Does the Orangevalley Signage system support 4K displays?
Yes it does. Pages made in our page editor will scale up or down to any resolution display. You will however need a reasonably fast signage player to cope with the higher resolution as you’re moving more pixels around.
Does digital signage need a 4k screen?
It depends on the application. If you’re displaying content that has big fonts and will be viewed from some distance away then you won’t really gain anything from a 4k display. As an example, the huge LED displays you see on the outside of buildings are very low resolution but look fine when viewed from a distance.
A 4k screen allows you pack a lot more information into the display so is a better option for people standing fairly close to it. The more information you can display at once the less individual pages you need to display it.
Waiting for the information you want to see on a screen showing one page at a time isn’t very effective.
4K Screen Resolution
A Full HD screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
A 4k screen has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels which is the same resolution as four Full HD screens if you put them in a 2×2 configuration (two rows of two screens).
Be aware of cheaper screens that are 4k ready as these down scale a 4k input signal to a lower resolution.
Dynamic Range of HDR Screens
4k screens come in a couple of variants with the later ones being described as HDR screens. HDR simply means high dynamic range.
HDR TVs (not all 4k TVs are HDR enabled) uses 10 bit video instead of the normal 8 bit. These two additional bits give you a huge palette of additional colours, so you can get perfectly smooth graduations of colour changes between say black and bright blue.
Looking at something like that on a non HDR screen you might see the colours changing in obvious steps as the TV can’t display all the colour changes.
To be technical, 8 bits gives you 256 steps or colour brightness for each of the red, green and blue colours which combined (256x256x256) gives you 16,777,226 total colour variations.
Conversely 10 bits gives you 1024 steps per colour or 1,073,741,824 total colour variations, so you will see smoother transition between colours.
Is all this overkill for a HDR digital signage display?
Probably. A jpg image for example only supports 8 bit colour and as most digital signage screens are viewed from some distance away you probably wouldn’t notice the difference anyway.
However, if you want an HDR display you will have to buy a 4k screen in any case as at the moment 4k or above screens are the only resolution screens that are available with HDR capability.
Regarding HDMI connecting cables, a cheap one may be fine for short lengths but anything longer might require a better quality cable due to the much higher data rate a 4k display uses.
Your PC may well tell you the name of the screen connected but the picture might be black and displaying a no signal message.
This is because the communications between the PC and the EDID chip in the display that sends the display information to the PC uses a much lower data rate than that required for 4k transmission so lower quality cable is fine for that data.