HP's expanded digital signage offer is (big yawn) Scala imaged on a couple of desktops

November 8, 2010 by Dave Haynes

Well, it’s better than HP featuring a re-badged display monitor as its big digital signage offer, but one has to hope this is  just a couple of more toes in the water and HP will ultimately show a little more inspiration than marketing a couple of existing desktop boxes pre-imaged with a version of Scala.

HP today unveiled a new digital signage offering designed to make it simple for businesses to better inform customers while boosting sales and lowering costs.

The low-cost, easy-to-use HP SignagePlayer mp8000s and HP SignagePlayer mp8000r are designed for independent retailers, and other small to midsize businesses that want to deploy full-featured digital signage at a single location or across a small network.

“The new HP SignagePlayer mp8000s and HP SignagePlayer mp8000r, featuring Scala(R) QuickStart(TM) software, enable businesses to quickly and affordably deploy full-featured digital signage solutions,” said Bob Rosenberry, manager, Visual Solutions, Retail Solutions Global Business Unit, HP. “Professional digital signage is now within reach for businesses large and small.”

HP SignagePlayer is a new line of affordable digital signage players that are easy to use and simple to deploy. Beyond simple slideshows and video looping, HP SignagePlayer enables sophisticated layouts with images, text, Adobe(R) Flash animations, RSS feeds and interactive content.

The HP SignagePlayer mp8000s and mp8000r models come pre-installed with Scala QuickStart software, which allows a user to be up and running in minutes. Scala QuickStart also features a simple visual interface for creating, managing and scheduling information on the HP SignagePlayer.

Built-in, professionally designed templates enable users to quickly create attractive and engaging visuals such as menu boards, in-store promotions, lobby signage and infotainment. From informative health and insurance updates in doctor’s office waiting rooms to daily changing menu board promotions at quick service restaurants, HP SignagePlayer enables an enhanced customer experience.

For businesses with space limitations, the HP SignagePlayer mp8000s supports content up to 720p in a small device design that can be mounted behind the display. The HP SignagePlayer mp8000r features NVIDIA discrete graphics for the most demanding 1080p content requirements.(2)

Pricing and availability

The HP SignagePlayer mp8000s and HP SignagePlayer mp8000r are expected to be available in early December in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. List pricing in the United States is $1,119 for the HP SignagePlayer mp8000s and $1,079 for the HP SignagePlayer mp8000r.

Content management software available via monthly subscription to Scala QuickStart. Cost is $45 per month.

Sooooo … for about twice the price of a Mac Mini (which by all reports is an outstanding DS player – though it has a fan) you get what looks to be a bigger, consumer-grade box that only has enough horsepower  to support 720P video.

Then you can pay a substantial premium on what seems to be the market rate for hosted SaaS solutions, particularly entry-level ones (QuickStart is Scala’s easied-up SMB offer).

There is nothing wrong with the technical offer (this is being typed on an HP lappie and Scala is a very well-respected app). It’s just disappointing and a little perplexing that this is what one of the tech sector’s biggest, best players brings to the table. HP has innovated in the all-in-one sector. It has a mid-sized, business-oriented tablet. It has R&D and manufacturing capabilities almost no one can match.

The only thing this announcement is going to trigger is yawning. I know the US and Europe guys brought on in the last few months to steer DS and both are sharp guys. I have to imagine they have bigger plans, but nothing moves all that quick in companies as large and many-headed as HP.

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