“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?”
SoC is becoming more of a reality in the digital signage realm with the computing and video graphics power of these SoC devices improving, but I don’t believe they are quite where they need to be. If you’re doing a dedicated system solution, that is specified correctly to an SoC, it will be a phenomenal solution! The problem I see with SoC is on the larger current graphics model, such as an end user with 2TB media file or a 4K movie; the storage, CPU and graphical crunching power on SoC would be a bit challenged for the device. You REALLY have to match the player requirements to the SoC. That is one of the advantages of a Media Player, you have the extra overhead, but you are also paying extra for that solution in size, power and performance. The Media Player can be considered an all-in-one device similar to a traditional standard PC/desktop computer configured as needed. SoC, on the other hand, is typically completely self-contained including CPU, memory, Wi-Fi, USB, I/O ports and secondary storage options all on a size of a large coin. You really have to look at SoC similarly to a smart phone/IOT device, embedded systems or used as a replacement for embedded systems. There are no separate components, no replaceable parts, etc. But on the other hand, costs for these SoC devices are so low, you can buy a few spares to cover yourself.
If you can select a SoC device that will fit your needs today and in the coming years, it is a much better solution all the way around, but if you are in a changing environment without media/presentation consistency, your best option would be to stay with a standard media player for now.