Finding the Best Operating System for Digital Signage – rAVe [PUBS]

Finding the Best Operating System for Digital Signage – rAVe [PUBS]


By Seneca

Selecting an operating system for your digital signage installation is not an easy task. While many things can work well in the short term, the long term perspective tells a different story.

We believe that Microsoft Windows IoT remains the top choice for small and large installations due to its reliability and security in a space filled with multiple operating system options.

The operating system enjoys an extraordinarily long life cycle measured in years, not months. Windows 10 IoT is one of the most stable digital signage operating systems available on the market. Finally, it has become much more affordable in recent years. Put all these factors together and the choice of operating system becomes easier for integrators.

A legacy of reliability

Introduced in 2015, Windows 10 IoT was rooted in a bit of history and a legacy of reliability. The operating system was an evolution of Windows Embedded. It was released in the late 1990s and over the next decade developed a strong reputation for stability in dedicated applications.

Windows applications have been around since the 1980s and remain the standard in the development of PC applications and business solutions. Applications range from medical to military and gaming to transportation, from self-driving lawn mowers to monitoring chicken eggs. Windows 10 IoT reigns supreme over digital signage, from Times Square to touchscreens.

Windows applications will work on any version of the operating system, going back to 1.0. This gives you many years of development, making Windows applications the most compatible and widely available format in the world.

Similarly, when Microsoft launched Windows 10, they also added a new Windows Universal app. The concept was that you could write an app on Windows 10 and it would work on any device, from a handheld to a tablet, from a large computer to a giant screen.

Long term support

Support is a key advantage for Windows 10 IoT. Like its predecessors, it has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. This drastically eclipses the 18-24 month lifecycle of other OS choices.

Android proponents tend to tout the platform that powers over 70% of mobile devices worldwide. But that’s part of the problem with the operating system introduced only in 2008: it was designed for mobile apps, not enterprise. It might be great for smartphones and TVs, but it’s not a solid enterprise-class solution.

Although Android has advantages such as affordability, an extensive open-source application library, and compact physical size, it can also cause headaches for digital signage integrators. Among these weak points are limited scalability and uncertainty of future support.

If Android users are having trouble, they are basically on their own. Chances are they will spend a reasonable amount of time scouring online forums to try and fix the problem or throw the device away to replace it with a new one. This possibility is especially true in the case of on-premises support, a space in which many more people can solve Windows problems than those of the Android variety.

“We are a Microsoft partner. We have excellent support, and we’ve deployed it throughout a long career with the company. When something goes wrong, that’s where we’ve found the resilience and the ability to mitigate that downtime on the client side and do it through Microsoft support. — Jami McGraw, Global Product Manager for Arrow

Minimize costly inconvenience

When it comes to digital signage, automatic and unscheduled updates are not welcome. Even manual updates can disrupt the ecosystem, resulting in the dreaded blue screen.

Windows 10 IoT minimizes these inconveniences which can be costly. Imagine the millions of dollars in ad revenue lost if New York’s Times Square malfunctioned or the problems that would arise if the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas shut down. Essentially, you can prevent unwanted updates with Windows 10 IoT.

Compare that to Android, with additional features originally intended for mobile devices. Frequent updates and lack of help in sticky situations can cause problems for integrators who need near 100% uptime and solid support when things go wrong.

Fair pricing per processor

Windows 10 IoT is purpose-built, single-use, and economical to deploy when you look at the ratio of operating system cost to hardware cost. Windows 10 IoT licenses have a sliding scale proportional to the computing power of your device. The less powerful the processor, the lower the cost and vice versa.

Microsoft’s value-based processor pricing has made it much more widely available. Also, there are no minimum licenses to purchase.

Windows IoT Enterprise LTSC Feature Specifications

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“You get long life, support and a better price.” — Ken Marlin, Supplier Alliance Manager for Arrow

Best for dedicated use

Some 95% of digital signage applications run on Windows 10 IoT, and for good reason.

For dedicated-use devices, Windows 10 IoT is ideal with benefits that include:

  • A life cycle of 10 to 15 years
  • Advanced locking features to prevent unauthorized updates
  • Very competitive prices and no minimum number of licenses to buy

As a simple, scalable, and secure solution, it provides a stable environment for your devices to work reliably in the field for years to come.

Considering all the benefits of Windows 10 IoT, Seneca has made it the OS of choice for all of our media players. Contact us and enjoy products designed to last.

If you are a systems integrator, contact us at

If you are an OEM and want to build your own Windows IoT device, contact Arrow at

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Steven L. Nielsen