After evaluating our customers' usage habits, we found that a great deal of time was spent updating something as straightforward as video and slideshow playlists. Our product team put its attention on eliminating this pain-point and discovered a solution that would resolve this issue in a dramatic manner and allow users to make speciﬁc changes to multiple signs simultaneously in a matter of seconds without any disruptions. This new feature is called Dynamic Playlists.
Along with this feature, the product team has added a variety of new and exciting features that make Media Sign Pro much more powerful and ﬂexible than it has ever been. Users can now implement stylish design elements, add captions to slideshow images, include real-time social networking content, improve usability and scheduling, and much more. Below is a detailed list of the new major features in Media Sign Pro 4.
Media Sign Pro 4 now includes the ability to update playlists by updating the contents of the folder where the media ﬁles are located. This feature allows users to make changes to the sign without having to log in to the Mac and disrupt the digital sign. The slideshow, video, and image zones offer this feature.
When conﬁguring a slideshow or video zone, users have the option to choose between two types of playlist modes, Standard or Dynamic. Standard mode is the traditional method of updating playlists via the playlist editor, where all changes must be made by accessing Media Sign Pro. When the playlist mode is set to Dynamic, media ﬁles are referenced via their folder rather than included within the project ﬁle. Any changes made to the folder including adding, deleting, or overwriting ﬁles will take effect within the video or slideshow playlist.
This feature allows users to setup a playlist by referencing a shared network folder or cloud based folder such as iDisk (MobileMe) or Dropbox. Any changes made to these folders will be reﬂected in the zone's playlist. For example, if a MobileMe iDisk folder has been mapped in your Mac's Finder, any changes made to that folder will be reﬂected in the digital sign. Users can now access the MobileMe iDisk folder via a web browser from anywhere in the world and update the playlist. To learn more about these cloud storage services, please visit MobileMe and Dropbox.
Dynamic playlists also allow sign administrators to provide speciﬁc zone access to users. These users will only be able to update zones that the administrator has setup as Dynamic. Moreover, they must have permission to access the shared folder. By doing so, updating portions of the digital sign are simpliﬁed and the entire project ﬁle and Mac itself can be kept secure from unwanted access.
The new Twitter zone displays live tweets containing speciﬁc search queries. These can be speciﬁc words or hashtags, i.e. #digitalsignage. Once the query is entered, the zone will display real-time tweets containing the Twitter user's name, avatar, time of tweet, and the tweet itself. This zone offers users the ability to have an audience engage directly with the sign. Viewers can use their smart phones to access Twitter and tweet with the search term speciﬁed in the digital sign. Within a minute or so the user will be able to see their tweet along with their name and avatar.
The zone has multiple display modes including live tweets scrolled continuously through the zone or having tweets appear in real-time in the order tweeted. Tweets can also be displayed vertically or horizontally.
The zone can automatically monitor the tweets and disable the ones with inappropriate content from being displayed. Users can create their own undesired word or phrase list, and the tweets containing those words will be removed from the displayed feed. A Profanity Filter is also provided which uses a built-in database to ﬁlter out inappropriate words.
An all new Template Chooser has been added in this new release. With these completed project templates, users can easily create a professional looking digital sign in a matter of minutes. Most of the new templates will include project assets to help you get the exact look you are going for.
Slideshow Zone Captions
This new feature allows users to add a caption to each individual image in the slideshow playlist. Users can choose any font style, color, and size, along with having the ability to add any background color and control its opacity. This is a great way to provide a description or message to each image displayed in the digital sign. Captions also include their own preview window to allow for easy customization.
Lock Aspect Ratio
Another highly requested feature is the ability to lock the aspect ratio of media ﬁles displayed in digital signage projects. This feature will allow users to lock the image or video aspect ratio to avoid any display distortion when ﬁlling up the zone. With this new feature images and videos will maintain their native resolution. The areas of the zone that are not ﬁlled will remain transparent or ﬁlled with a background color. Users can now easily adjust the size of a zone to ﬁt their image rather than to guess what the native size of the image or video actually is. This feature is available for slideshow, video, and image zones.
Zone Style Tools
With this new feature users can add a very creative and stylish look to their zones by adding rounded corners. With an easy-to-use adjustment slider users can control the intensity of how round they want their zone corners. This is available for any zone.
Users can now add a shadow to any zone using any color imaginable, along with controlling the angle, blur, and offset. This is available for any zone.
Now users can choose from over 100 image ﬁles for the background of a project. Choose from different categories such as abstract, textures, landscapes, gradients and many more. Users can also choose from many different RSS ticker splitter images including RSS icons, flags, and social media.
This Master Project feature allows users to easily save, load, and schedule multiple projects and store that information in one master project file. This ﬁle will keep all loaded projects intact along with all the Project Scheduler settings. This ﬁle will also work with the System Scheduler and Auto-Play feature, allowing users to have all projects and schedules loaded automatically at system startup.
Users can now have text extracted from a speciﬁed text document and automatically displayed within a text zone. When the chosen text ﬁle is updated and saved, Media Sign Pro will automatically update the content in the zone without having to disrupt the digital sign. This allows for great ﬂexibility when users need to put custom messaging on the sign without having to log in to the Mac and disable the sign.
RSS Ticker Playlist and Scheduler
With the newly added playlist feature for the RSS ticker zone, multiple RSS URL feeds can be added and scheduled. This feature will even allow custom messages and URL addresses to be mixed in the same zone.
Edit Window Update
Instead of having a designated color for each zone in the Edit window, when a user now clicks on the Edit window, Media Sign Pro will take a snapshot of each zone with the current content and display that snapshot in the appropriate zones. This will help tremendously in the overall creation and customization of a digital signage project.
Media Sign Pro’s Audio Playlist feature allows users to easily add desired audio ﬁles, music ﬁles, informational voice over ﬁles and more to the project through a playlist. Through the Audio Playlist, schedule the ﬁles to play when needed and repeat the schedule every hour, day, week, or month.
Web Zone (beta) Update
The new and improved web zone is a great addition to Media Sign Pro 4. The zone now allows users to view more active content on a website including ﬂash and video streams. In addition to the new power of the web zone Media Sign Pro has added a playlist and scheduler to this zone. You can now select and schedule multiple site addresses within the same zone.