Lots of small businesses use televisions in their premises: gyms, sports bars, restaurants — to name some. But what business owners may not realize is that using consumer televisions for commercial purposes may void or reduce the warranty.
And if you decide to use a TV or computer monitor to run an in-house presentation, say in your lobby, it can be cumbersome and expensive. You may need to commission an expensive video or multimedia presentation. Or if you choose to create it yourself, such as with PowerPoint, the result may look less visually appealing than you’d hoped.
And what about signs and displays in your business? Have you ever wished for something more dynamic and exciting?
Recently we ran across an impressive solution for small businesses that solves those kinds of issues. It’s called the Samsung SMART Signage TV.
Think of it as “TV and digital signage in a box.” I saw it in action at the recent Small Business Summit in New York (pictured in the booth below).
Overall, it’s an impressive package that gives small businesses the kind of flexibility and options for signage and television previously available to larger buyers (such as hotels, hospitals or retail chains).
Michael O’Halloran, marketing manager with Samsung, who was at the Summit, told me that this is a solution Samsung designed specifically for small businesses. “Digital signage has been around for years,” he said. “But up to now it’s been for large companies. The difference is that we’ve created the first ‘television and digital signage package in a box’ that’s easy enough for even the smallest business to install and use.”
Samsung SMART Signage TV Features
The Samsung SMART Signage TV is designed specifically for small businesses.
With it you can offer regular television programming to your patrons, of course. It is a fully functioning high-definition TV. It comes in two sizes: 40-inch and 48-inch.
But the real beauty of this system is the digital sign platform that is included at no extra charge. You can create and display bright, eye-catching digital signs in your premises.
It includes a free software package called MagicInfo Express (see video demonstration), that comes with over 200 sign templates. After a short learning curve, it takes just minutes to create dynamic signs with text and images. You can have static signs or make the sign images move, alternate, fly in or fade out. There are many animation options to catch a customer’s eye.
You can also schedule signage for different times of day. For instance, a restaurant could change a menu sign for breakfast, lunch and dinner automatically.
You don’t need to be a designer to use the software. Just upload your logo and photographs. Then you follow the instructions to insert them into the pre-made templates. You update the software from a laptop or desktop computer, or from a mobile device.
Once satisfied with your design, you can load the content wirelessly to the television set from your computer or mobile device. This means, if you have signs at multiple locations, you can update them remotely. Another option is to upload via a USB device that you plug into the TV.
You do not need to be a technician to set up the system. The media player is built in to the television. So there’s no messing around trying to get a separate media player to “play nice” with the TV. You don’t have to jerry rig solutions such as running cables from a monitor to a dedicated laptop hidden nearby.
Samsung televisions are good quality and look attractive. The Smart Signage TV has a sleek gloss-black finish.
These televisions are designed to take heavy business use — 16 hours per day, 7 days a week. They each have an 16:9 LED Backlit LCD display. They are Energy Star rated for energy efficiency.
The signage TV is in use in New York’s Tompkins Square Bagels, where owner Christopher Pugliese points out that he’s using the sign to open up new sales opportunities. “We have massive lines of 20-somethings who work all over New York City. And I don’t think any of them realize that we could cater their office breakfast or meeting,” he said. “We felt that the digital display would be really helpful with getting that message across.”
- Everything you need for one installation is included in the box: television, TV stand, wall mount hardware, and software and templates to design the signs.
- The SMART Signage set can be displayed in portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) mode — either on the wall or as a tabletop set. Vertical signs are especially good for clothing stores that may want to show a fully dressed model. Horizontal signs have the added benefit of being able to display a television program right alongside a sign message, on a split screen. For example, a sports bar could display a televised football game, alongside a sign with the day’s drink specials.
- Digital signage is bright, modern looking, and faster to change than printed signs.
- Each Smart Signage TV comes with a 36-month warranty for parts and labor. This warranty covers commercial use of the TV. It includes onsite service. Samsung has a dedicated support line for commercial users.
- MSRP pricing is $749 for the 40-inch and $999 for the 48-inch. You might be tempted to think, ‘I can buy cheaper TVs at my local big box store.’ But remember the added value you are getting in the form of (1) signage software, (2) Samsung quality, (3) ease of managing your signage, and (4) commercial warranty and onsite service.
- You can purchase directly from Samsung, or from retailers such as Costco, Amazon and Sam’s Club. Leasing options may also be available to spread out the cost in monthly payments.
I saw a live demonstration, including how to use the software, at a conference. It presented very well (see Tompkins Square Bagels examples pictured). It appears as easy to use as the description. There were no negatives that I could see.
My only reservation is that I haven’t used the Smart Signage TV for any length of time. So I can’t speak to installing it or using it over time. (Read: what you need to know about business TV.)
However, I am a user of Samsung televisions in general. If the quality of these is similar to what I have used, you will be well satisfied with the looks, reliability and display. While there may be sharper displays on the market, the SMART Signage TV is a vast improvement over what I see many small businesses using today.
Who Samsung SMART Signage TV Is Best For
SMART Signage TV is ideal for small businesses that want to attract customer attention through bright, eye-catching digital signs for interior spaces. This includes retail shops, spas, salons, restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques and bars. It’s perfect to call out visually-appealing offerings or sales promotions, so you can sell more products or services.
And remember that it’s also a TV. For those of you already offering business TV programming to patrons, it opens up new cross-selling opportunities. For example, a dentist’s office can provide TV in the waiting room. On a split screen the dentist could inform patients about optional services such as invisible braces or tooth whitening.
It’s also a good choice for offices that have television and/or in-house presentations in their lobbies. Examples include consulting businesses and technology companies that receive visitors regularly.
Samsung SMART Signage TV is great for do-it-yourself owners and managers who want the flexibility to change signage regularly — even multiple times a day.
Playing around with the software, I can say it is easy to change signs using the templates. I’d equate it to using PowerPoint. If you or your staff use PowerPoint, I’m pretty sure you can learn to use this sign software.
Who it’s not for: if you use business television but have no plans to ever use the signage, you may not get full value at the $749 and $999 price points. Price shoppers strictly looking for an inexpensive TV who don’t need the signage option can find cheaper options, I am sure. Remember, though, the warranty coverage with this SMART Signage TV may save you money in the long run.
Small businesses that want to serve customers better AND increase sales should check out Samsung’s SMART Signage TV for an:
- easy turnkey solution combining both advertising and television;
- TV programming on a beautiful HD television set;
- the kind of professional-looking digital signs that large companies have;
- the ability for do-it-yourselfers to change digital signage quickly at no added cost, without getting a designer involved;
- onsite warranty coverage backed by a multibillion-dollar global company;
- at a small-business price.
Image credits: Samsung; Small Business Trends