External Digital Signage players vs. built-in players

Mar 1, 2019

Digital Signage systems are becoming increasingly common as companies are realising its huge positive effect on sales and less expensive management compared to traditional prints. Currently, there are a couple of different options out there on the market and here is how to understand the differences and make a comparison.

The most carefree Digital Signage (DS) setup is to use the manufacturers’ System-on-a-Chip (SoC) players instead of external players.

The external player setup contains multiple parts including the cables for power, display, network and the player itself. For example, the player can be Linux, Android or Chromebox based individual component with third party software. The problem is, that there are various components that could break and a lot of things to troubleshoot, if the player does not work properly. Also, the troubleshooting is time consuming because it needs to be done on-site. One common issue is that cables will get loose and it will affect drastically on the downtime of the player.

To tackle problems like that, it is recommended to use built-in players (SoC) and single-point-of-contact service. Less clutter, less stress. Also faster and easier installation compared to external players. From the customer perspective, built-in player can enable some features that are not possible with external player. For example, remote device access does not work as well with the external player. Also access to TVs software development kit (SDK) and native features are limited. For instance, you might not be able to remotely change TV’s volume or shut it down with the external player.

It is also worth of mentioning that built-in DS compatible displays are built especially for this purpose, unlike traditional LCD TVs. In practice, it means that DS displays last longer and have better brightness as it’s crucial for attracting attention in bright lighting conditions.

Benefits of built-in Digital Signage players

  • Short installation time
  • Fast to troubleshoot and to fix HW failures
  • Online hardware remote control covers the entire device
  • Only one device to fail – Lower chance of HW failure
  • Display is designed for DS use. Therefore, it lasts longer and has an excellent level of brightness.
  • Display has often longer on-site warranty that covers commercial usage

Disadvantages of built-in Digital Signage players

  • Can’t be installed on external displays
  • From the developer perspective, It can be time consuming to support multiple TV manufacturers at the same time. For example, Samsung and LG have different operating systems.

Benefits of external Digital Signage players

  • Can be installed to all existing displays that have compatible video inputs
  • External player’s hardware is customizable
  • Free choice of operating systems and native libraries

Disadvantages of external Digital Signage players

  • Long installation time
  • Over Internet hardware remote control is limited by its functions
  • Possible compatibility issues with the external display (For example display source might change, and external player is not aware that the content is not shown on the display)
  • Many parts to fail (Player, display, cables and connectors)
  • Higher chance of HW failure
  • Slow to troubleshoot and to fix HW failures (more than one hardware manufacturer)’
  • The displays are not necessarily made for commercial use, meaning shorter lifespan and lower brightness of the display

At SeeSignage, we provide turn-key service using high-quality built-in SoC players. We monitor statuses of the screens in order to make sure that customers screens are working properly. Additionally, you can contact us and we will do the troubleshooting for you. We use the latest remote management tools to analyse and fix any problems that are possible to fix remotely. We are also ready to fix physical problems on-site and our displays have at least 3 year on-site warranty included for free.

SeeSignage – Digital Signage in a breeze

Mikael Linko
Juhana Palmunen


Request an offer or leave a contact request and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

6 + 2 =



Mon-Fri 09.00 – 16.00
+358 10 5047 388


+358 10 504 7380


Ideamarket Oy
Valimotie 17
00380 Helsinki