Digital Menu Boards – Solutions-A-Plenty

As of late digital signage companies have been popping up everywhere you turn, each one with unique capabilities. With the plethora of options, it can be very difficult to make a decision about which company to go with.  But, you should always keep in mind – you get what you pay for!  It really depends on what you are looking for, but you can’t expect to get something for nothing.  On your search for the perfect digital menu boards there are multiple things to consider:

Media Player vs. Software Companies

Many companies, whether they are a media player company or a software company, will call themselves a digital signage company.  There is a very distinct difference between the two.  Media players manage files (scheduling) while software creates and allows for changes to the content.  The downfall is that few companies have both, leaving folks with the inability to make the quick and easy changes they are looking for or to schedule their items to appear when they want.

“Free” Solutions

There are a number of ‘free’ options that exist.  Most of these solutions use data fields to make changes, making it difficult to do unless you have programming experience.  Quite frankly, it is a nightmare!  Haven’t you ever heard the saying that there’s no such thing as a free lunch?  This is also true with digital menu boards.  What are you truly getting for free?  Is it the software?  That’s great!  But, now how are you going to create the content and then manage it within the digital menu board?  Sure the ‘free’ software may give you some rinky-dink design and scheduling tools but I can assure you that they will not do what you want them to, at least not easily.

 

Digital Menu Boards | Menu Boards MarketHow much control do you want/need?

You need to ask yourself how much control do you want with your digital menu board?  Some people do not need control.  There are some USB type solutions that are very cost effective and straightforward - you design on your own, save to the USB drive and pop it into the LCD screen.  But, before you go this route you need to understand the limitations that come with it.  Is there help available if you decide to do it on your own?  The answer is unequivocally ‘NO’.

Monthly fees – Are they worth it?

When it comes down to, it there are monthly fees attached to some menu boards. In most cases this is the only fee that you will have to pay to maintain your system.  Unlike other platforms, the user and technical support is all inclusive with this fee.  There are no “per incident” charges, nor are you at the mercy of “ABC Company’s” availability to make simple or sweeping changes to your menu.  There are systems that exist with no monthly fees but, AGAIN, it comes down to “how much control do you want/need?”  Ask yourself: if a company tells you that they are not going to charge for changes or support, what is going to be their impetus to do so when you need it most?

To Summarize

Here is a review of the main points in this blog post:

  • Media player and software companies have been getting into the digital menu board business.  Each offers distinct benefits - media players manage files while software creates and allows for changes to content.  But, many companies do not offer both.
  • There are many free options available when it comes to digital menu boards.  But buyer beware - free is never truly free.  When looking at a free offer you need to see what part is truly free and what part of the menu board you will have to operate on your own.
  • Before buying a digital menu board it is important to decide how much control you want or need to have.  There are many different options of menu boards for the different levels of control that you may want.  It needs to be remembered that there can be limitations with either choosing to take it all on yourself or having no control whatsoever.
  • Although monthly fees are seen as a deterrent by a lot of people, they should really consider the alternative before being so quick to write that solution off.

Learn more here about the different digital menu board options!