Finnish digital signage provider FirstView Digital Signage has announced a new Raspberry Pi-based media player, the PiCube, that plays back full-HD video and images that also comes free of charge.

FirstView DS, the technology provider behind thousands of Otrum hotel displays in Europe and the Middle East, said the new "adorably small but powerful" network-based player is being given away as part of the company's effort "to change the whole nature of the digital signage industry from hardware oriented toward more of a service-based industry."

The PiCube requires no initial investment, nor is the price built into the form of a monthly leasing payment, the company said.

The company said its plan is to derive business by providing the Web-based FirstView Manager content management, cloud server and maintenance, and software updates as a SaaS service for €26 per month per PiCube. "The customer gets a complete digital signage solution, and the strongly R&D-oriented company, FirstView, gets to see (its) technology behind a growing number of screens," the company said in the announcement.

FirstView DS combined the Linux-based FirstView Manager software with the credit card-sized single-board computer Raspberry Pi to create a professional quality media player that plays images and full-HD video. The size of the player is 100-by-30-by-70 millimeters. It has 6 GB internal memory and uses very low energy (power rating 3.5W), the company said. The Raspberry Pi-based hardware uses 700 MHz ARM core, has 512 RAM memory and a Broadcom VideoCore. Both audio and video use HDMI out. The device also has a 3.5mm jack for audio and 10/100 Ethernet RJ45 or wireless Wi-Fi for networking. PiCube runs a Linux-based operating system and can be mounted on the back of any digital screen with HDMI/DVI output.

Learn more about digital signage hardware.

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