Forum Thread

Slideshow on TV

gt6mk31 1,942 2,403 April 17, 2016 at 02:15 PM
I need a couple cheap TVs to put in a library to run a looping slideshow. Nearly all of them say the USB input will play music and show pictures (jpg). But will they show multiple pictures as a slideshow?


Additional info if you want to read more:

The images will be changed frequently so I want to be able to grab the flash drive, drop the new ones in and delete the old ones, and stick it back in the TVs. That seems the simplest to me.

We shut our computers down at night so I don't want to go wifi and run it from my computer. Besides, wifi TVs are more expensive and I don't need all that. I'm planning a 19"- 24" for the counter top and something a little bigger, maybe 32" for the front window.

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#2
Quote from gt6mk31 View Post :
I need a couple cheap TVs to put in a library to run a looping slideshow. Nearly all of them say the USB input will play music and show pictures (jpg). But will they show multiple pictures as a slideshow?


Additional info if you want to read more:

The images will be changed frequently so I want to be able to grab the flash drive, drop the new ones in and delete the old ones, and stick it back in the TVs. That seems the simplest to me.

We shut our computers down at night so I don't want to go wifi and run it from my computer. Besides, wifi TVs are more expensive and I don't need all that. I'm planning a 19"- 24" for the counter top and something a little bigger, maybe 32" for the front window.
You can do this with many TV's using a flash drive or sd card, but it may not be the optimal solution. Manually changing out the content could be a bit of a pain also on many you may have to jump through a few menus to make it work EVERY TIME YOU TURN ON THE TV. Slideshow support will also vary, you may not be able to control the duration or if it loops. Read manuals online before you buy and see if employees at the store can furnish a remote / let you try the slideshow features of a particular tv.

Something like a chromecast on the TV's could work pretty well. However, some of the other "chrome" devices have better signage support, but they cost more, like the chromebit: https://www.google.com/work/chrom...chromebit/
https://www.google.com/work/chrom...r-signage/
There are other options too (which would use different software, some would take a lot more effort to setup) including the raspberry pi, intel compute stick,
There are also special tv's designed for digital signage.
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Last edited by jkee April 17, 2016 at 05:17 PM
#3
An amazon fire tv stick might be a better choice than a chromecast, but not as nice as the chromebit.
You can run kodi on the fire tv and use FireStarter to launch it automatically. I'm sure it's possible to script an automatic slideshow in kodi, but there could be other apps that work too.

In a perfect world, you could use hdmi-cec with a device like the fire stick or chrome bit to automatically turn the tv on and off on a schedule.
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Last edited by jkee April 17, 2016 at 05:06 PM
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#4
Quote from jkee View Post :
An amazon fire tv stick might be a better choice than a chromecast, but not as nice as the chromebit.

You can run kodi on the fire tv and use FireStarter to launch it automatically. I'm sure it's possible to script an automatic slideshow in kodi, but there could be other apps that work too.

In a perfect world, you could use hdmi-cec with a device like the fire stick or chrome bit to automatically turn the tv on and off on a schedule.
We are only open part time hours four days a week so starting up the one on the counter wouldn't be that big of a deal even with the annoyance of a menu. Maybe annoying, but doable. I have six computers to start up anyway. I thought I about running it from my computer but the tower does not have two monitor outputs and I don't think it has an HDMI port either.

The one I want to put in the window will likely run 24/7. I'd set it to shut off late at night but since we are closed so much it kind of defeats the purpose of window announcements.

I'm just looking for a simple, cheap way to accomplish this and thought USB flash drive stuck in a couple cheap TVs would do it. Ugh. I use a Firestick and Kodi at home and love it.
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#5
Quote from gt6mk31 View Post :
We are only open part time hours four days a week so starting up the one on the counter wouldn't be that big of a deal even with the annoyance of a menu. Maybe annoying, but doable. I have six computers to start up anyway. I thought I about running it from my computer but the tower does not have two monitor outputs and I don't think it has an HDMI port either.

The one I want to put in the window will likely run 24/7. I'd set it to shut off late at night but since we are closed so much it kind of defeats the purpose of window announcements.

I'm just looking for a simple, cheap way to accomplish this and thought USB flash drive stuck in a couple cheap TVs would do it. Ugh. I use a Firestick and Kodi at home and love it.
You can automate shutdown and startup of those computers pretty easily. [wikihow.com]
While I appreciate the desire for simple solutions, I think there are better long term solutions. If you go this route try before you buy and read the manual. NOTE: it can be hard to find the manuals online for some real cheap tv's. Most likely you'd be happier with the slideshow function of tv's from better brands.

Things like a raspberry pi (add a case and only look at models with wifi), fire stick, or chromebit would work a lot better. You could do things like animations / power point like transitions, videos, split screens with weather and time, etc.. As long as devices still have internet access, you shouldn't need to leave a computer on. The chrome bit/box options are pretty polished just a little pricey. raspberry pi (this article is a few years old but still useful [sixteen-nine.net]) or fire stick would be a lot less then the chromebit.

Adding a cheap video card to the computer is pretty easy too.

I'd play with your personal firetv stick sometime to see what it would be like in a signage application. It's easy to do something like this in the future. There are also special signage smart tv's like this for example: http://www.samsung.com/us/busines...RMDPLGA/ZA
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Last edited by jkee April 17, 2016 at 08:32 PM
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#6
Quote from jkee View Post :
You can automate shutdown and startup of those computers pretty easily. [wikihow.com]
While I appreciate the desire for simple solutions, I think there are better long term solutions. If you go this route try before you buy and read the manual. NOTE: it can be hard to find the manuals online for some real cheap tv's. Most likely you'd be happier with the slideshow function of tv's from better brands.

Things like a raspberry pi (add a case and only look at models with wifi), fire stick, or chromebit would work a lot better. You could do things like animations / power point like transitions, videos, split screens with weather and time, etc.. As long as devices still have internet access, you shouldn't need to leave a computer on. The chrome bit/box options are pretty polished just a little pricey. raspberry pi (this article is a few years old but still useful [sixteen-nine.net]) or fire stick would be a lot less then the chromebit.

Adding a cheap video card to the computer is pretty easy too.

I'd play with your personal firetv stick sometime to see what it would be like in a signage application. It's easy to do something like this in the future. There are also special signage smart tv's like this for example: http://www.samsung.com/us/business/displays/digital-signage/LH40RMDPLGA/ZA
Thank you so much. Love that Samsung but its out of our price range. We are a small library in a town of 522. But I will definitely consider and look into using a Fire Stick. I appreciate all the help and advice.
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#7
We use raspberry pi 1 Model Bs at work. There is a central server which pushes the slideshow to each Pi and the Pi is power by the USB port of the TV. The TV has a schedule to turn itself on and off, which powers the Pi and boots automatically to the Pi.
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#8
Quote from gt6mk31 View Post :
Thank you so much. Love that Samsung but its out of our price range. We are a small library in a town of 522. But I will definitely consider and look into using a Fire Stick. I appreciate all the help and advice.
Glad to help. Most of the commercial solutions are pretty pricey. The Google options are pretty good for the price, it could be something to consider long term as prices fall. Small library's can often get some pretty good grants to fund various things including technology.

For your needs, I'm not sure what the best option would be and there's no harm in starting with a basic slideshow off a flash drive. Just know that as you get fed up with that option, there are lots of other more powerful options that won't break the bank. A raspberry pi or android stick computer is probably more powerful than the fire stick since you have more control over the software but it could be harder to setup. From the software side, one of the best options I found is https://www.risevision.com/. The free version should work for you and would run an a raspberry pi (you'd have to host the files on a server on your lan or the internet). If you decide to do something more complicated like this and run into problems feel free to ask for more help.

An option that uses the chromecast is http://greenscreen.io/ but it isn't simple to setup.
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Last edited by jkee April 17, 2016 at 10:28 PM

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#9
would something like this work?
176.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Pro...0003-00001


or just get some monitors and a dvd player with hdmi out and use a hdmi to dvi cable
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Last edited by komondor April 18, 2016 at 06:24 PM
#10
Quote from komondor View Post :
would something like this work?
176.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Pro...0003-00001

or just get some monitors and a dvd player with hdmi out and use a hdmi to dvi cable
No need for a dvd player, that would be more trouble than the flash drive slide show. The key to success if you go for the flash drive slide show is to make sure you know how a particular tv works before you buy it. That could mean trying it out in a store (likely in a nearby town), reading manuals, watching youtube videos, etc.. Cheap brands like TCL are a challenge because the manuals often have no documentation on the slideshow functionality. With a brand like quasar you often can't even find manuals online. Best bet would be a better brand like samsung, lg, sony, panasonic, etc.

A raspberry pi 3 model b (this one has built in wifi and costs about the same as most of the other models) is a really powerful option, it just requires some effort to setup. If you do buy some dirt cheap tv and discover the slideshow function is awful or non-existent you can add a raspberry pi, case, micro sd card, and micro usb cable for less than $50.
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Last edited by jkee April 18, 2016 at 08:31 PM
#11
Quote from gt6mk31 View Post :
I need a couple cheap TVs to put in a library to run a looping slideshow. Nearly all of them say the USB input will play music and show pictures (jpg). But will they show multiple pictures as a slideshow?


Additional info if you want to read more:

The images will be changed frequently so I want to be able to grab the flash drive, drop the new ones in and delete the old ones, and stick it back in the TVs. That seems the simplest to me.

We shut our computers down at night so I don't want to go wifi and run it from my computer. Besides, wifi TVs are more expensive and I don't need all that. I'm planning a 19"- 24" for the counter top and something a little bigger, maybe 32" for the front window.

For my grandma's funeral, I just put a 100 jpgs on a flash drive, plugged it into the TV at the church and it played it as a slideshow just fine. I doubt that they had a smart tv. There was an issue with the order that the pictures played in, so you might have to change the name of the jpegs to get them to sort correctly (If you want them to play in a particular order). I can't remember if it started the slide show over once it was done though, so that might be an issue.
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#12
Quote from teenbean View Post :
For my grandma's funeral, I just put a 100 jpgs on a flash drive, plugged it into the TV at the church and it played it as a slideshow just fine. I doubt that they had a smart tv. There was an issue with the order that the pictures played in, so you might have to change the name of the jpegs to get them to sort correctly (If you want them to play in a particular order). I can't remember if it started the slide show over once it was done though, so that might be an issue.
Yes, this is exactly what I want to do as long as it will play constantly. I will have an image with our hours so I can get rid of the sign. Other than that, it will be a few images at a time. Just flyers advertising our upcoming and ongoing programs. Likely no more than three or four at a time so I don't need huge capability. I create the images anyway so they are on my computer. I just don't see it as a huge deal to grab the flash drive and update one or twice a month. Yes, online change the file and done would easier but to update two flash drives we are only talking five minutes.

The library board also wants the wifi shut down at night. Hey, don't look at me. I think it's ridiculous and in the future I may be able to get it changed, but for now... I could maybe convince them that I need to go with a wifi option. But when you are dealing with seven people with little or no tech knowledge, it's not always easy. On the other hand, if I get detailed enough I can watch their eyes glaze over and maybe get it approved! I'd use the 46" tv we have as a test but it doesn't have a USB port. Hmmm my older Sony Bravia does, maybe I'll test on it!

Quote from komondor View Post :
would something like this work?
176.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=1CS-0003-00001


or just get some monitors and a dvd player with hdmi out and use a hdmi to dvi cable
That thought did cross my mind too but I don't want to have to keep buying and burning DVDs. I will likely update this a couple times a month. Thank you for the suggestion.
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Last edited by gt6mk31 April 19, 2016 at 09:35 AM
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#13
I have also looked at digital picture frames as they will do what I want but they just aren't big enough. An 18 inch or so would work for the counter but they are as much or more than a cheap tv. And if I wanted or needed to I could use the tv for other things.
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#14
Quote from gt6mk31 View Post :
Yes, this is exactly what I want to do as long as it will play constantly. I will have an image with our hours so I can get rid of the sign. Other than that, it will be a few images at a time. Just flyers advertising our upcoming and ongoing programs. Likely no more than three or four at a time so I don't need huge capability. I create the images anyway so they are on my computer. I just don't see it as a huge deal to grab the flash drive and update one or twice a month. Yes, online change the file and done would easier but to update two flash drives we are only talking five minutes.

The library board also wants the wifi shut down at night. Hey, don't look at me. I think it's ridiculous and in the future I may be able to get it changed, but for now... I could maybe convince them that I need to go with a wifi option. But when you are dealing with seven people with little or no tech knowledge, it's not always easy. On the other hand, if I get detailed enough I can watch their eyes glaze over and maybe get it approved! I'd use the 46" tv we have as a test but it doesn't have a USB port. Hmmm my older Sony Bravia does, maybe I'll test on it!
One nice thing about using something like risevision and a raspberry pi, is that you can give precedent to info that's relevant on a particular date and time like events happening today or today's hours / when you open next. I understand it's probably overkill, but so is a digital sign. For you basic slides, vary the background image / color to prevent burn-in. Some tv's have and sd slot but no usb port (except maybe for software updates).

I spent quite a bit of time in the summers growing up in a very small mountain "town" (an unincorporated area similar in size to your town), I'm more familiar with the realities of small town libraries and politics than you might expect. It continues to astound me the level of completely ineffective "bureaucracy" people in small towns manage to create in the form of useless committees and how resistant people are to any change even to do things as simple as keep roads derivable. I'd say don't bother people on the committee with the details, keep it simple, show them pretty pictures, and tell them what it would cost.

The small town I mentioned has pretty awful internet. You have to be within a 500' of the phone company's building to get speeds > 3mbps. A lot of people still don't have internet at all except on their phones now. The library has limited hours, but actually has about 15 computers and some outdoor furniture for people to sit at to use the wifi when library is closed. You often see people parked there with laptops in front of the sign on the building that says Free WIFI 24/7. As long as you've got a decent setup to block objectionable content and file sharing (like open dns and a squid proxy), there's no reason at all to shut down the wifi. Note, if wifi is used for devices like a raspberry pi, staff computer, or public computer it should really be a separate encrypted network from the open public wifi. I suspect there are actually more pressing technological needs than a digital sign.

In my home city, the public library has some pretty impressive offerings to aid in STEAM education. Including: a recording studio, midi instruments, a green screen, video cameras, all sorts of high end software, electronics tools, development boards like the raspberry pi, lego mindstorms, a 3d printer, etc.

While it may seem pretty lofty, I think it's especially important for small town libraries to try to offer things to the community to promote science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. There are grants that can help fund this type of stuff. It's worth it for small town libraries to consider things like this when they do long term planning. As little as a couple hundred dollars could go a long way towards promoting STEAM, but it would likely require some knowledgeable volunteers.
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Last edited by jkee April 19, 2016 at 12:00 PM
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#15
40 bucks any tv

Micca Speck G2 1080p Full-HD Ultra Portable Digital Media Player For USB Drives and SD/SDHC Cards

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/...ZP5Z3P#Ask
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