Using a Raspberry Pi for digital signage is nothing new. The low cost and HD video output mean they are right at home powering the sort of digital signage that’s becoming more common around airports and even roadside advertising hoardings. The MPi4 NEC Media from Sharp NEC Display Solutions, spotted by CNX Software, puts the Compute Module 4 right in the digital signage driving seat as part of Sharp/NEC large format 4K displays.
While Sharp/NEC have been using Raspberry Pi Compute Modules in their commercial products for five years, the new Compute Module 4 board takes its position as the entry-level option in the company's range of Smart Display Module cards (the upper tiers are the exclusive territory of Intel processors).
The MPi4 NEC MediaPlayer Kit offers all the usual abilities of the Raspberry Pi 4 SOC - which means up to 4K/60fps HEVC decoding - with the addition of 32GB of eMMC flash storage for holding all your picture and video content and a large heatsink. There’s 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, and a pair of USB 2.0 ports, with a micro USB port which we assume is used to flash the eMMC storage of the Compute Module 4.
The whole thing is run by NEC’s MediaPlayer software, and can be slotted straight into a compatible display, making use of internal connections for power, data, and control interfaces. The software can connect multiple boards into a network, and can handle streaming content via UDP, HTTP or RTSP.
Marketed as an affordable solution, the official site only has the rather foreboding ‘price on application’. If you feel like applying, make that application via Sharp/NEC’s website.
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Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.