Digital Signage - Choosing the Best Video Distribution Technology

Written by Minicom Advanced Systems

Continued from page 1

Benefits & Drawbacks Fiber optic cable is optimal for transmitting high-resolution multi-media over long distances, a feature which makes it particularly appropriate for digital signage. Fiber optic cable provides network-independent performance without downtime or transmission lags. It can transfer media over 40 kilometers or more. In addition, it requires no special infrastructure, software or display-side CPUs.

However, fiber optic is a point-to-point technology – in other words, a pure fiber optic cable solution will not allow multiple displays to receive output from a single video source. This can prove a significant obstacle for multiple-display digital signage installations such as malls and airports.

In addition, fiber optic cable has a high price relative to other technologies. Fiber optic cable’s expense can prove prohibitive when planning a large digital signage project. A possible solution, discussed below, isrepparttar combination of fiber optic cable with other, less expensive solutions, allowingrepparttar 139078 user to benefit from fiber optic cable’s advantages while reducingrepparttar 139079 total cost ofrepparttar 139080 project.

CAT5 Distribution Systems CAT5 cable is also a transmission medium favored for local installations that need high bandwidth and high resolution without any existing network infrastructure. CAT5 cable technology provides these advantages at a considerably lower cost than fiber optic cable. CAT5 technology supports real-time multi-media transfer through inexpensive, low density, twisted pair cabling.

Benefits & Drawbacks In certain ways, CAT5 technology as a distribution platform combinesrepparttar 139081 best aspects of fiber-optic and network technologies. Like fiber optic technology, CAT5 technology requires no special software or display-side CPUs, and is completely hardware-based and network independent. Only transmitter and receiving units are required. While CAT5 covers shorter distances than fiber optic cable (typically 100-300 m/300-1000 ft), CAT5 cable costs considerably less than fiber optic cable, making it a leading option for combination solutions which overcome CAT5 cable’s distance limitations.

In addition, CAT5 technology can be used in point-to-multi-point applications, allowingrepparttar 139082 broadcast of media content from one central source to hundreds of display stations. As a result, CAT5 technology alone or combined with fiber optic cable is an ideal solution for multiple-display digital signage installations.

Due to its network independence, CAT5 cable allows high performance, real-time transmission of high-resolution multi-media without slowdowns or downtime. If CAT5 technology is combined with a BIOS-level hardware solution for remote access over IP (such as a KVM IP extender), it can even allow remote maintenance and trouble shooting forrepparttar 139083 content server that managesrepparttar 139084 content to be displayed, minimizing down time and loss of investment.

CAT5 cable’s low expense, ease of installation, and flexibility make it a good choice for a primary distribution technology as well as a leading “last mile” option for combination platforms.

Combination Technologies Because ofrepparttar 139085 advantages and drawbacks of each ofrepparttar 139086 technologies listed above, it is frequently advisable to use a combination of technologies for optimal performance atrepparttar 139087 lowest possible cost.

Fiber optic and CAT5 cable When dealing with high-resolution media over large distances that must be broadcast to a group of displays, a combination of fiber optic and CAT5 cable isrepparttar 139088 optimal solution. In this case, fiber optic cable is used for distance broadcasting together with a local CAT5 video broadcaster for “splitting”repparttar 139089 broadcast torepparttar 139090 various displays. This is a simple solution to install, since all that is needed is to connectrepparttar 139091 fiber optic receiver withrepparttar 139092 CAT5 video broadcaster. Andrepparttar 139093 use of CAT5 cable forrepparttar 139094 last 50-150 meters/150-500 feet of cabling instead of fiber optic cable can provide significant savings.

Benefits High resolution & performance Hardware solution Point to multi-point No special infrastructure or display-side software required Network independent Long distance Supports groups of displays Lower cost than pure fiber optic

Conclusion: By combiningrepparttar 139095 two technologies intorepparttar 139096 same solution and usingrepparttar 139097 true advantages of each type of cable you were able to save almost 17% or $17,500 in direct costs to your customer.

Data Network and CAT5 cable When managing multiple groups of digital signage displays from a remote location, a combination of data networking and local CAT5 cabling can giverepparttar 139098 userrepparttar 139099 best of both worlds: remote management over IP combined with low-cost and network-independent infrastructure. The “last mile” use of CAT5 in place of data networks atrepparttar 139100 display end savesrepparttar 139101 cost of a computer (or CPU) for every display. All that is needed is a local central server, which is remotely managed throughrepparttar 139102 data network. The local server is connected to multiple displays through CAT5 technology, freeingrepparttar 139103 local installation from network dependence. The digital signage of each location is network-independent, and each installation is far less expensive to implement. Bandwidth issues are also surmounted by transmitting media torepparttar 139104 local computer ahead of time for scheduling on-the-fly. Atrepparttar 139105 time of broadcast, media is transmitted locally over CAT5 cabling, which is network independent and not limited by bandwidth.

Benefits Point to multi-point High resolution & performance No local infrastructure or display-side software required Locally network independent Low cost

Conclusion Distribution infrastructure is an important part of digital signage, and choosingrepparttar 139106 correct distribution technology is a crucial element of any digital signage project. While each distribution technology has its advantages and drawbacks,repparttar 139107 correct combination of technologies can achieve low cost and high performance no matter whatrepparttar 139108 project size or complexity.

Minicom Advanced Systems is a leading manufacturer of innovative A/V distribution solutions.

Minicom's AV Solutions are distributed and supported in the UK by DVI Partnership Ltd. For more information visit:

Automatic Drawing Creation

Written by Adrian Dunevein

Continued from page 1

While these benefits are important it should be notedrepparttar every detail inrepparttar 138985 product design process has to uncovered for this drawing automation to work. What designers now do routinely must be written down and built into formulas and design tables. This is not as easy as it sounds. Designers do a lot of things unconsciously that must be recorded.

The process of automating a design can be approached on an assembly by assembly basis, making sure at each step, thatrepparttar 138986 process is working. A small part ofrepparttar 138987 machine is automated, for example, machine guards. From that point onrepparttar 138988 computer designsrepparttar 138989 guards from specifications andrepparttar 138990 engineers make sure thatrepparttar 138991 system is working properly before proceeding to automate more critical areas ofrepparttar 138992 machine.

Ifrepparttar 138993 process is done carefully, great benefits can be realized in savings of cost and time. Ifrepparttar 138994 engineer’s look atrepparttar 138995 work they do throughoutrepparttar 138996 year, even in custom fabrication, there are things that must done repetitively. It might be flange sizing, machine frames, shafts or any number of things.

It’s worth it for an engineering manager to take a long hard look atrepparttar 138997 the kinds of work that is being done day in and day out, to see if drawing automation can save time and money.

Adrian Dunevein runs AAA Drafting Services. ( He is a mechanical designer specializing in using 3d software such as solidworks to create engineering drawings for engineers and manufacturers. Contact him at

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