Author Topic: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance  (Read 757 times)

Offline taintedsaint

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Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« on: December 18, 2018, 06:49:59 AM »
As this year's show runs I've planned a project for next year to replace my tune to sign.
While working in garage I was tired of moving around 2 LED flat screens I inherited when a family member moved. Both are 32" Vizio and work fine.
My wife is a whiz with Microsoft and Powerpoint and suggested making a PowerPoint video, putting on USB and playing on TV. That works but it has to be started up each time TV is powered down.
So my question to the tech experts is how to come up with a better and EASIER method. Trying to avoid BBB, Pi, Octoscrollers and all manner of additional parts and pieces and cables and programming and etc etc etc.


I do realize I may be pissing up a rope of hopelessness but then again, someone may be doing exactly that right now.
All I want to display is alternating screen of tune to frequency and one with show times.
All info and tips appreciated or even nudges in new directions to try.


Thanks again.


Joe

Offline pixelpuppy

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2018, 09:40:02 AM »
Trying to avoid BBB, Pi, Octoscrollers and all manner of additional parts and pieces and cables and programming and etc etc etc.


Why?  A Raspberry Pi is cheap and a really good solution for something like this with no additional hats/caps/capes needed. It would also allow you to sequence other effects on the TV (like Song name/artist along with Tune To frequency)
-Mark

Offline CaptainMurdoch

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2018, 11:00:42 AM »
You can use a simple Pi to run a video and trigger that from whatever you are using to play your show currently, whether that is FPP, xScheduler, or Vixen.  Jon Chuchla did something similar to what you are talking about, so you may want to look for posts from him describing his setup.
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Chris

Offline taintedsaint

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2018, 12:28:02 PM »
Thanks guys. I'll look Jon up and see how he did it. Been reluctant to introduce yet more devices, even simple as a Pi, as I'm not the "tech guy". I know everyone talks about how easy it is etc but most of them have a learning start I simply don't have.
Guess I'll put on my big boy pants and give it a fair shake.
I did find that many newer TVs have native ability to auotplay looped mp4 from USB (Samsung is a good one) but the TVs I inherited are a few years old.
Thanks for the help.

Offline dkulp

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2018, 12:39:09 PM »
Your profile doesn't list where you are from....


If you are in a "cold weather" state, I'd be very reluctant to use a TV for this unless you can keep it indoors and project out a window or something.   The LCD part of the display is likely not designed to drop to sub-zero temperatures.   Most TV's have an operating range of about 50-90 degrees with storage ratings down to about 0.   I really doubt a TV would work well at all in New England where it could drop to -10 or even lower.   

Offline taintedsaint

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2018, 06:22:15 PM »
That is one reason I'm back and forth with it. I'm in Northern VA and currently 29 degrees at night. As I said, this is for next year but as always I want to have everything planned, tested and ready far in advance.

Offline CaptainMurdoch

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2018, 09:16:18 PM »
For reference, I believe Jon used industrial LCD monitors, not regular TV's for his outside TuneTo sign.  I can't remember if he had his enclosure heated or not.  Here's a link to his thread:

https://www.diychristmas.org/vb1/showthread.php?7064-My-Fancy-new-Tune-To-Sign

Offline jchuchla

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2018, 11:13:50 PM »
Yep. Mine was a commercial grade Samsung. 3rd season now and still running strong. (Knock on wood, and have a matching spare in the basement)
Yes i did use a heater and cooling.  But of the DIY variety. Ive got two 9w C9 bulbs as the heater. And just a pair of fans for cooling. Both are connected to a thermostat and the lights turn on if the temp is below 50 and the fans turn on if its above 85.  Between the simple lights and fans, its able to maintain an internal temp in the 50-70 range thru the harsh Chicago winters.
I did a write up on the project on DIYChristmas.org. The thread was titled  something to the effect of my fancy new tune to sign


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Offline jchuchla

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2018, 11:16:07 PM »
By the way. The content on my sign is driven from hdmi video played by FPP. Ive got video clips for each sequence that show the song title and artist and the tune to info. It also scrolls thru other info slides during intermission.


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Offline taintedsaint

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2018, 05:40:06 AM »
Thanks Murdoch. I scrolled through all 22 pages of Chuchla's posts but must have missed it.
You've all bee a huge help.
Now to struggle with Raspberry Pi setup with an old, tired, non-tech brain.

Offline taintedsaint

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2018, 05:53:42 AM »
In my first attempt configuring the Pi last year, I had huge problems connecting it to my home network via cable as instructions said. It simply wouldn't recognize it was connected. Quite an adventure. I'm one of those that doesn't use home network for ANYTHING related to my show. It all runs from a standalone Mac running xlights and xschedule. I have no desire to change that.
So Chuchla's setup is a bit different from where I'm going. I don't need to trigger different video for songs etc. Basically I'm trying to find a way to create a PowerPoint of 3-4 slides, convert to mp4 and play on the TV. I do like the temp control he used though. May solve my problem.
My reluctance with the Pi is though I've read and researched all the info on raspberry.org and all the sites about the Pi, I still have a hard time understanding how the OS remains installed and then what other apps are needed to perform a task.
Yes, I see how FPP gets run each time it powers up from a USB stick but in the much larger picture I simply don't have the technical understanding to envision how the Pi works.
I'm a retired Army Special Forces guy, been a Mac user since 1984 and while I have mastered Mac and a LOT of other software programs, I think there's just part of some technology that my brain's wiring simply won't let me understand. To that end, I've gotten frustrated with the Pi and set it aside for now.
I have found info on the USB looping on Samsung TV and may try that route.
I do truly appreciate all the input and urging to give the Pi a shot, I believe over the holidays I may have the patience to try again.
Will keep you all posted on progress.

Offline jchuchla

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2018, 08:56:06 AM »
Many people get confused with the Pis because they mentally put it in some special category of devices.  It's not.  It's a computer.  it's really no different from a Mac or a PC.  it's just a small one.  A mac or PC has an OS on it that runs every time it boots.  And then there's programs and services that you use to "get stuff done".  On a mac or PC, the OS is either Windows, or OSX, and it's (usually) installed on a hard drive.  On a Pi, you have choices for an OS, but Raspian is the most common.  It's nothing more than a specialized version of Linux that's optimized to run on the Pi.  FPP takes that a step further.  It's Raspian, but further customized and optimized for the purpose of playing light shows.  On the Pi, the OS is installed on an SD card instead of a hard drive.  That's it.  It's really that simple.

Smart TVs are really just a TV, with a built in tiny computer of some sort.  Some of them actually use an actual raspberry pi inside.  (some NEC models) That built in computer is usually running some highly customized OS that's designed to do a few things well.  consumer Smart TVs generally have functions to play movie and image files from removable media, as well as apps for connecting to streaming media services and other similar stuff.  But they're typically designed to do these things only when told to by the user.  In other words, you need to use the remote to make it happen.  Commercial and hospitality TVs have additional functions to do things at specific times automatically.  This gives you the ability to put a  commercial TV in a lobby and have it turn on and start looping a playlist at 7am and shut off at 10pm.  The differences are really just software differences.  The "apps" on a commercial TV are made to fill commercial needs.  The apps on consumer tvs are made to fulfill consumer needs. 

Your need is a commercial need.  Commercial TVs are significantly more costly than consumer TVs.  It's far cheaper to add another external "computer" like a Pi to gain the functionality you need than it is to get a TV that has it built in.

That's exactly why I use FPP on the Pi as opposed to starting from scratch.  I've actually got quite a few Pis doing several different things, and many of them use the FPP image even if i'm not doing any FPP stuff with it at all.  It's just a convenient ready-to-go OS image with all of the utilities for network config and whatnot already built into a web interface.  I've got one at my office doing TTS announcements and SFX over the paging system to notify of various events in the building.  It's running FPP, but for no good reason other than it was easy to get it up and running quickly.

Anyhow.  On my sign, I am actually using some FPP functionality.  I'm using it's ability to listen to sACN data from a sequencer to trigger events.  The actions of those events really have nothing to do with FPP though.  they're just scripts to start MP4 playback, or to scroll thru jpg/png slides.
The MP4s I use for the sign content are created in powerpoint just like you suggest.  They're simple slideshows with some basic animations just to give it a bit of professional polish.  I export from powerpoint to mp4 and upload it to the pi.  I create a script to start the mp4, and then I tie that script to the event that runs when a specific channel data is received.
In your case, if you just want a single MP4 (or series of them) to loop over and over in a particular time window.  You could use FPP to do that in a very simple fashion.  Just add the MP4s to a repeating playlist.  And then schedule when you want that playlist to play.


Offline pixelpuppy

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2018, 09:47:53 AM »
On my sign, I am actually using some FPP functionality.  I'm using it's ability to listen to sACN data from a sequencer to trigger events.  The actions of those events really have nothing to do with FPP though.  they're just scripts to start MP4 playback, or to scroll thru jpg/png slides.
The MP4s I use for the sign content are created in powerpoint just like you suggest.  They're simple slideshows with some basic animations just to give it a bit of professional polish. I export from powerpoint to mp4 and upload it to the pi.  I create a script to start the mp4, and then I tie that script to the event that runs when a specific channel data is received.
In your case, if you just want a single MP4 (or series of them) to loop over and over in a particular time window.  You could use FPP to do that in a very simple fashion.  Just add the MP4s to a repeating playlist.  And then schedule when you want that playlist to play.
Jon, are you using omxplayer to play the MP4's or something else?   Some of us playing full-length videos with FPP (which uses omxplayer) are dealing with some problems of omxplayer crashing and its been difficult to track down because its not always the same file or the same time.  I'm curious if you're using a different player or maybe its the way you encode the mp4 that's more reliable?

Offline dkulp

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2018, 09:59:33 AM »
I kind of wonder if you created an output of type "Virtual Matrix" of some medium/low resolution, create a pixel overlay model for that matrix, and then have the default output video device set to that if it would not crash.  That would not involve omxplayer anymore.   You'd be much more restricted on the video quality though.


Offline jchuchla

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Re: Using TV for tune to sign, need guidance
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2018, 10:14:43 AM »
Yes, I'm using omxplayer.  My sign is running an older FPP version.  v1.9-76-gf23187d. The omxplayer on it is version 4d8ffd1 built on 9/1/15

I'm also using fbi for the static image slideshow.

I have experienced some issues.  I will occasionally find FPPD stopped on that pi.  I just have to hit the restart FPPD button and it'll come back up with no problem.  This only happens about once a week or so.  I wish it didn't happen, but it's not a big deal.  This pi is in bridge mode.

I also had a problem last night on my master which may have been omxplayer related.  I looked out to find my yard dark and when i checked in on FPP, i found that it was sitting on my one and only mp4 song in the playlist without the sequence time counter moving.  I was able to advance it to the next sequence and it resumed fine.  Or so i thought.  It was playing, but with sync drift between audio and the lights.  Each sequence would start off fine.  but by the time it got 4 minutes into a sequence, the lights were over a second behind.  It was almost as if there was no audio/sequence sync happening and they were each freewheeling.  That's the first time i've ever seen that problem.  A reboot solved that problem and it was working fine afterwards.  This FPP is 1.x_master and is using a version of omxplayer i built myself to add alsa audio support.  (the FPP wheezy images had an omxplayer that didn't support alsa audio)

Personally I'm not interested in the virtual matrix option.  That would be a big step down in quality for me.  The main reason i went with the TV for the sign was for high quality imagery and graphics.  And the need to do video/sequence synced content is what got me to switch over to FPP in the first place.  It'd take over 2.7m channels to replicate the 720p video.



 

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