Digital Signage Resources

To Help You Make a More Informed Decision

Reusing Hardware When Upgrading Digital Signage

Are you considering upgrading your current Digital Signage network? Well, you may not need to re-invest in hardware. Often times, when upgrading your network, the display units are the most expensive components of your network. Fortunately, these are also the constant component in all networks. Upgrading a network will almost, always require a software upgrade and with that, there is a strong probability that you will need to upgrade all the media players. However, there is a strong probability that you can reuse your screens.

First, let’s consider the software. Why are you upgrading your Digital Signage? Often times it is because the software platform is not as you require. It is not able to do something you need or there is a problem with the vendor, too expensive etc. Whatever the reason, it starts with the software. If you are happy with the software provider, then it’s the network, quality of the screens, or the media players that you are considering upgrading. In this case, it is best to work with the software vendor to upgrade those components as you would require the upgraded system to work with your software.

Next is media players. In some cases, the media players are offered by the software vendor as part of their Digital Signage platform. In this case, it is possible that the media player is some proprietary system that cannot be reused in another system. If this is the case, you will need to verify it and upgrade your media player. The reason why you need to verify it is because even if the system is proprietary, it may be based off standard hardware, for example, a Linux based system on an LG media player. LG media players are mostly Intel based systems and you can find out from LG what hardware is used and easily get a copy of windows and install onto those media players allowing you to use any windows based Digital Signage software on those media players.

In some cases the media players are independent of the Digital Signage software allowing you to simply uninstall the signage software from the media player and install a new one. If this is your situation then your new software vendor should be able to help you get their software on all your existing media players.

In either case, it is recommended that you inform your new software vendor of your situation and get them to do a full audit of your system to find out what can be re-used and what cannot. If they claim that some equipment cannot be reused, make sure you understand why and make sure you believe their explanation.

If your LCD screen is within 3 years of purchase, it is good to use until it dies so insist on reusing it unless there is some show stopper reason why you can’t. There are few things to consider when re-using LCD screens:

  • Does your old screen support the resolution provided by your new media player and software? Ie. The current resolutions at the time of upgrade may be higher than those when you purchased the screen. Ie. 720p vs 1080p vs 4k. If this is the case, are you ok with the lower resolution? In most cases this is ok, and demand a demo of the two resolution side by side from your new provider to see for yourself.
  • Do you need some new feature in current generation screens? Ie. Is there some feature offered by the new signage software package that is not possible on the old screen? This is often something provided through the RS232 interface on commercial screens. For example the ability to detect if the screen is on and displaying content or the ability to shut off the screens at a certain time to save power etc.
  • Do you need to change orientation of the screen which is not possible on the older screens? Often times it is just a warranty matter with changing orientation and since the warranty on older screens are probably already expired, you may want to just take your chances and keep the old screens and put them in portrait orientation anyway.
  • Are you happy with the look of the old screens? Often times an upgrade of the system may not be visible to general audience without an upgrade of the screens themselves because the upgrade to software may be a more efficient work flow or some other improvement but if you are displaying same content the network will not look new.

Mounting hardware is most likely reusable. Most mounting hardware is universal mount based on some VESA mounting pattern. You may need to purchase different type of screws or stand offs to match new screens. It is important you find out the VESA mounting pattern, and the thread identifier on your screen and ensure that your old mounts will support the mounting pattern and you are able to get screens to match the threads on the mounts.