Watching TV broadcasts like CNN, The Weather Channel and other shows has gotten us used to densely-packed information that combines video and graphics with text-and-icon “crawls” along the screen top, bottom and/or side, mini-graphics at a corner, sidebars and more.
Digital signage content can be similarly sophisticated, incorporating video along with text slides and crawls, and photos and graphics.
Some video may be “canned” — short or long segments stored in the organization’s digital signage content management system (DS CMS) or on the player computers associated with displays.
But other video is “streamed,” similar to how video comes to your home cable TV box, or when you watch a YouTube video on your computer, tablet or smartphone.
Here’s a look at why and how organizations are incorporating streaming video into their digital signage content.
Streaming video typically refers to video coming from a “live” source, such as a video camera on your premises, from a cable/broadcast source with the appropriate permissions or licenses, or from stored video files.
Andre Floyd, product marketing manager, Professional Displays, Sony Electronics Inc. points out, “Video streaming can also be used in situations where the content file would be too big to transfer and/or store locally on some player devices.”
“Most of on-demand streamed video is looped,” notes Mike Galli, vice president of Marketing, ViewCast Corporation, whose H.264 products include its Osprey video capture cards and its Niagara streaming appliances. “Although I’ve seen some that’s interactively triggered, like by touch screen or RFID.”
Like any content, the video stream has to be encoded in a format that the various components in the digital signage system and network “understand.” The most common video format is the ITU standard H.264, which supports HD content, allowing video streams to be broadcast, recorded, distributed and displayed.
Video typically using H.264 includes digital television, and Blu-Ray and DVD disks, as well as a lot of videoconferencing, Internet video, and mobile TV. Computers, set-top boxes, mobile phones and other devices all “speak” H.264.
Typical types of video stream content include local events like meetings, classes, sports, and ceremonies; emergency announcements; and feeds from an external video source like news or weather. Much of this video content is often available through a facility’s internal cable-TV channels.
Increasingly, digital signage is incorporating streamed video into its content mix.
“By adding live streaming video content to your digital messaging you can add a more compelling component to an already eye-catching visual medium,” says Jim Colquhoun,