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7 Trailblazing Decisions BrightSign Made in Overhauling Its Digital Signage Players

BrightSign’s completely redesigned lineup of digital signage players features a portfolio of technology updates including solid-state drive, emphasis on streaming, better use of HDR, improved tagging and more.

Tom LeBlanc
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It probably goes without saying that BrightSign CEO Jeff Hastings feels his company has an advantage over its competitors in the digital signage player market.

For one thing, he points out, as a dedicated digital signage solutions provider, BrightSign is a heck of a lot more committed to the category, he says. According to research analyst IHS, BrightSign is indeed the market leader when it comes market share for media players. Most of the competitors lined up behind BrightSign, Hastings says, are PC makers.

His point is that BrightSign is in a position to leverage its focus by developing software and pursuing features that will resonate with folks who actually work in digital signage. As such, BrightSign’s first major overhaul of its players in nearly two years is “focused on [taking] market share from this group of PC manufactures and bring[ing] real value,” Hastings says.

Photos: Closer look at BrightSign’s 4 new lines

BrightSign’s new player lineup—which is now comprised of seven players spanning four product lines—debuts features, moves features down price categories and unveils a thinner, sleeker form factor.

The completely redesigned lineup of digital signage players will ship with a portfolio of technology updates including an M.2 interface for Wi-Fi antennae or a solid-state drive (M.2 SSD), according to BrightSign, which adds that its free BrightAuthor software and the BrightSign Network are also updated with advanced digital signage features for enterprise-level performance.

Lineup

In its press release, BrightSign summarizes the four categories that comprise its lineup:

BrightSign LS: Affordable, Compact and Fully Featured

BrightSign’s LS423 ($250) is a fully featured, commercial-grade player offering a superior alternative to consumer devices often chosen for price-sensitive digital signage installations. Based on the award-winning BrightSign HD platform, BrightSign LS423 delivers signature reliability and affordability, with a robust feature set including H.265 Full HD video decoding, a basic HTML5 engine, USB 2.0 type C, and networking.

BrightSign HD: Updated Classic with Mainstream Performance

BrightSign’s new HD models are updated with advanced technology that delivers power and performance for mainstream applications at a very affordable cost. Both the HD223 ($350) and HD1023 ($450) offer hardware-accelerated HTML5 engine and 1080p60 decode, along with BrightSign’s highly reliable media-handling platform and signature ease of use. All HD models support Gigabit Ethernet, as well as robust interactive controls and dynamic live content features.

BrightSign XD: True 4K Playback and Advanced Performance

BrightSign’s two new XD players are capable of decoding either two 1080p60 videos or a single 4K video and a single 1080p60 video simultaneously. Both the XD233 ($450) and XD1033 ($550) have Gigabit Ethernet and offer an advanced hardware-accelerated HTML5 engine.

BrightSign XT: State-of-the-Art Technology with Enterprise Performance

The BrightSign XT243 ($550) and XT1143 ($650) offer unsurpassed performance with the company’s fastest HTML and graphics engine and the most powerful CPU. This state-of-the-art technology for enterprise level digital signage installations supports dual video decode of one 4K and one 1080p60 video simultaneously. The hardware-accelerated HTML5 engine enables flawless playback of multiple modular HTML5 assets including CSS animations, Web GL and swipe/gesture interactivity. Both XT models support PoE+ and Gigabit Ethernet, and the XT1143 offers HDMI-in for Live TV playback.

Many of the new features and shifting capabilities are reflective of feedback from customers, according to Hastings.

While it’s easy to get hung up on the dramatically different look of the thin, new players, he says the lion’s share of the effort went into more subtle benefits. “Ironically, we sell hardware. That’s our biggest source of revenue,” Hastings says, “but only 20 percent of my engineering staff works on hardware. The rest is on the software side. That’s really where we see our value add.”