Black Box Adds Plug-and-Play Solutions to Its Digital Signage Product Line

  • PITTSBURGH, PA--Black Box Corporation has expanded its line of digital signage products to help businesses more affordably and economically market to and reach their customers.
  • “Digital signage gets results. Whether you use it to increase sales, cross-sell, upsell, or to improve communications, it’s a smart investment,” says Mario Calabro, Black Box multimedia products manager. “It’s an effective way of delivering the right message at the right time. Businesses and organizations of all sizes in every vertical are seeing a very quick ROI.”
  • To meet the increased demands, Black Box has launched a wide array of digital signage solutions. Generating the most industry buzz is iCOMPEL, Black Box’s new family of browser-based, networked digital signage appliances. Showcased at the recent Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas, iCOMPEL gives new users and system integrators a highly affordable, “out-of-the-box” way to set up, create, and manage digital signage.
  • Despite its simplified design and affordable price, iCOMPEL provides the advanced features and functionality typically found on very high-end systems. “You get professionally designed layouts, easy-to-use drag-and-drop tools, and a whole host of other features,” Calabro says. “Plus, there are no ongoing licensing fees, all the software is included, and updates are free.”
  • Because it supports many media formats, users can combine 1080p video or live TV with scrolling text, photos, Flash, and HTML and RSS media. It works with MPEG, AVI, QuickTime, and PowerPoint media, as well as JPEG, GIF, and TIFF images, and WAV and MP3 audio. The iCOMPEL system supports playing of stored and live media in multiple screen zones, as well as changing content ad-hoc at the display.
  • Calabro says iCOMPEL is ideal for any size users. “You can have one unit in one location or thousands of units playing different content around the globe,” he explains.
  • For those looking to use their existing network infrastructure to distribute digital signage content, Black Box has introduced Video and Audio over Ethernet (VAoE) Extenders.
  • This breakthrough technology, which uses an existing Ethernet network for end-to-end digital media distribution, is a very cost-effective alternative to today’s expensive solutions for sending live video and audio to remote screens. Calabro says, “All you need is a CAT5, CAT5e, or CAT6 network infrastructure and you can transmit hi-def video and audio to one or more displays as far as 300 feet away. To go farther, you just add a network switch to the system.”
  • The system provides up to six independent media streams, transmitting broadcast-quality video without amplifiers or signal tuning. The extenders work with any single-link DVI or HDTV display and support 1080p resolutions, no matter what the distance or the number of displays. The system also includes a simple-to-manage interface that the administrator uses to publish, update, and schedule content, or even interrupt scheduled content for emergencies or for ad-hoc messaging.
  • The VAoE system supports a multiple-screen setup or a digital signage network with screens in different areas. To distribute video to the screens, multiple receiver units can be daisychained through their CATx ports. In addition, the system’s receiver works as a true Gigabit Ethernet switch, supporting device connections via its three 10-/100-/1000-Mbps Ethernet ports.

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