AppleTV good choice for lobby monitor?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by fishcough, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. fishcough macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2011
    Hi, I've been charged with creating a lobby welcome/announcement/promotion display for our small company. Budget isn't huge, enough for a decent flat screen and some way to connect it to a computer. At first I was thinking that I'd just get a wireless system to send whatever is on the computer to the flat screen via its USB port. That may work, but I'm not crazy about dedicating a computer to that but came across AppleTV. I'm sure most of what would be running would be PowerPoint, so I can see how that would present a problem. But if I set up the announcements in another format (like images or video), would this possibly be a decent solution for not dedicating a computer to this function? Figure I could mount the appleTV on the back of the flat screen?

  2. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    yes, but realize that atv will only play .mp4 or .mov So whatever your going to want it to play will have to be or be converted to those formats.
  3. dgalvan123 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    If you jailbreak the ATV2 using SeasonPass and install XBMC, you can play additional movie formats on the ATV2 as long as they are stored somewhere on another computer connected to the same network.

    However, I don't know how you would show powerpoint presentations unless you had a way to convert those presentation to movie files first, and that may or may not be a hassle

    If you have a computer you'd be willing to dedicate to this display (perhaps an older one?), that would probably be more versatile for your purposes.
  4. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    You could probably find an old computer inhouse that could handle the task admirably, or spend a few hundred on a cheapo PC.

    Or upgrade one of your company's work PCs and use the old one...etc.

    But ATV is not ideal in this situation.
  5. Rootman macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
  6. fishcough thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2011
    OK. Thanks to all. I'm leaning away from ATV for this and will look at the other options presented. The USB drive is pretty good, but I guess I really am looking at wanting some flexibility as to what can be played. So, maybe I do need to get a cheap laptop or use an existing and just pair the flat screen to it as a monitor with some sort of wireless.
  7. dgalvan123 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    One other thing I'll point out: if your powerpoints are just static slides, you could always export them as a folder full of JPG images. The apple TV should stream those images via home sharing with no problem, as long as you've enabled Home Sharing in iTunes.
  8. MikeVarney macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2009

    We just burn our presentation as a regular video DVD and then have a flat screen television with a built-in DVD player that auto loops it. Anytime we want to change the presentation we just burn a new DVD.

    Sometimes using high tech to do a simple task just makes things more difficult than it really is.
  9. slothrob, Sep 16, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011

    slothrob macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2007
    The sTV2 doesn't need a dedicated computer, just one that is on and running iTunes. The computer can be continued to be used for most routine activities.

    Alternately, I believe that Western Digital makes a model of the WDTV that will loop video.
  10. obsidian1200 macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    This is a really good suggestion. Most major office applications, such as Powerpoint, give you the option to export your presentation as a video if needed. In theory, you could do this and export it to an atv2 friendly format and just put all the powerpoint presentations in a playlist on repeat all day, but that would be more expensive than doing the same thing with a burnt DVD containing the presentations and putting the DVD player on repeat, assuming your unit supports that function. Alternatively, some DVD burning software supports commands that make the DVD constantly loop its content on its own without hardware aid.

    If you use transitions and like transitions to be in the presentations, I'd recommend exporting the presentation as a video vs. jpegs. However, if you just want to use plain slides, sans transitions and additional media, the jpeg route will work just fine.
  11. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    Yup. This is probably the best solution. Achem's Razor.
  12. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Isn't that DVD player going to croak soon playing all day every day like that? Seems like a solid state solution would be more reliable.
  13. MrKennedy macrumors member

    Aug 8, 2011
    I say go the DVD route. I was charged with that task during during an internship and we ran new DVDs every week. I'm not there anymore, but they still use that system. It's cheap and easy. Leaves little room for error with the technologically challenged.
  14. jayhawk11 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2007
    "Occam's Razor", amigo.
  15. Rootman macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    I'm doing 10 LCD TVs at a trade show, all with different videos. Last year I used DVD players that ran continuously for four days. This year I want to use solid-state players without WIFI --- in the $30 range. USB thumb-drive or camera card for storage, HDMI cable to TV, and the player loops video files or plays a sequence of images (like exported PowerPoint frames) with optional transitions. AppleTV could do this, but with 10, I'll be using cheaper non-networked players designed for this function, like the Micca or its competitors. Same scenario as a lobby display.
  16. majortom64 macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2005
    Use the appleTV

    We needed exactly the same thing you want, and implemented it with an appleTV. We created slide shows in PowerPoint and/or keynote and and then sent them to the appleTV wirelessly. For this task an appleTV 1 is great as you can sync the presentation to it and it will store it locally.

    Realize that the DVD solution people have proposed starts with the same requirements (PowerPoint exporting QuickTime) but then adds the requirement that you keep a stock of DVDs, and a DVD player around. Changing the display in this case takes much more time and effort than does the appleTV solution (which can be done basically instantaneously from the appleTV's host).

    At CES and NAB last year, a large semiconductor manufacturer had all their displays running off appleTVs controlled by a single Mac Mini.
  17. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    What about a cheap Mac mini (even an older model refurb or used) wired to the display via HDMI?

    My daughter's ice rink has a lobby display that loops a Keynote presentation off a mini in the office. They can easily add/delete/modify slides when necessary.

    Not wireless, but it's a good solution and easy to modify. But this is of course only a single display, not multiple displays each with something different.
  18. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    We used a DVD player to play a moving background graphic on one of our video sources at the TV station I worked at 4 years ago. We used a standard DVD player...probably cost us around $150 bucks at the time from Best Buy....nothing commercial or extreme. It played this repeating background animation DVD (I think the full file was 50 minutes long before it would repeat) 18-20 hours a day on average and was playing back on that same DVD player for the 2 years I had worked there and I assume it lasted a year or two more at least.

    With DVD players these days costing less than $50...this is the ideal solution for you. Even if your player fails, you are back in business again for $50 or less!

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