The first System on Chip “smart” digital signage displays showed up at Digital Signage Expo roughly four years ago – greeted with both curiosity and skepticism.
Was this something that was going to stick, or be a variation on the slot-loaded Open Pluggable display spec that was introduced a few years ago but never really got a lot of traction with most integrators and end-users?
Evidently, System on Chip (SoC) is indeed a thing. With the notable exception of NEC, all of the major display manufacturers as of Q1 2017 are marketing SoC displays – some across almost every commercial panel series they produced – save for the entry-level “prosumer” models that are all about tight budgets.
There’s every indication the marketplace is now starting to buy into, and BUY, these all-in-one displays. One reason is that with some companies, what you buy comes with an SoC on-board media player. So SoC panels are shipping in big numbers, but how many of those built-in media players are being used?
Still, SoC seems to be getting some traction because:
- End-users now see that SoC is not flash in the pan tech and will be sticking around;
- The latest on-board players have way more power than the early generations;
- Web-based technologies like HTML5 have progressed;
- Developing to these displays is far easier than at the start, and the manufacturers are finally collaborating with software companies to determine needs and functionality.
There are skeptics, still, who wonder about the logic of end-users locking themselves into a certain display series, instead of having the freedom to order displays based on best prices and other attributes. Some just don’t trust the manufacturers to maintain a consistent product and handshake with the code they develop.
To really look into all this, Sixteen:Nine has been developing, for several months, a Special Report called Signs With Smarts. It’s free, and as of today, you can download the PDF here.
This took a lot of time to pull together – so I sought out a sponsor to cover off time I’d otherwise be allocating to work, crazily, that I’d get paid to do. LG kindly stepped up, and has sponsored this report. You will find two pages of an LG advertorial feature and a single page color ad in the report. However, LG did not ask for or get editorial approval on the contents of the report. It is an independent look.
If you are thinking about SoC as a developer, integrator or end-user, you should find this report helpful.
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.