Tightrope Media Systems has been around the digital signage business for 20 years, and if you’ve heard of the company, there’s a decent chance you thought, like me, that the Minneapolis firm was a broadcast software company that also did a signage CMS.
Turns out it was the other way around, and Tightrope started as a digital signage software company doing digital menu boards on old CRT screens for schools. The big driver was coming up with a dumbed-down application that people with more important things to do around a school could use.
That early platform seemed to have another likely home with community broadcasters, which is how Tightrope found its way into that side of the business. These days, it’s about 50:50 digital signage and broadcast.
Tightrope is in Orlando this week for InfoComm, and the big thing the team is showing off is an integration that turns $150 Apple TV boxes into managed digital signage players. It’s something that’s only really been possible in the last few months, and Tightrope President Eric Henry fills me in on how that happened, and the broader story of the company.
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.