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Posted on 2014-01-14
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Last Modified: 2014-02-04
Hi,

One of my customers has a PC that broadcasts slideshows to four tv’s.

The TV’s are hard wired with a VGA cable running through the walls.

The PC died (well it’s overheating and shutting off) and I’ve been asked to provide a new solution for them.  They are moving to a new location and would rather not run wires again if they don’t need to.

My initial idea was to use Google ChromeCast since I can create video’s that I can play, but even though the command line parameter for Google Chrome is quite extensive, it doesn’t give me the option of launching something using a command line, and I want this to be minimal user interaction.

So… I need either help with getting four ChromeCast devices working on one PC, a different wireless solution suggested or maybe no such thing exist.

Thanks in advance!

~j
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Question by:prosit
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Expert Comment

by:helpfinder
ID: 39779399
Hi funch, maybe not directly what you want, but here is a tip - if the content which is presented on TVs is not changed very often you can just use TVs with USB ports and use one USB stick for each TV and play the multimedia content from it (it will be easy to manage and all you need is one remote control to play/stop/turnon and off)

Another, but technically more complicated, solution could be to use wireless adapters on each TV and stream from source PC using DLNA
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Author Comment

by:prosit
ID: 39779426
Hello HelpFinder...

So first off, the content NEVER changes, however, what they are showing on the screens are grouped into subjects which I guess they could stay depending on the way the TV reads the USB or memory stick.

I have several wireless adapters at home (favorite being my Boxee) and they work great, but it seems slight overkill to use that and then you'll loose the central control you'd have with ChromeCast.

And of course they want to go cheap, and the Boxee (if you can even still get it) is around $150, and I'll need four of them.  Do you know of cheaper devices?   I could just let them play on a giant loop even when the TV is off.

Thanks
~j
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Accepted Solution

by:
helpfinder earned 250 total points
ID: 39779481
I would do it like this (if there is a need to be cheap) - I would take all the content whatever it is and merge everythig into one file (if possible, but it could be), that one file I would copy into four USB sticks (what is cheap piece of HW I guess) and let it play in endless loop on TVs

Regarding wireless solution I thought some wifi adapter like this, so I do not expect nothing expensice (just you need to have wifi in your place):
http://thumbs4.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mhNvvBUQZptRX8p1lDdN8dw.jpg
So on PC you can use regular windows 7/8 with it´s features as a streaming server and if TVs supports DLNA it should work well
something like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4ivgFaOU5w
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Assisted Solution

by:Darr247
Darr247 earned 250 total points
ID: 39780603
> One of my customers has a PC that broadcasts slideshows to four tv’s.
What is that PC using to do that now?
Win7 + WMP's Play-To?
XP + some 3rd-party software?

What are the 4 TV's (Brand/Model)?
Are they going to replace any of those, or keep them?

What is the resolution of the slide shows (640x480, 1024x768, 1280x720, 1280x1024, 1920x1080) ?

If the TVs have HDMI or Component input (i.e. capable of HD), and the content is HD (720 lines or better) Newegg has refurbished Roku XS streamers for a reasonable price, and they have a free app (Roku Media Player) that will play content from local media servers like the one built into Win7 and newer... or there are many free media servers (most are DLNA compatible) that will run on Linux... I don't know if anyone makes a free one to run on Macs.
Roku XS - Roku Media Player app (click for larger)As you can see, I downloaded a few different Media Player apps on it to try, but it turns out the one made by Roku works just fine, for Video, Photos and Music.
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Author Comment

by:prosit
ID: 39789589
Darr247.

Sorry for the delay...

It's an old computer with windows XP and a program to display on each screen,

TV's are of various brand, but they're willing to get new TV's.

Resolution was 640x480, and that's all they need, it's just for slides.

~J
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Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 39792282
> with windows XP and a program to display on each screen
OK... what is that program?
> Resolution was 640x480, and that's all they need, it's just for slides.
Do you mean that's the resolution of the slides?  Or that's the resolution of the 4 displays?

If that's the resolution of the slides, just putting them on USB stick might not work... most flat screens won't scale them up to fill the screen by themselves. Put the pics on a USB stick and take the stick to a store that sells them, like Best Buy, ABC Warehouse et al, and see how they perform (and if they *are* scaled up, how grainy they look). Your customer probably doesn't want to buy new TVs only to see they display their slides postage-stamp-size in the middle of the screen.
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Author Comment

by:prosit
ID: 39804518
Well it doesn't really matter what the program is, they don't want to use it anymore, and the resolution of the video output is only that resolution, however I was really looking for a solution like Google ChromeCast that I didn't even need to have a computer dedicated to broadcasting it.

The USB stick/best buy suggestion is a good one, I'll do that this weekend.
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Author Closing Comment

by:prosit
ID: 39833048
Didn't really find what I needed, but they seem to open up for ChromeCast developers now so hopefully something comes up.

Thanks
~j
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