VIA Debuts Dual Video Out Android Digital Signage Player

October 15, 2014 by Dave Haynes


Taipei-based VIA Technologies has released a new Android player that addresses one of the knocks used against these kinds of devices – the lack of multiple video outputs.

The company’s new VIA ALTA DS 2 player has dual full HD independent video outputs, meaning one box can drive two screens with two distinct HD video channels. Much more typically with Android, the most you’re going to get is a single video signal split to a couple of screens showing the same thing.

Says the VIA release:

With dual Full HD independent screen support, rich 3D graphics and HD video performance, touch screen support, and compatibility with the latest Android Signage Content Management apps, the VIA ALTA DS 2 is the ideal system-ready solution to power digital signage displays where high performance video and connectivity are paramount for enhanced customer engagement. With an optional Mini HDMI-in port, the VIA ALTA DS 2 can be configured to blend locally-captured real-time video streams with cloud-delivered content to create visually-compelling interactive displays.

 “We are experiencing tremendous growth in the demand in the adoption of Android for digital signage systems,” said Epan Wu, Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division. “With the ability to deliver two independent streams of content through its dual screen support, the VIA ALTA DS 2 further extends our technology leadership in this burgeoning segment.”


A 1.0GHz dual core VIA Elite E1000 Cortex-A9 SoC, with 2D/3D graphics and an advanced video engine that supports Open GL ES 3.0 hardware acceleration and simultaneous multiple HD video playback.

The VIA ALTA DS 2 system integrates a rich set of I/O features through the front and rear panels of its ultra-compact fanless chassis measuring just 180mm x 120mm x 25mm (W x H x D). Front panel I/O includes two USB 2.0 ports, one SD Card slot and line-in/out audio jacks. Rear panel I/O includes two HDMI-out ports, one Mini HDMI-in port (project-based support), two Mini USB 2.0 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, a Kensington security slot, and one 12V DC-in jack.

Onboard features include 2GB DDR3 SDRAM and up to 16GB eMMC Flash memory as well as support for a 2.5” SATA HDD/SSD (project-based support). High-speed wireless networking capabilities are available through an optional 802.11b/g/n USB dongle.

The boxes are also a step up from the low-cost sub-$100 Android units out there being touted for digital signage. These units have things like Watchdog Timers to curb crashes.

Compatible with the latest Android Signage Content Management apps, the VIA ALTA DS 2 is available with a signage software solution pack featuring Android 4.3 as well as the VIA Smart ETK comprising a number of APIs, including Watchdog Timer (WDT) for safeguarding against system crashes, WOL, RTC wake-up, and a sample app. A full set of software customization services that speed up time to market and minimize development costs is also available.

My understanding, however, is that Android 4.4 is the version that’s truly stable and suited to digital signage.

No price provided, but the earlier generation of this ALTA DS player was $200-ish USD.

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