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26.06.2024 | 5 min read.

From managed TVs to digital signage: A guide to selecting the right displays

Mathias Johnson

Effective visual communication is crucial for engaging audiences, whether you're in hospitality, healthcare, retail, or corporate environments. A Display Management Platform (DMP) facilitates that, streamlining the management of various digital displays, ensuring that the right content reaches the right audience at the right time.

If you’ve already taken the step of implementing a DMP, you’re on the right track. But the next crucial step is selecting the appropriate displays to engage and inform your customers and staff teams. How will you decide what devices to buy?

From managed TVs and digital signage displays to specialized devices like doorway displays and bedside terminals, each type of display serves unique functions and comes with distinct features. Understanding these differences and aligning them with your operational needs can significantly enhance both customer experiences and operational efficiency. We hope that the guide below will provide a useful starting point for selecting the right devices for each usage scenario.

Note: This guide focuses on professional displays with a fixed network connection. Mobile devices are out of scope at this time.

Managed TVs

Unlike consumer TVs, managed TVs have built-in support for content management solutions, letting you control content across TVs from one central location. The TVs are also managed centrally, which means that you can control their standby state remotely even when the screen panel is off, and in many cases, upgrade their firmware and configuration. Depending on the context, these devices are sometimes called commercial TVs, hotel TVs, or patient TVs.

Managed TVs work best when:

  • The user interacts actively with the UI, typically with a remote control,
  • The daily usage is similar to at home, up to max 8-13 hours per day
  • The requirements include entertainment features like
    • TV channels, perhaps with multiple audio tracks and subtitle languages
    • Casting streaming content from entertainment apps

Digital signage displays

Digital signage displays allow you to distribute content to your target groups in a variety of environments. This visual communication can be targeted to, for example, marketing and advertising to your customers or stakeholders, or it can be used to improve the internal communication of your organization. Whereas some people simply call them info screens, they come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from very small price tag displays in supermarkets to enormous video walls or LED displays in sports stadiums, etc.

These aspects are very typical for digital signage displays:

  • Fully automatic usage, no interaction expected
  • Usage up to 24/7/365, with screen panels that can handle such load and warranty that covers such operations
  • Media-centric content like looping presentations with images and videos

Due to the convergence of different types of display hardware and consumer electronics in general, there are exceptions to the generic usage:

  • Interactivity can be provided using touch screens, built-in or as external overlays
  • As many signage displays come with installation remote controls with direct access to configuration menus, they can be replaced with programmable remote controls to allow interaction safely and cost-efficiently.

Doorway displays

What we refer to as doorway displays are actually small (usually 10-15”) touch-enabled digital signage displays. Because they’re often installed in tight spaces with limited infrastructure, some of the hardware features are unique to this display type:

  • Support for power over ethernet (PoE), eliminating the need for a clunky power adapter
  • Side lights or similar LED lights that can indicate status info across distances

These displays are most commonly used by personnel teams for digitalized tasks that were previously managed manually, on paper etc. These workflows usually require integrations to third-party systems and end-user authentication. For these reasons, we frequently deploy NFC or RFID readers for access control badges, personnel cards, etc. However, using these displays without integrations and accessories is also possible.

Conference room displays

It makes perfect sense to connect conference room displays to your display management platform, even though they are primarily used for screen sharing during meetings. This gives you several benefits:

  • A branded and structured landing page that highlights the conferencing abilities
  • The possibility to enjoy live TV, casting, educational videos and other entertainment in conference rooms when something fun or important happens
  • Usage analytics for media in conference rooms, and a simple way for service technicians to review the state of conference room displays without going on site.

Technically, we recommend using managed TVs in conference rooms, because a certain level of interaction is required and managed TVs provide the best interactive media experience.

E-paper displays

When the content of your display will remain static for a while and no videos are required, e-paper displays work well and can be extremely energy-efficient. Requiring just a few watts of power during content updates, they come in sizes up to 32" with full HD resolution and 65 K colors. The downside is the refresh rate: updating the screen content can take 10-15 seconds.

Bedside terminals

Specifically in hospitals, bedside terminals can be very useful because

  • They are certified for hospital usage and can thus be placed within the medical area close to the patient
  • They frequently come with long installation arms with built-in cable management for the most flexible positioning for optimal accessibility and stowing away when needed
  • They sometimes come with hospital-oriented special features like nurse call buttons, wired remote controls, phone handsets, pillow speakers, etc.

Video walls and LED displays

These special large display setups can be enormous and very impactful. They are well-suited for lobbies and other big spaces where visually engaging surfaces are of the essence. LED technology has advanced considerably and we can now offer very large displays for a reasonable price. Please contact us for more information.


A versatile display management platform can be very effective in managing displays centrally, not just in one building but even for all displays in a large enterprise, across geographical regions. For an optimal installation, please map your requirements to the use cases above and check our list of compatible managed TVs and professional displays to find suitable models.

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We are a group of TV experts and engineers who have been creating interactive entertainment solutions for over a decade. We know the ins and outs of the business and look forward to working with you.

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