When using LCD, plasma or even LED screens in outdoor locations there is an obvious need to protect the electronics from getting damaged by the weather, temperatures and other hazards but protecting outdoor digital signage is not as simple as you might think.
Waterproofing is perhaps the first step of outdoor protection for an LCD or plasma screen but this is not as easy to achieve as it may be first thought. The difficulty lies in the fact that all electronic devices, like TVs, require an air flow to prevent overheating. Of course, if air can get inside the LCD enclosure then water can find its way in too.
To keep rainfall out, outdoor digital signage systems have to employ clever filter systems that are usually positioned underneath to prevent rainfall from directly falling into the device. Failure to allow enough airflow will cause the screen to overheat which can lead to failure and can also lead to the build up of condensation which can steam up the screen preventing it from being viewed.
Another problem that outdoor screens can suffer from is damage caused by the sun. Not only can the sun cause overheating which can lead to screen failure but it can also cause problems in other ways. Firstly, direct sunlight can cause glare which can make a screen unreadable. Secondly, if the sun is too bright the screen will be near impossible to see; and thirdly, if the sun is shining directly on the screen it can cause hotspots and burning on the surface – permanently scarring the screen.
There are various methods deployed by outdoor digital signage to overcome this problems caused by the sun. These can range from simply shrouding the outdoor sign away from the sun; using high brightness screens that can overcome the ambient brightness; air curtains that transfer heat away from the screen, and even anti-reflective glass.