One great thing about digital signage media players and displays designed to the Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) is that developers and system integrators can capitalize on their modularity to update their product lines with the latest advancements in graphics performance. This is no small advantage. When it comes to capturing eyeballs, smart retailers and other digital signage users want the latest and greatest technology on the floor.
Ultra high resolution graphics and video make whatever is advertised look that much more intriguing and desirable, drawing people to the sign. That’s what makes the latest Intel® HD Graphics available with 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors so exciting. The Intel® Iris™ graphics available on select SKUs are such an improvement over the latest generation that they double the performance of the previous generation. Paired with an appropriate ultra-high resolution display, they can deliver brilliant 4K Ultra HD images and video for truly immersive experiences. You can even daisy-chain up to three displays and use a new collage mode to combine displays into a single unified super-sized image.
The media upgrades are particularly valuable for signage applications. They improve video decode performance and visual quality for outstanding multi-stream HD media playback. Intel® Quick Sync Video adds acceleration for MJPEG and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Scalable Video Coding (SVC), as well as support for custom codecs through the Intel® Media SDK. In addition, the latest Intel® Clear Video HD Technology adds a separate video quality engine with new features to improve quality while lowering system power.
The 3D graphics engine, known as Intel® HD Graphics, also gets a major boost. It now features wider data paths, sampler improvements, double clocked geometry, more execution units, and support of the latest 3D APIs (DX11.1 and OGL4.3).
The Modular Advantage
If you’re new to OPS, you might want to check out an earlier post, “OPS Goes Mainstream.” In a nutshell, OPS modularizes the connection of display panels and media players, enabling any OPS-compliant player to be inserted into any OPS-compliant display. The displays have a built-in slot for OPS-compliant media players. The player and the display connect through an 80-pin JAE connector that supports commonly used interfaces such as DisplayPort and USB. (A short Intel video gives an overview of OPS and its benefits).
The big change since that earlier post is that now you can now get OPS-compatible players equipped with 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors that include Intel Iris graphics, or other improved versions of Intel HD Graphics, and the new collage mode.
Two OPS-Compliant Players Featuring the New Processor
Two good examples come from Axiomtek. The first is Axiomtek’s OPS880 (see Figure 1). This digital signage player combines a 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor and the Mobile Intel® QM87 Express chipset. Compliant with standard OPS architecture, the OPS880 is an ideal choice for multi-display applications in shopping malls, stores, airports, corporate offices, schools, hotels, churches, banks, restaurants, performing art centers, museums, and more. The player supports Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) 9.0 for remote management and control.
The OPS880 is connected to displays via the standardized JAE TX-25 plug connector, and includes an HDMI interface, DisplayPort, UART, Intel® HD Audio, and USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. The smart pluggable module is designed for quick installation and easy maintenance to save time and money, as well as make it easy to move from one monitor to another. The module supports one 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet and RS-232 to enable fast and efficient data computation and communication. Optional 802.11 b/g/n is available. In addition, one mSATA and two PCI Express Mini Card slots allow flexible storage and expansion options. System memory supports one 204-pin DDR3L-1600 SO-DOMM socket for a maximum of up to 8 GB capacity.
The very similarly equipped OPS885 (see Figure 2) takes security features a step further by including a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). This TPM works with Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT), a versatile set of hardware extensions that enhance security capabilities through measured launch and protected execution. Intel TXT creates a chain of trust that can remotely attest that the player has its specified hardware setup and software and thus has not been compromised. By providing an environment where applications can run within their own space, protected from other software, it adds an important element of security in signage applications where networked devices could be used to gain access to sensitive data or proprietary content.
Along with many other manufacturers, Axiomtek also offers OPS-compliant HD displays. The OFP321 OPS-compatible display features a 31.5-inch Full HD 1920x1080 LED-backlight LCD. An interactive IR touchscreen solution is optional.
Now, you might ask, is there an OPS-compatible 4K LCD monitor available? There is: the JVC ProVérité PS-840UD. This 84-inch class LCD panel with edge-illuminated LEDs delivers vibrant images from a wide range of HD and 4K input sources. With a native screen resolution of 3840 X 2160 (four times the resolution of full HD) images are sharper and crisper with higher contrast and incredible detail.
It’s hard to imagine how digital signage can get better than this. With 4th generation Intel Core processors, you get amazing resolution and video performance without an add-on graphics card. With OPS-compatible players, you get the ability to assemble tidy player/monitor units in which either player or monitor can be easily upgraded to the next level of performance that comes down the line. Nevertheless, I’ll be keeping my eye out for the next big development down the digital signage road. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing much more from Intel and the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance in the future.
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Solutions in this blog:
· Performance - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)
· Interoperability - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)
· Digital Signage - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)
Axiomtek is an Associate member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.
Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance
Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazine