Digital signage is an umbrella term that identifies the use of multimedia content displayed on digital monitors, screens and flat panel displays. It's used in almost every industry today, anywhere information needs to be disseminated. The greatest advantage of digital signage is that it can be updated and changed easily and frequently behind the scenes.
Recently we’ve noticed a growing adoption in the digital signage market as more and more companies tap into the benefits of digital connectivity. If you want to design a system that's going to last, with the best quality available today, we suggest complete, all-digital connectivity. That means the sources, such as computers, displays and screens, are all digital and everything is connected by digital interfaces. Not only is the picture quality considerably finer, especially in high definition, but this system will have an easier time integrating components in years to come.
When it comes to distributing one or more sources to several displays that are not connected through a computer network system, you can implement various distribution solutions. This will be much easier, and result in a higher quality on the receiving end if you stay in the digital domain. You're not going to want to distribute low-res video on displays equipped to handle 1080p full HD. Likewise, you’re not going to want to distribute hi-def video on old displays that can’t handle 108op resolutions.
Once you ensure your sources and displays are using compatible interfaces, such as DVI/HDMI for digital, or VGA/component for analog, one of the simplest methods of audio/video signal distribution is the Splitter. This plug and play device works as promised: it splits an incoming signal and outputs two or four identical signals for simultaneous display. This method of signal splitting is best served when you have two or four displays, as in a sports bar situation, that will be displaying the same audio/video content in various locations.
When you have distribution that needs to reach more than four displays, you can upgrade to a more comprehensive distribution amplifier. This device will accept an incoming signal and output it to five or more displays, often reaching up to 20 displays or more. Some distribution amps provide two or more inputs that can be switched as well. This system operates exactly like a splitter but with more outputs that support greater signal distributions.
For more complex audio/video systems, a selection of cross-point matrix switchers may be applicable. These large-scale switchers allow many different sources to be output to many different displays in almost any combination you can imagine. You can send two sources to 10 displays, one source to 30 displays, four sources to 14 displays—the options are nearly endless.
For entertainment systems that want to avoid a networked system, these types of solutions are invaluable. Most are plug and play, installed in a secure rack and deliver high quality signals wherever they are needed.