We have started system testing our next release of our free digital signage software in our beta environment. You are welcome to log in and use it the same way you do the production environment. We don’t recommend installing the test version of the Player on any live Displays. This is a test environment; things will break from time to time.
This release includes:
Improved Installation / Large Rollout / OEM Support
Previously, Player was installed from the Display Settings page for the Display in question. This required that the Display be configured in Rise Vision first, and then someone with access to Rise Vision, with the appropriate rights, logged in and downloaded the installation from that Display’s Settings page and installed it on the target device. The installation only worked for the Display in question and the process had to be repeated for every Display that was required. As such it was very difficult to pre-install Player and ship it in volume. Manufacturers couldn’t easily bundle our Player, installers couldn’t independently configure large roll outs without a login to Rise Vision, etc. etc.
With this release the installation is now generic and available from the Display List page and anyone, without access to Rise Vision, can install and roll it out, and they have two options by which to do it:
Install without a preconfigured Company Claim ID (more on this in a second) and upon startup the Player prompts the Installer to either enter a Claim ID or Display ID. To enter the Display ID the Display must have already been set up in Rise Vision exactly the way it was done before.
- Install with a pre configured Claim ID and upon start up that Display automatically registers itself in Rise Vision under the Company in question. Every Company has a unique Claim ID and if preconfigured with an installation or entered when the Player starts up that Display will self register with the appropriate Company. All the Installer has to do is enter the name for the Display. Something like “Main Lobby North Wall” so that it is easily identifiable in Rise Vision.
With this release Manufacturers can easily bundle Rise Player and Network Operators can provide Installers with either a pre-configured installation that has the applicable Company’s Claim ID or they can provide Installers with the Claim ID. Installers no longer need access to Rise Vision or alternatively have to keep track of multiple, Display specific, installation versions or unique Display ID’s, which can become very easily confused and misconfigured.
On-Demand Startup Option
Previously Player took over whatever computer it was installed on and auto-started regardless, now you can choose whether it should auto-start or only start on-demand. A great option for those who want to use equipment for multiple purposes.
Browser Version Configuration and Control
We use specific versions of Chrome for Windows and Chromium for Linux as the browser that shows your content on your Displays. When we upgraded those versions in the past you had no control over whether or not your Players upgraded, they just did it automatically, which can be problematic if you have content that is relying upon a specific version. Now you can control by Display, if you want it to auto-upgrade and follow our release path, or you can specify a specific version and it will not change until modified by you. Not recommended but sometimes necessary.
One further benefit is that you can perform your own testing before accepting our recommended version. You can set the browser to hold at the pre-release version and when we upgrade you can choose to auto-upgrade a test Display, make sure it is fine, then upgrade the remainder of your Displays. Once Player 2 is released, all Displays will be set to the default of Auto-Upgrade. You can change the Player Browser version at that time to Current which will hold at this current version, Previous which will roll back to the last supported version, or User Managed, where you can install your own version.
If you have a large number of Displays and you want to change how their Chrome / Chromium version is updated you can also apply this change to all Displays with the same operating system from the Display list page.
Further, take note that as of this release we are upgrading Chromium from version 24.0.1309.0 to 25.0.1364.0 due to issues with touch interactions. Chrome will remain at version 24.0.1312.56.
Our previous watchdog only restarted the browser if it completely failed; with this release if the browser becomes frozen or hangs but is still running we will recognize the problem within 3 minutes of it occurring and and will restart everything. Reliability and the requirement for manual interventions should be substantially improved.
Improved Offline Caching
We were relying upon a third party cache mechanism to hold content if the connection to the Internet should fail. This cache was proving to be unreliable and not as efficient as we would like in terms of downloading content too often. We have replaced the third party tool with our own cache and it’s sole purpose is to download and maintain video reliably and efficiently. Images and SWF files, as well as most Gadget content, are cached in the running instance of the browser, not in our cache. If the Internet is disconnected, this content will continue to play as long as it’s been successfully downloaded when the browser starts. Gadgets that rely on live data being refreshed, such as the URL Gadget, are not cached and will act the same way they do now if the Internet is disconnected. An Internet connection must be available when the Display starts for the Presentation to start correctly.
If a Display was having cache issues, or was not upgrading properly, you had to manually connect to the Display by whatever remote tools you use, stop the Player, clear the cache, and restart the device. Now you can select from the Display settings page to remotely restart the Player which will (assuming we are connected) close Player, clear the cache, and start it back up again. You also have the “Reboot Computer” option, which will immediately reboot the device but does not clear the cache.
Visible Option in Placeholders
Placeholders now have the ability to be hidden via a checkbox in the Placeholder properties. This is a great asset to multi-page Presentations. Now, Gadgets and items within hidden Placeholders can be manipulated by the Presentation itself, thus facilitating the creation of interactive Presentations.
Display Resolution Detection
Previously when you added a Display, it showed as having a default resolution of 1920×1080, and you had to manually change it to match your Display. Now the Display’s resolution is detected when the Player starts, so it is always accurate to the physical Display’s resolution, and cannot be overridden. One less step in setting up your Display, and easier troubleshooting to determine on-screen resolution.
Reuters News Gadget
Reuters news with images, headlines, summary and detailed accompanying story text is now available and configurable very similar to how the existing RSS Gadget works.
The Financial Table Gadget now has a selected row color option so you can highlight the instrument you’ve selected by an interactive touch.
The Financial Chart Gadget no longer shows a vertical plot line at the rightmost edge of the fill color in the chart.
- The RSS Gadget now scales an image beyond it’s native resolution to better match the selected layout. Keep in mind that enlarging an image beyond it’s native resolution will degrade the quality.
We will keep everyone apprised of how testing is going in our community forum, and if you have any questions or have found issues with the beta, please feel free to post them there. Thanks!