Dual Screen Digital Signage Display

Setting up a Dual Screen Digital Signage Display using a single PC.

Using a TV screen to market products using attention-grabbing digital signage content is great – using two screens is even better. Most small business owners are worried about the cost of hardware, software and content when it comes to setting up a successful digital signage display. Conventional wisdom states that they have to purchase 2 sets of everything to get this going. This is not true when it comes to setting up a dual screen digital signage solution.

A typical dual screen setup would use:
- Televisions (Plasma, LCD or LED) – 2 units
- Personal Computer with 2 video outputs – 1 Unit
- Digital Signage Software – 2 licenses

Televisions (Plasma, LCD or LED)
Any consumer television set can be used for displaying digital signage content. It is recommended to use a minimum 32” TV – the larger the better. Choice of display type whether Plasma, LCD or LED, depends on the available budget and personal preference.

Note: Make sure that the television set comes with VGA / HDMI input connections. This is normally standard on most TVs.

Personal Computer with 2 video outputs
The personal computer can be a desktop or laptop running Windows operating system and fitted with dual video output. Typically PCs come with VGA and HDMI or DVI video outputs, allowing the user to connect 2 monitors / screens to the PC.

Minimum Specifications
CPU: 1.6 Ghz. Dual core (recommended)
RAM: Minimum 2 Gb. (4 Gb. recommended)
HDD: 40 GB. (Most PCs come with well over 250 GB.)
Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 (Minimum Edition: Home)
Note: Do not use Windows Starter edition as it does not have all the necessary drivers.

Digital Signage Software
Download and install digital signage software that is capable of displaying customizable templates, images, video, websites and scrolling banners. Compare and download different license types from:

Dual Screen Setup
TV 1: Connect this using a standard VGA cable
TV 2: Use a HDMI cable to connect this screen
Set the ‘Multiple Display’ setting to ‘Extend your displays’
Recommended Resolutions: 1280 x 720, 1280 x 768, 1366 x 768
Note: It is not recommended to set the resolution to a higher display resolution, as this puts a substantial load on the CPU since it is constantly rendering images; every time the display content changes.

Applications of Dual Screen Digital Signage
- Menu Boards in Restaurants
- Conference and event announcements in hotels and lobbies
- Event announcements and product updates in offices
- Advertising and marketing displays in retail businesses
- Announcements in places of worship
and other similar applications

Business owners may use software versions with additional features that allow the use of customizable templates. These customizable templates let managers create attractive displays by personalizing templates with their pictures and text, to create a unique display. These templates are typically available in multiple color options to suit almost all product categories and are extremely easy to personalize. In addition to product and event announcement templates, managers could also use templates to display live news and weather that is automatically updated periodically, without any user input.

Most such software includes features to turn the TV screen ON / OFF depending on the business work hours and as a result save electricity costs while prolonging the TV screens life.

The cost saving trick here is to use just 1 PC to connect to 2 televisions. This saves on cost of a 2nd PC and the associated Windows operating system cost. The minimum cost saving using 1 PC would be about $300 to $400.
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