Guide to File Types and Best Practices for Digital Signage

With how easy it is to start your digital out-of-home journey you might want to jump straight in and start uploading content. But before you jump in it might be beneficial to understand and read this guide to file types and best practices for digital signage.

  • Doohly Player supports a large range of digital file types for you to upload and use, but not every file type was built equal.
  • As such there are some important differences, benefits, and disadvantages to using each type.
  • This blog post will cover which file types we support at Doohly and provide a guide to best practice.
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Video Content:

Doohly Player supports 2 main video file types; mp4 and mov and whilst we support both, there are specific use cases for each content type. Both of these file types were developed by Apple but with different goals in mind.

MOV:

The mov file type is quite simple and designed for new users, so we can understand why you may have some of your content in this format. Be aware that mov files are extremely high quality and due to being uncompressed are larger than most file types. As your organisation has 10GB of space available you may not want to rely on mov.

MP4:

The other option for uploading video content to Doohly is the mp4 file type. This file type carries high quality content, and when streamed there is little to no quality loss. Mp4 is more standardised as it is generally playable on any device and isn’t locked to MacOS devices.

These points are important to remember to ensure your content is of the highest quality with the smallest file size to maximize your use of space.

(If you want to maintain high quality and large volume through mov file type, we can upgrade your storage space, please contact us for more information.)

Image Content:

Doohly Player supports 4 main image file types; jpg, jpeg, gif and png, again each one has benefits and drawbacks of being used in digital signage. These 4 file types are supported due to their popularity and ease of use.

JPG/JPEG:

Firstly, jpg and jpeg are the same thing, the filename has changed due to Microsoft having a limited file type length in early computing days but this has since been changed. Depending on your business type, you may already have access to a large library of jpg files. Jpgs are generally able to be compressed to take up a very small amount of space, but the compression leads to the files becoming pixelated and blurry.

GIFS:

Gifs are a great type of content to use for digital signage, but they are quite limited in that it only has a limit/range of 256 colours. This limitation also acts as a benefit in this case though as the gif file type is able to be made incredibly small and take up a minimal amount of space. If you plan on using a gif, we do recommend looking at converting to an mp4 as it will have smoother playback.

PNG:

Png is quickly becoming the standard file type for online images thanks to its high colour depth and built in transparency. Files saved as png files can also be shrunk to quite small file sizes. In saying that, they can also become quite large if using photos or artwork.

Image file types, in a similar manner to video file types have best practices and use cases. Your particular digital signage plans and goals will partially dictate the type you select for your images.

If you plan on using photos and artwork, we recommend using jpg and ensuring that the content is saved in the correct size to fit the digital screen. If it needs to be compressed image quality will be impacted harshly. On the other hand, if you’re needing to use a digitally created image, we recommend the png file type. Finally if you need to use an animation and not a video, your best option is to use gifs, although we do still recommend converting gifs to mp4.

(If you want to maintain high quality and large volume through any image file type, we can upgrade your storage space, please contact us for more information.)

Conclusion:

  • Overall, the file type that you need to use is based on your individual needs and use case. We have only covered the basics of image and video file types in this blog post and do recommend conducting your own research to ensure the highest quality content is displayed. All of your content can be managed easily and from any device when using Doohly, and when you sign up, the first license is on us. Feel free to sign up today and see what your content looks like.
  • It is also worth noting that each of your registered players has to download these files/content. For example, if each file is 400MB and you have 100 media players, that’s 40GB over the internet (4G typically). This may increase your running cost if you are not careful about compression and file size.
  • In addition to data limits and costs, your digital signage device will have a storage capacity. If not managed correctly you may end up running into performance and playback issues. 
  • (We remove any old unused images or videos but it’s good practice to keep the files as small as possible but retain the quality. Using the h.264 or the h.265 codecs (compression methods) is the best way to keep the quality.)
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