Pin It

Should I get a proper player?

Should I get a proper digital signage player?

As anyone who has gone through the process can tell you, there are many options when you’re looking to purchase and install a digital signage solution. One of the biggest decisions you have to make is what you will use to control and run your digital signage campaigns. There are a range of players out there that can do that job. There are two main paths you can take when choosing a player, buy a PC that will run as a media player with the appropriate software, or by a dedicated digital signage player. Let’s look what you should keep in mind when considering purchasing and deploying either of these systems.

Installation and maintenance

The beauty of digital signage is that it looks effortless – all the consumer or passer-by sees is a high tech screen that seems controlled remotely, without bulky computer equipment or wires. That’s the impression you want to give. Of course we know that behind the high tech screens is a very complex and sophisticated piece of computer hardware – either a PC or a digital signage player. So when considering installation of a digital signage system, where do you keep the “back room” hardware? The answers depends on your location of course. In a restaurant, shopping centre or airport, for example, you may have to rent a space in which to house and maintain a PC, whereas due to their typical small size you may be able to mount a dedicated signage media player behind the screen itself. Picking a media player that runs content that can be wirelessly updated will mean that its placement is less restricted as well.

Cooling

One of the biggest causes of electronic failures comes with the damage caused by excessive heat and dust. PC’s, with their fans, whilst they work well in an office, can have issues in more open environments. Signage players on the other hand generally are fan-less and have become super efficient at dissipating heat and maximising up-time for the equipment. Signage players that don’t use fans to cool themselves must be mounted in an area with adequate ventilation. This requirement can often mean changing where the unit is mounted. When you consider that most digital signage solutions need to operate for long periods of time with minimal maintenance it makes cooling a even greater priority

Communications

Communication ports are a critical factor for any digital signage player, and experts suggest considering an integrated network with RS-232 ports which makes remote monitoring and screen control easy. Having just one video output can also restrict a media player’s usefulness, while having too many different types of video outputs can make the unit itself too bulky, and therefore restrict where it can be placed. The solution, it seems, is to use a hybrid connector that supports DVI, HDMI and VGA displays.

System Reliability

Increasingly signage players are called upon to work reliably up to 24/7, 365 days a year. This is a significant request when you consider that the unit is largely unattended and is never shutdown. This is an area where a dedicated digital signage player often with its own dedicated software are manufactured as a complete system to ensure the utmost reliability. This is one area where we have found the signage players can far exceed the standard PC especially when you consider cost Vs performance

 

Ultimately the system you choose will be based on a number of factors such as budget, and whether you need a general device that can do a range of tasks such as network administration (a PC) or a dedicated player that will be more cost effective. While a PC may be a great short term solution because of its operating flexibility and the ability to upgrade its components and functionality, a dedicated signage player may be a better investment in the long term with less hassle