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Using Apple TV for Digital Signage

Apple's Apple TV is a fantastic device for watching movies, TV shows, and for playing the odd game or two. So surely it's a great contender for use in digital signage? Well actually, maybe not.

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Apple's Apple TV is a fantastic device for watching movies, TV shows, and for playing the odd game or two. Especially in the most recent version, it's becoming more powerful - and at $179 or so, it's surely a great contender for use in digital signage and such, right?

Well, that's what we hoped too, but it turns out that there are a handful of caveats and issues right off the bat. For one thing, while Apple TV can stream video, it is very, very poor at rendering HTML5 content, and - not that we would recommend using Flash in the first place - Flash isn't supported. 

The most elegant way of getting signage up on a television using Apple TV would be to use its powerful AirPlay functionality, which enables you to mirror the content of your iOS device on your television. We do have powerful ScreenCloud Signage players for iOS, of course, but there's a problem here: Now, in addition to the $179 Apple TV, you'd need an iOS device, and even the cheapest iOS devices cost upwards of $200. Suffice to say, that if you have $350 to spend, there are better media players available out there. 

Now, if you do have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device and an Apple TV kicking about anyway, you might be tempted to use that for a temporary digital signage solution - and you could, but then you're facing the next challenge: AirPlay isn't actually as stable as Apple would love you to believe. Sure, you can watch YouTube videos here and there, but if you need rock-solid reliability for hour after hour, AirPlay probably isn't the technology you're looking for. 

So, what's a better solution than using Apple TV?

All of this is a long, round-about way of saying that Apple TV, while a great device, probably isn't the solution for your digital signage needs. 

There is some great news, though: ScreenCloud runs on a whole series of platforms. If you just want a quick solution, the most cost-effective digital signage device is likely the Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick or Chromecast with Google TV - it's far better suited to the task at hand and renders HTML5 natively, which means that your signage will look awesome day in, day out.

If you are looking for a more business ready device that can handle demanding content with ease and has enterprise features, we recommend the Station P1 Pro device. If you prefer a Windows or Chrome OS device, then the Azulle Btye 4 or Asus Chromebox 4 should suffice.

If you'd like to compare different options and price points, you can view our buyer's guide to digital signage hardware here.

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