Software apps and online services
Ever needed a screen that would display some video playlist or image slideshow over and over again? What if you wanted to do it 24/7? And what if you wanted to make changes remotely?
That's called Digital Signage. Show a playlist of videos and images 24/7 and manage the player remotely. I needed a setup like this for an exhibition lasting a week, so I decide to poke around. I had a Raspberry Pi 2 laying around, googled a lot, and found solutions based on Raspberry Pi. Decide to go with Yodeck. It is easy to use and free for a single screen.Step 1: Get your Raspberry Pi and assortments
It is recommended to use an RPi 3, but a RPi 2 will do just fine. So, you will also be needing:
- a Raspberry Pi 3 (or 2)
- an SD Card, Class 10, and at least 8GB
- a PSU for the Pi (micro-USB plug), at least 2000mA at 5V recommended
- a case for the Pi
- an HDMI cable (to connect the Pi to the TV)
- an Ethernet cable
Pi 3 has built-in WiFi support. In case you have a Pi 2 and will be using a WiFi dongle, you should get one that works with Raspbian, the standard Linux distro for the Pi. If it works with Raspbian, it will probably work with Yodeck, since it is based on Raspbian.
You can find some options over at Adafruit, on Farnell (also this one), find one on eBay, or check this list.Step 3: Create an account at Yodeck
Visit http://yodeck.com , the Digital Signage platform you will be using, and create a free account by supplying your email and password. Make sure your email is valid, since you will receive notifications for your monitor there.
On the left menu, click "Monitors". You will be presented with an empty list. On the top there is a "Download" link. Click it to get the SD card image for Yodeck.
If you do not know how to write an image file to the SD, use the "Do-it-Youself Player Guide" link right next to the download line.
Then select the "Yodeck SD Image Installation Guide for Raspberry Pi" section. You can also use the guide from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.Step 5 (optional): Setup WiFi or advanced networking on the Pi to get it online
If your Raspberry Pi needs WiFi, or some other advanced settings, to connect to the Internet, then you must supply these through the /boot/SETTINGS.TXT file.
Put the SD in your PC and open it with a text editor right from the SD. The file is self-explanatory. Or you can read the documentation from Yodeck for more details.Step 6: Boot the Raspberry Pi
- Make sure the TV is powered on and connected to the HDMI port of the Raspberry Pi.
- Power up the Raspberry Pi. The first boot might take a while. Also, if might also update the Yodeck software at the same time, so be patient before powering it off. It might take up to 10'.
- If everything is ok, you should see a "Registration code" displayed.
On the left menu, click "Monitors". You will be presented with an empty list.
You can create a new monitor by clicking the "+ Add Monitor" button:
- Enter a "Name" for you monitor so that you can easily identify it, e.g. "Test Monitor".
- Select your timezone using the "Continent (or Country)" and "City (or Zone)" selectors.
- If you need WiFi or advanced stuff for networking, check out "Wireless Connection", "Static LAN" and "Proxy" tabs (I won't explain them here, you'll figure it out if you actually need them). If you do not, then any manual settings from "Step 5" above may be overwritten and your Pi may go offline.
- Hit the "Save" button.
Eventually, the Raspberry Pi will display a Registration Code. You must enter this registration code to the Yodeck admin panel, in the specific monitor.
When you do, the Raspberry Pi will start downloading media and will start playback as soon as it has finished. Then, you can go ahead and edit the media and playback option with the following steps.Step 7: Upload your media files
From the menu on the left, goto to "Media" and then "Images", "Videos" or "Web Pages". You can upload new files or define new websites that you want Yodeck to show in your monitor.
Myself, I uploaded a few videos and images that I wanted to play continuously.Step 8: Set up your playlists
From the menu on the left, goto to "Playlists". Here you define the playlists that you want to playback. You can include Images, Videos or Web Pages in a Playlist.
Myself, I added all images and videos I had uploaded in a single new Playlist.Step 9: Set up your Show
Using Media or Playlists, you can create a "Show", which is a layout of the things you want to display in your monitor. You can drag and drop things around.
Myself, I added that single Playlist and set it to show up fullscreen. But you may want to added multiple Playlists and create a more complex layout.Step 10 (optional): Set up your Schedule
The "Schedule" menu allows you to define time-frames where different shows are displayed on your Monitors. You can also set it up to turn off your TV/monitor, reducing power consumption.Step 11: Assign your new Show or Schedule to your Monitor
You must now go to the Monitor and select which "Default Show" and "Schedule" you want your Monitor to playback.Step 12: Hit the "Apply Changes" button
Every time you make a change, the "Apply Changes" button on the top-left corner turns red. When you have finished all the changes in your account, click it, so that changes are propagated to your Raspberry Pi.Step 13: Your Free Digital Signage is ready
Sit back and enjoy playback. yodeck will sent out notifications in case your Pi goes offline.