Ask the Board – September 16, 2019 | JOSHUA GOODWIN

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“SoC vs Media Players: With more and more manufacturers offering System on a Chip (SoC) solutions, what’s the tipping point end users need to consider when planning their solutions?”


Moore’s Law states that the “…number of transistors that engineers could place onto a microchip would double every 18 months.”  This is still true today and is one of the reasons we’re seeing the marriage of SoC technology and digital signage. Furthermore, this technology can prove to be a huge advantage for the future of digital signage and its end users.

First launched by Samsung in 2012, and currently responsible for 8 percent of the market*, SoC Technology integrates all key electronic circuits onto a single, integrated chip. This chip can contain analog, digital, and mixed-signal functions. This is important because it can virtually negate the need for separate media players.

The elimination of separate digital devices, or media players, when running a digital signage network is beneficial on many levels. First and foremost, bottom-line costs can decrease as much as 10 to 41 percent.* This is due to the elimination of purchasing hardware like media players, cutting down on installation time and removing, or at least defraying, field service costs and visits. In addition, no extra cables are needed for power, Internet connectivity, etc. This is all done through the display. Lastly, and certainly least, is the elimination of costs related to maintaining media players’ interfaces and hardware.

While the SoC devices are cheaper, both to maintain and purchase, there are good arguments for continuing to use a conventional media player.

Media players today are specifically made to handle large-format video (4K). Additionally, they offer a greater variety of features including interactive and frame-accurate synchronization. Furthermore, SoCs cannot yet handle touch payment applications or audience measurement.*

Ultimately, the deciding factor is cost and development. The cost is there, but the evolution of SoC technology needs to catch up. While SoC may be an alternative for some, I don’t yet see it as a direct competitor for the traditional media players. However, if we apply Moore’s Law, it’s just a matter of time before that all changes.

 

Sources:

  • Is the digital signage media player close to extinction? Sept. 25, 2015 | by Drew Harding
  • SoC Technology: A Smart Advance In Digital Signage. Aug. 29, 2017 by David Haynes
  • System on a chip versus media players: Which is the right choice? Nov. 16, 2018 by Bradley Cooper

 

 

About Author

Digital Media Specialist
Eileen Fisher, Inc.

MEMBER OF THE DSE ADVISORY BOARD
End User Council

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