• Nikki Ault

Digital Signage: Cheap vs. Affordable

When weighing your digital signage options, there are quite a few things to think about. What equipment will I need, who is my audience, what do I want the audience to see, how does it work, and the biggest question of all, how much is it going to cost me?

I Pity ‘Da Cheap Fool

Buying something that is “cheap” often carries a stigma. That stigma seems to be the negative connotation that it may not have the same quality that the higher priced option does.

It may be that you won’t get as much support or service with the purchase of the cheap option. However, cheap, as in low price, is often what we are seeking for our solution.

Then along comes the word affordable, which makes the word cheap look like a fool.

Something that is affordable seems to give you a hug, while allowing you to maintain the idea that you are capable of paying for whatever it is you are purchasing.

Affordable meets you where you want to be. Affordable feels like it comes with a bonus.

Spotting the Difference between Cheap and Affordable

How can I spot the difference between cheap and affordable when it comes to digital signage? Unfortunately there is not a specific standard to follow to distinguish cheap digital signage from affordable digital signage.

You have to completely understand your needs, your wants, your goals, and your budget.

Once you have that information, you have to find the option that gives you all of those things and more.

It is not enough to find the first thing that fits your budget and run with it. When you do that, you are usually settling for the cheap option. That cheap option may have solved your budget dilemma, but does not meet a handful of the other requirements you had in mind.

To begin your search for affordable digital signage, you have to begin with what pieces provide the framework for digital signage as a whole.

The Four Components of Digital Signage

What components make up digital signage? There are four major components needed to create digital signage. Once you understand those four components, you can decide how to obtain each one affordably.

Hardware: This can consist of the display, media player, mounts, audio equipment, etc. Software: The content management system that controls the work flow, scheduling, storage, and management of all content elements. The software works in conjunction with the media player. Content (the King): Text, pictures, videos, web pages, URL links, etc. The etcetera here being anything you want displayed and conveyed through your signage (even including more complex ideas such as data visualization, content of 3rd party elements) Strategy/Management (the Queen): This is where your message to the world will begin. This is where you determine the schedule and workflow. A king must have his queen.

Obtaining each of these four components can be valued based upon your company’s specific wants and needs.

Having this clear understanding then allows you to sort out the cheap options from the affordable ones. Remember, it is important to make sure you are getting that hug, or that bonus, or that extra quality that distinguishes that cheap selection from the affordable one.

DIY Does Not Equal ROI

So what would a “cheap” option look like? An example of a “cheap” selection could be one of those DIY options. Using a laptop or computer, a USB stick, or a DVD, running a continuous loop slideshow. This DIY option can quite possibly get you by. These are quick, portable, cheap solutions that allow you to create content and display them on a TV screen.

However, there are downfalls to this “cheap” solution. You are required to do all updates, changes, and servicing yourself; pulling in feeds from the “outside” (RSS, News, Live stats, etc.) may be limited; having multiple locations that can update, upload, and deploy the same information may be more difficult; and collecting and maintaining any statistics to help you capitalize on your ROI (Return on Investment) could be almost non-existent.

You don’t get a hug with these options, it’s all on you.


Weighing your digital signage options and want some expert guidance? Schedule a consultation!


A Snippet of Affordable Options

I understand the cheap option, so what do the affordable solutions look like? Coffman Media is sharing three affordable options that can be customized to meet your digital signage needs. These three possibilities are just a snippet of Coffman Media’s comprehensive range of solutions that can meet your digital signage demands.

The first is the CoffmanConnect.

It is a stick-sized smart device for digital signage and it is absolutely affordable! The CoffmanConnect is a portable digital signage option (it is actually a Dell Cloud Connect plug and play device) that allows you to turn any HDMI-enabled TV into a digital sign.

CoffmanConnect is the result of a happy marriage of software from Coffman Media and commercial -grade hardware from Dell that together, has been optimized from the ground up to connect your screen to the Coffman Media network and turn it into a simple yet versatile digital sign.

The second is Chrome Digital Signage.

Chrome Digital Signage is a powerful and affordable Google Chromebox running Google’s Chrome OS. Marry that with the industry leading software from Signagelive, using Coffman Media as the integrator, and you are left with a cost effective, and pretty amazing digital signage solution.

This cloud-based digital signage solution only requires you to connect the Chromebox to the internet, sign into your Signagelive account, and that is it! You can learn more about the Chrome Digital Signage by reading the <Cookies and Chrome blog>.

The third affordable option that Coffman Media provides is the Samsung Smart Signage Platform.

The Samsung Smart Signage Displays are geared toward the commercial grade display ranging from 10” to 95” and require no player as they use a System on Chip (SoC) technology.

This technology is a Signagelive cloud-based digital signage service which helps keep costs down since it is an all-inclusive option. Just connect your Samsung Smart Signage display to the internet, log in to Signagelive, and you are ready to go.

Let’s Hug It Out

It truly is no simple task understanding your digital signage needs and then finding the affordable solution to meet those needs. Coffman Media also offers a comprehensive range of digital signage solutions that can be customized to meet your digital signage needs.

So where does the hug come in? When you choose Coffman Media, you not only get a plethora of affordable options, but you get a white-glove experience with support and service. You get the more. It’s time to hug it out!

We invite you to take a further look into Coffman Media and our affordable solutions for your digital signage needs. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to explore your needs and potential solutions.

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