How to Choose the Best Digital Signage Media Player

cover image showing a media player and a screen
cover image showing a media player and a screen

A digital signage player, or digital signage media player, is a compact computer device designed to play your digital signage content when connected to a TV screen

It is a component of digital signage hardware, which plays a crucial role in a digital signage system as it gives digital signage computing power. Without a digital signage player, you won’t be able to display your digital content on your screen.

How Does a Digital Signage Media Player Work?

digital signage player _ digital signage media player _ cloud-based
  1. Digital signage player connects to a digital display or TV screen using a HDMI port.
  2. Media player receives and downloads content from your cloud-based digital signage software server (Content Management System – CMS).
  3. The content shows up on your screen.

Even though digital signage software is built-in, a digital signage media player is not the software itself. So, it needs to work together with CMS to power your signage. 

With a CMS, you can create your own content, manage your digital signage networks, and troubleshoot any issues.

What Kind of Content Can I Play on My Digital Signage Player?

When setting up your digital signage network, you should always check if your CMS supports the content you want to display. Plus, check whether the specs of your digital signage player can process and show the content. 

Common types of content:

  • Images
  • Texts
  • Videos
  • Animations
  • Slideshows
  • Weather Forecasts
  • Social Media 
  • Webpages
  • News
  • RSS Feeds

What Digital Signage Media Player Do I Need?

The type of digital signage player you need depends on:

  1. your industry
  2. business objectives
  3. digital signage software
  4. hardware & software features you want


Compatibility of your digital signage software and media player determines the performance of your network.


If you are looking only to display basic content such as images and texts, getting an entry-level device will be a more cost-effective solution.


Consult a credible digital signage software provider to assess your digital signage needs and provide guidance.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing the Best Digital Signage Media Player

There are several factors to consider when buying a digital signage player. As stated above, your digital signage software and the type of business you run are significant factors. The cost of using the media player is another factor to consider. 

The following are other factors to consider:

  • Installation
  • Compatibility 
  • Storage Capacity
  • Processing Power

1. Installation

When setting up a digital signage player, the primary goal usually is to hide it from public view for aesthetic purposes or theft prevention. Many simple digital signage players come in the shape similar to a USB flash drive, are lightweight, and have plug-and-play capabilities. 

They are plugged in behind your TV or digital display. This is a great option for those who are not tech-savvy and don’t need complex digital signage features.

If you want a higher-end device with a stronger processor, it will usually be bigger and might require wall mounting behind your screen.

2. Compatibility

Not all digital signage media players and CMSs are compatible! Since the features of your CMS will determine the type of digital content you can create, you should buy a digital signage player after choosing your CMS.

High compatibility between your software and hardware can help save you time and maximize the value of your digital signage network. So, it’s important to ensure your digital signage player does not restrict you from all the CMS features.


Digital signage player, Nano-PC 3, and digital signage software, NexSigns, are specifically designed and built for each other. So, they deliver an optimum system for cohesive digital signs.

3. Storage Capacity

Internal storage capacity is an important factor that determines how much content your digital signage player can store in its local cache. 


It ensures your screens can be up and running even without an Internet connection.

Entry-Level Devices:

They tend have less storage capacity, which is enough to cache content with a lighter load and playback with ease. 

Higher-End Devices:

Commercial-grade media players have a decent amount of storage for caching and displaying more demanding content, such as 4K videos and livestreams.

4. Processing Power

What really differentiates the cost of high-end and budget-friendly digital signage players is, in fact, the processing power. 

High-Processing Power:

Allow you to display HD videos and livestreaming and perform more complex tasks like screen zoning and incorporating interactive content. Some can even support a multiscreen configuration, rendering content to more than one screen at a time.

concept image of digital signage player and CMS compatibility _ digital signage media player

If your business wants to deploy a video wall, you should consider investing in a higher-end media player for the best performance possible. With higher levels of processing power, your digital content can also be compressed and transferred more efficiently to your screen without compromising the image quality.

Digital Signage Media Player FAQ

1. What is the Best Operating System for Digital Signage Player?

There are many different options of operating systems available in the market. Some of the more popular ones that are consistently deployed for digital signage uses are Chrome, Android, and Windows PCs. 

However, this does not mean that these popular options will suit your specific needs since every system has its advantages and disadvantages. It is recommended that you do your research and have a clear understanding of your business goals when choosing a digital signage operating system.

2. What are SoC Digital Displays?

System-on-chip digital displays, generally referred to as SoC digital displays, are displays with built-in media players. This eliminates the need for purchasing an external digital signage media player and manually connecting it to your screen.


Eliminates the need for purchasing an external digital signage media player and manually connecting it to your screen.


You won’t be able to replace individual parts of the device due to its highly integrated design. If the system is damaged, you most likely will need to replace the entire SoC unit, which means spending more money.

3. How Much Does a Digital Signage Player Cost?

concept image illustrating the balance between digital signage player performance and cost

Many digital signage player options are available in the market, and their prices vary depending on their performance. 


If you are only looking for an entry-level device to cover your basic digital signage needs, you can get one that costs as low as around $50.


A more business-ready media player to up your game will be between $200 and $500. Devices in this range come with more advanced features and storage space than the budget ones and can support HD video streaming. They have a great balance between budget and performance, which makes them a popular choice for any type of business need.


The cost of high-end digital signage players can go up to about $1,000. These devices have powerful processors and can handle any high-intensity digital signage content with ease. They can support multiple display outputs, which makes them a perfect option for video wall implementation.


Since digital signage players in the lower and mid-range categories support only 1-screen output, it’s important that you take into account the total number of screens you plan to deploy when planning your  budget.

4. Internet Connection?

In general, a digital signage player requires internet access to function properly. However, if the device has enough storage to cache the content locally, your digital displays can still be up and running without interruptions.

The digital signage player, Nano-PC 3, can download the content from cloud-based digital signage software, NexSigns, and store it in its local drive for up to 2 weeks. This enables your screens to continue working during your business’s operating time while giving you enough time to fix your internet connection problems.


The digital signage player is an essential part of a digital signage system. There are many factors you need to take into consideration when looking for the best device for your business. If you are interested in learning more about these devices or getting advice on your digital signage software solutions deployment, book a free consultation with our digital signage experts today!

You can learn more about NexSigns’ Digital Signage solution and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and YouTube to get the latest info on digital signage!

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