For screen installers, intent on sourcing and operating their own digital signage or information display, very often while they spend a lot of time and research looking into screens, and yet few spend enough time thinking about the media player hardware.
And media players are a confusing buy with so many different models on the market, all boasting the latest and best technologies and all sold with complicated terms, jargon, and unique benefits that can leave most people bewildered.
There is a vast difference in prices too with devices ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, but often many of these devices are far too complicated for the majority of signage needs.
Essentially, a media player is nothing more than a small PC that enables content to be uploaded, distributed and played on the TV screens—either over a network or directly.
Indeed, many installers opt to use simple thin client PCs, which has several advantages, including the ability to use conventional software, not forcing you into expensive subscriptions from specialist digital signage software vendors.
For simple systems where just one or two screens are being operated the small factor PC can be kept inside the same LCD enclosure as the screen, benefitting from the weather and physical protection.
And there is no need to spend a fortune on a thin client PC or media player as an array of simple and easy to use devices are available at extremely low prices, here are a couple of examples.
Hewlett Packard T5325 Thin Client
The HP t5323 Essential Series Thin Client is a simple and affordable, power-efficient HP thin client Featuring ICA and RDP connectivity with basic multimedia and USB redirection. Misco price, £197.99 inc VAT.
The ViewStream 100
A digital video and audio player designed for the playback of MPEGs and still pictures on TV and video. The videos are stored and played back directly from solid state Compact Flash memory card. On Google Shopping for £150.45.