BrightSign Demonstrates 4K Advances at NAB 2014

At NAB Show 2014, BrightSign announces its new 4K digital signage media players will support MPEG-DASH technology.

CI Staff

BrightSign, worldwide provider of digital signage media players, will demo its new 4K media player at the NAB Show 2014 in Las Vegas this week.

If you’re at the show, you can see the new 4K media players at the Elemental Technologies (#SU2724) and Tightrope Media Systems (#C6508) booths.

The Los Gatos, California-based company says that the 4K players will support MPEG-DASH, which enables high quality streaming of media content over the Internet.

“4K opens up so many possibilities in digital signage and other industry applications, but it’s important to understand and avoid the potential pitfalls of a wrongly deployed 4K system,” says Jeff Hastings, CEO of BrightSign. “As BrightSign continues to expand into the 4K market, we are working with a wider range of partners and demonstrating new technology for supporting the 4K ecosystem at NAB.”

MPEG-DASH takes content from standard HTTP servers and separates it into individual segments, enabling network bandwidth optimization in real time. This is due to the highest possible bit rate segment being streamed at any given time, enabling maximum streaming efficiency.

Of course network resources fluctuate constantly, so MPEG-DASH works to continuously evaluate the resources available to optimize playback quality without causing stalls or re-buffering. This is especially important when broadcasting movies, sporting events, or lengthy content.

Following is our rundown of BrightSign’s 4K player strategy:

BrightSign is calling their 4K media player “the first to deliver a true end-to-end 4K solution that accepts H.265-encoded content and delivers 60 fps output via HDMI 2.0.”

Those features, says director of marketing Ann Holland, set it apart from other 4K players. BrightSign has “looked into the specs,” she says and knows of no other solid-state digital signage player on the market that meets true 4K Ultra HD standards.

Those standards, adds BrightSign CEO Jeff Hastings, are “the H.265 codec to keep file sizes down and HDMI 2.0 standard to get all of the bits to the display.”

Hastings goes on to emphasize why BrightSign is touting its high standards for 4K versus perceived lower standards by its competitors:

“4K is the buzzword, so everyone wants to jump on that bandwagon. So they’re trying to take older technology like H.264 with HDMI 1.4 and trying to throw it together to have a player at 30 frames per second and claiming 4K. And the big thing is, No. 1, we’ve invested a lot in this technology to bring it to market, but to make sure that 4K doesn’t get a bad name.

“[It’s] a little bit like when HD first came out and the marketers got a little bit ahead of the technology. If you think back to 2001, 2002, it was like ‘HD, HD, HD.’ Well, we later only found out that what they were selling us was really only 720p and not the 1080i that everybody later realized as the real HD.

“And I’m a little bit worried about that on the 4K side. If you take 4K and you’re only doing it as up sampling or you’re only doing 4K at 30 frames per second or you’re reducing the bit rate down to something that H.264 can handle, most people will [say] that doesn’t look any better than 1080p. And they’re right. What we’re trying to do is make sure people really understand that in 4K you really have to have all of these things come together to have real 4K. Otherwise, you’re going to be disappointed.

“We’ve seen the good stuff, and once you’ve seen the good stuff, you’re like, ‘wow, 4K is amazing.'”