Most businesses have LANs for their computers, while schools may have LANs and coaxial cable television networks. However, sometimes, because of cost, security or capacity reasons, it does not make sense to use an existing network for digital signage. One option is to use a wireless network but, because of distance, quality, security or other issues, wireless usually is not the answer.
Some of our customers have come up with creative ways to build inexpensive dedicated digital signage (video) networks that stretch over 100's of feet using inexpensive and common VGA cables. The best approach is to use a VGA video splitter/distribution amplifier. These simple and inexpensive devices allow you to take the single VGA output from your host computer and split the signal to serve more than one video monitor. The amplifier enables strong video signals to be sent over long distances.
One customer used a couple of StarTech splitter/amplifiers (www.startech.com) to address the problem. He took the video output from the computer and plugged it into the splitter. The first output from the splitter went to a monitor at the computer so the administrator could see what was happening on the digital signage network and easily maintain the system. The second output connected to a remote digital signage screen that was over 200 feet away. This could have easily been adapted to drive multiple signage screens. For example, a bank may have a screen in their lobby, one behind the tellers and another getting broadcast to the drive up lanes using a normal TV signal.
The units can be “daisy-chained” so you can extend your network even farther. StarTech and others provide 2-, 4- and 8-output splitter/amplifiers. This means that you can send the signal from the host computer to a location and then split the signal to serve multiple screens. For instance, you could put multiple screens in a lobby, gym or dining room and have just one cable running back to the host.
Another tip is to put the host computer in a central location so that you can distribute the signal from that point over shorter cables. Remember, you can administer the StrandVision Digital Signage network from any Internet-connected computer so you can have the host computer in a closet or secure equipment room.
his is just one example of the creative ways that StrandVision customers deploy their digital signage systems. Let us know if you've come up with some innovative ideas; or give us a call if you need some suggestions. We're hearing a lot and may be able to help you out.