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callaght

Digital Signage Software

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My local pub has asked me to setup a digital signage display.  They've got the TV and stuck it on the wall and they've asked me to get them some software to display the bands that are on that night or whatever else is on.

 

Just needs to be basic and easy to use but all I'm seeing is loads of complex stuff that manages 1000's displays with complex animations triggered by certain events, etc.  I don't need any of that.

 

Maybe something that can be configured by a web browser on a PC somewhere.  Does anyone know of anything thats any good?  

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I've no expertise in these things but if you've ruled out bespoke systems then might the next best thing be to look at getting some sort of PC/mini-pc attached to the TV and using that to manage what is displayed? Most of the problems around the set-up will be getting the various connections to the set, but if you can get a power connector and a machine on the network connected to the TV then you could easily remotely connect from another.

Once you've got a machine connected to the set then the choice of how to display things is dependent on a) how much design ability people have and b.) what tool you use to display it. This could be something like power point displays or a brower set to carousel through a set number of pages.

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Something like this gives an idea - https://www.geckoboard.com/learn/guides/displaying-your-dashboard-on-a-screen/, maybe look for other sites that deal with the same dashboard display as the info will be similar.

Searches will most likely return lots of recommendations for Raspberry Pi set-ups but this might be a bit too technical for some users.

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The easiest way* for a single screen is probably a raspberry pi in a cheap box stuck on the display, and running impress (a free equivalent to powerpoint).  Use a wireless keyboard and mouse to interact with the thing to choose different options etc.  

A complicated part it getting new material onto the screen.  Probably the easy way would be to plug a usb memory stick into the system with the actual files.  Better would be to have a computer (the computer used to create the presentation, perhaps) set to share a directory which you can access from the display over wifi.  You'd have to do a few simple things that are easy to forget until the inevitable 'doh!', like disable the screensaver and (possibly) power management.

[*this isn't the best way, but will be the most familiar/obvious to most ITphobes.  A much better way would be to run a web-browser on a raspberry pi attached to the display, always pointing to a local-network web-server (I'd use Apache, which is free and is what most many web servers use), with a set of simple web pages.  I'd use a second raspberry pi as the web server, but that could be any desktop/laptop that is hanging around.  Easiest way to make the content is to get the user to make each 'page' using impress then save as macromedia flash ('SWF').  Save this file and move to the web-server directory.  This is trivial stuff (especially if you've got a Linux server IMO), but I could imagine most people would think it was difficult and would shy away from it.  But I would definitely use that sort of approach -- simple yet very powerful (eg, you could have simple text content, flash animations or complex video, etc) and very easy to manage (eg, simple to change the message when there are customers present, etc).  If you actually want to impress them with a simple yet beautifully capable system, I'd go with this approach]

Anyway, the important thing to do is to make sure that the computer has a nice friendly background on the desktop.  Keep icon clutter to an absolute minimum, make any status-bars (etc, depends on the operating system) set to auto-hide and have the background a picture of the pub (or whatever).  Then if the system borks you'll at least have something that looks as though it is meant to be there (rather than a lovely blank desktop, which is what seems to so often happen for some reason).  Do these things whatever computer solution you decide upon.  Also, With a raspberry pi you can put your own image to use for the screen to show while the system is booting (technically, you put your own image in the file /usr/share/plymouth/themes/pix/splash.png), so even if the system completely borks and you have to pull the plug you won't see complex OS messages, etc, while it reboots.  Not essential, but it would be a nice touch.  

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I think all of the solutions have the one same, possible flaw, and that is how computer literate the end-user is going to be. Never mind creating the actual content and getting it onto the device, some people are scared to actually turn a device on or off. Some of the staff in the pub that I drink in struggle to control different SKY boxes or adjust the speaker volume (well they can adjust it but you tend to get 0% or 100%!).

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12 minutes ago, Bradbury Robinson said:

I think all of the solutions have the one same, possible flaw, and that is how computer literate the end-user is going to be. Never mind creating the actual content and getting it onto the device, some people are scared to actually turn a device on or off. Some of the staff in the pub that I drink in struggle to control different SKY boxes or adjust the speaker volume (well they can adjust it but you tend to get 0% or 100%!).

Just to throw in as well the opposite problem, that if you've got something too simple some wag in the pub/club will manage to hack into it and get it to display something annoying (like porn).  There are quite a few 'gotcha!'s to worry about.

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38 minutes ago, dgul said:

Just to throw in as well the opposite problem, that if you've got something too simple some wag in the pub/club will manage to hack into it and get it to display something annoying (like porn).  There are quite a few 'gotcha!'s to worry about.

 

yep i used to have a xiomei redmi note 3 and it had IR built in so i could change the channels in any pub , :D 

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