Common Features

Common Features

Many parameters used for content assets and templates share the same user modifiable parameters across the system. To modify any of the below, right click any content item and choose 'Properties'.

Name and Description

  • Name: Required. Enter a label for the content item or template.
  • Description: Optional. Used to provide an extended description. Text in this field is used by the Tools > Find feature when locating content.

Location/URL

URL: Required. Location of the source file (the content feed). Click on the folder/elipsis icon (outlined in green below).

the URL folder in the properties box

Click on the Cloud Library tab. Choose any assets within your cloud library.

selecting an asset in the network tree

Click on the URL tab to modify the caching behavior.

URL tab fields

Duration/Page Duration

The duration field format is hh:mm:ss.

duration selections

The Duration field is used to determine how long a piece of content plays before switching to the next scheduled content item. In a case where multiple items are scheduled in a region, the first content item plays for its assigned duration, then switches to the next scheduled content item. This pattern continues until all the scheduled items in a region are played and replays in a continuous loop.

In most cases, when the Duration box is unchecked, the content item plays indefinitely unless another content item interrupts it. If a content item does not have an assigned duration and there are other scheduled items after it, those items may not play. The Use exact duration box forces the content item to play for the specified duration, regardless of the other duration or page duration properties it has.

The general duration behavior varies based on the type of content. Some files, like PowerPoints, PDFs, and Live Data, may have multiple pages or slides, which can affect the duration settings. Other items, like data feeds and video have durations that may be determined by the native duration of the content file. A video or live data content item plays its full duration without needing to set the exact duration. In an instance where there is a list of videos and images, the images play with the designated row duration and the video plays its own duration before moving to the next row.

Power Point (PPT) content items may contain one to numerous slides. By default, CMD plays each slide for ten seconds, unless the slide in the PPT deck has a specific timing assigned in the PPT file. PPT slide durations can be assigned in the Transitions tab within PPT.

To play a PPT presentation once and switch to the next scheduled content item, uncheck the Duration box. This causes the PPT to play through the entire slide deck once, and then switch to the next scheduled content item. The PPT only plays indefinitely if the Loop Content box is checked.

Generally speaking, its best not to specify duration for the PPT file.

Feed content items display content from RSS feeds. If the RSS feed is displayed as a text crawl, the length of time it takes to play through the entire feed may vary depending on the scroll speed of the text, the number of entries in the feed, and the length of the entries. Therefore, the normal duration rules do not apply.

Like other content items, if the Duration checkbox is unchecked, the Feed plays indefinitely and never switches to the next scheduled content item. If a duration is assigned to a Feed, the content item plays at least that length of time and continues to play until the entire feed has displayed. This ensures all items in the Feed are played even when a short duration is assigned with a smooth transition between the feed and other content items. If the Use exact duration box is checked, the feed cuts off as soon as the duration has elapsed, regardless how much of the feed has displayed.

PDF and Live Data content items may contain multiple pages of data. These content types have an additional setting in the Properties window called Page Duration, which allows more granular control over how long the pages within the content items play. This additional setting can change how the duration behaves based on a few rules.

  • No duration is assigned:
    The content item plays indefinitely and remains on the first page.
  • Duration is assigned without a page duration:
    Recommended. The duration functions as a page duration. This configuration accounts for any number of pages in the data and allows the content item to cycle with other content items that may reside in the same region.
  • No duration is assigned, but a page duration is assigned:
    The content item plays indefinitely and plays all pages based on the length of time provided in the Page Duration.

Video durations do not follow the normal duration rules because every video file has a native duration, which is the length of the video. For Video content, to ensure the video plays in its entirety, uncheck the Duration check box. Unlike other content items, when a Duration is assigned to a Video content item, the video only plays for the exact amount of time specified in the Duration field, potentially cutting off the video. To set a video to repeat, uncheck Duration and click the Loop Content check box.

Recurrences

Recurrences are used to construct the play schedule for templates, regions, and specific content items. On many signs, recurrences do not need to be adjusted since the default recurrence settings for templates and content items create a straightforward play schedule.

Each template and content item in the template and content repositories contain a default recurrence defined when they are initially scheduled for play, playing immediately and continuously (all day, every day of the week/month, with no end date). Items play in rotation via their order in the Network Overview, for their set durations, until all scheduled content is played.

Once a template, region, or content item is scheduled, users may add, delete, and modify recurrences for that specific instance of the template or content item. Each instance of a template or content item (in the Network Overview) can contain one recurrence, multiple recurrences, or no recurrence.

Recurrence schedules are always based on the clocks on the individual player machines.

Recurrences are designated by purple (templates), green (apps), gold (regions and content items), and blue (categories) bars on the Timeline View.

recurrence timeline overview

To open the Recurrence window, right-click a template / region / content item, and select Recurrences.

adding recurrence to template

The recurrences properties window opens.

recurrences schedule view
  • Date of first occurrence: Refers to the initial play of the template, region, or content item.
  • Time and duration of each occurrence: When a new recurrence is created, its first occurrence defaults to play all day today. To set specific start / end times, uncheck the All Day box. Users may also specify the number of Days to span, meaning how many times in days the play should occur.
  • Range: Controls the number of times the first occurrence is repeated. The default range is “forever.”
  • One time only, no pattern: Displays only once on the schedule.
  • No end date: Repeats forever on the schedule according to its pattern.
  • End after: Repeats number of times specified in the spin box.
  • End by: Repeats through the specified date according to its pattern.
  • Pattern: Controls whether the first occurrence repeats every day, only on specified weekdays, or only at specific times during the month. The default pattern is “Daily.”
    • To select specific days of the week, click the Weekly radio dial, then check the desired day(s) of the week.
    • To select a specific time of the month, click the Monthly radio dial.
  • Day <DayNumber> of every month: Specific day of the month on which the first occurrence repeats. When 31 is selected, it plays on the last day of the month, regardless of the number of days in the month.
weekly recurrence fields
  • The [Last | First | Second | Third | Fourth] <DayName> of every month: Specifies a relative day of the month on which the first occurrence repeats
monthly recurrence fields

The Recurrence window provides Copy and Paste buttons to the left of the 'OK/Cancel' buttons.

Caching Behavior

To ensure the content on your sign is current, determine the Caching Behavior for your content.

Open the proerties for a given content item and in the Location field click on the folder/ellipsis icon.

folder icon for layout

Click on the URL tab. In the URL properties window choose the appropriate caching option for the Caching Behavior.

list of caching behaviors
Caching behaviors
TypeDescription
Copy from deployment server
(Push method - not recommended. Unfortunatey this is default for many static content types.)
Content Manager downloads content from the source and copies it to the deployment server or directly to the player if a deployment server is not being used. The player then downloads the content from the deployment server and stores it locally for playback. Any changes in content require the user to deploy again.
Download from network location at run-time

Content Manager includes content location information in the deployment file. The player downloads content directly from the source location only when it is first scheduled for playback. The player stores content in a cache folder for playback and checks for new updates at the defined update interval.
Download from network location at deployment
(Recommended for static content - Images, Video, PDF/PPT)
Content Manager includes local content location information in the deployment file. The player downloads content directly from the source location while it receives the new deployment information. The player stores content in a cache folder for playback and checks for new updates at the defined update interval.
Use network location
(Recommended for data feeds - RSS/XML)
Content Manager includes content location information in the deployment file. The player downloads content directly from the source location and holds in memory for playback. The player checks sources for updated content at the defined update interval. If the player is restarted, this content is not retained on the device.
Use network location, no cacheContent Manager includes content location information in the deployment file. The player downloads content directly from the source location and does not store this content on the device or in memory. A call to the source location is made for each playback using this method.

Default Caching Behaviors

Each content type has a default caching behavior.

  • Copy from deployment server: Default caching behavior for the following types: Excel, Flash, Image, PDF, PowerPoint, Text, Video, Web Maps, and Word.
  • Use network location: Default caching behavior for the HTML content type.
  • Download from network location at run-time: Default caching behavior for the following types: Live Data, Feed and Content Feed.

Other content types:

  • Live TV has no caching behavior, as there is no URL field for Live TV content items.
  • Control Pad and Date/Time content applies Copy resource… behavior to any images referenced for backgrounds.
  • Progressive meter content applies Don’t copy this resource… behavior to data while Copy resource… behavior is applied to any background images.

Update Interval

Update interval: How frequently Content Player checks the source path (URL) for an updated version of the content. Used only if the caching behavior is set to:

  • Download from network location at run-time
  • Download from network location at deployment
  • Use network location

Layout Editor

Layout is used to customize how content is displayed from live data feeds (e.g. RSS, XML, etc.) Layout is a common feature for the following content types:

  • Live Data, Syndicated Feed, Content Feed
  • Weather
  • Date/Time

In this example we are modifying the layout of a 'Live Data' content item.

example of layout editor fields

The following data fields are available in Live Data:

  • Static Text
  • Markup Text
  • Built-in
  • Pagination
  • Quick Index
  • Data Source

The simplest type of data field is a Static Text field, which is essentially a text box. After it is placed in a layout, enter a title, such as Today’s Weather or Featured Events, and then format the display properties (font color, size, etc.) for that text. Other data fields allow the insertion of a specific type of information, like the current date or time or temperature. In the case of Live Data, data fields are often used to auto-populate a sign with data from a source file. Many aspects of the displayed data may be customized, including value sorting, value filtering, defining touchable interactivity, or other advanced features.

Layout Properties

Title height: Defines a number of pixels of space between the header area and the first band.

Title gap: Defines a number of pixels of space between the bottom of the title and bands.

Group by band height: Defines the area for group bands when this option is checked. The Group-By band&is useful when a column of data from the Live Data source file is to be grouped with similar items on the sign.

Row height/width: Defines the height and width of each band.

Row gap: Defines a number of pixels of space between bands.

Footer height: A single extra band which appears at the bottom of the live data layout, extending the full width of the region.

Left Margin: A number of pixels of space to the left of each band of data.

Right Margin: A number of pixels of space to the right of each band of data.

Field Properties

layout field properties

For precise positioning and sizing, enter the X/Y coordinates, width and height of for data field. To the right of the properties section is a data field picker where you can modify the front to back relationship of any field by clicking the first 2 smaller icons on the bottom. You may also further modify the selected field box by clicking on the 3rd small icon (wrench) and you'll see a pop-up window providing multiple styling options.

For more information on using the layout editor, see the step by step guide.