Outdoor LCD enclosures Protecting the hardware is just as important as ensuring the clarity of the picture. This can be achieved by using anti-reflective glass. Sunlight not only damages the hardware over time, but damages the LCD crystals, causing them to liquefy and therefore they cease functioning, and starts by turning patches of the screen black until the whole screen is affected causing irreversible damage. Technically, this is known as ‘solar clearing’.
Regardless of the temperature, this problem can happen anywhere. Screens in New York are as susceptible as those in Florida. This shows that even if the temperature is not particularly high, the sunlight can still be enough of a factor to cause solar clearing and affect the visibility of the screen.
It is essential to use products that reflect a high percentage of the sunlight. It is also an important factor, to consider cost savings as reducing the percentage of sunlight dramatically reduces the cooling and power usage required inside the kiosk. Weather conditions can seriously affect the performance of the viewing screen, particularly extreme hot or cold weather. These digital signs can work perfectly well outdoors, however with the simple introduction of a heater and/or cooler on a thermostat regulator, most adverse weather conditions can be overcome, and not limit the performance of the LCD display.
Time is another factor which affects the LCD display – over time the brightness of the screen will depreciate, likening it to the depreciation of buying a new car – over time the performance of the engine decreases, but can be prolonged due to good maintenance. Protecting you LCD display screen by putting it in a position avoiding sunlight will prolong its life and make the most of your investment.
Outdoor digital signage is a rapidly advancing sector of the industry. With so much competition in indoor locations it is no wonder more and more advertisers are taking screens outdoors in the hope of getting higher audiences and increased returns.
While using digital screens in an indoor location has become somewhat of a fool-proof activity, with all-in-one digital posters and other signage options making it a simple procedure, the same can’t be said for outdoor locations.
Outdoor digital signage has to cope with a lot more challenges than any indoor screen, including:
• Weather – rain, snow, hail, sleet etc
• Temperature changes – from baking hot summers to perishing winters
• Impacts and vandalism – any unmanned location could be vulnerable
• Sunlight – Can make readability difficult
There are various methods for protecting outdoor screens from these elements and each location has to be assessed individually; what might work in one location such as a hot and dry climate – may not work in a colder, wetter location.
Waterproof LCD TVs are available at a cost but these expensive devices are not always necessary as whatever digital signage enclosure is used can be manufactured to be waterproof – so the TV does not. The best solutions adhere to either the European IP65 or the NEMA 4 guidelines.
For hot climates cooling fans need to be used to remover the excess heat and prevent overheating. In some areas, even this is not enough and air conditioning or other solutions such as emergency cut off switches for when the screen gets too hot have to be considered.
One of the most difficult challenges of outdoor screens is counteracting the sun’s brightness to ensure the screen is still readable. The simplest solution is to ensure the screen is not facing directly toward the sun or is shrouded by a hood or canopy; however, if this is not practical you need to consider sun readable screens (that have a higher brightness) or other technologies such as transflective screens (that use the brightness of the sun to boost the screen’s own image).
A vandalised screen has a double whammy to an installer. Firstly, if the screen is not working due to vandalism then you are losing potential revenue every hour the screen is down. And secondly, a new screen will add additional costs to the ROI (return on investment) making it even further away.
LCD Enclosures: an all-in-one solution
A steel, waterproof and all-weather LCD enclosure is the closest thing to an all-in-one solution in the outdoor digital signage market. Not only do they protect from the rigours of weather and temperature – containing all the cooling and heating systems required for a specific location – but the steel housing provides an ideal vandal resistant barrier, protecting screen and investment.