Digital Signage

jtran007
jtran007 used Ask the Experts™
on
Hi,

I am new to this Digital signage. Could you please explain to me
how to implement this technology? Use Winform or ASP.NET?
Which one is outperforming?
If it used ASP.NET, why? since I know it just display media content and
rarely asks user input. And how the content is downloaded remotely to
this LCD display?

Thanks,

JTran

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President
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
I've written such apps, and it really depends on what you are trying to accomplish.  You may need special hardware, especially if you are trying to mix live video and text or text overlays.  Depending on the resolution required, you can spend a few hundred dollars (very low end, not suitable for HDTV), to $10k if you require mixers and HDTV and video.

This is what will dictate how you go about it
1. What is screen size, physical dimensions, and resolution?   There are equations you can use that dictate text size based on screen dimensions & pixels, but they don't do you any good w/o knowing requirements.

2. What content, and are there going to be overlays, and if so, what kind?  Real-time graphics that are generated, displaying cable or broadcast TV in a window with our without overlays, having flash content appear as overlay, a stock ticker across the bottom, etc ?

The solution I usually do involves using an embedded web server, and configuring HDTVs via HDMI or SVGA, and either attaching TVs to multiport video card or wireless PCs.  Reminds me, describe number of displays, and are they independently run, or does same content appear on multiple sc reens at same time.   Sometimes you just run a browser and set up PC to launch at URL and auto-refresh.  But you may also need special hardware depending on content.

ASP.NET isn't important part of this.

Author

Commented:
Hi Genius,

Thanks for your insight of digital signage.
I'd like to know how a content is updated from remote and
schedule to run at certain time, also how I can divide the
screen to different regions where different media content can
be played. That's why I look in to Web app or web service something
like that.

I am looking forward to your reply.

Thanks,
JT
DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
It depends on content type.  The hard part is mixing video with other content.  (Not hard, but expensive).   I.e, if you have Now serving #24 in one part of screen, another is list of last numbers called, then all this is just text and easy .. use HTML + javascript in frames.  You are doing nothing different then generating a web page that auto-refreshes every X seconds that uses frames.  Problem is a HTML coding question.

However, if you want same screen, but want to show television channel #X in the lower right quadrant of the screen, then you need to get a mixer.   The way the mixer works is that you program the mixer to take the video source and resize it and/or display it in certain region.  You then just send out HTML that doesn't use that region.   An important part of the equation is monitor type.  You really must get HDTV or high-res VGA, and be aware of pixels.  Wide array of mixers, it depends on analog vs digital inputs and outputs.  

Since you are going into this cold, you need to find out specifications for types of input and output (analog vs digital), physical size of monitor, # of pixels on monitor ... does the text that you want to display look "good", to a person at the end of the room on the sized monitor when mounted in desired location?  Most people screw this up, because the letters are too small to be read easily, or maybe the problem only manifests itself when sun is brightest outside.

Going back to content .. I use html + javascript, so take signage away ... study up on HTML & Javascript (NOT JAVA) ...  flash is probably impractical unless you can generate content ahead of time. This part is how do you code a web page to display what you want to display.   Use of a mixer and proper type of mixer depends on all the things I mentioned.   (Also how many monitors?   1 or many, and how far away from computer) ?  Depending on answer  more mixers, a multi-channel mixer, or if 2 monitors in different parts of buiding, then more practical to just use 2 remote computers and just to have the HDTV be the VGA output of those PCs.

Sorry, throwing a lot back at you, this is obviously new to you, and a huge learning curve.   What, exactly, are the specs, and what is budget range?  You could be in sticker shock depending on the specs.
HTML5 and CSS3 Fundamentals

Build a website from the ground up by first learning the fundamentals of HTML5 and CSS3, the two popular programming languages used to present content online. HTML deals with fonts, colors, graphics, and hyperlinks, while CSS describes how HTML elements are to be displayed.

btanExec Consultant
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
knowing standards will make application more interoperable too.
http://www.thevarguy.com/2010/10/13/intel-promotes-new-digital-signage-standard/
http://edc.intel.com/Applications/Digital-Signage/OPS/
http://www.wirespring.com/dynamic_digital_signage_and_interactive_kiosks_journal/articles/Forging_Ahead_With_POPAI_s_Digital_Signage_Industry_Standards-723.html

Knowing areas of concerns on why there is a need for standard
http://www.digitalsignageexpo.net/DNNArticleMaster/DNNArticleView/tabid/78/ArticleId/3297/Standards-A-Necessary-Part-of-Digital-Signage-Evolution.aspx

The digital signage industry has a number of entities involved in working through standards across a number of planes. The Digital Signage Group within POPAI has published standards for content, screen control, privacy and more. The Digital Place-Based Advertising Association, formerly OVAB, has created standards for measurement. The Digital Screenmedia Association, formerly the Digital Signage Association, has committees working on best practices and standards. The newly announced Digital Signage Federation would presumably seek to serve members in much the same fashion. The various groups have done some fine work, and it may be time to coalesce around a shared vision across many facets of digital signage. Which entity will project that vision is still undetermined — a sign of the relative immaturity of the industry.

DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
I would not worry about any of these standards.  In fact, the intel spec is obscene and unnecessary.  It marries you to their technology, and is nothing more than a marketing gimmick to require people to use their hardware.  There is a great amount of technology out there that does not require intel or microsoft.  

It is like saying you want to buy a car radio and intel+microsoft get together to make an arbitrary specification for a car radio with bells and whistles that can't work unless you license their technology.  

While it would be nice to have a standard, there is such diversity out there and many easy lean & mean ways to do this, then the standard is little more than a mechanism to drive up profits for intel/microsoft, reduce competition, and make people pay more money.  Their standards require hardware upgrades for compliance, when sometimes all you need is a running an embedded linux with a vga port or even a few RS232 ports.

Author

Commented:
Thanks,
JT

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