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Raspberry Pi-based signage player sips 7 Watts

Jul 24, 2014 — by Eric Brown 9,543 views

TinyGreenPC launched a Raspberry Pi and Linux based digital signage player that runs on just 7 Watts, and offers optional WiFi and an OPS interface.

The Pi Media Player is one of the most power-efficient signage players on the market, according to TinyGreenPC, a subsidiary of UK-based embedded manufacturer and distributor AndersDX. It helps that the 7 Watt, Raspian Linux-enabled signage player runs on a Raspberry Pi.

The project involves a collaboration with UK-based Silver Curve, which has developed a graphics engine called Aperture that optimizes the VideoCore IV GPU found in the Pi SBC’s Broadcom BCM2835 system-on-chip for digital signage. Aperture features include multiple zones, multiple layers, smooth animation, and cinematic effects such as depth of field, according to TinyGreenPC. The Aperture engine and HD-ready Pi Media Player are supported by signage content management systems including SignageLive, Instore Media (INSM), and Gemasi Italy.


Pi Media Player: standalone (left) and OPS models
(click images to enlarge)

The Pi Media Player is available in standard VESA mountable versions, as well as Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) versions, each of which are also available in “Lite” versions that lack the full versions’ WiFi module and 10-pin GPIO breakout. OPS was launched by Intel in 2010, and began appearing in signage systems in 2011. The spec standardizes signage connectivity using an 80-pin JAE Electronics TX24/TX25 blind mate plug and receptacle connector system to interface the pluggable module and the display.

Details and diagrams: standalone (left) and OPS models

On the Pi OPS Media Player models, the JAE connector consolidates the standard version’s HDMI, USB, serial, audio, and power interfaces. The OPS design also includes two handle knobs.

According to Paul Mullen of AndersDX, the Pi Media Player and its variants combine the first-generation Raspberry Pi Model B SBC with a customized Anders interface board and casing. He also revealed that a revised model based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module is due in early 2015.

The Linux-based systems ship with the Raspberry Pi SBC’s standard 512MB of RAM, along with an SD card with 8GB of flash, expandable up to 256GB. All models offer a 10/100 Ethernet port, HDMI 1.3 input/output port, a USB 2.0 port, and an RS-232 port, although, as noted, some of these are consolidated in the JAE connector on the OPS versions. The full versions add WiFi and GPIO.

The Pi Media Player runs on 5VDC power and ships with a 750mAh battery. Operating temperatures range from 0 to 55°C, says TinyGreenPC.

Summary of Pi Media Player specs

Specifications listed for the four varieties of Pi Media Player include:

  • Processor (via Raspberry Pi SBC) — Broadcom BCM2835 (1x ARM11 core @ 700MHz; VideoCore IV GPU (HD-capable)
  • RAM (via Raspberry Pi SBC) — 512MB
  • Storage (via Raspberry Pi SBC) — 8GB flash on SD card, expandable to 256GB
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n (Atheros AR9271) with antennas (not available on Lite versions)
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet port
  • USB 2.0 port
  • RS-232 port
  • HDMI 1.3 in/out port
  • JAE connector interface (OPS versions only)
  • 10-pin connector (not available on Lite versions):
    • 8x GPIO (3.3V, 200mA total output, 5V, 10mA per pin input)
    • 5VDC interface
    • GND interface
  • Other features — LED; VESA mounting on standard versions; Open Pluggable Specification compatibility (OPS versions only)
  • Power:
    • 5VDC @ 2A
    • 7W consumption
    • 3.7V, 750mAh Li-ion battery
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 55°C
  • Dimensions:
    • Standalone model — 245 x 62 x 35mm
    • OPS model — 180 x 118 x 30mm
  • Weight:
    • Standalone model — 400g
    • OPS model — 450g
  • Operating system — Raspian Linux with 3.6.11 kernel

The video below, provided by TinyGreenPC, briefly introduces the Pi Media Player.

Pi Media Player revealed

Further information

The Pi Media Player is available now in single units, with 3-4 weeks lead-time, starting at 280 UK Pounds ($476) for the Lite version, 320 Pounds ($545) for the standard version, 340 Pounds ($579) for the OPS Lite version, and 375 Pounds ($638) for the full, WiFi- and GPIO-enabled OPS version. Volume discounts for more than 100 units start at 240 Pounds (full, standard) and 260 Pounds (full, OPS). More information and direct sales may be found at TinyGreenPC’s Pi Media Player product page. Signagelive offers free trial licenses to Pi Media Player users who want to evaluate its cloud-based digital signage service; its licensing normally runs 240 Pounds ($360) per year, with quantity discounts available.

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