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.
All 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 …
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.