Digital Signage Hardware

Which Digital Signage Player Is The Right One?

Digital Signage Player 2

No digital signage system is complete without a media player (player PC). A rough distinction is made between three categories of players: external player PCs, slot-in players or SOC players. While the first two are additional devices, SOC players are already built into the screen. All other differences as well as the reasons that speak for your or the other solution can be found here.

In order for a digital signage system to play content, it needs a media player that downloads the data and plays it on the screen. Traditionally, player PCs are used for this purpose, which are either connected via a screen cable or plugged directly into the screen (SDM or OPS). System-on-a-Chip (SOC) solutions are also being used more and more frequently. Here, a chip already built into the screen is used as a media player. Each of the solutions mentioned has advantages and disadvantages depending on the area of application.

External Media Player
As their name suggests, external media players are standalone mini-PCs that you connect to the screen. The players are usually fitted directly behind them or, for instance, concealed in a hollow ceiling. An important asset of external media players is that they are totally manufacturer-independent. The system integrator can decide in consultation with the customer what device is to be used and what kind of safety regulations/configurations, etc. are to be applied.

Slot-In Player (SDM, OPS)
Here, too, it is a dedicated, peripheral mini-PC that you connect to the screen. However, slot-in players can be integrated (inserted) directly into the display’s slot provided by the manufacturer. A big advantage here is that the device can thus be better protected from theft and dust, and the whole system can be installed without taking up too much space.

System-on-a-Chip (SOC)
In these solutions, a “chip” already built into the screen is used as a media player. The advantage of this solution is that no additional device has to be procured and mounted, which makes the solution very attractive in terms of price. This plus point can also become a disadvantage. If the player fails, the entire screen has to be replaced.

What does Screenimage use?
At Screenimage, we have been following the development of SOC players very closely for many years. Nevertheless, we are still convinced of the advantages of external players. The security of our customers’ data and the independence from display manufacturers are the main criteria for us.

Fixed SOC solutions are dependent on the manufacturer’s operating system. Updates and security patches are sometimes installed unnoticed by the manufacturer. If there are security gaps or undesired behavior, you are practically at the mercy of them and have to rely on the display manufacturer’s support. With external and dedicated players, we can test the “suitability” of an update first. It can also be assumed that SOC players can be hacked more easily, since they do not offer any setting and device management options on the bios level.

For almost 90% of all systems, we therefore rely on digital signage players that have been specially configured and assembled for us. The basis for this is theIntel NUC Mini PC. However, at the customer’s request, the standard hardware (PCs) used by the customer can also be used.

Do you have questions regarding hardware or can we support you in any other way?Contact us.