System-on-Chip: Pros and Cons

System-on-Chip (SoC)is a term used in many different contexts, which effectively means everything you need put into one piece of hardware.

So what does it mean for digital signage?

Traditionally you’d have a screen connected to a media player with some cables. You would have control over the player and possibly some limited control over the screen too, depending on your setup.

SoC takes all of that and puts it inside the screen. No messy cabling, just power and data to your screen, connect to your MagicINFO server and you’re signage is up and running.

At Jooku, we’ve found that 9 times out of 10, SoC is the way to go. Especially if you are using MagicINFO, it usually makes for a simple and effective solution with a low total cost of ownership.

But we know every business is different. Here is an objective (it really is, we promise!) look at the good and the bad when it comes to SoC, so you can make up your own mind.


Pros

  • Easier installation – less wires and less hardware means it’s easier to achieve a clean and professional looking installation. Not to mention that the shorter your engineers are on site, the less it will cost you.
  • Less hardware – no media player to purchase means less upfront cost.
  • Reduced critical points of failure – with a separate media player, you rely on both that and the screen working properly. By integrating the player into the screen, there is only one piece of hardware to keep running. Less cabling also reduces chance of failure.
  • Integrated management features – because the player is integrated into the screen, MagicINFO can access all features of the hardware through its interface. For example, you can control every aspect of the screen through Remote Manager, you can schedule and combine different inputs such as HDMI with your created content. With a separate media player, you only have full control over the player, not the screen itself.
  • Easier maintenance – greater control and less hardware means remote maintenance is more effective and site visits are required less often, reducing TCO.

Cons

  • Potentially higher screen cost – SoC screens can cost more than non-SoC. However, usually the price is comparable. Remember you also have to factor in the cost of the media player too. Samsung is the market leader in digital signage, so when you buy a Samsung screen you are paying in part for the display quality and greater reliability compared with most brands.
  • An unused media player – with a comparable screen cost this can be an emotive reason not to buy SoC, but it does matter to some. If they intend on buying a separate media player to run their CMS anyway, they don’t like the idea of having an unused media player sitting inside the screen too. Note though that this may be useful to also run Remote Manager alongside the CMS.
  • Power of the player – although SoC players are more than enough for most digital signage use cases, if you are running complex web applications on a touch screen for example, you may need a more powerful external player.

Need help choosing a display?

Take a look at our signage page here,

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