June 2020 – We have a number of video tutorials on our YouTube channel. We’re still producing them at the moment but the get you going ones are already there.
Is it easy to be up and running?
Yes, our digital signage players have everything pre-installed and just need connecting to a large display screen and your network. Alternatively you can install our software on your own devices.
As the signage player in its simplest form is a web application, you could just run a web browser ideally in kiosk mode connected to your NoticeboardLive signage account.
How do I add additional noticeboard PCs (Players)?
Log them into your account and then activate them in the signage control panel. The control panel also allows you to configure the layout zones on the screen.
Are your players running Windows, Linux or Android?
Our standard player is an HTML5 web application and runs on any platform. We have an app built with Electron that can be used on Windows and Linux along with an Android app. You could also just run a chrome web browser in kiosk mode.
Which operating system is best for signage
We have a number of test signage players running 24/7 that are small Windows 10 net top PCs, Android TV boxes and Raspberry Pi4s running Linux. The Windows one is out of action the most due to it sometimes taking hours to update itself which it will do once a month.
Windows as a platform for signage players is easier to administer simply because most people are familiar with it. It has all the drivers for the hardware (or they are provide by the hardware manufacturer) to ensure you get the best performance for things like animations and video. It also handles most video formats as Microsoft licence them.
Its biggest downside for signage use (especially if you use the home version) is it will force a Windows update probably once a month although you can schedule updates for times when people might not be looking at the screen, such as 3am. You can pretty much assume that at some point it will put up a big box on the screen asking you to click something no matter how you set it up which isn’t ideal for a signage screen. This huge upgrade box appeared on one of our test signage players.
With modern solid state hard drives (SSD or eMMC) updates are pretty quick, if the PC is fast to start with. Avoid players that use old mechanical disks as updates can take hours. Also make sure you switch off notifications, although Windows will ignore that setting for a lot of them.
Android is an increasingly popular signage platform and doesn’t normally put up nag screens asking you to install an operating system update. It’s a fairly locked down platform and can’t normally be instructed to reboot. That means if it locks up you might have to manually switch it off and back on again.
That aside, it’s easy to put on your network and for simple signage applications (ie most of them) it works fine. We can supply you with a low cost Android player with our signage application installed so you just need to connect it to a big screen and your network.
The network should be wired rather than wireless as the WiFi tends to stop working on cheaper Android players. A lot of ‘no name’ Android players (TV Boxes) don’t do system updates as they’re so cheap the manufactures don’t offer much support once the units is working and shipped.
Linux works fine for signage but often doesn’t have all the drivers to get the best performance from the hardware and doesn’t support some video formats. This is often down to a lack of drivers from the hardware manufacturers or licencing issues. Nobody pays for free operating systems, so licence holders don’t get paid. It’s also incredibly user unfriendly so if you don’t know anything about Linux administration you might spend a lot of time getting things working.
The Linux based player we can supply is a Raspberry Pi4 running Raspbian. Unlike Windows, Linux won’t put your player out of action while it forces an update as these can often be done in the background.
A note on Updates: Digital signage players usually operate by connecting to a signage server somewhere on the Internet. That’s often the only place they connect to. Because of this, some might argue that a lot of updates aren’t strictly necessary, especially cosmetic ones.
What’s an Electron App?
It’s an application that bundles a specific version of the Google Chrome web browser. As the app uses the bundled browser rather than the one installed on the PC it should always work as it won’t be effected by any changes or updates to the main browser.
Will there be a lot of network traffic?
Depending on the type of player the pages are either all stored in cache or on the hard drive. In either case the network activity is minimal.
Do I need to install any software?
If you purchase a player unit from us then no as these units come with everything already installed, otherwise you will need to install an application onto the unit. At a minimum you could just direct your web browser to our cloud service and run it in kiosk mode.
What’s a Display Channel?
Each signage screen operates in a display channel. Think of a channel as a TV channel. If all your TVs are tuned into the same channel they would all show the same thing. You can put your signage screens, and zones within a screen into any channel you want.
Can I give the channels names such as Reception Screen?
Yes, you can give any channel any name you want. The control system will then show you the name so you don’t have to remember which screen is in which channel.
How many channels would I need?
In reality probably no more than one or two for most smaller organisations. If you have multiple departments then each department could be in charge of its own channel.
While a screen can be split up into multiple zones and each zone can operate in its own channel, some zones can just show news feeds or safety messages etc along with the date and time so once configured those channels will take care of themselves automatically.
What’s a display zone?
The electronic notice board or signage screens can be split up into different areas that we call zones. Each zone operates in a channel. Additionally, each zone operates as an individual screen so it will show its own playlists or carousels etc.
Can each zone be in any channel?
Yes, they can be in any individual channel. You could have a four zone screen with the first three zones being in channels 1, 2 and 3 while the fourth zone could be in channel 100.
I have four noticeboard screens, can each screen show different numbers of zones to the other screens?
Yes, each screen can be configured any way you want.
Do I have to split the screen up into zones?
No, the screen can just be one zone that fills the screen. Multiple zones work best if you want a lot of different information on the screen at the same time like you would with a conventional notice board. With multiple zones some zones can show the same material all day long while other zones can cycle around different material.
Will it display scrolling ticker messages?
Yes, you can create your own messages to be shown in a ticker message. You can even have a number of different ticker messages and the system will join ticker messages together.
Can I show different ticker messages on different screens?
Yes, the ticker messages operate in channels, so different ticker channels can show different messages. Multiple ticker messages put into the same channel will be joined together.
Can I drive more than one screen from a single unit?
Yes, with a combination of HDMI extenders and HDMI splitters you can connect one player to lots of different screens. Obviously the screens would all show the same content as each other.
We can supply you with the items you need.
Can a single player put different messages on say eight different screens?
Our multi-output player units are fitted with multiple dual or quad output graphics cards that can give you individual control of screens, or treat a number of screens as one huge screen like a video wall.
Do you supply large screens?
Generally no as you will get a far better price by buying these direct from big electrical retailers as they buy them in large discounted quantities. Unless you need something industrial with a high brightness screen you can use any large screen TV.
Do you supply HDMI Splitters, CAT5 / HDMI extenders and long HDMI Leads?
Yes. If you can supply us with distance information between the noticeboard PC and the screen locations etc we would be happy to work out the best combination of splitters, cables, and cat5 extenders you would need for a given system. Bear in mind that with the small size of players they can easily be fitted behind the TV.
What’s the difference between a digital signage system and an electronic noticeboard system?
They are one and the same. Different people search for the product using different names.
Do you export hardware?
Small items like signage players yes, Big and heavy items will be easier and cheaper to source in your own country due to shipping costs.