What is it?
It's the new Simplicity Series of displays from Planar Systems Inc. The Beaverton, Ore.-headquartered digital signage display provider today introduced its new lineup of large-format LCD displays that feature built-in media playback capabilities.
Planar said its Simplicity Series displays include USB playback with scheduling, LAN and mobile device content distribution, with built-in speakers — thereby lowering the total cost of ownership for an entry-level digital signage solution by "eliminating" the need for an external media player.
Basically, it's another shot across the bow for media player providers — this is another digital signage screen that embeds some basic playback capabilities within the display.
Planar says end-users can upload content to the display in three different ways: USB playback; over the network; or via wireless device such as a smartphone or tablet. Deployers and end-users can use assets they already have on hand, such as videos, stock photos and music libraries, or content created from a digital signage software package.
"The Simplicity Series presents an elegant canvas for your content," Planar Systems Product Marketing Manager Becky Connors said via email. "Its ultraslim profile and narrow bezel blends naturally into any environment and highlights the focus on the content. As is the case with all Planar digital signage displays, the Simplicity Series bezel is logo-free. These features are most important for portrait orientations, where a sideways side logo and uneven bezel can look especially awkward."
What's new is basically that, as above, it's an entry-level priced digital signage display with media playback capabilities so SMBs can cut down on the number of pieces and parts they have to buy to roll out basic digital signage.
Other interesting specs?
According to Connors:
- Users needing to install multiple displays can push content from one computer to several individual displays, resulting in instant updates to content without the cost of multiple media players.
- At a depth of less than 1.7 inches the displays are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Designed for commercial use in mind, the Simplicity Series displays come standard with a full array of inputs and the ability to control the display remotely through LAN or RS-232.
- The Kensington slot on the backside of the display helps to secure the display in public environments, and the rear lockable keypad secures the control of the display.
- Using LED backlight technology, the Simplicity Series is not only thin and lightweight, but also energy efficient. The Simplicity Series operates at 30 percent less power consumption than the industry average for LED backlit displays.
Prices start at $595. The Simplicity Series is currently available in 32- and 42-inch display sizes. Additional sizes will be available in early 2014.
The bottom line:
It's inexpensive digital signage without a media player. Obviously these displays aren't going to replace media players for higher-end and more content-intensive digital signage deployments. But for the simplest use-cases — which some in the space see as the most unexploited niche out there — these should be just what the accountant ordered, and could help increase the rate of adoption for digital signage among small- and medium-sized businesses.
Learn more about digital signage display technology.