XIBO: An Open Source Digital Signage Server/Client

Today’s post will deal with Xibo (pronounced eX-E-bO), an open source, multi-display, multi-zone, fully scheduled digital signage solution. I’ll firstly give an overview and explain how to install the client and server in Windows XP. In another post, I’ll demo the system. The server can run on Windows or Linux and requires a web server (Apache / IIS), php5 and a MySQL database. The client can only runs on Windows 2000/Xp/Vista/7 and requires .NET Framework v3.5, Internet Explorer 7 or 8, Flash Player Version 9 or later, Windows Media Player 11 or later, Microsoft Powerpoint 2003 or later. As you can see from the client description, it won’t be able to run on Linux embedded systems, but it is still interesting to study this solution to see the content management flow, what this solution has to offer and how we get development idea from this solution.  An embedded client based […]

Digital Signage: Implementing a smooth scrolling text

Many digital signage hardware feature scroll text. However, in many cases the scrolling text is either not smooth, sometimes teared or very slow. It may depends on the performance of the hardware used but also on the implementation of the software. Once easy way to implemented scrolling text is just to redraw the text again and again at different position. However, this is very slow and yields poor results unless maybe you have a Truetype accelerator or similar hardware font accelerator. The next step is then to convert the text into pixmaps. This can either be done in the digital signage manager software (Windows PC/MAC or Linux based) or the digital signage player. Doing so in the latter makes it much more flexible. So you may create 2 pixmaps whose width and length match the region to be displayed, you write the text on those 2 pixmaps, then simply move […]

Script to convert Twitter RSS feeds into text

[Update Nov 2012: URLs such as http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/759251.rss do not work anymore, but you can get a Twitter timeline RSS feed by using http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name=xxxxx, where xxxxx is the screen name such as cnxsoft] We needed to convert Twitter RSS feeds to UTF-16 text for displaying them into a digital signage (That did not support RSS feed directly).  This digital signage supports regular http download, .e.g every 5 minutes. Here’s the script (called with crontab) we used for CNN News Twitter RSS feed. #!/bin/sh # CNN Twitter wget http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/759251.rss sleep 10 cat 759251.rss | grep title | sed s/\<title\>// | sed s/\<\\/title\>// > cnn.txt rm 759251.rss iconv -f utf-8 -t UCS-2LE cnn.txt > cnn-utf16.txt cp cnn-utf16.txt /var/www/html/livepics/cnn.txt The resulting text file looks like: Twitter / CNN CNN: BREAKING NEWS: Military: Last U.S. brigade combat team leaves Iraq; 56,000 troops remain. Fifty-thousand set to stay past August 31. CNN: NY Gov. David Paterson […]

Digital Signage Video Walls by Samsung

[ad#Google Adsense – Wide Banner] Here’s an interesting video of “Samsung ID” video wall solution using MagicInfo Pro content and device management software. The different monitors are assembled like Lego and allowing you to create different shapes. Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011. www.cnx-software.com

Digital Signage Standard by POPAI

Currently digital signage implementations are mainly proprietary, and that means once you choose a vendor you are stuck with it, unless you completely change your network and the way you manage your content or handles separate systems. If the digital signage industry really wants to take off some standards are needed. One of the first standard for digital signage has been released by POPAI (Point of Purchase Advertising International). This first standard is to promote interoperability between different providers by defining Screen Media Formats (Click to open the standard) basically telling which video and audio codecs and containers (“Wrappers”)  and which and picture formats  should/could be supported by digital signage players and providing different levels of standard profiles and extended profiles a bit like it is done in MPEG-4 specifications. POPAI also used to provide some media samples to test your system previously available at www.popai.com/DS/ContentSamples but the link is […]

Digital Signage Features – A Quick Guide to Select Your Digital Signage Solution

There are a lot of different digital signage solutions around and it may be difficult to find which one is right for you since there can be quite a few different features and options. So I’ll do my best to explain the main features to guide your choice if you are planning to purchase a digital signage solution (embedded signage player, content management software and server). I’ll focus this post on the digital signage player, but bear in mind the content manager software is equally very important. [ad#Google Adsense – Wide Banner] Hardware features Video outputs: composite, component (YPbPr), VGA, DVI, HDMI, LVDS The capability to output simultaneously to different video outputs maybe an advantage if your plan is to use one player to output to several monitors. Video resolution: Standard Definition (e.g. NTSC) vs. High Definition (e.g. 1080p) This is a simple choice based on costs and whether you […]

Tackling Overscan in Media Players and Digital Signage

Overscan is an extra image area around the four edges of a video that may not be seen reliably due to manufacturing limitations of monitors. So that as you can see on the figure above, there is a title safe zone, where everything would be seen in any monitors (Blue Zone) and the gray zone where parts may be seen in some monitors but not others. This mainly depends on the video output used. You won’t have problem with VGA or LVDS monitors,  since the former are able to underscan (to compensate for overscan) automatically, and the latter are generally configured manually. However, with HDMI monitors (unless those which can support underscan) or monitors using composite or component outputs,  you’ll have to handle overscan problem. Overscan will be much more pronounced with older CRT monitors where horizontal and vertical overscan may reach about 10% and 5% respectively, whereas modern displays […]

Digital Signage Players in Hong Kong and China

I’ll show a few digital signage applications based on Sigma Designs EM8620 and SMP8630 series that are currently used in Hong Kong and China. Bus Digital Signage SinoCDN is a Hong Kong company providing broadband media delivery solutions. SinoCDN  currently provides a digital signage solution for Hong Kong – China cross boarder buses called IPAD. Their solution is based on EM8623L Sigma Designs and allows content update thru Wifi at the border between China / Hong Kong. If you’ve ever been at the Hong Kong / China border (Lok Ma Chau) and seen some Wifi access points whose names starts with sinocdn, they are used for this purpose. Digital Signage & POS (Point-of-Sale) Heng Yu Technologies is another Hong Kong company specialized in the manufacturing of “customized input and display technology for the industrial markets” They provide point of sales and advertizing platform based on several Sigma Designs platforms, including […]