“But my wife saw a 42-inch HDTV monitor for less than $500 at Wal-mart yesterday. Why can’t I just buy a bunch of those for my restaurant?”

We can’t tell you how many times we hear this, especially during the months of November through January, and again in March and April, when home electronics are typically on sale.

But we wouldn’t advise our sports bar, nightclub or restaurant customers to, “Go ahead. Buy the screen and we’ll intall it.” Commercial displays offer capabilities you won’t find in consumer flatscreens that help them stand up to the constant use and abuse in a hospitality venue.

Take a look at seven of the features you get in true commercial displays from manucturers like Samsung, LG, and NEC, that you won’t get on consumer models, even from reputable manufacturers.

1. Commercial displays have advanced cooling mechanisms that permit screens to run 24/7/365 without overheating.

2. Advanced anti-burn-in technology on commercial plasmas provide added peace of mind when your screens are on day and night, especially if you’re displaying artwork or digital signage content that doesn’t change frequently.

3. Commercial flatscreens are designed to hang in portrait or landscape mode and still operate properly without overheating or other issues. This is great for areas where space is tight, for digital signage applications or to fit your techorating requirements, so the flatscreens can truly blend in to the architecture of your space.

4. A commercial display offers easier control with RS232 capabilities, which permits you to control multiple displays on one control system and also offers daisy-chaining capabilities. A multitude of connectivity options, including Ethernet, HDMI, HDMI-2 and DVI-D makes it easier to ensure that all the components on your network will work together.

5. Commercial HDTVs are optimized not just for television broadcast but digital signage applications. Refresh rates and the color spectrum is tailored to a variety of input devices to show PowerPoint, slideshow photos, digital signage content and more. Not all consumer flat panel displays are optimized to display content from a PC or Mac. A commercial display will also give you more options to change display settings based on your inputs and the type of content you’re displaying.

6. Most importantly, commercial displays typically come with a 2- to 3-year manufacturers’ warranty and possibly even an extended service contract. When you’re running a nightclub, restaurant, or sports bar, you can’t afford downtime. When you buy a commercial HDTV display, you’ll get the service you need as a business owner whos understand the importance of rock-solid operations. If you put residential displays purchased in a warehouse club in your commercial hospitality venue, it voids the manufacturer’s warranty and if something goes wrong, you’re not covered. Now that $500 screen doesn’t sound like such a good value for a venue owner, does it?