What is a Digital Signage Player? Here Are the Basics

Digital signage is a great way to promote your brand and quickly disseminate relevant information to clients or staff. But if you’re new to signage players, you may have a few questions about the process.

Let’s start at the beginning.

What is a digital signage player?

signage player

A digital signage player is a small device that can be loaded with digital multimedia, such as videos, images, or dynamic content pulled from the internet, and plugged directly into a television display to make it available for public viewing. These players come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from set-top boxes to plug-and-play options resembling an Amazon Fire Stick or Google Chromebit.

What are the different types of digital signage players?

External players: This option includes your basic PCs, laptops, and tablets. Plug-and-play digital signage players are intuitive and come preloaded with the necessary digital signage software. If your provider offers consultation, it’s easy to determine which OS is necessary to run software on your digital signage player. If you’re a DIYer, you’ll need to do your research to determine OS compatibility and other technical specifications.

System on Chip (SoC): While the typical digital signage player is a separate device that plugs into a display, SoC devices eliminate the need for cables and external devices by mounting a single content-carrying chip inside the display enclosure. While convenient, this option can limit feature availability and depends heavily on the consistency of manufacturers regarding product upgrades and code development.

signage player

What technical specifications are important?

Hard Disk Drive (HDD) vs. Solid State Drive (SDD)

Until recently, most computers contained an HDD, which is a spinning metallic platter that’s covered with a magnetic coating that stores your data. SSDs, however, use a flash memory chip to store your data.

While SSD systems are currently more expensive and less widely available than HDD systems, they do offer many benefits. SSD systems don’t experience fragmentation and are inherently faster regarding launch times, application performance and file transfer.

Since they have no moving parts, SSD systems keep data safer in the event the digital signage player is dropped or disturbed. The operation is virtually noiseless, and less energy is expended.

Digital Visual Interface (DVI) vs. High Definition Visual Interface (HDMI)

Audio-visual input options are another critical consideration. DVI cables are larger and typically feature a 24-pin setup, while HDMI cables are more compact, measuring approximately one inch across and resembling a USB input. It’s important to note that while HDMI supports up to eight channels of audio, DVI is strictly video only.

You’ll find no discernable difference in signal quality between DVI and HDMI. Which cable you choose will depend on your digital signage player and display device you are using. That said, HDMI is more widely used and is more likely to be compatible as the technology evolves.

Operating System (OS)

There are a variety of OS options available, but it’s important to focus on price, stability, and ease of use when making a selection.

  • Windows is the most commonly used OS for digital signage players. It’s a stable OS and familiar to most users, which makes it much easier to use out of the box than more obscure systems. Plus, Windows has a variety of remote management tools available, which is a definite advantage when choosing an OS for your digital signage player.
  • Linux is another stable OS that has gained popularity in recent years. Whereas Windows requires a license, Linux does not. However, Linux is a command line interface, creating a steep learning curve for non-IT personnel.
  • Android is becoming popular with small-to-medium-sized business owners due to its familiarity, affordability (free) and ease of use. While it is a stable option, remote management tools are severely limited.
  • Chrome is a relatively new option, so the jury is still out on performance and stability. However, it’s a Google system, free, easy to use and is gaining popularity, especially in the U.S.
  • iOS is popular, stable and easy to use in general. However, it is expensive and currently quite rare in the world of digital signage.

How does a digital signage player work?

A digital signage player is used to electronically send multimedia content to a public display, most commonly via a cloud-based software program. Content can be programmed to change weekly, daily or hourly, depending on the need of the user.

signage player

Digital signage is a great way to draw the attention of potential clients or communicate with team members. They can be used for a variety of purposes, including displaying event information, wayfinding directions, advertising, entertainment and weather, travel and emergency updates.

What is digital signage software?

This refers to the software that resides on your digital signage player and is used to play back visual content. Most software options download the content directly to the digital signage player so that an interruption in internet connectivity will not affect playback. Internet downtime, however, will interrupt streaming options.

Digital signage software typically keeps you up to date on the health and status of the player and reports playback for analytic purposes, which combined with the appropriate metrics can provide insight and help you improve your visual content strategy over time.

Is digital signage for you?

Digital signage is quickly becoming commonplace in businesses of all sizes across a wide variety of industries. Digital signage is not only affordable, but it also allows you to stay competitive and connect your brand with audiences in ways that other media cannot. If you need to improve communication with staff or clients, digital signage is a viable option for you.

We create memorable digital experiences. Want a demo?

866.310.4923 or Contact UsContact Us
Jump to top
How about a Demo?
Try the web-based software used by 46,500+ digital signage clients.
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
No Subscriptions | No Contracts | No Monthly Fees
Featured Case Study
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe.
A New York labor-management organization upgraded their campuses with digital signage and recorded:
Download the case study to get the specifics of their digital signage network
  1. increased attendance for their training and education programs
  2. improved awareness of their employee benefit plans
Who is Mvix?
How to Market your Medical Practice
By marrying User-generated Content and Digital Signage
Download the free white paper to get access to:
  1. Tips on how to improve the online and in-office patient experience
  2. Top outpatient engagement topics for 2018
  3. Four marketing strategies you can implement right away
#1 Digital Signage Software
Digital Signage for Architects & Designers
Enhance spaces with digital technlogy
Download the whitepaper to:
  1. See how digital signage is being used to
    inspire, motivate and influence behavior

  2. Get tips on how to integrate digital signage into
    your designs for corporate, retail and more

  3. Access a free Project Requirements Worksheet
    to help you get started with digital signage

Courtroom Digital Signage
A Complete Guide to
Download the guide to:
  1. See the anatomy of a digital docket display system

  2. Learn how to measure the ROI of your court signs

  3. Get free content ideas for your court signage network

Read how Virginia's premier amusement park used digital signage to offer guests elevated experiences. Their recorded results include:
  1. repeat business
  2. positive guest reviews
  3. an enhanced brand image
A social services agency installed networked digital signage screens which resulted in:
  • residents being better informed
    about available services
  • increased enrollment in
    assistance services
Download our free Case Study to understand the inner workings of a school signage system.
Don't Take an Educated Guess When it Comes to your School Digital Signage
Case Study
Download the case study to see how the YMCA of the Rockies used digital signage to increase inquiries about events & activities and improve enrollment in offered programs
Digital Signage Strategy
Download our free Case Study to get details of how Virginia's third-most populous county implemented digital signage in 11 locations for their Parks,
Rec and Community Centers.
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe.
Case Study
Hold On!
Before you go, let us know what you were looking for that you didn't find...
(866) 310-4923
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe.
Ready for a Demo?
Before you go, let us know what you were looking for that you didn't find and we'll schedule a demo of our software.
(866) 310-4923
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe.
Looking for Pricing?
Before you go, let us know what you were looking for that you didn't find. We'll send you the info and pricing, right to your inbox
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe.
Case Study

  • flight information displays (FIDS)
  • 12 meetings room signs
  • digital lobby signs
  • employee communication displays

Download this free case study to see how Crowne Plaza Dulles implemented a digital signage network with:
Yours Free!

  • increase participation in club activities
  • engage parents and club members
  • get more parents to chaperone events

Download this free case study to see how The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke in Boston implemented digital signage to:
Yours Free!

  • enforce consistent branding in the campus
  • augment email for mass announcements
  • better manage student messaging

Download this free case study to see how Western Michigan University installed digital signage in 13 campus buildings to:
Mvix Video Wall at Grounds For Sculpture
Yours Free!

  • speed up ticket purchasing
  • increase interest in upcoming events
  • enhance the park's artistic elegance

Download this free case study to see how a 42-acre sculpture park in New Jersey used a 4-screen 4K video wall to:
Yours Free!

  • modernize the church
  • increase interest in upcoming events
  • reduce printing costs

Download this free case study to see how First Baptist Church in South Carolina used 11 digital signage screens to:
Yours Free!

  • interest in employee engagement initiates
  • communication across departments
  • attitudes on performance action plans

Download this free case study to see how a Virginia Rehab Hospital used a network of 6 digital signage screens to improve:
Yours Free!

  • reduce wait times in the lobby
  • modernize the nursing home
  • improve wayfinding for visitors

Download this free case study to see how a Massachusetts nursing home used interactive digital signage to:
Join us for a free digital signage demo every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 pm EST
Yours Free!

  • cancel wait times in the lobby
  • modernize the nursing home
  • improve wayfinding for visitors

Download this free case study to see how a Massachusetts nursing home used interactive digital signage to:
Yours Free!

  • increase awareness of monthly promotions
  • showcase new truck inventory
  • improve internal communication

Download this free case study to see how a truck dealership in Michigan used digital signage to:
Yours Free!

  • show flight and maintenance schedules
  • show day-of and post-flight activities
  • improve internal communication

Download this free case study to see how NASA's SOFIA Program used digital signage across 3 facilities to: