This article assumes you have basic knowledge of how to install and manage Linux. If not, you should probably have a look at our free Plug'N Play software which is a preconfigured version of Linux.
When using a Raspberry Pi we advice to stick to Raspberry Pi OS or Ubuntu Mate since these distro's offer the best graphics performance (light weight window management and up to date drivers). Depending on your signage content and requirements around open source the best browser is either Chrome/Chromium (relatively resource hungry but best support of browser features) or LuaKit (light weight but less support for video and the newest HTML/CSS features). Expect that you will have to try out OS/browser combinations to ensure maximum performance for your specific signage content on the specific Raspberry Pi model you use.
This article was written based on usage of Ubuntu Linux. If you want to use Debian or other distro's based on Debian this article should be straight forward. If you want to use a different distro we assume you are familiar enough with it and Linux in general that you know where to deviate from the precise instructions described here.
When using a newer Intel NUC as player we suggest using the specific Ubuntu ISO's for the NUC you use. These have the specific, up to date drivers for the different NUC models and therefore enable the best graphics performance for the specific device. The NUC specific Ubuntu ISO's (with the list of devices they are created for) can be found on this page of the Ubuntu website. The 'Desktop' option is the easiest/fastest to get started. If your goal is to install as little as needed on your NUC and are prepared to spend extra time to get things running the 'Core' option is for you.
When you have chosen a Linux distribution, you can start with the basic installation:
ttf-mscorefonts-installer on most distributions. If this package cannot be found search for Microsoft fonts.
Depending on the distribution, Chromium (the open source version of Google Chrome's browser) is probably already included and Chrome probably not. It is recommended to install and use Google Chrome instead of Chromium (although Chromium should also work). Firefox in many cases does not perform as well as Chrome when it comes to video and animations.
First see if your distribution has a package for Chrome that you can use to install. If not do the following:
chrome://settings/content/sound in the address bar.
[*.]biz and press Add.
To make Google Chrome start automatically when the player user logs into Linux, do the following:
playr_loader.html in your user's home folder (ie
start-chrome-for-playr.sh file work for your computer you will need to change one line (around line 21) in the file: change the webc in the line
playr_loader_file="/home/webc/playr-loader/playr_loader.html" to your the username used on this computer, e.g. player.
/home/player/) and typing
chmod +x start-chrome-for-playr.sh
start-chrome-for-playr.sh on startup also on the Linux distribution and its window manager. When you use Gnome, go to System > Preferences > Startup Applications and add this file right there. If you use another distribution or window manager, please refer to its documentation on how to do this.
How to log the player user in automatically, heavily depends on the chosen Linux distribution. On Ubuntu derivatives it can be as simple as:
To make sure that the screen does not turn black after a few minutes, do the following (in generic wording, since the exact settings depend on the chosen Linux distribution):
These settings can be found under the energy/power and monitor/screen settings of the different Linux distributions. The support forums for the different distributions can be very useful to find the details needed to set this up correctly.
If you like to save some energy, you can set the computer to go into sleep mode when you like your channel to stop playing. An easy way to do this is with cron.
crontab -e and have it open a text editor of your choice.
This this will shutdown the computer at 19:00 (7 PM).
00 19 * * * sudo shutdown -P now
Automatic player startup cannot be configured in Linux. Instead, you will have to check the BIOS of your computer if that allows you to configure auto-startup at a specific time.
The clock that is used by the BIOS does not take daylight saving time into consideration. So any scheduling needs to take into account that the clock will run early or late for half the year.
You need to check the documentation of your computer's BIOS on how to do this. Here's an example of how it works on most Intel NUC computers: