What Are Digital Signage Players?
Digital signage has become ubiquitous, and we see it nearly everywhere we look where Digital signage has become ubiquitous, and we see it nearly everywhere we look where there are businesses or restaurants. there are businesses or restaurants.
From billboards flashing eye-catching advertisements to commercial televisions set up around an office to facilitate effective internal communications, there are so many options when it comes to digital signage.
There are a lot of benefits of setting up a digital signage system for your business. Still, there is undoubtedly a knowledge and financial barrier between deciding that you want to integrate digital signage into the workings of your business and actually implementing the system with all the digital signage software and digital signage hardware that is involved in a digital signage system.
In this article, we focus on one of the most important pieces of digital signage hardware: the digital signage player. First, we will go over what digital signage is. Next, we will go over the different parts that are necessary for a digital signage system, so you can see how a digital signage player fights into the broader digital signage system.
Next, we will go in-depth into what a digital signage player is, and we will talk about some of the different types of digital signage players on the market.
What Is Digital Signage?
In short, digital signage refers to displaying visual content on a digital screen. Such a simple definition can be misleading, however, since digital signage is one of the most dynamic tools that businesses have at their disposal.
A more in-depth description of digital signage is as follows: digital signage refers to using a digital screen, such as a television, a LED panel, a tablet, or an android smartphone, as well as a digital signage solution, which will likely involve a digital signage player and digital signage software, to display multimedia visual content.
This visual content can include video walls, images, animations, moving text, real-time social media walls, interactive touch screens, wayfinding directions, digital menu boards and so much more.
What Parts Are Involved In a Digital Signage System?
The first thing that you will need for a digital signage system is a digital screen. There are a lot of options when it comes to digital signage screens.
You will likely want a high-performance screen with a good warranty, as this will ensure the sustainability of your digital signage system, but when it comes to the types of screens you need, you can pick anything from an Android TV or Samsung TV to a billboard. It is up to you to pick the best screens for your business and deploy them strategically to achieve the best effect.
In addition to a digital screen, you will likely also want to get wall mounts for these screens. You can buy high-quality wall mounts from Amazon. Mounting your screens to the wall makes the displays more visible, frees up floor space, and simply looks more professional than if they were placed on the ground.
The next thing that you will need is a digital signage player, and this part of the digital signage system is what the rest of this article is about.
What Are Digital Signage Media Players?
A digital signage player is a hardware device, such as a CPU, mini pc, or a TV box, attached to or embedded within a digital signage display, often with an HDMI cable, through USB ports for plug and play, or through wifi bandwidth connectivity or ethernet.
The player is responsible for feeding images, video, or interactive digital signage applications onto the screen and may need to complete more complex processes as well, such as decoding programming instructions (from Linux or html5 for example), depending on the type of media it is displaying and the source.
Nearly always, digital signage players will handle media with the help of digital signage software that will do the scheduling of playlists, playback, content management, content delivery to the player, and more.
It is therefore important when developing a digital signage project to account for both the hardware capabilities and the software features needed to bring your network to life.
Different Types of Digital Signage Media Players
1. Consumer Media players
When it comes to consumer-grade media players, they are designed for home use and are not designed for consistent 24/7 use.
If used in a commercial setting, it could damage the device as the build quality is not as high or robust. The average consumer media player is one you’d purchase at your local electronic store at a relatively low cost.
Consumer media players typically are made from plastic which allows them cheaper, but also makes the plastic material sensitive and unable to withstand heat as well as commercial-grade media players.
Mounting options are also limited as they don’t need to be hidden behind a display like other digital signage devices. An example of a consumer media player is a streaming media player used to watch movies or play games for a short period of time.
2. Commercial Media Players
Commercial media players are designed to operate for longer periods of time without causing damage to any components internally. They are far more robust and can stand extensive use in the toughest conditions because the majority of them are constructed with metal.
However, above all, the main difference between consumers to commercial media players is computing power. Commercial media players have faster processing power and can handle more demanding content such as 4K videos and animations.
3. Industrial Media Players
As well as having the same level of computing power, the key difference between commercial and industrial media players is the extra features that help the device maintain a consistent output of content regardless of the environment. So what does that mean?
Well, Industrial media players also are built with metal chassis to dissipate heat like commercial media players, but they also come with shock-absorbing features, moisture protection, dust protection, and the ability to operate in very high or very low temperatures.
The physical chassis are designed much stronger to withstand any environment that has vibrations, smoke, or even grease. Environments with high pollutants such as fast-food restaurants, bus terminals, factories, ski resorts, hot weather, and cold weather. You name it, and these displays can handle it.
Benefits of Commercial or Industrial Digital Signage Media Players
While some business owners may be tempted to go with the cheaper option when it comes to digital signage media players, such as consumer media players like Amazon Fire TV Sticks or a Google Chromebox using chrome os or Chromecast, there are a lot of benefits that come with choosing a commercial or industrial digital signage media player.
Some might think that a commercial digital signage media player is out of their price range, but this is simply not the case. You can get a high-performance digital media player from providers like Loop TV. Below are some examples of the uses and benefits that you can expect from a digital signage media player
1. Eye-catching Store Displays
One of the reasons that digital signage has become an indispensable tool for businesses, both big and small, is that it allows them to display signs that make their store stick out from other stores so that no one can walk by without noticing it.
The competition for the patronage of customers is often very intense, and sticking out from the crowd is an aspiration that a business or kiosk should seek if they want to be successful.
With a good commercial or industrial digital signage player, as well as digital signage software and a high-performance screen, your business will be able to feature eye-catching displays, such as product videos and animations or branded content.
These digital displays will ensure that your business will not be overlooked. People are so used to seeing posters and non-digital signs, that they simply do not catch people’s attention anymore. That is why digital signage is so important and why getting a high-quality digital signage media player is essential.
2. Digital Menu Boards
Restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs, and any other business in the food service industry have a lot to gain from digital signage. While food service businesses can also greatly benefit from eye-catching signs to draw customers into the eating establishment, a great way to increase the customer experience is to implement a digital menu board.
Digital menu boards have a lot of advantages over paper menus and poster-board menus. Firstly, digital menu boards are far more convenient for the business. With digital menu boards, your restaurant can easily change the menu depending on the time of day and with permanent menu changes without needing to reprint new menus.
Having high-quality non-digital menus can cost a lot of money to design and produce, especially if the menu is liable to change. With digital menu boards, these worries are a thing of the past.
Another benefit of digital menu boards is that they are more visually pleasing and entertaining than traditional menus. Through connectivity with your digital media player, you can feature videos of your food that make your customers’ mouths water, or you can highlight specials with an incredible-looking image. Moreover, digital menu boards can truly improve the customer experience.
One of the worst parts of going into a restaurant is waiting, and luckily, digital signage can make this process a lot less painful. When customers are more entertained by a digital menu board, it is likely that their perceived wait time will greatly decrease.
Perceived wait time does not refer to how long a customer actually waits. It's how long it feels like one is waiting. When people are entertained, the feeling of waiting decreases.
Moreover, digital menu boards can decrease actual wait time. With highly visible digital menu boards, customers will more often know what they want to order by the time they reach the register. This means that the line will move quicker and people will have to wait less time to order.
You simply will not be able to have an effective digital menu board with a consumer digital media player. If you really want to make sure that your business looks professional and that you can get the most out of your digital signage, you will want to go with a large screen (or multiple screens) and a high-performance commercial digital signage media player.
3. Wayfinding Displays
Wayfinding displays are great for large establishments like hotels. Often, people do not know how to find all of the facilities in a hotel, and this lack of knowledge can be frustrating.
Using digital signage for wayfinding purposes is a great way to improve the customer experience by making it easy for customers to find their way around the hotel. Wayfinding displays can be as advanced as blueprints of the hotel displayed on a large screen in the lobby to simple arrows throughout the hallways with digital text explaining what the arrow is pointing to.
As with the previous two examples, consumer digital players simply won't cut it if you want the most effective functionality and interactivity. Commercial and industrial digital signage media players are the best bet for wayfinding digital signage content.
4. Optimized Internal Communications
Effective employee communications are essential to an efficient and successful business. With digital signage offering businesses the functionality to display all sorts of content in visually pleasing and informative ways, it is no surprise that digital signage is starting a revolution in internal communications.
Unlike emails, digital signage allows employers to communicate with employees using graphs, videos, infographics, text, and much more, which means that employees will be less likely to overlook the information and that the information will be easier to understand and retain in memory.
Digital signage for employee communications requires a digital signage media player with high amounts of processing power, which is why choosing the right commercial digital signage solution is of the utmost importance. Better communications mean that employees will perform their job better and will more likely than not raise morale since employees will be sure of what they must do.
Digital Signage Players: The Key to an Effective Digital Signage Network
As we have shown in this article, there are a lot of benefits for businesses that come with setting up a digital signage system. Of course, to truly use digital signage to achieve your goals, you will likely have to get the right hardware and operating system.
Of course, you will need a high-quality full hd screen or screens, and wall mounts are important too. But possibly the most important part of the digital signage network is the digital signage player.
While consumer digital media players may work for some businesses, most businesses will want to go with a high-end commercial digital signage player for the best results. Finally, if you are worried about your digital signage media player getting damaged, you may want to invest in use-cases to protect your equipment.