More Player Options Than Any Other Platform
Without any Player licensing fees
Four Things to Consider When Choosing Players
The operating environment the player has to survive in. Security concerns.
Do you need to know exactly what is happening to the player and control the player itself remotely?
With Display5 you can Mix Player types across your network
When considering the factors above, different use cases have different requirements. The type of player needed in a retail environment will be different than the player in a small department. Some are extremely demanding environments with high up time requirements and more casual uses can take advantage of low price points. Display5 works with different types of hardware players and different OSs running on those players.
Lots of Player Options
Screen manufacturers - System on a Chip (SOC) - Samsung, NEC, LG ...
- A single unit with a embedded player is easier to deal with from a procurement and installation viewpoint
- The physical security of the player is better being imbedded in the screen, you don’t have to give any thought to anti-theft
- SOC based systems usually provide good screen management features built in, and often support HTML5
- These players are historically underpowered relative to standalone players but they are getting better as the 2nd and 3rd generations come to market
- You pay a premium for the embedded SOC display units
- Serviceability is not as good as having a separate screen and player. When one of the two components breaks (the screen or the player), it is harder to service
- Getting replacement units when they go down is not as easy as going with separate components
Raspberry Pi & other Fruits
- Price, price & price. These babies are under $50
- The second generation of Pis are fairly powerful and can play more than just basic content
- They have their own operating system called the RaspianOS, and it runs a browser of a Raspberry flavour as well, or 3rd party browsers like Firefox (Iceweasel)
- These Pi are not commercial units and should not be used in environmentally demanding environments
- There is no service plan available for Pi’s. You should look at them as disposable units and just replace
Tablets - iPad or Android
The popularity and ease of use of the iPad and other tablets that followed Apple’s lead, has inspired innovative uses of these tablets mounted on walls, placed on shelves and other permanent mini-display placements. They have an almost cult like User bias and have bottom up demand, with Users asking for the familiar. Click on the image to the right to see an iPad with Display5 running a live Floor Directory which can be updated from an editable file in real-time.
- Familiarity and Ease of use
- Look and feel
- Built in touch capability
- These devices are not meant to be in permanent charge mode, which is what has to happen to mount them on a wall and expect them to operate. Being in permanent charge mode can lead to overheating of the battery, which in turn is a potential fire hazard
- There is no service plan, it is more of a remove and replace plan when there is a problem
- Many of the tablets run Android, which is often not accepted or supported by businesses due to security concerns
- Although less expensive than some traditional options, e.g. Crestron panels, they are more expensive than commercial built for purpose devices from companies like AOPEN. See next item down for more info on AOPEN.
10`` - 22`` Commercial Integrated Screen/Players for Room Booking Panels and Retail Shelf Display
Devices, like this 10.1″ Chromebase Mini from AOPEN, offers a truly commercial integrated screen/player that can be used for Room Booking panels or for easy placement on a retail shelf. These types of integrated player/screens are:
- Easy to set up
- They work with Wi-Fi
- And the MSRP, at only $349 USD, is a better option than using a consumer tablet
There are more options like these coming to market all the time. These solutions work will with software platforms like Display5 which are HTML / browser based.
- Low cost and a wide variety of models to choose from
- Low power and often can support PoE
- Usually offer a Linux kernel built in that can be easily customized
- They all support browser capabilities
- These players are historically under-powered relative to standalone players but they are getting better as the 2nd and 3rd generations come to market
- These players are typically built for uses such as TV streaming and do not come with software for Digital Signage by default, only browser signage software can take advantage of them without major software investment to build a client
- Servicing is simply a matter of replacing a defective unit , there is no service plan available for these types of devices
- Reliability and serviceability – these factors alone can can make the lifetime Total Cost of Ownership less than the option of buying low cost players that are less reliable and where service means “replace”.
- Powerful – can handle robust content of many different types
- Some can do more than display content
- An OS that is designed to for playing digital media content
The Commercial player market is a big market with lots of options and it can be confusing. We like to further segment the market into two:
- Commercial players which support a Major OS, e.g. Windows or Linux
- Commercial players which support a Proprietary OS, e.g. lots of them, noteables, Chrome, Cisco
Note: Some manufacturers of commercial players have offerings in both categories.
- In the case of Windows, don’t install the same OS image as you use for your laptops/desktops (see section below for more details)
- Don’t get locked into a proprietary architecture
- Don’t buy into a first generation architecture which requires nightly downloads of content to the player and limited live information
Low, Low Price
HTML Players Proliferating
Purpose Built, Corp Standards
Player OS Why is that Important?
The OS that is running on the player is very important for a number of reasons:
- If you want to stay with a Windows™ environment because that is your corporate standard and you already support Windows and Windows devices across the organization, then make sure the Windows digital signage players are using a stripped down Windows OS image that does not have all the same “checks and balances” as your standard laptop and desktop images. Why? Because time and again these “locked down” corporate OS have not work well in a digital signage environment, issues such as security , updates and permissions can cause problems, plus the additional added memory and disk space required. The content won’t play the way it is expected. If you are staying with Windows, consider supporting a Windows Embedded OS image for your players instead.
- If you are buying players from a vendor that has commercial players with a proprietary OS, you will likely need to have IT vet the OS and support it. This will take effort and commitment.
- The OS should be able to support media handling , such as video codecs, audio and so on and should provide libraries to handle graphics and animation. Plus the OS should ideally support a modern HTML5 based browser.
- The OS should use as little disk space as possible allowing you to use solid state local storage on your player.
- The OS should be able to support networks and network features for easy access , management and on-ramping.
Player Management Module
The Display5 Player Management module gives you the capabilities to manage the Shows that are playing throughout your network of displays. You can:
- Remotely see what is running on a player
- Group players
- Assign Shows to players
- Stop and start Shows on players
- See the status of all your players at any time
- Receive notification alerts if a player stops working
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Display5 and Advanced Player Management
Display5 works across the widest range of player options and can support a player network of mixed player types, And Display5 does not charge Player licensing fees. Display5 also has a Player Management module as described above, but there may be certain players in your network which:
1) Have to do more than display content, e.g. print or connect to a POS terminal
2) You need detailed event logging from media that is played or player activity
3) You need the ability to functionally control, e.g. On / Off
If you need these additional functionalities, contact us and we will share just how you can do that with a browser based Digital Media Communications platform.