The Best TV for Your Digital Menu Board in 2019

By Bryce Patterson

If you’re an independent bar or restaurant, you’ll likely use a regular old TV to display your digital menu. (Most digital boards are powered by a hardware device that plugs into a television via HDMI.) The good news here is that TVs these days are both higher quality and more affordable than ever. There really aren’t a lot of bad options — it’s more about finding something that works for your unique needs.

How to Choose the Best TV for Your Digital Menu

So what’s the best TV for displaying a digital menu board? Let’s break down the different factors to consider when you purchase a TV to showcase your food and drink items.

LED vs LCD

First, you’ll have to decide between LED and LCD options. LED’s are generally more expensive, but they have a brighter display with more contrast. They also use less power than conventional LCD’s.

Resolution

The resolution of the screen is the next big decision you’ll need to make. 1080p is the industry standard for high-definition, crisp image, but a lot of businesses can also get by with 720p. You may have heard about 4K, which is the newest, state-of-the-art screen resolution. While it’s a buzzworthy option, the fact of the matter is that you’re unlikely to have the resources to produce 4K content and it’s unlikely that your customers will see a major difference compared to 1080p. Bottom line? The additional expense is unnecessary for most businesses.

[LEARN MORE] DIGITAL MENU BOARD HARDWARE 101

Size and Layout

The size and layout of your TV are largely determined by the location of your menu screen(s). When choosing where to place your menu board, your goal should be to get the most possible eyes on it at any given time. Make it easy for patrons to see and compare options and place orders. Remember, digital menu boards are great for upselling customers and facilitating unplanned purchases. Many businesses place multiple screens in different areas, depending on purpose. For example, menu boards above the bar or order counter, and promotional boards in seating or retail areas to showcase social media, event promos or other content.

Depending on your existing space, customers may end up fairly close or a fair distance away from your TV menu. Generally, larger spaces do better with larger screens. You can also get away with lower resolutions if your customers are farther away. In rare circumstances, a projector can stand in if you have enough wall space and want to display your menu at a huge size.

You can choose to set up your screen in a portrait or landscape orientation. If your space already features several screens (think a sports bar with lots of TVs), a portrait-oriented menu can be a great way to fit in another screen. The unique orientation can also make your menu items pop.

Tap rooms, traditional bars or counter-service restaurants often choose landscape-oriented menus because the dimensions enable them to showcase a huge selection of food and drink options. Because of the counter-service layout of these kinds of locations, customers are generally close enough to read these larger menus.

Finding Deals on TVs for Your Digital Menu Board

Here’s the good news: these days, even inexpensive TVs tend to be really high quality. You can get a lot of bang for your buck, especially around the holidays (Black Friday and Cyber Monday in particular) and Costco regularly offers great deals as well.

While you’ll want to do some research of your own to get a sense of the best options for your unique needs, we thought it would be helpful to list some of the top options available as a starting point. These TVs were chosen based on popularity, price, Amazon rating, and number of reviews.

The Best (Budget) TVs on Amazon in 2019

Sceptre Slim 40 Inch LED HDTV 1080p X415BV-FSR True Black (2017 Model)

Budget-friendly to the max, the 40” model is currently on sale for just under $160. While it’s a decidedly no-frills option (i.e. no built-in streaming services), for most restaurants and bars that only require a good quality screen to showcase their digital menu board, this Sceptre is a solid option.

Current Amazon rating: 4.2/5

Price: $158.88

Check it out here.

Insignia NS-43DF710NA19 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV HDR – Fire TV Edition

A 4K Fire TV with a 43” screen coming in under $200. Yep, you read that right. With size options running up to 55”, this is a great budget model that can scale to a range of spaces.

Current Amazon rating: 4.1/5

Price: $179.99

Check it out here.

TCL 40S325 1080p Smart LED Roku TV

This screen is far and away the most popular option. Variations of the TCL 40S325 are the three top-selling TVs on Amazon. Starting at $159.99 for the 32”, with built-in Roku connection, it’s no wonder that this option does well with consumers. There are a ton of size variations available, all at budget prices, so this can be a great place to start as you consider the best digital menu board hardware for your space.

Current Amazon rating: 4.3/5

Price: $199.99 (40” model)

Check it out here.

Toshiba 50LF621U19 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV HDR – Fire TV Edition

Another incredibly popular TV on Amazon, this 50” Toshiba model currently goes for $299.99. As you might expect from the title, Fire TV is built into this model, including voice control options via Alexa. If you’d like some of the same features but at a lower cost (again, 4K likely isn’t a need for your business) you can find a slightly cheaper Toshiba here.

Current Amazon rating: 4.2/5

Price: $299.99

Check it out here.

Samsung UN43NU7100FXZA Flat 43″ 4K UHD 7 Series Smart LED TV

Though it falls on the pricier end of the spectrum compared to the other TVs we’ve looked at, this Samsung model still goes for under $400. We’ve said that 4K isn’t a necessity, but if you’re looking for an incredibly crisp, clear image at a good price, you can do a lot worse.

Current Amazon rating: 4.2/5

Price: $379.99

Check it out here.

Regardless of the TV you choose, you’ll need the right menu software to stylishly showcase your food and drink list. Something highly customizable and affordable with a range of templates that you and your staff can quickly master.

[GET A DEMO] EVERGREEN DIGITAL MENU BOARDS

We’re confident we know the best option. Evergreen is sleek, intuitive, and powerful without ever limiting your creativity. Need to update your menu on the fly? It’s incredibly simple to make changes using whatever tech you prefer, whether that’s mobile, desktop or tablet devices. Get a free demo today!

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