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Your Guide to Finding a Digital Directory: The Basics (Part 1 of 7)

Your Guide To Selecting A Digital Directory

When it comes to finding the right digital directory display for your workplace, it can seem like a daunting task. The experience is very similar to making a personal TV selection for your house. There are some features you may find crucial, while most of the differences lie in the options they possess. So, how do you know how to pick the right one? Fortunately, we have created the ultimate guide to creating a reliable and effective digital directory.

Types of Displays

The first consideration is what type of display fits’ the building’s needs. Below are some options that can be used in this decision process. This decision will require having a space pre-identified and measurements for how much space is available.


TVs are commonly used as a digital directory display for commercial buildings and office spaces. This is primarily due to the low cost required to receive a high-quality picture compared to the other alternatives that will be explained later. If there is a need for multiple floors throughout, then this would be the most cost-effective solution. A few other key benefits of using a TV display includes the ease of installation and the space required for their display.

Kiosk Displays

Kiosks are free-standing units with built in TV displays. They can be placed in the malls, building lobbies, waiting areas and other high traffic environments.
Using a kiosk as a digital directory maximizes visibility. Your building visitors are likely to see the kiosk as they enter your building. Double sided kiosks are very popular as they are easily seen from both sides traffic.

Floor Stand Displays

Floor stands are displays that contain a pedal style base, which enables them to stand on their own and do not require being mounted on a wall or paired with a TV stand. These typically have a tilted mounted screen.

A floor stand display typically poses visibility and functionality disadvantages over the other two display options. With regards to visibility, it is not in the middle of a walking path like the options that kiosks contain. The other consideration is that they often are programmed for interactive capabilities for one user. Floor stand displays tends to be a more personalized experience, which could pose an issue if the desire is to use these in high traffic areas.

Commercial Grade Display vs. TV

There are two different grade displays provided by manufacturers. One is the commercial display, which is geared for corporate use. These consist of the types indicated in the above section, and they have the ability to be used for digital directory purposes. They tend to have brighter picture capabilities than that of a consumer TV. Inside the TV, they are built to withstand the duration that most corporations require them to function without having overheating or the dreadfully burnt image on the screen dilemma that some personal TVs contain.

LED vs. LCD vs. Plasma

There are three different options of screen displays that can be selected. LED leads the screen type from the others from our perspective when analyzing the different image quality, power usage and display thickness. LCD’s are the most inexpensive options between LED and LCD. So if cost is a large consideration here, then this may be an option on the table. Plasma screens are the least recommended option. While they do contain high-quality color pixels and high-quality video playback, they have a higher risk of having an image burnt onto the screen.


The overall recommendation is to select a screen size greater than 42” regardless of the size of the organization. This will allow multiple people to view the screen at one time. When it comes to analyzing the appropriate sizes above that, it depends on a list of considerations.

• How many digital display do you plan on utilizing?
• How many tenants does your property have?

The screen size is not able to be calculated from a mathematical equation. The goal is for customers to be able to read the screen within 10 feet away. The general rule of thumb though is the larger the screen size, the better.

If logistically, there is not a way for the visitors to be within a 10-foot proximity from the screen, below has some recommendations on screen size based on the distance.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate is the speed at which the screen will change from one view to the next. To determine the appropriate refresh rate to select, it is important to understand the intended use long-term. If you plan to have just one, static screen and it not changing, then a refresh rate of 60 Hz would serve the purposes. If there is a plan either now or in the future to allow for the screens to interchange, then it is recommended to get a refresh rate of 120Hz. The key here is the envision into the future. It will become costly if there is a purchase for a 60 Hz refresh rate and then shortly after that, the strategy evolves to where a screen interchange would lend itself best to the organization.

Portrait Board Support

When it comes to the display orientation, there are two options to select from, landscape or portrait. Not all TV displays have the ability to display both orientations. For the digital directories, it is recommended to use the portrait orientation versus landscape. This will need to be a consideration when making a TV selection. Most commercial TVs are compatible to display portrait orientations. One way to determine this is through the display’s edges because TVs that are portrait compatible will not have logos around the edges, or bezel.

RS-232 Capability

The recommendation is to ensure that your TV display contains a RS-232 input. This input allows you to utilize your digital signage device and HDMI plugs simultaneously. Having the digital signage device capable of being plugged in at all times enables you to use the timing features, which will allow you to turn your display on and off without physically doing so. It is a nice feature when it comes to having multiple devices on multiple floors. This input is most commonly found in commercial TVs and not in consumer TVs.


The recommendation to ensure high functionality is to ensure that your TV contains HDMI and RS-232 inputs.


Warranty terms are a big reason why corporations should consider purchasing a commercial product rather than a consumer product. It is typical that consumer TVs come with a 90-day warranty and commercial TVs come with a 2-year warranty. The time difference here could mean a lot of potential cost savings in the future.

We can help you!

At DigitalSignBuilder we provide turnkey digital directory packages that include the software, professional directory graphic design, media player, an easy cloud-based digital directory content management platform, a commercial grade digital sign plus all cables. Every package is a one-time cost and does not require annual fees.

With DigitalSignBuilder it's easy, you tell us what you want and we'll custom design, set-up and install a complete solution for you. We will provide you with complete training and support after the digital directory system is installed. When you need to make edits to a directory listing you can simply use your iPhone or Android device. Within minutes of making your edits the new information is being display on the directory! For more information on our digital directories give us a call. 408-933-3300

Have you seen the other chapters in our digital directory series?

An Introduction To Digital Directories (Part 2 of 7)
7 Things To Consider When Choosing Digital Directory Software (Part 3 of 7)