Sunday, 20 March 2011

Network infrastructure

Whenever the display, media player and content server are located apart there is a need for audio-video wiring between the display and the media player and between the media player and the content server. The connection from media player to display is normally a VGA, DVI, HDMI or Component video connection. Sometimes this signal is distributed over Cat 5 cables using transmitter and receiver baluns allowing for greater distances between display and player and simplified wiring. The connection from media player to content server is usually a wired Ethernet connection although some installations use wireless Wifi networking.

To manage a network, a management server is usually required. This can be located anywhere, so long as it is connected to the digital signage network. New content will be managed and organized here, while the actual content itself is stored and played on the player servers. Digital signage networks can either be closed or open to the web, which will affect how the content on the screens is updated. For closed networks (without Internet access), updates need to be done locally through USB sticks, DVD drives or other 'onsite' updates. Open networks (with Internet access) can be updated remotely and stream data from other Internet sources (such as RSS feeds). The availability and type of Internet access (wireless, broadband, etc.) depends on the location and client.

Technologies such as IPTV allow digital signage to be used as a method of broadcasting. The content is played according to instructions provided by play lists controlled by the digital signage system content management server. Convergence between digital signage and broadcasting allows for real-time distribution of broadcast sources (TV) on a narrowcast network (digital signage).

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