Digital Signage Hardware
Dec 10, 2012 2:30 PM, By Bennett Liles
Quite possibly the most varied field in AV hardware serves the expanding digital signage business. The wide range of specific applications and customized installation provides room for a plethora of system designs and hardware features. In this survey we take a look at the expanding field of gear that can be used to create a digital signage system custom tailored to the client’s needs.
Small enough to be easily mounted behind a display monitor or inside a kiosk or videowall, the IS-SPX-1000 Inspired Signage XPress player from AMX can function as part of a multiscreen or interactive signage display controlled remotely by RS-232. The unit supports RSS and a number of graphic formats along with the capability to provide a remote snapshot of what it is showing. The VGA and HDMI outputs can be used simultaneously, and the SPX-1000 can generate logs with metrics for ad tracking and verification.
For a simple turnkey signage solution, Black Box Network Services offers the MediaFlyer Express, a combination hardware and hosted platform. Supporting up to 1920x1200 resolution and 24-bit color, the unit can be installed at the display and controlled through its web interface. The playlist can include Flash, PowerPoint, slideshows, live text, and RSS news feeds in any combination with a customized layout. The case has multiple USB ports, DVI-I, HDMI, a network port, 3.5mm mini audio output, mic and headphone jacks, and a memory card slot.
The XD line of media players from BrightSign provides 1080p60 video and features looping playlists and multiple content zones. All models support HTML5 for the latest web features, and they offer accelerated JPEG decompression with professional-quality transitions. The units can also display on videowalls including non-standard display shapes and mixed screen orientation. The XD1230 is the flagship of the line with an HDMI input to play live HDTV and an ATSC/Clear QAM tuner. Video and audio playlists can run independently from a single player. There is also an internal MicroSD card slot for storage and playback.
The QMOD-HDSC HDTV scaler-modulator from Contemporary Research can input RGBHV/component video from 480p to 1080p, auto-sensing the resolution and zoom, shrink, and position to fit the display. The system can also convert PAL HD to NTSC, and it provides a buffered RGBHV out for monitoring RGB input. The unit is used for digital signage and HD subscriber service on existing broadband coax cabling for viewing through HD displays or tuners. The front-panel controls are used for setup of inputs, encoding, channel, and RF options.
Capable of scheduling and playing digital signage content through analog and digital connections, the Gefen HD Digital Signage Media Player can also accept content pushed to it by way of a network on which it acts as an FTP client. The unit can log important parameters for verification and diagnostics and playlists can be manipulated through any text-based editing program using its intuitive directory and file structure. Ports include USB, Ethernet, HDMI, optical audio out along with component and composite analog video. It supports resolutions up to 1080p.
The R4100 is the multi-channel member in the InfoCaster line of media players with two, three, or four channels as an option. Harris designed the InfoCaster R4100 as a 2RU chassis with eight USB 2.0 ports, FireWire, and network connections along with a recordable DVD-RW for backup or system restore. Users can begin to play out content while continuing to modify or create additional content using templates and regions within InfoCaster. Programming can be scheduled by time, event, region, zone, venue, and monitor. Features include play logs for verification and billing along with export to ODBC-compliant files.
The all-weather-capable H461MC LCD 46in. digital signage display from Hyundai is IP65-rated and features anti-vandal protection with tempered security glass, an air looping system, auto brightness sensor, and RS-232 remote control. The 16:9 screen has a 1920x1080 resolution, 16.7 million colors, 1500 cd/m² brightness, 178/178-degree viewing angle, and a 50,000-hour lifetime. The display has an anti-reflective coating and automatic heating and cooling. The unit has both VGA and HDMI video input ports, and it can operate over a -30-degree to +50-degree temperature range.
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