Advertising with the Raspberry Pi

Off the Web

If you want to load content from a web server instead of copying it to the USB stick, instruct the system to retrieve the data directly from the Internet or LAN. To do so, create a simple text file named remote-urls.txt on the stick, in which you enter one URL per line that refers to the content. You can use both web and FTP servers as a source.

Store this text file in the main directory of the disk and restart Raspberry Slideshow. It now retrieves the images and videos from the web and plays them back locally. You may mix local and remote content in one session.

The commercial version of the software also lets you retrieve content for a slide show from a Samba server and play back individual content on a remote server. Examples and useful documentation can be found on the project page [4].

Hands On

In our lab, Raspberry Slideshow was pretty impressive. However, the restrictions of the free version – the lack of SSH support and a limitation to only three files – greatly reduce the utility value. On the up side, it is noticeable that the software (and this is not stated in the documentation) works without connected input devices.

Raspberry Slideshow makes it easy to show videos or picture collections in an endless loop, such as in shop windows or at an exhibition. Moreover, the Rasp Pi can be attached discreetly to the back of the display, which avoids unnecessary cable clutter.

Another interesting feature is automatic image rotation, which is only available in the commercial version: It uses the Exif data of the photos, guaranteeing that all images appear in the correct orientation. This version also enables the use of the integrated wireless chip in the RPi3, which allows remote configuration (e.g., from a notebook over SSH). Content can also be transferred to the Rasp Pi in this way, making it easier to update displays.

On a 3K monitor connected to the RPi2 (Figure 4), some jerkiness was observed in high-resolution photos. However, this effect was eliminated by adjusting the buffer memory.

Figure 4: The Rasp Pi also looks good with 3K and 4K displays.

Conclusions

Raspberry Slideshow turns the single-board computer into a full-fledged advertising system for trade fairs, exhibitions, and demonstrations. Flexible handling of the sources, various possibilities for customization, and simple configuration in only two text files are all appealing. The full range of functions is only available with the commercial option, but the price you invest is money well spent.

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