is only turned on occasionally and for short viewing periods…and most importantly…not left on all day! Therefore, as a starting point, we always recommend a commercial display for commercial applications. However, we understand budgets and occasionally a consumer TV may be all you need, letting you save some money.

Next month, we will detail the benefits and differences between consumer and commercial TVs and displays. If you need some immediate assistance, we can help. If you would like to discuss your video needs, please e-mail engineerging@exhibitone.com.