Can you run live TV in a commercial signage application? What are the different ways to run live TV on your digital signage network? What are their weaknesses and strengths?
Live TV can be displayed on digital signage and mixed in with announcements, scrolling text, ads, weather etc. Below are a few options for integrating live TV with your digital signage network.
Internet Live Stream
While this approach may be the most user-friendly, it does come with some potential disadvantages. It couldn’t be easier to type in the URL of a live stream businesses would like to access and display, but a poor internet connection could result in a loss of service. Ultimately, having a bad connection may defeat the purpose of trying to display a live stream in the first place.
However, large businesses, universities and healthcare facilities usually rely on a WAN/LAN network that can provide a reliable and robust connection. Just keep in mind that this option may not be the best choice for anyone who frequently experiences internet disruptions.
USB Capture Card
With this method of playing live TV on digital signage, a capture card is used to transfer analog video from a DVD, satellite TV signal, cable TV, or PC into a digital signage display. This provides an easy and affordable way to stream live images, but it is essential to make sure that all the capture card cables are compatible with the analog source. A quick check can align input and outputs can help avoid any setup delays. Also be prepared to spend $30-$150 for the necessary accessories that will make this option viable.
HDMI Capture Card
An HDMI capture card provides a few distinct advantages over a USB capture card that are worth considering when deciding on the best system. First, an HDMI is compatible with S-Video Component and Composite video inputs, so there aren’t as many problems with finding the right cords and adapters. Second, HDMI is capable of capturing both standard and high definition video for crisp and clear images that are easy to view and read. Finally, with the right system, the digital display can show live TV from different devices at the same time.
Overall, using the HDMI capture card may be less problematic and offering even more versatility and opportunities for creative digital displays.
Live Stream Capable Displays
If businesses don’t already have an existing digital display system in place, they can actually purchase TV displays that come ready to integrate with live streaming devices. For those who want to invest in the latest technology and get the most out of playing live TV on digital signage, this may be the most practical and hassle-free option on the market. Major manufacturers, such as LG and Planar, produce a variety of models to choose from so that users can select a screen that is the right size and shape.
No matter what type of display or device is being used, there are several affordable options when it comes to connecting existing devices to live TV streaming sources and providing viewers with the latest content. The right combination depends on individual goals and budgetary restrictions that may be a factor. Whatever approach and equipment are used, it is surprisingly easy to upgrade a system and use it to play live TV on digital signage.