One common issue with the majority of the Chrome devices on the market today is the limitation of built in video outputs or Chrome device expansion for video walls. Devices like the ASUS Chromebit and the AOpen Chromebox Mini are limited to a single HDMI video output. Higher end Chromebox like the AOpen Chromebox Commercial, ASUS Chromebox CN60/62, or the Acer CXI2 have an additional video output in the form of a DisplayPort output which can be connected to the majority of modern displays either directly through the DisplayPort connector or via an adapter to convert the DisplayPort output to HDMI.
In Chrome OS R45, support was added for DisplayLink USB adapters that allow HDMI or DisplayPort outputs to be added to Chrome devices. https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=238785 The initial implementation only worked with DisplayLink USB 2.0 adapters, however Chrome OS R51 added support for USB 3.0 adapters. https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=572763
Various other bugs relating unified desktop mode and surviving reboots prevented utilizing these features for digital signage. https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=467193
With the advent of USB DisplayLink adapter support in Chrome OS, we’re now able to add more video outputs to a Chromebox where we were limited before. This means that technically single output devices like the Chromebit and AOpen Chromebox Mini can drive more than one monitor. USB display adapter support was still limited, and only allowed multiple displays to be unified in 1 row. This limitation kept us from using the feature except in a few special use cases.
Finally in Chrome OS R64, arranging external displays in unified desktop mode was fully implemented. This will allow Chrome OS Kiosk and WebUI apps to arrange and rotate as many displays as the hardware will support. With this feature fully implemented, multi-monitor video walls will be possible without using an additional video wall controller, matrix switch, or monitors with built in video wall functionality.
Video wall controllers scale and split a single video input for output to multiple monitors, this results in a loss in quality. Using a Chromebox with the built in video outputs and additional outputs via USB adapters, means that full resolution can be achieved on each monitor.
Arreya Tests on Chrome Device Expansion for Video Walls:
In our tests, we verified the display arrangement feature functions properly in Chrome OS R64 and we were able to create a 2×2 matrix of 1080p monitors. After unifying the four monitors, Chrome recognizes all four monitors as one 3840 x 2160 display that our kiosk app can display on as if it were one monitor.
A simple performance test was performed with an ASUS CHROMEBOX2-G015U Chromebox with the i7 processor. Playing a 4K video across the 2×2 video wall resulted in smooth playback. A higher end Chromebox with at least the i3 processor is likely going to be required for optimal playback across 2 or more screens.
This method of creating video walls without using an external video wall controller is still in the early stages. Currently, a higher end Chromebox required to run 3 or more displays in a video wall configuration isn’t cheap. As processing power increases and hardware costs continue to decrease we will see video walls become easier and more cost effective to implement for a broader range of clients.
Read more about Arreya Chrome integration on our website.
Healthcare and hospitals are implementing hospital digital signage for marketing, information, digital donor walls and wayfinding than ever before. Streamlined communication with visitors, patients and employees saves time, money and frustration for hospital marketing teams and human resources departments.
8 Places to Use Hospital Digital Signage:
1. Hallways and Waiting Rooms – This is the best place to reach a broad crowd with upcoming events that are open to the public, honors earned by hospital staff members and departments, healthy living advice, and even weather forecasts and road conditions.
2. Cafeterias – Post menu boards in several locations in the cafeteria and maybe even just outside its door makes it easy for those browsing the menu to for customers to stand away from the serving line while they are still pondering what they crave.
3. Patient Rooms – Create a channel for patients to access on the television set that is already in patient rooms. It can display daily or weekly meal choices, special entertainment or opportunities for patients and their families, weather forecasts, and information about what patients can do to make their stay more enjoyable.
4. Donor Recognition Walls – Digital donor walls and kiosks are a great way to create a fluid, easily updated and attractive list of donors, tell donor stories and recognize the work and dedication that has gone into capital campaigns, ongoing donations and specific projects. They can stand alone, or be part of a larger, more artistic donor recognition wall.
5. Lobbies, Elevators and Stairways – Digital wayfinding can be interactive or static. It is easily updated when directions change, doctors or departments move, or building additions are built.
6. Breakrooms – Keep employees updated on upcoming event, policy changes, continuing education opportunities and hospital recognitions. Post birthdays and work anniversaries, and even the employee of the month.
7. History Displays and Hospital Museums – Older hospitals have a rich history in providing care for their communities. Share the history in an interactive display, or a slideshow of building projects, doctors who have served and made a difference, and breakthroughs that were made because of your staff through the years.
8. Healthcare Clinics and Pharmacies – Hospitals often have community clinics and acute care facilities for walkin patients and preventative care. Share upcoming health classes, wellness tips and staff information with patients as they wait.
Digital Signage Becoming Mainstream Hospital Communication
Digital signage will soon be mainstream in hospitals of all sizes, but when you are planning implementation consider rolling it out in phases. Learn how it works, what you can do with it and how you can get the most out of it. Then add more display channels or devices as the budget and staff availability to manage more displays allows.
Your hospital may not have use for digital signage in all of these places described, but more and more hospitals are implementing digital signage for 3 to 4 of these uses. Digital signage is not just for huge hospitals anymore. Arreya Digital Signage Suite has made it easy and affordable for even the smallest hospitals to have professional looking hospital digital signage.
Aopen Chrome Devices for Digital Signage new Chrome OS based Chromebox Mini and Chromebase Mini have a lot to offer for the digital signage and kiosk industry. These two products are AOpen’s first commercial Chrome devices targeted to a lower cost market. From a user standpoint, here are some thoughts, specifications, and how we plan on utilizing these two new devices released in 2017.
AOpen Chromebase Mini – Not a Tablet
AOpen’s latest addition to their Commercial Chromebase line of products, features a great looking 10.1” touch screen. The very first thing we noticed about this device was the weight, at 2.7 lbs this is not a tablet! The Chromebase mini is built for a commercial environment, an all metal enclosure makes it an admirable alternative to a cheap tablet for a high traffic, high use environment. Another feature differencing the Chromebase mini from a cheap tablet is the lack of an accessible power button to limit tampering with the device. We see this device being used for retail end-cap displays, conference room displays, calendar/scheduling displays, wayfinding, and many more use cases.
The touch screen features 1280x800 resolution and supports up to 10 point multi touch. Overall the screen looks great and is a big win for this device. The Chromebase Mini shares most hardware specs with the Chromebox Mini and has similar processing power. Standard VESA mounting patterns on the back of the device make finding a mounting solution extremely easy. The HDMI output on the device is great to see for multiple monitor displays. The metal case makes it perfect for commercial use, or affordable enough for consumer use.
- Build quality, durability
- Touch screen
- Non-standard 1280x800 screen resolution
- Accessing the I/O ports can be cumbersome
- Panel: 10.1” 1280 x 800 250nits AHVA
- Touch: 10 point multi-touch; pinch to zoom
- CPU: Quad-Core Cortex-A17, up to 1.8GHz
- DRAM: LPDDR3 Dual Channel 4GB
- Storage: EMMC 5.0 16GB
- FHD Webcam (2MP)
- Built-in Dual Digital MIC and Stereo Speaker
- WIFI+ BT4.0: 802.11 b/g/n/ac + BT4.0 x 1
AOpen Chromebox Mini
AOpen’s latest offering in their line of commercial grade Chromeboxes, is the aptly named Chromebox Mini. Just under 6″ x 1″, the device undoubtedly has one of the best form factors we have seen in a Chromebox. The Chromebox Mini comes with WiFi antennas which can be rotated to your desired angle, this inherently increases the footprint of the device but in tight environments, the built in ethernet connection can be used instead. The processing power of the Chromebox mini seems to be on par with similarly priced devices, although hardware specs are noticeably cut down from the rest of AOpen’s commercial Chromeboxes. Built in video output is limited to just one HDMI port. The Chromebox Mini also has a connection for a external power switch in the situation where the power button won’t be easily accessible.
The Chromebox Mini’s form factor and other features make it a great choice for someone looking for a powerful box for a traditional screen/player combo. The form factor of the device makes it easy to mount in existing enclosures and new installations.
- Great form factor, easy mounting capability
- Price: Just $189.00 USD MSRP
- External power switch connector
- No mounting tabs or brackets out of box
- Limited to 1 video output
- Fanless/non venting hole design
- CPU:Quad-Core Cortex-A17, up to 1.8GHz
- DRAM: LPDDR3 Dual Channel 4GB
- Storage: EMMC 5.0 16GB
- WIFI+ BT4.0: 802.11 b/g/n/ac + BT4.0 x 1
- Dimensions: 5.75 x 3.8 x 0.94 in
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