To successfully set up a digital signage solution for your business, you have to pair the right hardware with a good digital signage software like NexSigns. Deciding which digital signage player is ideal for you can sometimes be taxing, especially if it’s your first experience setting one up.
However, this guide will help you compare the pros and cons of each type of hardware and decide whether a Windows PC, an Android TV, or the NexSigns’ Nano-PC 3 is best for use as a digital signage player. Depending on your budget, business environment, maintenance needs, deployment requirements, and scalability, you should consider the most convenient options.
What to Consider Before Selecting a Digital Signage Player
Quality digital signage players ought to feature specific characteristics that meet your business’s needs. These characteristics might differ based on the hardware you choose; however, their availability will help you use these devices seamlessly.
Using certain types of hardware to power your digital signage solutions might incur additional costs in purchase and maintenance. For instance, it’s cheaper to use a media player than a computer as a digital signage device. Unless you have other needs for the hardware, it’d be more beneficial to use a less expensive option built solely for digital signage solutions.
You should consider the following characteristics when choosing a digital signage media player:
- Configuration. A digital signage player should satisfy the minimum system requirements to run NexSigns. The requirements to run NexSigns are not exotic, but it is vital to get a suitable device that helps it run smoothly and is not too difficult to manage.
- Flexibility. If you’ll be using different screens to display your business content, you’ll need a digital signage player designed to work with all of your screen types. Portable digital signage players enable easy integration with different screen types and make mounting your digital signage solutions less cumbersome.
- Durability. You have to choose a media player that wouldn’t be adversely affected by your business environment, especially if your business runs around the clock. Consumer and most commercial digital signage players might break down under continuous use or degrade in their performance.
Now that we’ve examined the crucial factors you should consider before choosing a digital signage player for your business, let’s look at some popular digital signage players and their benefits and drawbacks.
Windows PC with NexSigns: Pros and Cons
The Windows PC comes across as a viral operating system and is programmed to run NexSigns or other digital signage software; it can also run programs like Photoshop and slide creation software. Other benefits of using a Windows PC as a digital signage device include the following:
- Processing Capabilities – Many Windows PCs feature powerful processing abilities that make running digital signage solutions easy and fun. You can display different content, including interactive 4K video content with external feeds. A high-performing Windows PC could be expensive but will be able to run the most complex digital signage projects.
- Ease of Repurposing – If you’re using an older/obsolete Windows PC, you can repurpose it to become a dedicated digital signage player. Although experts don’t always recommend this because you could still experience lags in displays, you can opt for it if you’re working with a small budget.
While using a Windows PC to run NexSigns for your business sounds like a good idea, it does come with some disadvantages. In some situations, the cons of using a Windows PC as a digital signage player outweigh its benefits. Here are a few setbacks you’d likely experience if you opt for a Windows PC:
- Cost – Unlike dedicated digital signage players, getting a good Windows PC to run your digital signage solutions can be expensive. Windows PCs with powerful processors can cost $500 on average, whereas a dedicated media player would cost a small percentage of that.
- Size – While newer Windows PCs are becoming smaller, they are still rather bulky for serving as portable digital signage players. Even if you manage to mount it successfully, it’s likely that the outlook of your digital signage solution won’t be appealing.
- Energy Consumption – A regular Windows PC consumes 200 watts per hour (0.2 kWh). If you run your digital signage solution for 24 hours, it’ll cause a significant increase in your total energy consumption. Hence, running your Windows PC alongside other hardware will cost your business a lot more.
In a nutshell, a Windows PC offers the necessary hardware to run any digital signage project on NexSigns but is a lot more expensive to purchase and maintain than most other alternatives.
Android TV Devices with NexSigns: Pros and Cons
There are many benefits of using an Android TV to run NexSigns for your business. An Android TV is an SoC (system-on-chip) solution that can render your displays without integrating other hardware attachments, and Android TVs are cost-effective and easy to use. Some other advantages of using an Android TV with NexSigns include the following:
- Price – Android TVs are available at varying prices due to the increased competition amongst Android device producers. You’ll not have a hard time getting one that fits your budget, and they are also easier to maintain as a single piece of hardware.
- Built-in Access to NexSigns – Android TVs are compatible with the Android operating system, which means many have access to PlayStore. Using PlayStore, you can download, install, and run NexSigns or any other digital signage content management software.
- Easy Installation – Opting for an Android TV minimizes the need for heavy human resources to install your digital signage solution. Since they come as a single piece of hardware, they are easier to mount and have a well-designed appearance.
Using an Android TV to power NexSigns is a great choice mainly due to its compact design and cost-effectiveness. However, there are two sides to the coin, as Android TVs could have one or more of the following drawbacks:
- Maintenance – An Android TV can function as a display and operating system for NexSigns, though this could impact the device’s health. If your Android TV experiences problems, your entire digital signage network will be out of service. In addition, if you purchase the consumer class of Android TV, it could break down quickly because TVs in that class are not designed to function for excessively long periods.
- Cost – Android TVs are mostly budget-friendly, but high-performing versions could be pricey. A high-performing Android TV runs complex programs and improves visual renditions; however, the performance of a low-cost Android TV might be subpar.
- Need for Constant Manual Operation – Like Android-powered phones, you will need to launch NexSigns manually, unlike on Windows PCs or dedicated media players. Manually launching digital signage applications can be frustrating, especially if there is a power outage.
The Nano-PC 3: Custom-made for NexSigns
The Nano-PC 3 is a portable signage device designed to use with NexSigns that can be connected to your TV through an HDMI port. The Nano-PC 3 is fully equipped with the configurations to run NexSigns efficiently. There are a lot of glaring advantages in opting for the Nano-PC 3, the most noteworthy of which is that it can run even your most complex signage projects on NexSigns despite being the most affordable option on this list.
Here are the extra benefits of using the Nano-PC 3 media player to manage NexSigns for your business:
- Budget-Friendly – As you’d expect, the Nano-PC 3 offers the best value for the price, and it features all the required provisions to run NexSigns.
- Full-blown Configurations – The Nano-PC 3 is not only affordable but also decisive. With a quad-core ARM processor that can run up to 1.5 GHz, you’ll not experience any lags when running your signage systems.
- Easy to use – The Nano-PC 3 has no complicated components because it is designed specifically for digital signage. It uses a simple plug and play design, which means you only have to plug the device into the HDMI port on your TV to enjoy your digital signage.
- Durable – The Nano-PC 3 is built to withstand the harsh conditions of any business, unlike a Windows PC or Android TV, which can become faulty with excessive exposure to dust and heat.
- Portable – The Nano-PC 3 is meant to stay out of your way, and its slick design and portable extenders help it fit snugly on the back of your screen, regardless of its make.
The Nano-PC 3 is the go-to option for your digital signage needs, is the most reliable option, and ticks all our boxes of things to consider when choosing a digital signage player. This device costs just a fraction of the price of high-performing Windows PCs and Android TVs and delivers good value, making it an excellent choice for businesses.
Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a piece of hardware that can handle more than your digital signage needs, then you’ll have to consider other options. The Nano-PC 3 is designed solely to aid in the visual rendition of your business content and can’t be used to optimize software or create slides like a Windows PC can.
NexSigns is easy to operate on various operating systems. However, issues like cost, maintenance, durability, and flexibility could be relevant when using just any hardware as your digital signage solution. Depending on the hardware you select, you could face one or more of these concerns, which could continue as long as those devices are in use. The Nano-PC 3 can resolve these concerns while offering you the most exotic performance.
The Nano-PC 3 maintains the high-processing capabilities of the most exotic Windows PC and the simple setup of an Android TV while being cost-effective and easy to handle. Just as you can rely on NexSigns to run perfectly on any hardware, you can count on the Nano-PC 3 to deliver its content flawlessly.