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System On Chip Media Player Software

19 February 2020

Electronic chip

Professional System on Chip Media Player Software

In digital signage terms, system on chip or SoC, refers to media player devices embedded in a digital signage screen.  It’s a technology similar to Smart TVs which you find in consumer-grade televisions.

While your typical Smart TV will let you play Netflix, Amazon Video and other proprietary content channels, SoC displays require some type of application to process and display your digital signage content.

Until the introduction of SoC displays, digital signage used external media player devices you mounted behind each screen. SoC displays don’t require an external media player or power source. There are no wires hanging from the back of the screen, which makes for a cleaner and more professional installation. System on chip displays are also more secure so there is less risk of someone tampering with the external media player.

The SoC screen market has become very competitive, with some manufacturers going as far as to bundle their own CMS software.  Samsung offers MagicInfo and LG markets a solution called Group Manager and each product is designed for their respective SoC displays.

While it’s tempting to use the manufacturer’s own CMS, there are many reasons why it’s not necessarily the best choice.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of using a display manufacturer’s CMS software.

PROS

  • Cost less because everything is included in the price of the screen.
  • Nothing to install.

CONS

  • Not as many features as a professional-grade CMS.
  • May not support as many media types as proprietary third-party software.
  • No professional template or ticker layout tools included.
  • Often tied to specific screen models, or manufacturing dates.  No easy upgrade path.
  • Unique to each display manufacturer.  You are “locked-in” to a single vendor unless you choose to use different software for each screen brand you manage.
  • Many of these products rely on web technologies.  While these solutions can be engineered quickly, they don’t perform as well as proprietary software compiled for a specific operating system or hardware platform.

What do professionals recommend?

Digital signage projects often start out with a standardized hardware configuration, but over time networks can end up with range of devices as newer technologies become available. It’s not uncommon because new products keep coming to market and business needs evolve. For example, your company may install a few displays around their facilities today and then add a touch-screen in the office lobby next year. Needs change so your software should support more than one technology.

It’s why professional network operators demand “best of breed” CMS solutions that are compatible with many types of devices.  You shouldn’t have to change your CMS software if you add a new type of media player to your network.

Here’s a common scenario. You want to deploy a few screens in your office.  You settle on a well-known SoC display brand, model and size.  A year goes by and you need to expand your network, but the screen model you purchased is now discontinued.  You switch to a newer model from the same brand and find out it’s not compatible with the software that came bundled with the original screens.

Perhaps you decide to deploy other types of screens, like touch-enabled tablets or a Windows PC for a multi-screen videowall or menu board.

You soon realize the SoC display manufacturer’s software isn’t quite good enough.  It won’t let you control more than a few types of devices, or it only supports specific display models under its own brand. The CMS can’t keep up with your new hardware so now you’re back to square one.

The Navori QL advantage

Navori QL is a proprietary digital signage software with native versions engineered specifically for each type of device.  QL is more efficient than other CMS software because it lets users manage different system on chip display brands and external media players transparently. Navori QL users don’t care which hardware is running at the display.  They schedule and publish any content to any player on their network.

Since there is no difference between hardware devices, users can treat every endpoint simply as a “player” knowing their content will be shown reliably and consistently across every display. Only QL provides full compatibility and shared features across so many devices.

Features like:

  • Rule-based content playback.
  • Remote content triggering.
  • Cross-platform player synchronization.
  • Remote device management.
  • Dynamic data feed support.
  • Easy to use template and ticker design tools.
  • Content and Player tagging.
  • Cross-device content synchronization.
  • A complete set of APIs for automating processes.

With some products, users must select which type of media to publish based on the player hardware because sometimes, features on one platform aren’t available on another. Content sometimes needs to be converted or scaled down to match hardware capabilities. This can create problems for users and operators alike.

QL Player is available in native versions for Samsung Tizen SSSP, LG WebOs and many SoC display brands that run on the Android operating system, including models from Philips, Sharps, Dynascan, and ELO touch.

Navori QL helps reduce your operating expenses (OPEX) because you only need one software to do it all. There is no time lost switching platforms or retraining staff.

Navori QL Player also supports PCs running on Microsoft Windows and external media players running Android such as Navori’s own QL Stix 3500.  With such a breadth of options, it’s no surprise more network operators prefer QL over any other digital signage platform.