The challenges of video content design, programming and delivery can lead to complex and sometimes conflicting requirements. Choosing the right media player can be daunting as there are many things to consider. A wide set of options exist from basic ‘signage’ playout applications that don’t do much more than take pre-made clips and play them, to fully featured media toolboxes that help create and test content, plan screen designs, visualize and program complex projects.

In this blog, we will discuss the framework for choosing the right media playback system.

Optimize your content workflow

The process of converting visual concepts to pixels on the screen varies largely between projects. This is often referred to as the ‘content workflow’, and normally involves many stakeholders and companies ranging from the end customer to designers, content creators and technicians. Adding to the technical complexity of making great video, content often goes through several artistic and commercial sign-off steps before being sent to the screen. As a result, choosing the right media server will bring benefits beyond just media playback, and, as such, optimizing your content workflow will help your teams work together more seamlessly.

Visualization matters

Perhaps the most important consideration is: how complex is the project to visualize? A single 16:9 screen offers few challenges in content testing, while many LED walls scattered across a football stadium or a 3D architectural projection mapping project can be very hard to visualize. Many media servers offer integrated visualization solutions, which can prove invaluable in demonstrating ideas to the end-customer and testing content. As the visual complexity increases, so does the need for pre-visualization.


The next question is how will the content be delivered and how much flexibility is required onsite? Will the project be realized in a simple series of pre-made linear clips or does the application demand more onsite flexibility? Playlists of clips fit neatly onto signage and are ideal when the content is ‘plug and play’, however it can prove limiting if changes are required onsite. Born from live events, real-time media servers offer the ability to make changes ‘on the fly’, and possess a suite of tools and effects that can implement last-minute changes without a costly content re-render.


Finally, how is the project going to be controlled, and how is the media going to be updated? Scheduling and web-based content management are strengths of signage players, while triggering, interactivity and generative content are where media servers come into their own. Adding even relatively simple interactivity or generative content to a display can make the difference between a simple looping playlist or captivating ‘non-linear’ experiences.

As video continues to permeate every aspect of our daily lives, there is increasing pressure on system designers and integrators to create compelling and ultimately, truly memorable visuals. Through pre-visualization, onsite flexibility and non-linear video, a media server can be a powerful tool for projects demanding more than simple playback.

Want more information?

Green Hippo has full end-to-end workflows that are tuned to exceed the challenges of real-time media playback and 3D mapping. Their Hippotizer Media Servers can be used in both offline and online configurations with complete end to end workflows, solving lots of problems with a single solution.

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