Goodbye, External Media Player: Digital Signage Doesn’t Need You Anymore

An integrator’s case for software-based alternatives to external media servers for digital signage content.

Kevin Goldsmith

So how will this help drive growth within the digital signage industry? If you were paying attention, you would have been quick to catch on to the fact that with SoC technologies there may be no need for the external Media Player.  With a SoC based screen you can expect to see:

Reduction in Hardware Costs: Immediately you are stripping out the cost of the media player and possible video distribution equipment. But what about the cost of SSP or SoC screens you may ask? Well, compared to standard (non SoC) based commercial monitors from the same manufacturers or even other screen manufacturers, there isn’t really a premium/surcharge for a SoC based screen. That’s a win!

Reduction in Installation Costs: Remember there is no media player or possible video distribution equipment that you need to install, configure and conceal/tidy up. This will drive faster deployments and reduce lead time.  That’s also a win!

Reduction in Shipping Costs: You aren’t shipping the media players or possible video distribution equipment. We just keep winning!

Reduction in Support: No Media Players or possible video distribution equipment means less hardware to support, less failure points even down to cabling.  At Ping HD we’ve seen in excess of a 90 percent reduction in support calls where we’ve deployed SoC based Digital Signage solutions. This saves money in support man-hours and best of all makes for happier customers! Furthermore since your failure point is now pretty much the SoC screen, you’ve increased the reliability and robustness of your digital signage network.  Your toolkit simply becomes the IR Remote Control that comes with the SoC screen.  Now that’s an extra special win!

Reduction in Health & Safety Risk: Now that you don’t have any media players tucked up high behind the screens, you don’t have to climb a ladder to restart the media player, hook up a keyboard/mouse or even update a flash drive if you were running content from a USB stick which means you’ve eliminated the risk of injury by doing so. That’s a litigation win!

As a result, you’ve taken the cost of a sigital Signage solution down by as much as 40 percent (that’s our experience at Ping HD, anyway), improved reliability in doing so, made your support life easier, matched capabilities and features that you would expect from a Windows/Android/Chrome Media Player based solution.  This lower cost of entry will generate more opportunity as it’s more affordable than ever and for those that demand it, the ROI will be realized faster!

Where does this leave the poor old external media player? Many manufacturers are still continuing to innovate and build robust external Media Player products even down to those low cost HDMI stick based devices that run on Microsoft Windows (heavy licensing fee), ChromeBox, Android etc… but where is the sense of using such Media Players when there really is no need? Whilst opportunities currently exist for them, I see those opportunities as diminishing over time. 

Time to say goodbye?

“External media player, I salute you! You did a great job of getting us here, you helped prove the value and viability of digital signage and for that we’re thankful. RIP”.