Jeff Hastings, BrightSign CEO, explains the company’s new line up of hardware and software abilities that the company says is set to reinvent its digital signage offering.
“Our growth since the launch of BrightSign has been huge,” says Jeff, “We are now not just the largest vendor of digital signage players on the planet, we believe our approach can lead to even more growth as our proposition continues to deliver more added value than many of our competitors. We offer a completely bespoke package created just for the digital signage market, not merely PCs altered to deliver a solution. Our total signage solution covers the hardware, the networking and our redesigned BrightAuthor (v4.5) software gives installers and end-users everything they will ever need to easily create engaging and cutting edge solutions for a wide range of markets.”
Jeff adds: “For us the software is absolutely crucial. Yes, the hardware needs to be rock solid and inventive, but getting the software right keeps us ahead of the competition in ease of use and functionality and so we spend around 80% of our development energy on this aspect of the system.
“The big difference with us is that our whole concept is designed just for the digital signage market and as such it delivers exactly what you need to get the job done, nothing more, nothing less – this gives our customers what they need and keeps us price competitive. The trouble with PC-based solutions is that they are not purpose made. Imagine you want to make yourself some toast, you would never use the large oven in your kitchen, it’s simply not the right tool for the job; you use the specialty device, you use us, you use the toaster!”
Every single product in the range has been re-build with new functionality and very compact new form factors (under one-inch thick) designed to make the product good looking enough to be on show or hide away in a variety of places. The company is very proud of the new design which uses its own chassis as a heat sink to keep itself cool and enable such a slim box. The company’s distinctive purple livery is also retained. There are also ports on the front and the back to make it easier to rack mount the product if needed.
Jeff explains that HTML 5 is now the common platform right across the whole system, providing more freedom for content creation and inventiveness on the part of programmers and content writers.
The inclusion of H.265 decoding in the range reduces file sizes, dropping the load on the system all round, creating more head room for creatively and to take advantage of the growth in higher res screens.
An IP streaming server is also now included in the range on the HD, XD and XT models to also increase connectivity options and negate the need for separate video streaming devices. Other updates include an M.2 connection interface so a Wi-Fi antennae or a solid-state drive (M.2 SSD) can be added to the system.
All the players also support CEA HDR 10 and Jeff is particularly excited about the impact that this technology will have across the digital signage sector, adding a wider colour palate and the other attributes of HDR.
The new BrightAuthor software v4.5 will deliver a new feature on the HD, XD and XT players called Mosaic Mode, which allows a multitude of lower resolution videos to be played in multiple video zones that add up to the total resolution decoding power of the players’ video decoder. The ability to real-time encode and stream content from the player to another end-point or device will now be incorporated in XD and XT players.
Installers and end-users can also dial into the systems with a remote view feature to check what is happening and code in real-time what is coming out of each device.
Jeff adds: “Another cool feature is BrightBeacon which allows the system to interact with customer’s smart devices, say in a retail environment, delivering offers or images or chances to interact with the store and what is available to experience or purchase.”
The feature delivers two-screen exposure on both large digital signage screens and mobile device displays, senses nearby BTLE enabled mobile devices and sends targeted content based on location-awareness, supports two-way communication between mobile devices and digital signage as well as offering a fully programmable solution with multiple beacon UUIDs supported. The feature can also be integrated with third party Apps.
BrightSign Network, including the new B-Deploy feature, also now supports media and player tagging for targeted content distribution to very large networks of players, tens of thousands if needed. Jeff says that together these features reduce work load and can make systems much more targeted and intelligent.
The New Seven Strong Range In Detail
BrightSign LS: Affordable, Compact and Fully Featured
BrightSign’s LS423 ($250) is described as a fully featured, commercial-grade player offering a superior alternative to consumer devices often chosen for price-sensitive digital signage installations. Based on the BrightSign HD platform, BrightSign LS423 was created to offer reliability and affordability, with a feature set including H.265 Full HD video decoding, a basic HTML5 engine, USB 2.0 type C and networking.
BrightSign HD: Updated Classic with Mainstream Performance
The new HD models are updated with advanced technology that the manufacturer says delivers power and performance for mainstream applications at a very affordable cost. Both the HD223 ($350) and HD1023 ($450) offer hardware-accelerated HTML5 engine and 1080p60 decode, along with BrightSign’s media-handling platform and signature ease of use. All HD models support Gigabit Ethernet, as well as interactive controls and dynamic live content features.
BrightSign XD: True 4K Playback and Advanced Performance
BrightSign’s two new XD players are capable of decoding either two 1080p60 videos or a single 4K video and a single 1080p60 video, simultaneously. Both the XD233 ($450) and XD1033 ($550) have Gigabit Ethernet and offer an advanced hardware-accelerated HTML5 engine.
BrightSign XT: State-of-the-Art Technology with Enterprise Performance
BrightSign says the XT243 ($550) and XT1143 ($650) offer unsurpassed performance with the company’s fastest HTML and graphics engine and the most powerful CPU. This technology for enterprise level digital signage installations supports dual video decode of one 4K and one 1080p60 video simultaneously. The hardware-accelerated HTML5 engine enables playback of multiple modular HTML5 assets including CSS animations, Web GL and swipe/gesture interactivity. Both XT models support PoE+ and Gigabit Ethernet and the XT1143 offers HDMI-in for live TV playback.
The whole new range will ship on September 12 and the first place the devices can be seen is at the UK-based Midwich Technology Exposed Event on September 21 at Mercedes Benz World in Surrey. Jeff concludes: “We are looking to grow our sales by 25% this year and another 25% next year as well. We are confident we can do this as we design our hardware and don’t outsource to companies such as Intel which often results in a generic and less than perfect solution.
“Part of Roku before we became BrightSign, we have been living with our software solution for 15 years and the platform is very mature and we are confident in its abilities. Nobody designs chips especially for digital signage, but we pick the very best to suit our software. We do all of this at very competitive prices, which we believe puts us out in front.”