Reach Media Network Latest To Debut On Hardware Media Player, Aimed At Tight-Budgeted Buyers
November 6, 2023 by Dave Haynes
Digital signage software and solutions companies have for many years been adding their own versions of hardware media players as end-user options, but there seems to be a bit of a bump up lately in the number of companies doing so.
Minneapolis-based Reach Media Network is the latest – having just released its own private label REACH DS3 media player – a little unit that has the small size of a set-top box but is a full PC running Windows 11 Pro, capable of 4K at 60 frames per second.
The units cost $199 and are positioned as offering power and predictability for end-user customers with tight capital budgets.
The company says despite having its own hardware now, it is “still hardware agnostic and (we) sell a ton of BrightSign devices to our corporate and university partners who want a higher-end player.”
Reach says it is also on the final stretch of a giant platform rebuild done over the last 18 months. The refreshed content management system is now being beta-tested by clients.
A sub $200 price point is good, though there are digital signage companies encouraging customers to use devices as cheap as base-level Amazon HDMI Fire Sticks that can cost less than $30. At least one of the reasons that software firms try to standardize on their own low-cost devices is to gain some control over what they are being asked to support, especially at the lower end of the market.
What’s inside and loaded on a low cost device from Shenzhen can be a wildly moving target, versus knowing the supplier and being on top of things like components and firmware. The challenge with ultra low cost devices is that they’re designed for consumers and TVs, not commercial applications. The engineers aren’t thinking about how a firmware tweak might affect a commercial use-case, because that’s probably well less than 1% of the user base.