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Raspberry Pi CM4-based computer turns NEC displays into signage systems

Apr 27, 2021 — by Eric Brown — 1837 views

Sharp NEC Display Solutions’ RPi CM4 based “MPi4 NEC MediaPlayer” kit turns its large format displays into 4K signage systems and offers features including a watchdog, RTC, GbE, and 2x USB ports.

Sharp NEC Display Solutions Europe has launched an embedded Linux signage computer designed to retrofit its large format display systems with digital signage capability. The MPi4 NEC MediaPlayer is built around the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. The system is designed for retail environments, passenger information, and quick service menu boards.



MPi4 NEC MediaPlayer
(click images to enlarge)

The MPi4 NEC MediaPlayer, which we saw briefly announced on Inavate, was mentioned in passing in a Sharp NEC announcement about its Intel Core based Intel SDM signage computers. The MPi4 does not appear to use SDM but has a somewhat similar form factor and modular update concept. It uses the company’s same Open Modular Intelligence (OMi) platform for integrating signage computers with its displays.

The Raspberry Pi CM4, which is deployed here via a NEC Interface Board, is pre-loaded with NEC MediaPlayer software and licenses for video decoding. The software allows for remote operation of individual or multi-screen setups. It also offers browser-based playlists, content distribution, and device management. Customers are free to load third-party content management systems.

The MPi4 NEC MediaPlayer uses a version of the quad -A72, 1.5GHz CM4 module with 4GB LPDDR4 and 32GB eMMC. The system supports up to [email protected] video.

The 133.7 x 114.5 x 26mm computer is equipped with a panel with a GbE port and 2x USB 2.0 ports. The images also show what appears to be an HDMI port. Inside on the NEC Interface Board is a watchdog timer and an RTC.

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Earlier NEC
Signage PCB
Based on CM3

We have previously seen the Raspberry Pi CM4 on panel PCs and a Chipsee All-In-One Pi AiO system, but this is the first pure signage computer we have covered based on the CM4. Back in 2016, NEC Display Solutions Europe announced it was using the Raspberry Pi CM3 in a series of P and V Series signage computers. These systems incorporate a mainboard with the CM3 directly in display rather than using the modular, SDM-like form factor of the MPi4. The CM3 has been used in other signage systems such as Distec’s VideoPoster-IV. Eventually, we may see a signage computer that taps the CM4’s PCIe interface to enable an M.2 slot for wireless capability.

 
Further information

The MPi4 NEC MediaPlayer will ship in May throughout Europe and some Middle Eastern countries. If you search on the product name you can find numerous distributors with holding pages or pre-order pages, offering the system for the equivalent of $176 to $200 (165 Euros). More information may be found on Sharp NEC Display Solutions Europe’s product page.
 

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