PCs Suck: The Non-PC Digital Signage Solutions Are Coming!

By Gary Kayye, CTS

Using a PC as a content transmitter and receiver for Digital Signage networks sucks. Microsoft and their myriad problems have bled all over the DS market too.

And, everyone’s been screaming for non-PC based solutions since the beginning. But, there haven’t been many that have, well, not sucked too. At least Microsoft Windows-based PCs are familiar, we know how to control and manage them (even if they don’t work consistently well) and, let’s face it, Apple hasn’t exactly realized this market even exists. They seem to be caught up in the iPod generation, all the while having a product that could DOMINATE the DS market as a content player (the iPhone) if they had enough sense to modify it for us — and realize that there are already commercial applications for iPhones.

What the heck am I talking about? Well, think about it. The Apple OS (currently known as OS X) is rock solid, bug-free and virus-safe. You can’t hack it and you can’t even modify it unless Apple says so. The version they tapped for the iPhone is rock-solid-er, bug-free-er and in its nearly two years of existence, hasn’t yet had a virus.

As for the DS market, the reasons that a PC sucks as a content player are many and well-known. But, imagine the iPhone. It’s got a 16 GB drive, it’s got a display that will allow you to troubleshoot a system locally at any time, it works off of three different communications networks (3G, Edge and WiFi) and it’s like 300 bucks! But, even Apple doesn’t see the DS market — yet.

Of all the non-PC based Digital Signage players/receivers we’ve seen so far, by far, the best is the SpinetiX HMP100. No, I didn’t get paid to say that. No, they are not an advertiser. In fact, I have NEVER spoken to a single person at that company by phone, in person or via e-mail. It’s just a fact — it’s the best non-PC based content player out there.

But, it’s got limitations too. It’s only got a 2 GB drive (although it is solid state), it’s highest resolution is only 720p (when just about every DS monitor today is native 1080) and it’s not tried and true tested — it’s new. But, you got to start somewhere.

It plays back just about any type of file — including AVI, MPEG-everything, H.264, PowerPoint, Flash, Animated GIFs and even Windows Media 9. And, it’s small — way smaller than a crappy PC. It’s 4″x1″x3″ and weighs just 6 ounces (yes, ounces).

I am in no way affiliated with this company — just trying to help you! Try it out!