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Digital Signage with Google's Chromecast

Google's Chromecast is a popular media device, but we don't recommend buying it for digital signage. Here, we give you some alternatives to ensure you're getting the best bang for your buck.

Google's Chromecast is a great, affordable media device, but we don't recommend buying it for digital signage. Here, we give you some alternatives to ensure you're getting the best bang for your buck.

Should you use Chromecast for digital signage?

The short answer is, no.

At the heart of it, the Chromecast is a pretty dumb device. It's not particularly powerful, and has minimal storage. Instead, it mostly relies on the processing power and rendering power of the device you use to fling content to it. Yes, that means that your Android phone probably is a lot more powerful than your Chromecast device. 

The other problem is that the Chromecast is really just a display device, and you can't really install apps on the Chromecast. For ScreenCloud digital signage specifically, the Chromecast doesn't support some important features like offline usage, multi-zone layouts or certain advanced, power hungry apps, which many alternative devices at the same, or lower costs, do.

Despite the downsides mentioned above, we previously developed a workaround so that our customers, who had already purchased the Chromecast, could still use it to display ScreenCloud.

So if it's technically possible, you may be asking, why are we still saying that you shouldn't use a Chromecast for digital signage? The answer is in the alternatives. It costs $35 for the standard Chromecast model and $69 for the Chromecast Ultra, which supports 4K video. For the same price you can get a much more powerful device that is better suited to digital signage in the form of an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, the Chromecast with Google TV, Android device, or for a bit more, even a commercial grade device like our ScreenCloud OS device, or for a bit more, even a Chrome OS or Windows device.

What media device should you use as an alternative to Chromecast for digital signage?

As we explained earlier, for around the same price as a Chromecast, there are devices that are more powerful and better suited to digital signage. Let's take a closer look at the available options.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Our first choice in this price range is the Amazon's Fire TV device. We recommend the Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick, which costs $49.99. This is a great entry level digital signage device as you don't need anything else other than a TV and HDMI port. Just plug this little device into the back of your TV and in minutes you can turn a dumb TV into a powerful digital screen. This device only ships in six countries though, so for international shipping you'll want to look at the Chromecast with Google TV, which also costs $49.99 and has similar if not exactly the same features as the Fire TV Stick 4K.

Chromecast with Google TV

Chromecast with Google TV is a great alternative to the Amazon Fire TV 4K stick as it shares the same pricing, is very easy to set up and get started with digital signage. Although it has Chromecast in the name, this device is far different from its predecessors. The new Chromecast with Google TV released in 2020 comes with all of the features previous models have such as 4K resolution and casting capabilities, but now with a fully fledged operating system and remote control. Picture quality goes right up there with other 4K streaming media players and plays content beautifully with minimal issues from our experience. This is a great option for digital signage because of its small form factor and can easily fit behind any TV  Click here to see if the Chromecast is available in your region.

Android Boxes

Another option in this price range are Android boxes. With an Android box you're getting quite a similar experience to an Amazon Fire TV device but with a more complete version of Android, as they both run Android apps and specs are quite similar. Pricing varies, with devices available for anywhere from $40 to $140.

Android boxes are easy to set up, have fast WiFi and some come with Ethernet ports. They connect via HDMI and can handle just about any type of content, have more storage for cached media files than Amazon Fire TV sticks, and can work offline and support advanced apps and multi-zone layouts.

The problem with getting an Android box is that there aren't many recognized hardware manufacturers making them, which means most options will be from a brand you don't know, and shipping, support and warranty can be tricky. Because of this, we recommend the Ugoos X4 Cube, which is made by a major manufacturer, is available in many regions. It costs around $80.

If you are looking for an even stronger media player and additional control features, we suggest purchasing the Ugoos AM6. The Ugoos AM6 is a business ready Android powered media player. Here at ScreenCloud we have thoroughly tested this device and highly recommend it for digital signage. The Ugoos AM6 is equipped with an Amlogic S922X SoC,16GB of internal storage, and costs about $139.00. This box runs on the Android 9.0 operating system and also has the latest high-efficiency video coding. This next level video processor allows for 4K videos to be easily compressed and streamed to your display without compromising any picture quality.

ScreenCloud OS

Our first ScreenCloud OS device, the Station P1, is a great way to get started for your digital signage use case. It comes with commercial grade components able to withstand 24/7 hour operation, and has minimized security risk due to its purpose-built kiosk mode nature.

The ScreenCloud OS device, priced at $200, is a custom Linux-based platform designed to provide the best digital signage experience with ScreenCloud. It’s equipped with a Rockchip RK3399 six-core processor and Mali-T860 Quad-core GPU. The ScreenCloud OS device is great for all applications because of its aluminum chassis which protects the device and helps dissipate heat. 

ScreenCloud OS is great for expanding your devices thanks to its easy set up. It solves a pain point for customers as deploying and setting up many screens can become a nightmare. And more, it can be difficult for users to configure all of those devices as well as keep them all updated. Screencloud OS is meant to provide a “frictionless” path for users to set up their digital signage devices.

If you are interested in purchasing your very own ScreenCloud OS device, please get in touch with our sales team here!

Chromebox

If you're willing to spend a bit more, there are other great devices for digital signage in the form of Chrome OS and Windows 10 devices like the Asus Chromebox 4 at around $290 or the Intel NUC which runs Windows 10 and starts at around $300. .

In summary

The Chromecast is a great device for personal use, but it's not a good option for running digital signage. There are other great devices in the same price range that are more powerful and better suited for digital signage, as shown above.

We’re always working hard to give our users support on choosing the right digital signage device so if you need help choosing or have any further questions, get in touch with us at support@screencloud.com.

Product

Digital Signage with Google's Chromecast

Google's Chromecast is a popular media device, but we don't recommend buying it for digital signage. Here, we give you some alternatives to ensure you're getting the best bang for your buck.

Google's Chromecast is a great, affordable media device, but we don't recommend buying it for digital signage. Here, we give you some alternatives to ensure you're getting the best bang for your buck.

Should you use Chromecast for digital signage?

The short answer is, no.

At the heart of it, the Chromecast is a pretty dumb device. It's not particularly powerful, and has minimal storage. Instead, it mostly relies on the processing power and rendering power of the device you use to fling content to it. Yes, that means that your Android phone probably is a lot more powerful than your Chromecast device. 

The other problem is that the Chromecast is really just a display device, and you can't really install apps on the Chromecast. For ScreenCloud digital signage specifically, the Chromecast doesn't support some important features like offline usage, multi-zone layouts or certain advanced, power hungry apps, which many alternative devices at the same, or lower costs, do.

Despite the downsides mentioned above, we previously developed a workaround so that our customers, who had already purchased the Chromecast, could still use it to display ScreenCloud.

So if it's technically possible, you may be asking, why are we still saying that you shouldn't use a Chromecast for digital signage? The answer is in the alternatives. It costs $35 for the standard Chromecast model and $69 for the Chromecast Ultra, which supports 4K video. For the same price you can get a much more powerful device that is better suited to digital signage in the form of an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, the Chromecast with Google TV, Android device, or for a bit more, even a commercial grade device like our ScreenCloud OS device, or for a bit more, even a Chrome OS or Windows device.

What media device should you use as an alternative to Chromecast for digital signage?

As we explained earlier, for around the same price as a Chromecast, there are devices that are more powerful and better suited to digital signage. Let's take a closer look at the available options.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Our first choice in this price range is the Amazon's Fire TV device. We recommend the Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick, which costs $49.99. This is a great entry level digital signage device as you don't need anything else other than a TV and HDMI port. Just plug this little device into the back of your TV and in minutes you can turn a dumb TV into a powerful digital screen. This device only ships in six countries though, so for international shipping you'll want to look at the Chromecast with Google TV, which also costs $49.99 and has similar if not exactly the same features as the Fire TV Stick 4K.

Chromecast with Google TV

Chromecast with Google TV is a great alternative to the Amazon Fire TV 4K stick as it shares the same pricing, is very easy to set up and get started with digital signage. Although it has Chromecast in the name, this device is far different from its predecessors. The new Chromecast with Google TV released in 2020 comes with all of the features previous models have such as 4K resolution and casting capabilities, but now with a fully fledged operating system and remote control. Picture quality goes right up there with other 4K streaming media players and plays content beautifully with minimal issues from our experience. This is a great option for digital signage because of its small form factor and can easily fit behind any TV  Click here to see if the Chromecast is available in your region.

Android Boxes

Another option in this price range are Android boxes. With an Android box you're getting quite a similar experience to an Amazon Fire TV device but with a more complete version of Android, as they both run Android apps and specs are quite similar. Pricing varies, with devices available for anywhere from $40 to $140.

Android boxes are easy to set up, have fast WiFi and some come with Ethernet ports. They connect via HDMI and can handle just about any type of content, have more storage for cached media files than Amazon Fire TV sticks, and can work offline and support advanced apps and multi-zone layouts.

The problem with getting an Android box is that there aren't many recognized hardware manufacturers making them, which means most options will be from a brand you don't know, and shipping, support and warranty can be tricky. Because of this, we recommend the Ugoos X4 Cube, which is made by a major manufacturer, is available in many regions. It costs around $80.

If you are looking for an even stronger media player and additional control features, we suggest purchasing the Ugoos AM6. The Ugoos AM6 is a business ready Android powered media player. Here at ScreenCloud we have thoroughly tested this device and highly recommend it for digital signage. The Ugoos AM6 is equipped with an Amlogic S922X SoC,16GB of internal storage, and costs about $139.00. This box runs on the Android 9.0 operating system and also has the latest high-efficiency video coding. This next level video processor allows for 4K videos to be easily compressed and streamed to your display without compromising any picture quality.

ScreenCloud OS

Our first ScreenCloud OS device, the Station P1, is a great way to get started for your digital signage use case. It comes with commercial grade components able to withstand 24/7 hour operation, and has minimized security risk due to its purpose-built kiosk mode nature.

The ScreenCloud OS device, priced at $200, is a custom Linux-based platform designed to provide the best digital signage experience with ScreenCloud. It’s equipped with a Rockchip RK3399 six-core processor and Mali-T860 Quad-core GPU. The ScreenCloud OS device is great for all applications because of its aluminum chassis which protects the device and helps dissipate heat. 

ScreenCloud OS is great for expanding your devices thanks to its easy set up. It solves a pain point for customers as deploying and setting up many screens can become a nightmare. And more, it can be difficult for users to configure all of those devices as well as keep them all updated. Screencloud OS is meant to provide a “frictionless” path for users to set up their digital signage devices.

If you are interested in purchasing your very own ScreenCloud OS device, please get in touch with our sales team here!

Chromebox

If you're willing to spend a bit more, there are other great devices for digital signage in the form of Chrome OS and Windows 10 devices like the Asus Chromebox 4 at around $290 or the Intel NUC which runs Windows 10 and starts at around $300. .

In summary

The Chromecast is a great device for personal use, but it's not a good option for running digital signage. There are other great devices in the same price range that are more powerful and better suited for digital signage, as shown above.

We’re always working hard to give our users support on choosing the right digital signage device so if you need help choosing or have any further questions, get in touch with us at support@screencloud.com.

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