4K on digital signage, what’s beyond?

About 15 years ago, I purchased a second hand “high resolution” video display when my dental office upgraded to LCD. It was a 21″ CRT, weighed in at about 65lbs and was able to do 1920×1440 pixels or about the same resolution as what later came to be known as 1080p. Since then, not much has actually changed, most flat screens were initially 720p, a bit of a downgrade from high-res CRT’s of the era and currently 1080p still makes out the majority of displays purchased. We’ve seen the industry proclaim 4K as the “next big thing” to have and manufacturers are already working on 8K but not many are purchasing.

Where is the holdup?

A 4k image is smoother and has more detail than a 1080p image. The higher pixel count of a 4k screen allows for a more detailed representation of the picture. So it makes sense that people, especially in advertising would be flocking to the new media.

There are many reasons why higher resolutions than 1080p haven’t gotten a strong foothold yet. Primarily though, the content needs to follow. A 4k UHD TV doesn’t improve the picture quality of lower quality content, 4K content requires 4x as much information and although algorithms can make guesses to fill in that information, creating content directly in 4K (or higher) and especially using HDR capabilities can make your content look more crisp, more attractive and thus it will get more eyeballs.

The other issue is that the perceived cost is too high. Media sources like Digital Signage Players have to be replaced, the content has to be recreated and if the vendor has cheaped out on an installation, they may even have to go as far as replacing wiring. With 8K on the horizon, many decision makers feel that within a few years, they will suffer from deja-vu thus making them wait even longer and as a result they get further behind and replacements become even more expensive to manage. Many digital signage companies also charge extra, one of our competitors charges $200 extra for a player with 4K vs 1080p and much of the 4K content also carries a premium price over the same content in lower resolutions.

A solution

Way back when, computers didn’t have nearly as much power as what’s available now, all sorts of tricks were used to be able to display complex images using the least amount of storage. Using modern algorithms of those techniques allows DigitalHDA media players to scale a Layout to higher resolution textures without loss of quality. You read that right: content created purposefully for DigitalHDA media players can scale from 720p to 32K (currently available on video walls) or beyond without any loss of quality.

To do so, we use techniques that describe your image as the placement of fonts, shapes, textures and motion which is an adjustment from a pixel-by-pixel description of the image. We still support classic media (images, videos etc) and our players can scale down such media on the fly so it is recommended that if you use third party content creators or stock images and textures, to have it created in the highest resolution they make available (4K or 8K) and our media players can scale it to the correct resolution, even if that resolution only takes up a small section of the screen.

Additionally, even our most “basic” media players have 4K 10-bit HDR outputs built-in as a standard feature, so there are no extra costs even if you decide not to upgrade your display to a 4K model today, you can spread out the expenses of upgrading to 4K over whatever time period you need.

Contact DigitalHDA today for our platform overview: www.digitalhda2.wpengine.com – (585) 210-3449