This is the first big decision you need to make once you decide to partake in the digital signage dance off. Popular entries in the digital signage dance off include the menu board mambo and the window display waltz, but perhaps you’re looking to trip the light fantastic with a retail screen rumba? Well, you’ll need to choose between System on Chip and Media Players.

What does this even mean? Well, I’m happy you asked. It really helps me pad out this blog post. Most of the screens we deal with are SoC. That stands for System on Chip, which is great because if you sound it out phonetically it sounds like ‘sock’ and socks are great for dancing especially if you have one of those shiny dance floor dealies. You can really slide along like Tom Cruise in that movie with his underwear… Wait, I’ve disappeared on a tangent. Digital signage, SoC, got ya. I’m back.

As most of our screens are SoC, you might just be thinking, “cool, they know what they’re talking about, they’re Digital Messaging Company. I’ll just go with SoC and get on with my digital dancing”. This would be foolish as you need to know if SoC is actually the right choice for you. Here’s what you need to consider:

Do you like saving money?

Yes? Of course you do, we all like a fiscal foxtrot. Well, SoC could be the way forward for you. Digital signage is all about the screen, but in order to get your content on the screen you need a media player. The price of media players varies, but it could easily cost you an extra several hundred pounds on top of your screen costs to buy a media player. SoC means that a media player is embedded within the display. A SoC screen is slightly more expensive than a screen with no media player embedded, yes, I grant you that, but it is much cheaper than buying a screen and a media player separately. There are also added installation costs, with the independent media player requiring an extra bracket and cabling. SoC can be as simple as attaching one display to the wall and plugging it in. If you’re looking for an option that’s easy on the budget, SoC could be for you.

System on Chip

Do you want something simple?

Yes? You’re down for a straightforward shimmy? Well, it’s much easier to configure a new SoC screen than to configure a media player with a separate screen. Also, while some folks have raised concerns about media players being easier to deal with when something breaks down we don’t think that’s necessarily the case. The theory goes that you can keep an extra media player on hand and just switch it out if one of your media players throws its toys out of the pram. Who’s really going to buy a superfluous media player for this just-in-case scenario, though? People don’t spend hundreds of pounds on equipment and expect it to casually break. It’s more likely you’d have to send away for a replacement player and in this time you could have had the SoC screen repaired or replaced. All of our SoC screens come with an on site warranty, so we think that keeps the simplicity factor in SoC’s favour. SoC failure isn’t really something worth worrying about either – we’ve never had one fail on us, and researching a little we found that Samsung’s SoC failure rate is 0.3%. It’s a very stable piece of equipment.


Do you like having options?

Yes? Maybe you have a preferred brand of digital signage. LG and Samsung have both developed their own operating systems and many other brands of display use Android software. If you’re brand loyal, or just know that a particular brand will work better for you, chances are we can help you source the SoC displays you need.


Is your content easy to run?

Yes? Good, because this one is the crucial conga that will make or break your System on Chip dreams. If you have simple content, SoC will definitely work for you. However, if your content requires a bit more heavy lifting, media players may be a safer bet. What do I mean by ‘heavy lifting’? Well, are you going to be playing multiple videos at once? Is synchronisation important to you? Will your display be split into sections with multiple tickers, feeds, videos and graphics all requiring processing power? That is heavy lifting. While the processing power of SoC displays has come on in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years, and we’re confident that one day they will finally make it powerful enough to match separate media players playing prowess, today is not that day. If you’re displaying static images in a playlist, simple videos with a small file size and a news ticker, then SoC is your friend.


Still not sure? Give us a call or an email. We’ll talk you through how it works according to your specific requirements and give you the best advice on which way to go.