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Streming to multiple LCD screens in store displays.

Posted on 2010-11-11
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HI!
I am trying to come up with a good, hopefully inexpensive way of setting up a store-wide video streming system.

At this point, we use a bunch of 19" HDTVs with DVDs. They don't cost little and fail within 6 months of constant use and need constant switching of DVDs.

I would like to know if anyone has worked with store video solutions.

Could I set up some sort of a server with 8-16 video outputs and stream long distance (100-200ft) video to 22" LCDs or something similar? Any implementation ideas are much appreciated.

NOTE: Our DVDs are spread out throughout the store which measures around 250ft by 250ft. I can place the video center/server almost anywhere in the store.
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Question by:learn_it
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garycase earned 500 total points
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Attach one of these to each TV:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136593&cm_re=media_player-_-22-136-593-_-Product

If you then rip all of the DVDs you want to stream to a single hard drive, you can stream them via ethernet cable to all of the players.    Note:   If you want to stream to more than 10 devices, use a Linux-based server [An UnRAID box would work well -- the free version supports up to 3 hard drives].    A Windows system has a 10 connection limit unless you're using a server OS.
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by:jamietoner
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by:garycase
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Agree with a simple splitter/extender IF you want to play identical content on all of the displays.     I assumed, since you indicated you had DVD players on all the TVs, that you need to play different content on different TVs -- if that's the case, the media players streaming content across the network is the best approach.
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by:learn_it
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jamietoner:
We run different video clips on each TV. I assume that the solution you are offering streams the same signal to all TVs, which wouldn't work for us.
Am I correct?
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by:learn_it
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garycase:
I like your idea.
However, can you expand on the implementation part. I didn't quite get the streaming to multiple devices.
Let's write steps:
1) connection 10 boxes to 10 tv's accross the store.
2) run CAT5e from the switch to each of the boxes in order to upload the content
3) what's next. Can I remotely control each box(play, choose another video)?
thanks
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by:garycase
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There are a variety of media streaming devices that will work -- but most of them (like the WD Live Plus player I noted above) are controlled at the device itself (with the remote control).

If you want to be able to remotely control what's being streamed, it would be best to have a "tiny" PC at each location -- a small Atom-based system like the Acer Revo would work fine (The $200 1600 would be fine if you can find them in stock -- otherwise the $330 3610 would be a good choice).    You could then control these by remote control -- using something like LogMeIn.     These PCs are VERY small and only draw ~ 20 watts of power.

The ideal solution would be to use a Digital Signage system -- but these are PRICEY ... likely above your budget from what you've described.

Your topology is correct:   You connect a box to each TV;  then string Cat-5e (or Cat-6) between the boxes and a switch -- with a server PC also connected to the switch.    The boxes can then stream ANY video which is available on the server.
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by:learn_it
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ordered the boxes. We will place them right behind TVs and hook up to existing TVs that have broken DVD players, but still produce great picture and have HDMI port in them. This will help us reuse existing equipment and spend very little on the store-wise upgrade.

Thank you SOOO much!
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