Signage Media Players Show Digital Content on Displays
In this article, we’ll discuss the ways in which signage media players show digital signage on your displays, and we’ll also help you choose which method is best for your needs.
What is a signage media player?
A digital signage media player (also “media player”) is a small device used to show digital content on any public digital display.
Digital signage media players can look and function similarly to an Amazon Fire TV Stick or Google Chromecast. The media players are small devices that run digital signage software and plug in directly to your TV or other display.
Digital signage media players connect directly to your displays and receive automatic updates from your content management system.
Not all businesses offer a digital signage media player with their digital signage software solution. Below, you will find the three most common business models for how digital signage software providers offer their software, ranked from easy to difficult.
- Plug and play (easy)
- Software & player consultation (medium)
- Do-it-yourself (difficult)
As you read through each of these options, keep in mind your company’s resources and what’s important to you in acquiring a digital signage software system:
Is it ease of installation? Cost-effectiveness? Time? Do you have an in-house IT department? Each option differs in these aspects, so consider the differences when making your decision.
1. Plug & play (easy)
With plug and play, no professional assistance or training is needed, making it the easiest and most cost-effective setup process. Typically with this method the digital signage software providers sell their own player,s which come pre-loaded with their digital signage software. All you’ll need to do is plug the player into your display to get started – it’s that easy.
After plugging in your player, the next step usually entails a quick on-screen setup to get you up and running. For example, with the Enplug player, you are guided through a quick process to connect to your WiFi network and link to your online content management dashboard.
If ease and cost of setup are important decision factors in your search for a digital signage system, plug and play is a fitting solution.
Enplug tip: We highly recommend the plug and play method. Not only is it easy to setup, but there are no consulting costs or hassle, and anyone can do it.
2. Software & player consultation (medium)
This is the most common method used by digital signage software providers. With this method, the digital signage software providers offer to consult with you in finding a player to run their software on. Usually, these providers have partners who will provide the player, and the providers will then put their software onto the third-party player before it is shipped to you.
The disadvantage with this method is that it’s almost no different from the plug and play method above, yet it involves an extra step (the consultation) with high added costs. It’s not uncommon for the average consultation to cost you upwards of $200/hour, not including the installation consultation, which is also usually recommended by these providers.
With the extra step and consultation costs involved, if you’re looking to save on time and cost to set up, this method may not be the best solution and holds no advantages over plug and play.
3. Do-it-yourself (difficult)
Some digital signage software providers don’t offer a player or consultation for finding the correct player for their software. Depending on your provider, your digital signage software will be compatible with different operating systems, including but not limited to:
Once you’ve selected a provider, you will need to find a player that supports the system the software was built upon. For example, if your software was built on Android, the digital signage software provider would inform you of that, and you’ll need to find a player that supports Android.
Once you receive your player, you can download the digital signage software onto an SD card and plug it into your player.
Do-it-yourself can also be a method used by highly technical IT teams, or those who want to use their laptop or desktop as a digital signage player. Just about every digital signage software (including Enplug) is available to run on a computer or third-party player. However, it’s important to be sure your software is compatible with the computer or player you plan on using.
The DIY method can be less expensive, although the money you may save is often lost in the time required to build the system, limited features and capabilities, and difficulty of installation and use.
Enplug tip: While laptops and desktops can be connected to a display and used as a digital signage player, we don’t recommend it. There are many benefits to using a player over a computer for digital signage.
Bonus: All-in-one digital signage displays
As we point out in our blog post “Digital Signage Solutions Are Simpler Than Ever With New Partnerships”:
Smart displays with their own processors, initially developed for the consumer market, are now powerful and reliable enough for commercial digital signage solutions. In 10 years, we predict that there will be no external digital signage media players.
Enplug is leading this trend by partnering with commercial display manufacturers so that our digital signage solution is built into the manufacturers’ smart displays — eliminating the need for a separate media player.
Read more about these digital signage solutions all-in-one partnerships.
To get a free demo of the Enplug digital signage software, click here.