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Raspberry Pi-based signage stack gets Snappy

May 22, 2016 — by Eric Brown 1,901 views

The Screenly signage software for the Raspberry Pi is being converted to Ubuntu Snappy Core, enabling OTA updates and transactional rollbacks.

Canonical and Screenly, which makes what it calls “the most popular digital signage solution for the Raspberry Pi,” have announced a partnership to build the Screenly signage stack on Ubuntu Snappy Core. Screenly, which is currently available in commercial (Pro) and free, open source “OSE” versions based on Raspbian Linux, is adopting the lightweight, transaction-oriented Ubuntu Core “to give its customers a stable platform that is secure, robust, simple to use and manage,” says Screenly.

Screenly turns any TV or monitor hooked to a Raspberry Pi SBC into a digital signage computer connected via a cloud-based interface for remote monitoring. Used by thousands of restaurants, universities, shops, and offices, Screenly can display full-HD quality moving imagery, web content, and static images. Screenly’s web interface offers dashboard updates on node uptime, connectivity status, and currently showing content.

Screenly node management
(click image to enlarge)

Ubuntu Snappy Core makes it easier to update and manage Screenly and related applications independently, says Screenly. Snappy’s transactional update capability will enable Screenly to automatically roll back updates, “ensuring reliable performance even in a failed update scenario,” says the company.

Screenly nodes map
(click image to enlarge)

Ubuntu Core also makes it easier to manage a globally distributed fleet of digital signs from a central location, without requiring expensive on-site visits, says Screenly. Thanks to Ubuntu Core’s support across a variety of chipsets and hardware, Screenly will be able to expand beyond the Raspberry Pi to other platforms.

Screenly Pro starter kit
(click image to enlarge)

Screenly can also be purchased as part of a starter kit from Pi Supply, which includes a Raspberry Pi with enclosure and various cables.


“Ubuntu Core enables us to be more flexible and to focus on our software rather than managing an OS and software distribution across our large fleet of devices,” stated Viktor Petersson, CEO of Screenly.

“Ubuntu Core is perfectly suited to applications in digital signage,” stated Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical’s founder. “Its application isolation and transactional updates provide unrivalled security, stability and ease of use, something vital for constantly visible content. We’re pleased to be working with Screenly, whose agile approach is a perfect example of innovation in the digital signage space.”

Further information

No details were offered on the availability of the Ubuntu Snappy Core version of Screenly. The Raspbian version of Screenly is currently available via commercial (Pro) and free (OSE) downloads at Screenly’s website. The Pro version ranges from $20 to $800 per month depending on how many screens you want to coordinate and much data you’re storing on Screenly’s cloud servers. The Screenly Pro Digital Signage and Screenly Open Source Edition Digital Signage starter kits each sells for $96.94.

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