Behold The $39 Digital Signage Player

March 23, 2015 by Dave Haynes

SIGNAGELY_LOGOA Texas start-up called Signagely has started marketing its digital signage offer, which ranges from a $159 Chromebox at the top end to a $39 Kindle Fire TV HDMI stick they’ve got working as a basic player.

The start-up’s website doesn’t have a lot of detail in it on the company background, or what’s different here. But it’s very much a browser-based product, and the SaaS costs vary from $9 to $19 a month. The Chrome version is an app on the Chrome store.

I tracked down the guys and CEO Nick Kristoffersen kindly shot me back an email note answering some questions.

The company is a three-person startup and they started building the completely OS-agnostic platform last fall. “Our target market right now is small and medium business,” says Kristofferson. “Especially targeting bars and restaurants initially.”

The Fire TV Stick and set-top box are seen as ideal low-cost solution for that customer base. “We started with the Google Chromecast first,  actually, but found it to be grossly underpowered, unreliable, and didn’t even output 1080P (only did 720).


Asked what the company’s special sauce might be: “We are focused on making digital signage and simple to implement as possible so our product is 100% template based. Users just select a template they want to use, fill in the information, and it is ready to go.”

He says the SaaS/cloud side of the development means they can leverage APIs out there, noting they already have things sorted with:

He says the code takes into account connections dropping out, and signs will keep on playing and update content when connectivity is restored.

One compelling note about the Kindle stick and its set-top box brethren. The developers red-flag that if the power goes out on devices, the playback app needs to be relaunched manually. The Chromebox has auto recovery. “The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are ideal for small deployments where someone can relaunch the app in the event of a power failure,” says Kristofferson. “Larger deployments are better off using a Chromebox in kiosk mode where it runs the app no matter what happens.”

Would I advocate a Fire TV stick as a player? Not likely, at least not at any scale. But for the local business guy who just wants to tell clients Happy Hour is 4-6, Monday to Thursday, the many far more mature and powerful solutions out there are probably more than they need or want.

I can tell you the most popular post on this blog, by far, lists signage options for the $35-$45 Raspberry Pi. A percentage of the marketplace just doesn’t want to pay any more than they have to for devices.


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