Playlists in Digital Signage

Playlists in Digital Signage

Playlists in Digital Signage are at the core of your content. Each playlist consists of one or more slides, and you can also put playlists in playlists to create different zones.

Options for Playlists in Digital Signage

  • Aspect ratio (AR) – is the ratio of the display’s width and height, typically displays are in 16:9 AR, with some monitors in 16:10. If you want to use the display in portrait, you should also create a playlist in a portrait aspect ratio of 9:16.  You can also enter a custom aspect ratio if you have a screen (LED display for example) in non-standard resolution. Our software is resolution agnostic, which means the playlist is scaled as much as possible without skewing the images, be that 720p, 1080p (Full HD), or 4K resolution.
  • Layout – You can choose between several pre-made zone configurations. If the configuration you want is not available, see our tutorial on how to create custom zones.
  • Randomize slides [advanced] – Plays slides in random order. Please note that selecting this option will override any individual slide rules such as ‘After this slide play slide 2’. If you plan to use schedules with several playlists to be played in a sequence, a playlist is considered “done” when the last slide is played, therefore once the last slide is randomized, the player will continue with the next playlist in the sequence.
  • Can unlock objects on canvas [advanced] – Defines which team roles can unlock objects on canvas that have been previously locked, see more on locking below.
  • Maximum playlist duration [advanced] – Limits how long the playlist can be. This option is oriented towards content creators who sell specific time slots on their screens. The idea is that display owners can sell their customers a fixed time slot (say a 60-second playlist) and share it with the customer, so they can design it themselves. This way the display owner only schedules the playlist and it is up to the customer to design the playlist without the need for the display owner being involved in creating/uploading/managing the content.
  • Interaction delay [advanced] – This option may be useful on touch displays or kiosks with user input. Imagine a scenario where you have a user workflow with several options and on one slide you ask users to fill out a web form (f.x Welcome->Info->Web form). You don’t know how long it takes users to fill out the form, but you also want the display to reset the flow to the beginning of the user abandoning the form. This option will delay the next slide playback by the specified amount of seconds so that the player will not start playing the next slide if the user is in the middle of filling out a web form or interacting with a slide.

Playlist Overview

Below we’ve added a bit of useful information about the icons you see for each playlist in Playlists in Digital Signage


Playlist icons and information - Playlists in Digital Signage

How to work with playlists

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Portrait Orientation

Playlists in Digital Signage can be both horizontal as well as in portrait, and In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to rotate your Digital Signage slides by 90 degrees clockwise (portrait mode). You’ll find it useful if you want to rotate your display vertically.

Setting up your screen in vertical mode involves 2 steps:

  • Creating content for portrait mode
  • Configuring the player for portrait mode

Portrait mode content creation

Since the display will be rotated 90 degrees, the aspect ratios are also flipped. Instead of the usual 16:9 aspect ratio, create a playlist with a 9:16 ratio. Most TV screens produced today are in 16:9 or 9:16 aspect ratio, however, you can always input your own custom ratio under the Advanced section in the Create playlist popup window.

Setting up the player for portrait mode Link

Now that the content is in the right proportions, we need to rotate the display signal 90 degrees as well. If you are using an operating system that supports changing display orientation (Windows, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS, and some Android devices), we strongly recommend configuring the screen rotation in the operating system settings rather than in our application settings as this is more efficient to render for the device.

Windows 10 Link

Right-click on the desktop and select Display Settings from the drop-down menu. Then select Portrait orientation from the Display menu.

MAC Link

Launch System Preferences from the Apple menu and find Display. In the Display, settings change the rotation to either 90 or 270 degrees.

Chrome Link

Go to Settings -> Display -> Orientation and select either 90 or 270 degrees.

Raspberry PI Link

In Raspbian you’ll find the setting to change the orientation by going Menu -> Preferences -> Screen Configuration

Android Link

Not all Android devices support rotating display signals, but the option is usually under Settings->Display menu. After rotating the screen, the playlist may not fill up the entire screen, because width and height are now reversed. To fix that, go to our app options, then select “Screen edges” and adjust the red borders to match the screen.

If you can’t find the setting, please refer to the FireOS guide below.

Amazon Link

FireOS devices (Fire TV) don’t have an option to rotate the signal, so we have developed a workaround for it. This is not ideal as it requires more processing, however works as a band-aid solution. On the web portal Screens page click the Settings (gear) button on the screen you want to rotate to portrait mode. You’ll find the option to select between “Clockwise” and “Counter-Clockwise” in the display orientation section:

Tip: These settings can also be managed from the player by pressing the “menu” button on FireTV remote to bring up the options menu.

Setting display edges

If you started the player application before you rotated the screen to portrait in the operating system settings, the content will be rotated, but not full screen. This is because the player has the edge properties from when it was in landscape mode. This is easy to fix though:

Open up options in the player and navigate to ‘Screen edges’. Now move the red lines to cover the entire visible area.

Playlists in Digital Signage - Setting display edges

Red lines need to be matched with display edges.

Sharing a Playlist

Outsourcing your digital signage content creation to a colleague or a third-party designer while maintaining control of your screens and their schedules can be done either by sharing your playlists or by adding them to your team.

Playlist Sharing is commonly used if you don’t want the person to become a part of your team or the person belongs to another team.

You can read more about the team here: Collaborating with teams

You can share individual playlists with other people or other teams so they can design the slides for these playlists.

If you share a playlist with a person and the e-mail you entered is not a registered user, we will automatically send an e-mail to them inviting them to sign up. After signing up with that e-mail, the user will see the playlist you shared in their playlists section.

You also have the option to give the person or team permission to publish the changes – Give this permission only if you trust the content they create and do not wish to review any changes made. If you don’t give this permission, you will be notified via e-mail of any changes to the playlist that have been made so you can review and publish changes yourself.

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Locking objects

You can lock individual objects that you’re done working with to de-clutter the canvas while working on other elements. You’ll find the lock button for the selected object in the alignment pane or get an overview of all objects’ lock status in the layers tab.

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Add a new dimension to the locking feature by defining roles that can unlock objects that are already locked. This makes it possible to define who can edit what on an individual element level. Suppose you have a slide for a product and the price needs to be updated frequently by 3rd party. If you want to ensure that they only update the price of the product and nothing else, you could lock all other elements on that slide except for the price field and revoke the unlock permission from them.

Locking objects in a playlist

You will find options for this permission in the settings for each individual playlist, there are 4 role levels to locking/unlocking permission:

  • Owner – team owner will always be able to unlock the elements in a playlist.
  • Admin – if granted, team admins will be able to unlock objects and manage the permission for members and sharees.
  • Member – if granted, team members will be able to unlock objects and manage the permission for sharees.
  • Sharee – if the playlist has been shared with 3rd parties, they will be able to unlock objects.

Background music

Background Music can add another layer to your content. It doesn’t have to be only about visuals, why not capture more senses and set the scene of your playlist with background music? Music is powerful, it can lift our mood offer entertainment, and improve blood flow.

A typical playlist in Digital Signage contains a list of slides to be presented, but you can also add a list of songs that should be played. First upload some audio files to your library, navigate to the playlists page, and click the tune icon next to your playlist.

Now drag & drop the songs you want to be played in the background from the left column to the list on the right. The tracks will be played in a loop as long as the playlist is presented.

Also, you can add audio files to your slides: Slide Background Music. Interested in streaming radio in your content?

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We offer a wide variety of templates you can freely use in your Playlists in Digital Signage. The templates are divided into categories such as hospitality, medical, retail, etc., and most of them are available as both horizontal and vertical playlists.

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How do I delete a playlist in Digital Signage​?

When you are on the playlists page, click on the Settings button, and down below in the dialog you’ll find the button to delete the playlist.

Can I share a playlist with another team?

You can either share your playlist with an individual person or another team that you own or is a member of.

I can not delete a playlist? Link

It is only possible to delete a playlist if it is not assigned to any group. If you get an error message while trying to delete a playlist, go to the group’s page and make sure that no groups (or schedules within a group) reference the playlist. You can either delete the groups/schedules or assign a different playlist to the group.

How can I move slides between playlists? Link

You can move the slide to slide stash, this will create a copy of the slide. Then navigate to your destination playlist and drag the slide from stash to the playlist.

How can I synchronize playlists?

In Groups and Schedules, you’ll find a synchronize feature, check out the documentation.

How to change the aspect ratio? Link

Unfortunately, it is not possible to change the aspect ratio of a playlist once it’s been created. The reason is that the content would get skewed if it was possible – imagine a playlist with a 1:1 aspect ratio (a square) and now if you’d change the ratio to 2:1 (a rectangle), it would skew width twice as much.

If you have created a playlist in the wrong aspect ratio, you have to create a new playlist, but you can speed up the process of creating the slides by copy-pasting elements in the slide. You can drag the slides to slide stash, then drag the stashed slide into a new playlist with the correct aspect ratio. Beware that the slide will have the old aspect ratio, but now you can select all elements on the slide (shift-clicking or click-dragging), copy them (CTRL + C), and pasting to the slide with the correct aspect ratio. When you’ve copied all elements, you can remove the slide you dragged from the stash (the slide with incorrect AR).

What type of audio files does Playlists in Digital Signage support?

We recommend using .mp3, however .wav .ogg .m4a and .flac files are also supported, but converted to .mp3

Can I pause audio for some slides that have videos?

Yes, once you have added some background soundtracks, there is an additional option available in the slide settings. To find this setting open the slide for which you want to pause the music. Open slide settings (the page where you’d change slide duration) and click on the “Advanced” section.

Can I play background music only on one slide?

Yes, please read this article: Slide Background Music

Is it possible to play Internet radio streams? Link

We don’t have support for the radio streams in a plugin, but if the stream can be played in a browser (typically .m3u8 or .mp3 file or TuneIn radio stream – see below), then it is possible to integrate it with a website plugin. Now the stream would only play when that slide with the website plugin is shown, but we want it to play during the entire playlist. If you already have a zoned playlist, you can add the website plugin to the Master playlist (the one that has only 1 slide with a “Play forever” duration). If you don’t have a zoned playlist, you can create a Master playlist with 1 slide (set the duration to “Play forever”), then add the website plugin on it and then add a sub-playlist (the original playlist that you want to play). The sub-playlists will be displayed on top of the website plugin containing the Internet radio stream, but you can also move the plugin of the canvas completely. Check out our zoning guide for more info if terms like “Master playlist” and “Sub-playlist” are new to you.

TuneIn Radio is a web service that catalogs various radios and makes them streamable via its website. Chances are, you will find a suitable stream in their listings.

Update: due to content restrictions, some radio channels may not be embeddable, the embedded tunein player will show a message.

  1. Find a radio channel that you want to embed from their website and copy the URL. In this example, we’ll be using Tropicana Cali radio:
  2. Paste the URL into the embed code generator
  3. The generator outputs HTML code for website embedding, but we only need the URL. Copy the URL inside the src parameter (see image below) of the HTML code, the URL should look like this now:
  4. Append ?autoplay=true to the URL so it would start playing automatically. The URL looks like this now:
  5. You can use this URL in the website plugin now!

Please note that the radio stream may not auto-start in the web preview as newer browsers block automatic media playback. If you want to try it out on a web preview, use the URL from step 3 and press “play” yourself in the preview.