Often we see new digital signage users making the same old mistake: they buy the cheapest digital signage player they can find, only to later regret their decision when they realize it doesn’t offer the digital signage features their business needs to begin with.
The Google Chromebit is one of the most common devices we see being considered and used for digital signage. With the upcoming end of life date for the Chromebit (November 2020), and it’s lack of processing power, it’s definitely not an option we recommend using as your digital signage player.
Don’t get us wrong, the Chromebit isn’t a bad device. It’s just not cut out for commercial digital signage use. It’s massively underpowered, has almost no storage, very hard to secure against theft and can’t sufficiently handle most apps and features needed to run digital signage effectively.
In short, the Chromebit is an extremely limited consumer media device with very limited support outside the US and an end of life date that is fast approaching.
On the bright side, however, there are numerous great digital signage players for 2020 that are a bit more expensive, but way better when it comes to overall performance. And a few extra bucks for a wildly better device is a trade-off we’d take any day of the week.
What does the Chromebit end of life policy mean?
For Chrome devices to continue to be fast, reliable and secure they require regular Chrome OS auto updates. When a Chrome device reaches it’s specified end of life date it will no longer continue to receive the latest Chrome OS updates which are vital because Chrome OS is the operating system that your Chromebit needs to function correctly.
We recommend Android digital signage over Chrome
While Android media players can vary in performance and features, we typically recommend them over Chrome digital signage players for several reasons.
To begin with, the best Android digital signage players usually are more versatile, reliable, scalable, and better performing than their Chrome digital signage player equivalents.
More than that, though, they are far easier to set up than Chrome devices thanks to their automatic USB provisioning. Android USB provisioning allows digital signage adopters to use the same USB stick to quickly and easily pair multiple screens and media players in mere minutes.
While adding new displays and media players to an existing Chrome digital signage network is no sweat, initially setting up a Chrome device is not a simple task at all.
For those without a wealth of technical know-how, the process can be extremely complicated and tricky, and it doesn’t help that ChromeOS devices only offer limited support outside the US.
Android and Chrome media devices are roughly priced in the same ballpark, anywhere from $50-200.
Best Android digital signage player: Nvidia Shield TV
Out of the huge number of Android devices that have flooded the market in 2020, our far and away favorite is the Nvidia Shield media box.
The Nvidia Shield TV and Shield TV Pro are the best digital signage player options on the market right now when you factor in cost, performance, storage, ease of use, automatic provisioning, 4K video playback, and intuitive remote control capabilities.
While other Android and Chrome devices might beat out the Shield TV and Shield TV Pro in one or two areas, in terms of all-around value, the Nvidia Shield TV is the clear winner.
The Nvidia Shield comes in at $150 while the Shield TV Pro costs just $50 more.
Best Chrome digital signage player: Chromebox Mini
Those looking for an affordable Chrome OS digital signage device should check out the AOPEN Chromebox Mini. The number one thing about the Chromebox Mini for digital signage is that it has similar capabilities as other commercial and educational Chromeboxes on the market for less than half of the cost.
The base Chromebox Mini model starts at $189. Other Chromeboxes will run you north of $400.
It’s small, portable design also makes it the perfect choice for use in Chrome Kiosk Mode with touchscreen displays.
How to get started
There’s many small businesses out there without a ton of resources that want to invest in digital signage. We understand the temptation of going for the cheapest option is strong. But trust us when we say that shelling out a little bit more money goes a long way in today’s digital signage market.
There’s a world of difference in what your digital signage can accomplish between a Chromebit and say a Chromebox Mini or Nvidia Shield. So why not get more bang for your buck and spend that extra bit of cash? It’s absolutely worth it. For a complete breakdown make sure to check out our guide: how much does digital signage cost?
To get started with digital signage, sign up for TelemetryTV’s 14-day free trial to gain access to a wealth of apps, features, and templates that make crafting high-quality digital signage content a breeze.
And while you’re at it, check out our 6 tips for evaluating the best digital signage players!