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Digital Signage Technology Showcase

Dec 7, 2010 10:54 AM, By Mike Keadle

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AMX Inspired XPress IS-SPX-1000

AMX Inspired XPress IS-SPX-1000

Not very long ago, billboards, posters, fliers, and banners were relied upon heavily to capture people’s attention and direct their focus to the company or product being depicted. Today, those attention-getters have all but been replaced by plasma, LCD, LED, and even projectors displaying similar content. The digital revolution not only changed our entertainment and presentation methods, it changed marketing and advertising displays as well.

Digital signage has grown into a huge industry today. Nearly every store, mall, or business that we enter uses some sort of digital signage display for attracting customers, promoting products, or driving sales. It is so common now that it is almost unusual to find a business that does not rely on digital signage to communicate with customers and even employees.

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The advantages of digital signage are huge. Yes, there is sometimes a hefty upfront cost, but the price to change content and update displayed materials is virtually nonexistent for all future use. Going digital provides quick and easy updates and customizations of signage displays as they are needed. It enables content creators to change the look and feel of a display on the fly, and even personalize the display if so desired.

With the growth in digital signage adoption, an equal growth has occurred in the number of manufacturers that offer digital signage products&emdash;hardware, software, accessories, and even displays are now targeted for this market. Here is a guide to the offerings of some of these companies.

AMX is long known for its control offerings in our industry. Its Inspired Signage products have helped AMX to become a leader in digital signage as well. The Inspired XPress IS-SPX-1000 signage player is small in size but loaded with features. It measures just 1”x6.25”x3.25”. It has no internal moving parts and requires only 2W of power. It offers live video support, HDMI and VGA outputs, and even metric collection capability. The built-in web interface offers the ability to display a snapshot of exactly what is playing on the display for reporting needs or to determine status.

Inspired XPress software is easy to use and offers administrators the ability to create custom content for display on IS-SPX-1000 players. The software supports multiple languages and multiple graphics and video formats (JPEG, PNG, GIF, SVG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, WMV 9, and PowerPoint). It offers drag-and-drop creation of schedules and playlists with the ability to view upcoming day, week, month, or year.

The Inspired Signage XPress IS-PLAYER-200 server supports resolutions up to 1080p at 60 frames per second and the processing required to simultaneously display HD video, images, text, and Internet feeds. Local VGA, composite video, and S-Video inputs are added with the IS-PLAYER-200LM.

Additional accessories are also available for the Inspired Signage line including mounting brackets, additional software license kits, and educational and corporate template packages to help in content creation.

Apantac’s line of MT Hood CATx extenders, splitters, and switches offer a solution for almost any digital signage distribution and delivery situation. The line offers VGA, DVI, HDMI, USB, and even touchscreen extenders run over inexpensive Cat-5 or Cat-6 cabling. Switches and splitters in the same variety are available. All offer high-quality, high-resolution signal transmission. Distances range from 35 meters to 300 meters, depending upon the unit and resolution of the signal.

The Mazama line of fiber extenders picks up where the MT Hood line leaves off. Both DVI and HDMI models are offered in the Mazama line, each with a preassembled fiber cable. Lengths up to 500 meters in the DVI line and 100 meters in the HDMI line are available.

Aurora Multimedia XPC Media Pro HD

Aurora Multimedia XPC Media Pro HD

Aurora Multimedia offers a perfect solution for a digital signage PC in its XPC Media Pro HD. Built upon the Intel Atom processor, the XPC Media Pro HD product is a small form-factor PC optimized for multimedia applications such as digital signage. Features and benefits include 2GB RAM; HDMI, DVI, and VGA outputs; integrated LAN and Wi-Fi; fanless cooling; a solid-state drive to reduce moving parts; and a power button lockout to prevent accidental power off. Windows 7 comes standard, and an option for Windows XP is also available. The XPC Media Pro HD offers flexible mounting as well. Mounting options include VESA, DIN rail, and wall or surface mounting.

Aurora Multimedia also offers HDMI and DVI extenders for those situations where a PC cannot be located near the display. Distances up to 200ft. can be achieved through Cat-5/-5e/-6 cabling.

In those remote situations, control of the display can also be a concern. That is where Aurora’s IP Control Port extenders come in. They offer an IP-addressable method of device control through an existing control system or through a built-in web server.

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