Internal TV Presentation System

We are looking for a method to put TVs in the various areas around out facility (breakrooms, etc) and using them to run slideshows, announcements, etc.  Ideally they could also be used for daily numbers, reports, and data from sales or production data.  With a big HDTV, someone could then plug into it with their laptop and use it for presentations (instead of a projector).

Does anyone have any recommendations for a system like this?  I'm not even sure what to Google for?  It should be centrally managed, easy to update, capable of handling dynamic content, etc.  What about hardware?  Can we use any HDTV?  What about the system to manage it all?  Software?  Is it run over ethernet, vga, etc.?

Any kind of starting point will be great.  Thanks.

Bruno71
bruno71Asked:
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edster9999Commented:
If I was thinking of doing this I would look for a TV that had inputs for the usual scart type connection but also had a VGA and/or a DVI (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Visual_Interface) socket.
This would allow the users to hook their pcs directly in.
Almost all laptops have VGA. Some laptops have DVI.  If you can get both you are future proofed for a few years.

If your building is big then you do not want to broadcast round using VGA.  There are a few systems out there to carry the pictures over cat 5/6 cables (not sure if they use ethernet or if they just use the 8 pins to send the video).  I'll leave someone else to talk on these.
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CallandorCommented:
If you want to show text and powerpoint slides, you definitely want HDTV and a high definition transport, such as VGA.  For long distances up to 250 feet, a VGA extender over cat5 would be the way to go: http://www.svideo.com/vgacat5.html  Combine with a laptop or destop as the source and you should be able to implement this.
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rafaperez3dCommented:
The hardware is the easy here. Using a PC or Mac with a HDMI output, just plug a HDMI Splitter and connect the TVs. Here a splitter for 4 TVs http://bit.ly/c3chbD and here for 8 TVs http://bit.ly/aMl1ki

Usually HDTVs has 2 or more HDMI inputs, and all have VGA and DVI inputs too. So you can plug a laptop to use it for presentations.

IMHO, the main problem is the software and someone to manage the TV content. You´re looking for a Digital Signage software, and exists a lot of options.

This company offers their solution for a initial free price, but with only 25mb for storage. So you can pay for more storage and more options.
http://www.mediasignage.com/html/digital_signage.html

Here is a open source solution, called Xibo. http://xibo.org.uk/about/
With this solution, you´ll dont have to pay anything, and it is very flexible, but is harder to setup.


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arthurjbCommented:
Using vga or hdmi splitters for a project like this is a horrible idea.

What you should do is create a small tv infrastructure that would allo you to use the tuners on the tv's.  

The cable required for running hdmi or vga connections is very expensive and hard to deal with,  The cable for tv infrastructure  is cheap and easy to run through out your enterprise.

You are actually looking a 2 different projects.
1 creating the content that will be sent during normal times
2 creating access points where people can connect their laptops for presentations.

Using hdtv's in places like breakrooms and suck is only cost effective if you use those areas for presentations, otherwise standard CHEAP tvs can be used.

One of the reasons to use a tv infrastructure rather than hdmi/vga splitters, (besides the major costs) is that it allows you to have many different channels.
For example, at lunch people want to check the local news, while in other rooms people want to monitor a special event, while in the executive area they want to watch the stock prices.

There is no way to do this cheaply with many displays, but the tv infrastructure options allows you to add many monitors once the headend is installed.

This headend allows you to distribute cable tv and 8 of your own channels;
http://www.smarthome.com/7711A/Channel-Vision-3-Input-x-8-Output-Video-Distribution-Panels-DP-3-8-II/p.aspx

Good Luck!





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bruno71Author Commented:
The distance will defintely be an issue.  Right now, we're thinking about two locations with the farthest one being about 500' from our server room.  What's the best way to run something that distance?  Coax?  We have ethernet that runs back there for anything that would run off of our internal network.

I like the idea of distributing cable tv (arthurjb), but I know if we gave them the option of watching television or the "announcements" channel...no one would ever pay attention to the announcements.

MediaSinage looks like a good solution (rafaperez3d), but I don't like paying a monthly fee for it.  Although it's cheap, it would be nice to not have any recurring costs.

Bruno71

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CallandorCommented:
If you have a lot of runs, RG6 coax is the cheapest, but you will need a station to inject your own signals in.  An RF signal over RG6 with a line amp halfway will travel 500 ft.  If you create your own internal broadcasts, you can control what is on at what time, but the studio gear to create your own broadcasts is not cheap.
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bruno71Author Commented:
Great ideas.  Gave me more areas to research.
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