See-through OLED & LCD Displays

Samsung Electronics and LG exhibited see-through LCD displays and Samsung Mobile Display see-through  OLED displays at FPD (Flat Panel Display) International 2010/Green Device 2010, Chiba City, Japan. Samsung Electronics brought 2 different displays 23 inch and 46 inch LCD displays while LG Display showcased a 47-inch LCD display. See-through displays use natural light as backlight during the day and use a transparent backlight system attached to the back of the panel during the night. Samsung Mobile Display exhibited 2 OLED displays (14 inch  and 19 inch). The main applications of such displays can be: Digital signage. This is the number 1 application for such displays. You could have a real product at the back and the see-though display at the front displaying some product info and/or promotional videos. In the picture below, Samsung created a setup with real wine bottles and grapes in the background and a see-through display in the foreground displaying different wines characteristics. Home use: It would …

Xibo Open Source Digital Signage Tutorial / Demo

This is the second blog entry about Xibo, in case you have missed the first you can read XIBO: An Open Source Digital Signage Server/Client to make yourself familiar with Xibo and learn how to install it in a Windows XP computer. This mini-tutorial follows the instruction in Xibo’s training documentation and Xibo’s Introduction and Basic Operation The video below shows how to create a layout with a background, different zones with videos, images, html pages and an RSS feed and schedule it for a specific Xibo player. Here’s the resulting output in Xibo’s player. (The audio does not match. Since I had some problems during recording, I simply used a background music instead). You can get obtain free backgrounds at the Layout exchange section of Xibo’s website. We used Blue Boxes – 1920×1080 – for the background image of our tutorial. The RSS Feed is http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/114751985.rss from CNXSoft twitter account. Xibo only supports the following video containers: wmv, avi, …

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 …

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 on Xibo client (using Python) could also be potentially written …

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 those 2 pixmaps, and once one is fully displayed, you …

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 discusses Islamic cultural center debate tonight at 9ET on &#8216;Larry …

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 now dead. You may have to contact them to get …