Toshiba now has Amazon’s Fire streaming media player integrated in one of its TV lines, and a small digital signage CMS company is touting an integration that effectively makes it a low-cost “smart” signage display.
Reno, NV-based Directable says its platform now runs on the Toshiba Fire TV, and in some sort of tie-up with Best Buy, anyone buying one of the units at the electronics big box can go to the Amazon App Store and download the Directable Digital Signage app for free.
“Directable was the first low-cost digital signage offering designed for use by franchise organizations,” says James Bratsanos, CTO of Directable. “A franchisor’s marketing department can send eye-catching content to the screens of local franchisees. This real-time promotion feature has consistently increased sales for franchisees.”
Founded in 2012, Directable had already been marketing a solution with the free-standing Fire TV HDMI stick.
Several other companies – including Rise Vision, ScreenCloud and SmartContent – have Amazon Fire integrations, some I think more active than others. The one involving Rise was driven by a user within their larger open-source community.
I don’t know that Toshiba actually makes TVs anymore. These are, I believe from tech stories I’ve read, actually Hisense TVs that come out of China, licensed to use the Toshiba brand.
Whatever the case, they’re TVs, not commercial panels. They are designed for normal TV use, which might be eight hours a day for a binge-watching household. They’re not really engineered to run for full retail days and certainly not 24/7, so they might not last as long as buyers might expect if used for all-day, every day signage.
However, a lot of small businesses go down the TV path instead, whether they know the operating lifetime risks or not, because the upfront costs are much lower. Case in point – a 55-inch 4K Fire TV from Best Buy is less than $500 USD.
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.