Why Mini PCs Are the Standard for Digital Signage Applications
In the past, businesses, municipalities, or other establishments interested in deploying digital signage needed to have large-scale computing solutions available to them. Today, however, numerous possibilities are available for digital signage deployments and mini PCs have emerged as the single most viable and efficient solution. When mini PCs are leveraged as digital signage media players, they can support applications ranging from single screens to self-serve kiosks to multi-panel video walls.
At Simply NUC, we offer a wide range of flexible mini PCs, including numerous solutions specifically designed for digital signage. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the primary reasons why mini PCs have become the standard media player across the digital signage industry.
Combination of Power, Size and Convenience
When selecting a media player for your digital signage application, you need to consider performance, cost, and ease of installation. With a mini PC, you get the best possible combination of all three.
Mini PCs are more powerful than ever and can serve all your digital signage needs. More affordable versions work great for single displays in cafes, convenience stores, hotel lobbies, and airport gates. And higher performing versions can drive 4K video walls in high-end retail stores, corporate advertising, and executive lounges. Additionally, mini PCs are far more energy-efficient than other computers and have been tested for 24/7 operation, resulting in lower operational costs.
Furthermore, installations are simplified with a number of media player mounting options including VESA mounts for monitors and DIN rails for walls, tables, or convenient surfaces. Wireless interfaces and PoE technology can minimize the number cables required for your deployments.
Remote Service and Upgrade Capability
The communications capability of your media player is very important. At a minimum you should require an RJ-45 LAN jack and built-in wi-fi (802.11AC or better). Remote management technologies such as Intel vPro or DASH enable the ability to push campaigns down to the player to avoid the “truck roll” or requiring local support.
It’s All About the Hardware
From a hardware perspective you’ll need to pay attention to the display interfaces on the media player and map them to the interfaces on your screens. For ease of installation, it’s usually most convenient when the ports on both sides of the connection are the same. Currently HDMI tends to be most popular and HDMI-to-HDMI cables are affordably sourced in many different lengths and quality levels. Type C (with DisplayPort) is gaining in popularity, but HDMI still is most common.
It’s (Even More) All About the Software
On the software side, it’s always better if your media player is flexible to support multiple OS’s such as Microsoft Windows, various distros of Linux, and Android. It’s also important that your player can support multiple media formats such as FLV, AVI, MP4, WMV, MKV, and others. And ideally the media player has been tested and validated with the CMS (Content Management System) and display that you’ll be using. Finally, a big plus is the ability of your media player to recover the campaign on reboot power up, to avoid the embarrassment and downtime of wrong orientation or aspect ratio on the rare occasion when a local power cycle is needed. Robust and flexible solutions save time and cost.
For more on why mini PCs have become the industry standard for digital signage applications, or to learn about any of our mini PCs, speak to the staff at Simply NUC today.