Two ways to stream information screens: how to choose

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Digital information screens are an essential way of keeping staff, students and visitors informed across many fields and industries.

Screencasting is a way for end users to broadcast whatever is on their PC to other screens around their organisation. It is perfect for sharing sales statistics around a call centre, waiting times in a hospital department, and performance figures in an office building – to name just a few examples.

call-centreThere are now a couple of different ways of doing screencasting, and our aim with this blog post is to explain the differences between them. Each solution offers distinct advantages in different scenarios, and in many cases clients may choose to adopt both in order to meet their objectives.

One of the options is our Screencast software, which is very different from most of the products on the market in terms of features, cost and bandwidth usage. But before we get into the details, let’s take a look at HD Encoder, which is the more traditional solution.

Like most screencasting products, our HD Encoder streams the output of a physical computer as a high bandwidth HD TV channel. Because it broadcasts at a rate of 60 frames per second, it is ideal for sharing information screens which have embedded videos or moving ticker tapes. We often have customers using HD Encoder’s for broadcasting digital signage channels with embedded live TV news – this makes a great first impression in reception areas.

However, in many cases the client is using screencasting for sharing information dashboards or dynamic noticeboards – things which don’t require smooth video capability. This is where our Screencast software can be a better option for people.

Instead of streaming a video screenshot, Screencast only updates the receiving screens when the original screen changes. In the meantime, the bandwidth usage goes down to practically nothing. This means content can be broadcast across large campuses or to remote sites without taking a permanent chunk of the network connectivity. The leaner bandwidth usage also means users can transmit on-screen info to laptops, mobiles and tablets much more easily when compared to traditional screencasting.

Another difference is that Screencast literally takes up less space. While traditional screencasting solutions need physical PCs and encoding hardware, Screencast is software and so works on virtual PCs and requires no hardware. This can result in big cost savings when compared with traditional screencasting.




One example of this making a huge difference was at a hospital in Northern England which uses Screencast to show waiting times for patients, as well as information about the waiting patients for clinicians and support staff behind the scenes. With upwards of 50 different screens being broadcasted among the various departments, getting rid of all of the physical PCs made a big difference to the look and feel of the space – not to mention making it much simpler for IT to manage.

Screencast software also offers the ability to broadcast just one segment or application from the originating screen instead of the whole thing. This means information from different applications or machines can be combined onto a single digital signage screen.

As with everything else, the key to giving expert advice on screencasting is understanding the end user’s needs. Do they need to show video clips or moving graphics? HD Encoder will be their best option.

Do they want to share dynamic text- or number-based information with staff or visitors across their organisation? Screencast software provides a streamlined and cost effective way of doing so.

Or maybe they need HD Encoder for their reception areas and Screencast for their call centre, for example. Hopefully you now feel in a better position to choose the best option.

We hope this information has been useful. If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. Email or click on the chat button on the left side of the screen.