If you’re looking at a line-item estimate of an upcoming audiovisual project for your New York area retail establishment or corporate boardroom (really, any commercial establishment that relies on cutting edge audio video systems), you may notice the HDTV monitors your AV contractor recommended are a bit pricier than the ones you purchased for your home. You might want to know if you can save money by going to a big box store and then having the contractor install the cheaper screens you purchased there. Maybe you have a warehouse club card, and you want to take advantage of your membership benefits and buy 10 HDTVs there.

You certainly can and if that’s what you have to do to get the system of your dreams within your budget, we understand. (Although we might be able to recommend other options.)

But we would want to let you know about the differences between consumer and commercial HDTV screens before you make the choice.

About Consumer HDTV Screens

An article in Sound & Communications magazine noted that 80 to 90 percent of HDTV displays shipped through commercial channels are actually consumer screens. For some applications, consumer screens can actually save you money.

For instance:

  • If your screens won’t be on 40 hours a week or more, you might be able to get away with a consumer screen. (For instance, in a corporate boardroom where you only use the displays a few times a week, for a few hours a day).
  • If you don’t need additional options, such as RS232 capabilities or the option to place the displays in landscape or portrait mode, consumer screens might fit your needs.
  • If you’re willing to take the chance on a shorter warranty, then go ahead — save money with consumer displays.

But before you take the plunge and plunk down your cash at the “big blue,” we’d like you to consider another option.

Another Money-Saving Option in Video for Commercial Applications

You’d like the peace-of-mind of that extended contract on commercial screens, but all those monitors are just about killing your budget, right? There’s another choice that your AV contractor should share with you. (And just in case your current contractor doesn’t — well, that’s why we’re here): Hybrid HDTV screens.

These HDTVs have a commercial warranty of two to three years and RS232 capability, but not all the other added features you may not need.

Keep in mind: using a consumer display in a commercial venue can void your warranty. But a hybrid HDTV can give you the peace-of-mind of commercial warranty protection and many of the settings you want in a public display, for just slightly more than the price of the consumer screens you see at your local warehouse club or home electronics store.