By Andrea Waldin, VP, Marketing, Scala, Inc.
It's unusual for one competitor to agree with another. It's even more unusual to write about it. But Andrew Stark of Tightrope makes some great points in his March 2009 blog entitled, "In Defense of Windows as Digital Signage Players".
Here's my quick paraphrase of what Andrew writes:
- XP devices are the simplest to administer since they are wide spread and widely understood platforms already in use in most organizations.
- Proprietary boxes are only as dependable as the company selling them. Be aware that the price today may be right – keeping those proprietary platforms up to date can be a real challenge.
- Non-PCs don't have the same availability of compatible products like video cards, drivers, chip sets, etc.
- XP does have some security issues, but those are virtually irrelevant to digital signage players based on XP since those vulnerabilities are mostly related to user actions and unpatched machines.
- The Windows platform is just as stable as any other platform. Viruses exist for Macs and Linux has its own set of issues. All platforms are roughly equally flawed. Nobody's perfect.
- Apple isn't a good choice for a DS player, unless of course you install XP on it.
- XP is the most mature platform out there.
- Sometimes non-PC players do make sense – they are limited, but often less expensive and if that meets your needs – then non-PC players may be right for you.
I think Andrew sums it up best when he says "So, is there a place for small, non-PC players?
Absolutely! If you need something simple or to play only a known video
codec, then a PC may be overkill. Some people prefer the Linux approach
either because they are familiar with it or because it's often cheaper
to buy. All of that is true and a PC is an excellent, stable and extremely simple-to-manage platform for digital signage players."
So while it may be odd for me to quote a competitor, I firmly believe in what Andrew is saying here. PC-based players make a lot of sense for most customers. There are certainly situations where non-PC players make sense as well, but default answer should most likely be a PC.