Digital Signage Standard: Open Pluggable Specification (OPS)

A while ago, we discussed about Popai Digital Signage Standards, mainly focused on software and client/server interoperability.

Intel has just released a new standard for Digital Signage: Open Pluggable Specification (OPS). Here’s the description of the specification on Intel website.

The Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) helps standardize the design and development of digital signage devices and pluggable media players. Intel created the OPS to address digital signage market fragmentation and simplify device installation, usage, maintenance and upgrades.

The OPS enables digital signage manufacturers to deploy interchangeable systems faster and in higher volumes, while lowering costs for development and implementation.

Installing digital signage equipment based on Intel® architecture helps you implement scalable digital signage applications that can network easily with other equipment. This simplifies interoperability and application upgrades designed to meet the digital signage requirements of individual customers, while helping to future-proof technology investments.

You’ll need to fill a form to apply to have the “privilege” to access the specification.

You’ll just need to wait for one or two days to get approved. The document entitled “Electrical, Mechanical, and Thermal Specification: Digital Signage Open Pluggable Specification (OPS)” is a 27-page PDF document.

This document mainly explains how your PCB board should be designed in order to be fitted into a display panel,  but does not address any of the client/server interoperability as POPAI Specifiction does, this is 100% a hardware spec. It does however specify the control signals between the digital signage hardware and the display panel.

Intel Open Pluggable Specification: Fits your board into any display panel

Nevertheless, that particular spec would prevent (in theory) to constantly changing the PCB layout of a board using the same platform to match the dimensions and connectors requirements of different customers and/or displays.

The OPS specification has four main sections:

  • Introduction and Overview: This section explains the overall system design and shows a block diagram of the connections between the “pluggable module” and the “docking board” of the display panel
  • Connector Specifications:  This section describes the connector to be used (JAE TX24/TX25), the signals carried by this connector (Power, Display Interface,  Audio, USB, UART and control signals) and the pin assignments.
  • Mechanical Specifications:  This section provides the exact dimensions of the “pluggable module”,  the position of the screw holes, security lock and JAE connector. It also explains where the rating labels should NOT be placed.
  • Thermal Specifications:  The last section basically explains that your board (“pluggable module”) must pass their test in the wind tunnel.

To conclude , the Open Pluggable Standard is a step in the right directory, however it seems some widely signals are missing (e.g. LVDS, remote sensor pin…). This could easily be taken care of by using some (all?) of the 9 reserved pins, sharing HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort signals with LVDS and using 2 selection pins to select with display output standard is used.

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