Raspberry Pi digital signage

Setup Raspberry PI for digital signage

We prepared a Raspberry Pi (Models 3 and 4) image to speed up your Play Digital Signage setup. Raspberry PI devices that are connected to a TV with HDMI-CEC support (most modern TVs support it) can be configured to turn the TV off for the night to save power and prevent TV wear, see FAQ!

What we’ve done Go to start for Raspberry PI

  • Based on raspbian.
  • Configured firewall to block all incoming requests.
  • Disabled screen saver.
  • Configured mouse to auto-hide with unclutter.
  • Installed player software (If you only want player software, you can download the latest ARMv7l AppImage).
  • Installed cec-utils package for HDMI-CEC support

Raspberry PI 4 installation guide

  1. Download the image from here.
  2. Unpack the zip archive.
  3. Write the .img file to SD card using etcher.
  4. Insert SD card to Raspberry and power on.
  5. NB! During the first boot the file system will be expanded, this will take a few minutes and screen banking is normal!
  6. Once the device is booted, it will auto-launch our player. Press “Exit” on the top right corner.
  7. Connect to the Internet (top-right corner).
  8. Open Menu (top-left corner) -> Preferences -> Raspberry PI Configuration.
    1. System tab: default password is playsignage, we recommend changing it!
    2. Localization tab: set correct locale and time zone.
  9. Launch the player application from the desktop.

Raspberry PI 3 installation guide

  1. Download the image from here.
  2. Unpack the zip archive.
  3. Write the .img file to SD card using etcher.
  4. Insert SD card and turn the device on.
  5. Once the device starts up, it will launch our Chrome player. Press “Exit” on the top right corner.
  6. Connect to the Internet.
  7. Set the correct time and time zone.
  8. The default user is “pi” and the password “raspberry“. Move the cursor to the top to show the top taskbar and launch the terminal. Change the default password by issuing the command “passwd”.
  9. We have released an update to the player software, so let’s update the extension:
    1. Launch Chromium and navigate to chrome://extensions (you can find the bookmark on the bookmarks tab as well).
    2. Press the button “Update extensions now”.
    3. If there’s an update, it will be downloaded and installed in the next few minutes.
    4. You don’t need to do this every time we publish an update, just it may take up to 8 hours for Chromium to update extensions automatically, we just sped up the process.
  10. Close chromium and launch the player app from the desktop shortcut.

Recommendations Go to start for Raspberry PI

In our tests, the device heats up quite fast, especially in an enclosure. When the device runs hot, it can damage the components and will cause performance to degrade. We recommend installing a heat-sink on the chip, you can get one on eBay or a nearby electronics equipment store.

If you are not using the official power supply, make sure that the adapter is powerful enough:

  • At least 2 amperes for model 3 (ideally 2.5 amperes) devices
  • At least 3 amperes for model 4 devices

Limitations Go to start for Raspberry PI

Raspberry is likely the most affordable option to run our players on open-source software (Linux also available). However, being a low-end device, it has certain drawbacks:

  • Most slide transition effects lag, so we don’t recommend adding them.
  • Element animations lag, however they are meant for more powerful players, to begin with.
  • The SD card is prone to wear out, unlike devices with built-in storage, the SD card has limited write cycles it can perform. We recommend choosing a high-class (quality) SD card to minimize the issues down the road.


FAQ Go to start for Raspberry PI

The resolution is incorrect.

Raspberry PI will try to automatically set resolution, however, sometimes it fails to detect the most optimal resolution. You can manually set resolution in Menu -> Preferences -> Display Settings.

If you can’t find desired resolution option there, you will find more display configuration options in Menu -> Preferences -> Raspberry PI Configuration -> Display -> Resolution.

The picture does not fit on my screen.

By default we have disabled overscan, if the picture does not fit your display, try enabling it: Menu -> Preferences -> Raspberry PI Configuration -> Display -> Overscan set to “Enable”.

How can I put the TV on standby for nighttime? Link

This functionality sends a command over HDMI cable to the TV telling it to go to standby and wake it up in the morning, Raspberry PI will remain on through the night.

If you downloaded our Raspberry PI image after April 2021, then all the required packages are included in the image and you can skip the first step on installing cec-utils.

  • Install cec-utils software package: sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install cec-utils (Ubuntu)
  • Make sure that CEC is enabled in your TV. Different manufacturers have different names for the same functionality.
    • Tizen: Menu -> System -> General -> Anynet+
    • Philips: Home -> Settings -> TV Settings -> Easylink
    • LG: Settings -> All Settings -> General -> SIMPLINK
    • SONY: Options (On the remote) > Settings > Inputs > External inputs > BRAVIA Sync settings
    • Other brands: Most modern TVs have this functionality, try to find how your TV’s manufacturer has named it and find it in the settings.

Now that the software is installed and CEC is enabled in the TV, you can test if the TV is detected. Run the following command in the terminal:

echo 'scan' | cec-client -s -d 1

The scan takes about 10 seconds and it outputs a list of devices. If you see your TV listed (usually under device #0), then the connection works! You will also see “Pulse Eight” device, don’t mind it, it’s a virtual interface.

Why can’t I use 4K resolution?

There are some known hardware acceleration issues with video core drivers and HTML5 canvas support which we are built on. We’ve disabled the driver in favor of stability, however, it’s also possible to run Raspbian with the driver and disable hardware acceleration:

  • Enable VideoCore driver in /boot/config.txt file, uncomment the following line dtoverlay=vc4-fkms-v3d
  • Run PlaySignage application with disabled hardware acceleration: ./PlaySignage*-armv7l.AppImage --disable-hardware-acceleration

Intranet website with self-signed SSL certificate is not showing?

By default as a security precaution, the application does not show websites with certificate errors. However if you need to show a website that does not have a valid SSL certificate, you can launch the app with a --ignore-certificate-errors parameter, for an example:
~/Downloads/PlaySignage.AppImage --ignore-certificate-errors

How can I enable ssh?

We’ve disabled SSH access for obvious security reasons when distributing an image that has a default password. If you do want to enable ssh for remote maintenance, here’s how:

  1. execute passwd command to change the password – the default password is ‘raspberry‘ and the whole world knows it
  2. Enable port 22 in the firewall: sudo ufw allow ssh
  3. Enable SSH service: sudo systemctl enable ssh
  4. Start the SSH service: sudo systemctl start ssh

How do I access OPTIONS if I disabled the top menu bar?

In the APP options, you can hide the top menu bar if you for example are running a touch screen. To access the top menu bar, when hidden, you can use CTRL + O for options or CTRL + Q to close the APP.