The Department Of Debunk

December 11, 2014 by Dave Haynes

NY-based software provider ComQi as issued a nice white paper designed to serve as a matter of fact guide for choose the right media player for a digital signage job.

There’s a little slice of promo in there, inevitably, but it’s a solid guide that’s broken into chunks and has a particularly insightful section called Department Of Debunk, which clears up some of the myths that surround media players:

Department of Debunk

Let’s explore and bust some myths that persist about digital signage media players, so you can filter the noise and make better informed decisions.

Uncover-the-truthsAll devices can be managed

Devices built for the consumer market – like set-top boxes and HDMI sticks – rarely have even a fraction of the monitoring and remote management of full digital signage players. Android devices are created assuming they’re each controlled by an end-user.

Every device has an upgrade path

The physical and software design of a device sometimes means upgrades are impossible or dependent on manufacturers. For instance, remote upgrades of the operating system are not possible on consumer Android devices or Samsung all-in-one SSP screens/players, and even changing the device’s configuration may need to be performed by a trained technician.

Product availability is consistent

In the consumer market, the components and specs of devices can change quickly and without notice. Industrial devices have much longer product lifespans.

HTML5 Does Everything

It’s a standard that was only finalized in late 2014, can’t do everything, and the output can look different by browser/player.   HTML5 is also missing some of the capabilities of Flash that reduced the cost of content creation. That said, it’s a great step forward for the industry and is here to stay.

Solid State Rules

Hard disk drives with moving parts tend to have the same failure rates as flash memory drives, and reliability can owe more to the manufacturer. Meanwhile, solid state drivers are roughly 4-8 times as expensive per GB as conventional hard drives.

Android Saves Money

Low reliability rates, coupled with onsite repair labor, replacement and shipping costs, often make Total Cost of Ownership higher than x86 players. Many Android digital signage players are considered disposable. Especially, the more powerful Android players aren’t any cheaper than low end x86 boxes with similar capabilities.

Streaming Is Solid

Video streaming has improved dramatically, but anyone who spends time on the Internet knows connections drop and playback stalls.

One Size Fits All

There’s a reason why there are cars, trucks, SUVs and vans. Different demands, different vehicles. Same thing applies to media players. Android, for instance, currently can’t support more than one screen.

Consumer Devices Will Do

Electronics devices engineered for home use assume light operating hours and controlled, pleasant conditions, not 24/7 in busy, messy and rough environments.

Plug And Play Really Happens

Device and software marketed as being as “Easy As 1,2,3” usually have more steps and costs to establish reliable connections and device compatibility.

Interactive Is Essential

Touchscreens and other interactive features are powerful when relevant and meaningful, but sometimes all that’s needed is good creative on a screen.

The Future Is Proofed

Not all devices or systems are designed to handle in software or hardware the future needs of a network, such as adding NFC or other peripheral devices, or tools such as video audience measurement.


You can read the full paper here …

  1. Jeremy Gavin says:

    Can’t say I disagree with any of these. I think the Interactive point is a good one. Its really great when you can create an interactive experience with a customer, but 97% of the time given the likelyhood of participation from a customer, good creative or content is the way you will win effectiveness. On the HTML5 front… we’re progressing with it quite a bit, but we’re already seeing very different results across media players we’re testing in house. Until that changes it can be a bit hit or miss. Flash does great across players, but can be harder to find the skilled Flash developers and many folks are choosing cheaper players that don’t have the power for it. Not hoping Flash stays around, just hoping the hardware/software guys all get HTML5 working great!

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