6 Things To Know About Transparent Displays in Out-of-Home

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Quite a feat of technology, transparent displays become more widely available and affordable each year. If you are unsure whether to invest in them, we point out the advantages and usages they offer to outdoor advertising below to shed more light on the continually growing potential of transparent displays which might sway you in their direction!

Not all transparent displays are the same—that’s the first thing to know. It’s important to establish which variant of transparent displays suits your needs best. Now, if you’re looking to find out what the best transparent display type is and be done with it, we’re sorry to disappoint you. Some are better than others for certain circumstances. We start off by covering two of the most important types.

1. Transparent LCD displays: pros and cons 

Just like standard LCD displays, transparent LCD displays need a light in the back of the screen to produce a visible image. The pixels on an LCD screen do not emit light but instead rely on the backlight to provide it, then block out the output of the blacklight to display appropriate colors. This makes them very good to use in well-illuminated areas, especially outdoors.

When it comes to their weaknesses, as LCD displays need the backlight to produce images, they're not the best at producing a pure black color. Furthermore, their brightness is limited and the viewing angle can impact the vibrancy of colors and picture quality. 

2. Transparent OLED displays: pros and cons

While LCD displays block light, each pixel in any OLED display emits its own light. Not requiring backlight illumination makes OLED displays particularly powerful in darker areas and indoors. We find a good example for this in LGs transparent OLEDs used as subway windows. There are several other benefits unique to OLEDs such as colors staying vibrant from all viewing angles. The absence of backlights physically installed in the display allows for thinner and lighter displays.

OLED displays, however, are more sensitive to moisture and discoloration if exposed to direct sunlight and heat, making them a questionable choice for outdoors. They are also more expensive to manufacture. Keep in mind, though, that OLED displays are likely to become cheaper in the future. If you’re not prepared to invest in them just yet, they’re definitely worth keeping an eye on!

3. Interactivity is an option for transparent displays

Initially you might think a transparent display of any kind is limited in interactive features, but know that interactivity is not at all a challenge. It is in fact highly recommended you implement interactivity with transparent displays if suiting your needs. Even though a transparent display is not brand new technology, it’s still very likely to engage people to interact.

User engaging with a touchscreen surface

A good example for the potential of interactivity came during the COVID-19 pandemic. With clear physical barriers becoming more prominent, it offers more opportunities for transparent displays. Even if we take interactivity out of the equation, a transparent display can fill in that awkward barrier that divides us and make it appear as more of a luxurious convenience rather than yet another reminder of the pandemic we all know quite well by now.

4. Transparent displays are still eye-candy

Even though they've been available for a little while, transparent displays haven’t reached their peak diffusion just yet. The beauty of this for anyone getting them now is that they still draw attention and excitement to them. 

Transparent LCD displays are great for featuring products on display behind, inviting the viewer to take a closer look. For example, place them in the store front to highlight specific features for certain products.

On OLED displays you can rely as powerful tools for transmitting a message to your audience in a sleek and visually appealing fashion. Their stand-alone no-backlight-required appearance gives off a very futuristic feel. They can pack a punch as a visual component in the more luxurious ends of industries such as retail, hospitality, and beauty.

5. Don’t forget their transparency

A silly tip, you might think, but Dave Haynes (Sixteen:Nine) made a good point on this when he showed an obvious problem in these two images

The aspect of transparency is pretty cool for any viewer observing the display from the front. Even if that transparency doesn’t enhance the message in any way, it provides a visual kick. However, the back of the display makes no attempt to be appealing. As Dave would say, the view from the back essentially looks like looking at the rear of a TV.

When investing in larger transparent displays, keep this in mind. If your transparent displays are going to be mid-air, they’ll naturally need additional support. In this case, perhaps it would be better to avoid hanging displays, or find a better location where very few people will be able to see the display from the back.

6. Creating transparent content with digital signage software

When it comes to the content you’ll display in campaigns, images are an important component. Here a different kind of transparency comes into play, but one which might interest you as well but have not found information on elsewhere. 

Images in png format are ideal for transparency. Digital signage software makes it a breeze to combine a variety of images and videos with transparent backgrounds by overlapping them. Naturally, you can use this feature even if you don't have a transparent display. Use the transparency attribute to combine different visual components seamlessly. Here's an example of how you could overlay a logo over the principal content in your campaigns without much trouble.

This content creation characteristic will come in handy for transparent displays and is only one of the many OnSign TV offers. You can check out all of them right now and see which ones suit you best after you sign up for OnSign TV for free!

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    Aks has been a writer in the digital signage world for over 5 years, bringing you the best of cases and news this industry has to show. Thoughts or suggestions on topics you'd like to see? Drop him an email at aks@onsign.tv.