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Best Media Player Options for Digital Signage on a Budget

Not sure which media player will be best (and cheapest) for your digital signage display? This guide has everything you need to know...

Jun 2020

Best Media Player Options for Digital Signage on a Budget

Digital signage change is in the air. No longer is it restricted just to big companies, with huge IT infrastructures. The rise of cloud-based signage systems (such as ScreenCloud) is changing the market, meaning that with a TV, some consumer-grade hardware such as one of the media players below and an app, you could get an impressive looking digital signage display up and running.

Here’s an impressive statistic. Most digital signage methods and systems cost an average of $2,320 per unit. That’s based on the combination of everything you would traditionally need to get setup: a screen, a commercial-grade media player, installation costs, project management and so on.

When you add ScreenCloud to a screen and one of the consumer-grade media players below, you’re looking at an overall cost of around $400-450. That's a mega saving, that could be better allocated in your business elsewhere.

Cloud-based signage systems such as ScreenCloud don’t require much to get going. If you’re looking to get a digital signage solution setup on a budget, any TV, a media player from the list below and ScreenCloud will have you covered.

You can also watch our Head of Hardware, Abner, talk you though the best low cost media devices for signage in his Unboxed video below:

Otherwise, let's walk you through the top budget media devices for digital signage, ranging from $50 - $150.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K is a clever little device that plugs into the HDMI port of your television, in order to turn it into a smart screen display. Once plugged in and setup your TV is able to give you access to the Amazon App Store (which includes our ScreenCloud app) as well as a host of other options.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is undoubtedly the cheapest commercial-grade media player you can buy. Benefits include super simple setup and a responsive interface. The Fire TV Stick makes digital signage quick and easy to setup. If you’re interested in the tech side, then it also has a dual-core processor, a dedicated VideoCore4 GPU and 8GB of storage which is enough to use ScreenCloud’s caching feature for images, video and webpages.

Now to consider the different variations. As you'll see when you go to purchase an Amazon Fire TV Stick there are three main options:

  • Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick 2nd Generation
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick Basic Edition

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is slightly more expensive than the Fire TV Stick Gen 2 but comes with a few important additional features, namely the ability to push 4K content. If this is an important consideration for you, then the 4K stick is the version to purchase.

However, the 4K stick doesn't have the ability to use screen mirroring, which came with the earlier versions. In fact, Amazon has completely removed the screen mirroring option in the latest Fire TV Stick 4K. If that was an important feature for you then we suggest going with the old Fire TV Stick Gen 2.

Lastly, if neither the 2nd generation or 4K Fire Stick is available in your region, then the Fire TV Stick Gen 2 Basic Edition should do just fine.

Best for: creating cheap, digital signage displays 
Average cost: For $49.99 you can have it here by the weekend
Order link: Get it from your local Amazon store online

Android Xiaomi Mi Box S

Xiaomi Mi Box S for digital signage

The Xiaomi Mi Box S is powered by Android TV and makes for a powerful and affordable device for digital signage, with great value for money. It can handle even demanding content with ease and it’s easy to cast to your device with Chromecast built-in.

Our only complaint is that it’s not specifically designed for digital signage and lacks features like good remote device management that come with more business-ready devices.

The box is square, and comes in at around 3.5 x 3.5 inches, or 10 x 10 cm and is B and HDMI ports. The Xiaomi Mi box S also runs on Android 8.1 giving you full access to Android TV full rage of apps as well as Google Cast.

Best for: Non-techies looking for a quick setup and reliable device
Average cost: $54.99
Order link: Get it from your local Amazon store online

Geniatech APC395X or Ugoos AM6

Geniatech budget media player device

Low entry media players like the Fire TV Sticks are great if you just need to set up a few Digital Signage screens in your store or office, but if you want to get more business-ready devices at the same price point, you’re better off picking an Android-powered business device like the Geniatech APC395X.

The Geniatech APC395X is a powerful Android-powered industrial PC with solid build quality designed for business use cases like Digital Signage. Unlike Amazon or Android TV devices, the Geniatech APC395X runs a more complete version of Android, like what you would find on a phone or tablet that supports more business apps and services like remote device management options. The Geniatech APC395X runs Android 6.0 and has a Amlogic S905X Quad Core CPU. This media player has 8GB of memory which is already quite large but you can purchase the 16G model for those looking for a larger memory.

Best for: Demanding content and signage solutions with slightly more budget, that have room to house it (it's a bit chunkier than the alternative devices)
Average cost: $89.00
Order link: Get it from your local Hardware Store

Ugoos AM6

Ugoos AM6 budget consumer media device

If you are looking for a slightly stronger media player and additional control features we suggest purchasing the Ugoos AM6.

The Ugoos AM6 is equipped with an Amlogic S922X SoC, 2G of DDR4 RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. This box runs on the Android 9.0 operating system and also has the latest High-Efficiency Video Coding, most commonly known as HEVC or H.265. This next level video processor allows for 4K videos to be easily compressed and streamed to your display without compromising any picture quality. And it looks great!

The AM6 is enclosed in an aluminum chassis, this not only gives the box a sleek and professional look but its build dissipates heat, protects it, and provides stable processing for a kind of task.

Best for: demanding content and signage solutions with an even higher budget, more professional features

Average cost: $150-$200

Order link: Check out the purchase link here

Get started with a low cost digital signage solution today

If you need help selecting the right digital signage device for your screen network, check out the comprehensive buyer's guide to buying digital signage hardware, or you can always reach out to our friendly team (we have a whole Hardware department, figures right?) on support@screencloud.com.

For a free trial of ScreenCloud that will work on your budget media device head over to ScreenCloud - we can’t wait to see you.

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