Industry Insights

Digital Signage Basics - A Glossary of Digital Signage Terms

October 24, 2022
12 minute read
Industry Insights

Being new to digital signage can be completely intimidating to say the least.

Not only do you have to figure out how this technology can help you capitalize on your business, but you also have to begin by figuring out what all the basic terms are and what they mean.

Talk about feeling like a digital signage dummy!

Having a basic understanding of some of the key words can make this menacing process seem a little more manageable.

That is exactly what this piece is aimed at.  The terms included cover digital signage basics, all the way through to a general understanding of the digital signage world.

After reviewing the terms below, you can consider yourself a graduate from "Digital Signage for Dummies"  and promoted to "Digital Signage for Smarties."

business person

Once you hold the "Smartie" title, check out Signagelive's glossary for some not-so-basic terminology to expand your digital signage vocabulary.  Signagelive is a provider of cloud-based media delivery solutions.  They have created a platform that offers digital signage as a service and partner with over 440 resellers globally to provide software, servers, and support.




The person or group of people responsible for the updates, maintenance, and operation of the digital signage after installation.


Marketing communication used to promote or sell a product or service.  


A sequence of fast moving static images that create an illusion of motion or movement.  Often used in content for digital displays.

Aspect Ratio

A term used to describe the proportional relationship between the width and height of a display.  Usually written in a width:height format, such as 4:3 or 16:9, both of which are standards for television displays and HDTV displays prospectively.  

ATM Topper

Video screens built into the top of ATM machines used to display advertising and other information, independently of the ATM itself


The people that will be exposed to the digital signage medium.  Often targeted to a specific group.


Audio Video Interleaved.  It is a sound and motion picture file created by Microsoft in 1992 that allows synchronous audio with video playback.  It can play in mainstream media players like Windows Media Player, however it does not provide a standardized way to encode aspect ratio.  



It is a visually appealing environment where the message is displayed.


Measured in bits per second, it is the rate at which data is transferred over a network connection.  It also can mean a range of frequencies used to transmit a signal and is measured in hertz.


Hardware that is small, battery-friendly, low-energy, Bluetooth connections that can transmit messages to smart phones or tablets.  


The persona of an organization.  It is the representation of your identity as a company including a specific logo, colors, typefaces, and visual continuity throughout your digital signage content.


A software application used to access, retrieve, and present information on the world wide web.  Can be used for accessing internal networks and files as well.



As content is changed, updates are forwarded to the players that have subscribed to a specific place.  


The software application that runs your digital signage display lives on the Internet instead of on your local computer, meaning you can access it as long as you have an Internet connection.  


Content Management System.  An application that is used to schedule, customize, monitor, and deploy content across digital displays.


Files, such as graphics, sounds, videos, and script files that are played back on a digital display. Content is used to engage, inform, and entertain your audience.

Corporate Communication

Using digital displays to communicate things such as company initiatives, emergency preparedness, to reinforce brand standards, conduct employee training, introduce new products, boost morale, and even tailor information to specific areas of the building.


Digital Signage

Uses technology such as LCD, LED, Projection, Touch Screen to display content such as video, digital images, streaming media, and information.


Output device for presentation of information.  Can typically include LCD, LED, Touch, Kiosks, ATM Toppers, Plasma, etc. for digital signage.

Display Mount

The hardware used to hang up a display to present the information.

Dwell Time

The amount of time your audience has to see and process the content on your display.



Enhancing an audience member's interaction with a digital display by utilizing content that can give pleasure or delight.


Local area technology, with networks generally operating within a single building, connecting devices in close proximity using twisted pair or fiber optic cabling.



The part of a computer system or network that is designed to block unauthorized access and still allow outward communication.


Multimedia and software platform used for creating moving images such as graphics, games, cartoons, videos, etc. in a small, compressed, downloadable format.


The average number of time an audience is exposed to the display or message.



A visual image or design, artwork.



The physical elements of a digital signage project.  Can include items such as the display, display mount, media player, kiosk, tablet, touch screen, network cables, etc.


An audio/video interface used for transferring uncompressed video and compressed digital audio data from an HDMI compatible display controller to a computer monitor, projector, Television or digital device.  


An industry that often uses digital signage for purposes such as wayfinding, emergency preparedness, waiting area entertainment, patient information, etc.  


Standard markup language to create webpages and user interfaces for mobile and web applications.



Utilizing data connections to push information  such as key performance indicators, sales figures, etc. in real time.

IP Address

Internet Protocol Address.  A numerical label assigned to each device participating in a computer network and used for communication between devices and location addressing.



A compression technique used for color images.  The most common method for storing and sending photographic images across the Internet.



A housing unit for a computer terminal that employs a specific, custom, software.  Can be interactive and touch screen as well.



Local Area Network.  Connects computer networks within a limited area such as a residence, school, or small office.  Ethernet and WiFi are common transmission technologies used for LAN networks.


How the content is arranged on your display to capture your audience's attention.  Most common layouts used in digital signage are multi-zone or one block.

LED Display

Light-Emitting Diode.  A flat panel display that uses light-emitting diodes as pixels for video display.


Typically associated with software pricing and is charged per connected device for a specific term.


Video or presentation that repeats a standard interval for continuous play and is usually based upon the dwell time of the audience.


Media Player

A small device that plays digital signage content on any public digital display.



A group of two or more computer systems linked together.



The way in which a rectangle display is oriented for normal viewing, often listed as portrait or landscape.



It's just like your music playlist.  Content is created and saved under different "playlists" and then scheduled to deploy according to that content specifically (i.e. A quick service restaurant may use 3 different playlists to support their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus and specials).

Point of Purchase (POP)

Point of purchase advertising displays can vary in size and help deliver targeted marketing content to customers at their decision point.


QR Code

Quick Response Code.  A barcode that is readable by a scanner and converts the code into a useful form such as a URL for a website.



Quick Service Restaurant.  Restaurants that focus on getting food to the customer fast and with limited or no table service.


Remote Desktop

The ability to access other computers or allow access to your computer securely over the Internet.


The number of pixels in each dimension that can be displayed, lower resolutions mean fewer items fit on the screen, however appear larger and at higher resolutions items appear sharper.

RSS Feed

Rich Site Summary.  Uses standard web feed formats to publish frequently updated information such as blogs, news headlines, audio, and video.  



Software as a service.  A software licensing model that is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted, eliminating the need to purchase a perpetual license with an up front cost.


Instructions that direct a computer to perform specific tasks or operations.  Basically what makes your digital signage run.


Content delivered live over the Internet.




A pre-developed layout to be used for content creation.


Continuously moving content (such as a scrolling news feed) on your display; often pulls RSS information.



Uniform Resource Locator.  Informally, it is a web address.


A person using the digital signage system.


Video Wall

A multi-monitor setup where multiple displays are arranged together to create one large display.


Virtual Private Network.  It extends a private network to a public network, such as the Internet. You can send and receive data across a public network as if they were connected to the private network.



Directional signage.  A way of mapping or giving directions from place to place.  


A client-server software application where the client runs the application from the web.


An application that enables a user to access a service or perform a function.



This references component video cables particularly RGB (Red, Green, Blue) for analog systems. The three cables Y, Pb, and Pr carry the color video signals.  Y carries the brightness, Pb brings in the blue, and the Pr, green.  The typical red, yellow, and white cables that come with electronics can be used in place of the YPbPr cables.



When creating your content, it is the screen areas created or that are provided on templates for different information to be placed.

Now I Know My ABC's

You don't have to feel the need to sing with me next time, however, hopefully you have a basic knowledge of digital signage terminology now.  

The great thing about working with a digital signage integrator, such as Coffman Media, is that you can expect them to be the subject matter expert and deliver the type of service that doesn't necessarily require you to memorize all of these terms.  

They can walk you through the process from initial interest through to installation and upkeep.  

Ready to Get Started with Digital Signage?

Get in touch with our team so we can chat about your vision and what kind of digital signage would be best for your business to attract more customers and keep them engaged.