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Technology Showcase: Turnkey Digital Signage

Jun 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles

All-in-one systems simplify digital-signage solutions.

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The InfoCaster from Harris, consists of the content-creation system, a network manager, and an InfoCaster player. The content-creation software allows a user to import graphics, set them into any screen region, scale video, and create hooks to constantly changing data such as stock tickers and sports scores. The network manager facilitates changes in network scheduling, generates logs for verification, and includes specific query generation for quick information crafting. Hardware consists of the InfoCaster DS1000 with an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 processor, a 250GB SATA hard drive, DVI monitor ports, USB ports, and RJ-45s for network connectivity.

The MediaXtreme Broadcast system from Keywest Technology is an automated playout server with CV/YC input, NTSC/ATSC digital tuner, video tuner, video PIP, video keyer, DVI, RGBHV, composite video output, and MediaZone software. The MXB-AV comes with a built-in video player, character generator, crawl generator, and logo inserter. It also includes a media scheduler that supports a variety of files for playback individually or in sets. With the MediaZone editor, media assets can be imported from the clipboard and placed onto the user-configurable template for playing fullscreen or in user-defined screen zones.

The Aavelin from MagicBox includes the Aavelin player unit and Aavelin Composer software application. The player provides 24/7 standalone playback of more than 10,000 pages with up to four simultaneous crawls, Flash playback, four-input video switcher, three-input audio switcher, video-in-window, and MPEG playback. The Composer application offers 100 backgrounds and the ability to import more graphics in standard formats, a multitude of transition effects, and a calendar-based playback scheduler to coordinate showing. The optional new E-Blast software allows remote access of multiple systems.

MediaTile's 47in. Digital-Sign-in-a-Box is just that. The hardware is based on a 47in. LCD display with optional touchscreen with an embedded fanless computer fully configured with media-player software and a built-in Internet connection with LAN, cellular broadband, or Wi-Fi support. There is also a web-based control portal called the MediaTile Broadcast Portal. In addition to handling all the popular file types, there is support for dynamic RSS and Flash, multizone playlist configurations, and remote monitoring and maintenance. The player has 32GB storage and “files played” logging.

The RetailTV system from Panasonic uses interactive touchscreen LCD panels to immerse the user into the signage experience. These displays can show fullscreen graphics, multiwindow screens, or multiple plasma display walls. The controlling computer connects via network with local players. The NMstage digital-signage software allows the user to schedule and manage content with dynamic realtime multiwindow configuration. Using a calendar timeline, content managers can schedule which players will play selected messages and how the screen will be organized with content including video files, Flash files, websites, and PowerPoint slides.

Taking advantage of the FCC mandate that every large, HD-capable display have a built-in digital tuner, the StoreCaster/HD with Multi-Channel high-definition digital-signage server from Periocast delivers live and stored HD video in storefront windows and other public venues using RF transmission over coax cable with frequency-agile VHF 8VSB or QAM RF modulators. The StoreCaster/HD with Multi-Channel can transmit up to four different programmed channels simultaneously. The system features a 19in. rackmount case, and it supports all ATSC formats including 720p and 1080i. The system will up convert and remux any rate DVI-ASI transport stream to an ATSI-compatible rate.

The iS40 from Planar Systems is marketed as the first true plug-and-play digital sign. The 40in. LCD display is combined with all the integrated software and electronics necessary to deploy a digital sign out of the box. The unit then functions as a node on the CoolSign network. CoolSign software allows importation of media content, management and scheduling of play through a simple drag-and-drop interface and push to screens along with monitoring of network playback performance. The display offers WXGA resolution in 16:9 aspect ratio, 1GB of internal memory, control through the CoolSign network or a local IR remote, and a Windows XP embedded operating system.

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