The digital signage market is evolving at a fast and furious pace. In a global industry that is expected to net $17.1 billion in sales by 2017, according to IHS Research, value-added resellers (VARs) now have a unique opportunity to establish a successful digital signage business – and grow it for years to come.
Of course, as in any high-tech field, what you don’t know about digital signage technology could come back to hurt your business. As a value-added reseller, it’s important you find a partner who will help you identify the right devices for each project and stay up-to-date on the latest technology trends.
The media player is a vital part of any customer’s digital signage deployment, so choose carefully. Be sure to keep in mind these three things you might not know about digital signage media players:
1. Not all media players are created equally.
Similar to most other technologies, media players are available with a wide variety of features and capabilities. There are hundreds of different media players on the market from a variety of manufacturers, many of which are well-established in the industry – and some of which are not.
Today, media players are even available at everyday retailers, such as Amazon.com and Best Buy. Be sure to do your research on these devices. Finding the right media player for a given project will depend in large part on the customer’s needs and budget, as well as the scope and environment of the network.
Since a quality, right-sized media player is an important part of any digital signage project, resist the urge to skimp. Luckily, the price of players is falling (see below), which is making even the highest-quality devices a little more accessible.
2. There's a chance they might become obsolete.
Samsung is just the latest manufacturer to release a digital display that requires no external media player or PC: all the player functions live on the display. As player-free functionalities continue to grow, many in the industry believe media players will eventually become obsolete. Others believe most VARs and their customers will always want the capabilities of an external player.
Only time will tell. Keep an eye on new product trends to stay up-to-date on where the industry might be heading.
3. Their prices are dropping fast.
These days, your media player choices include Android or ARM-based players, multi-output players and more. As Android and ARM players become increasingly popular, a surprising number of new manufacturers are entering the market with low-priced hardware options. ARM processors in particular can help customers save money with media players that cost less, produce less heat and use less power than traditional computer processors.
Today, media players are available for less than $100, which enables smaller, more budget-conscious customers to take advantage of the technology and build successful digital networks. According to Digital Signage Today, these lower prices mean we’ll see a growing number of large networks – even those as large as 5,000 systems – in the next few years.
What other lesser-known facts about media players would you add to this list? What are some of your biggest challenges in finding the right media player device for each customer?