Setup Recommendations? Automated on/off of screens, multiple screens, remote control...

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I'm looking for recommendations for a planned setup at my company office. We want to do "status" boards with custom HTML content that I'll write mostly showing stats from our system's API, Slack status, weather, etc...

The current plan is to do 2x 55" monitors mounted portrait style next to each other. I already have the walls pre-set up for power and dual ethernet (both cat 5e and cat 6 for each screen).

I was looking into HDBaseT to do both control and display for each screen and have the player located in my server rack. I don't think I need much for a player, so I'm leaning towards a Raspberry Pi3 or a NUC?

If anyone has any recommendations, that would be great! One of my main goals is that I want to make sure the screens automatically turn on and off each day. I'm ok with having to use two player devices, although it would be nice to only use one.

Also, I work remotely so I'm not in the office much, which is why I'd like to automate it as much as possible and have remote control over it if possible.

Thanks in advance!
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Mike Stecker

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Posted 2 years ago

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Darius - PRODO.us, Champion

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Get NUC (Windows) and do both displays at the same time. Keep it running all times, just make it restart at some point at night. Make it never go to sleep. Get digital signage TVs from Samsung or LG. Those have an option to boot up when power is supplied. Get timers for both TVs and set them to whatever you need (TVs have their own timers, but these aren't reliable... at least Samsung's). Basically with timers you will shut down TVs, but will keep NUC running. At the set time TVs will come back up. Keep NUC well ventilated. Get wired connection. Do all you can to get it wired, but if you absolutely must do WiFi, then at least get external WiFi adapter with antenna. Better option is to get antenna that can be connected directly to the NUCs WiFi adapter.
Windows have multiple options for remote control... pick your poison. I use simple Chrome Remote Desktop App. Works like a charm. But you not gonna need it all that much. The RV App does not crash. It fails when the entire system fails and then remote in would not work anyways.
(Edited)
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Mike Stecker

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Thanks, any specific NUC config you recommend? Looks like with the NUC's my primary display would be straight HDMI and the second I'd probably have to use a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter? Sound right? Just curious if you have any specific recommendations as far as processor, RAM and storage... also I'm a Mac guy myself so which version of Windows are you running? Can I install a stripped down version so I don't have all their extra junk running? I'd much rather run Linux if possible but if Windows is recommended then so be it...

I'll mostly be putting up custom HTML widgets that I'll make myself, maybe some video at times but not much... I'm also going to be putting the two screens right up against one another so I'd like the option of spanning content across the two screens if I wanted, but for the most part I'll keep the content separate.

I've decided to go with Sharp PN-Y556 for the display's, and I'm going to hang them portrait-style (tall). I'll keep the NUC in my server rack and use this kit to transmit and supply control (RS-232) to the screens: http://atlona.com/product/at-uhd-ex-70c-kit/

I should be able to turn on/off the screens on timers this way, right?
(Edited)
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Darius - PRODO.us, Champion

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Mike, For single display I stand with Pentium version (cheap and good enough). Because you will be running 2, then i3 or even i5,... whatever you feel like spending. Based on your TV budget it looks like you got some dough there. Again, for single display d-sign I go with 4GB of RAM. Judge based on your content if you would need more than that. For storage I get trusted brand 128 SSD... more than enough and really inexpensive. I am not sure you can get stripped down Windows10 version for regular PC platform. There is something for Raspberries and other 'project' computers, though. But it has been long time since I looked into this, so I do not really know for sure. I like Windows 10 Pro. Pretty stable compared to Linux users (read forum and see how many complains their post). I also tried Linux once and it was awful... but it is just me, you appear to be way ahead of me when it comes to things like that.

For timers we tried these and they worked very well: https://www.amazon.com/Woods-50008-Digital-Programmable-Settings/dp/B006LYHEEY/ref=pd_bxgy_60_img_2?...
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Mike Stecker

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Gotcha, ok cool thanks... I ended up ordering a Intel NUC kit NUC6i3SYK with 8GB RAM and a 250GB M.2 SSD. Not too bad for around $425... and then I ordered a mini-DP to HDMI adapter as well so I can use the HDMI as display #1 and the mini-DP to HDMI as display #2.

Next week will be fun getting everything set up and configured! Thanks again for your pointers.
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Spencer Hawkswell

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Hi Mike, 

My name is Spencer. I work in solutions at Rise so let me know if you would like to have a conversation. I can help you find what you need for your project and provide some helpful tips. 
Feel free to email me at spencer.hawkswell@risevision.com.

Thanks!
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RV News

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If you do not want your NUC to run 24/7, it is possible to set the Bios to automatically boot the system and the Windows Task Scheduler to shut down the player.