Split screen plasma newbie ISO video expert
July 16, 2007 11:36 AM   Subscribe

We have 50" plasma display in our waiting room. It displays television (via plain old cable.) I want to split it into sections - left 1/3, right 2/3 and bottom crawl. I want to show the TV feed in the right 2/3 and put marketing information in the remaining space. How do I get there from here?? Bonus points for Linux!
posted by cdmwebs to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Great idea. Looks like MythTV isn't quite there yet.
posted by anthill at 11:58 AM on July 16, 2007

You could get a tuners in a regular computer and then use the TV as a regular monitor.. ie have one window play TV feed, have another window playing your custom video file, and so on.
posted by aeighty at 12:37 PM on July 16, 2007

Are you comfortable with Linux? I'd personally use the Ion Window Manager, which divides your screen into regions that must, by definition, be next to eachother. There is no "desktop background" between windows. That solves the screen division problem. Now you just fill in the spaces you've created. Find yourself some software that will work with a TV tuner card (hauppage is very popular), and then write some custom stuff for the other marketing spaces.
posted by odinsdream at 1:24 PM on July 16, 2007

I'm sure they're not the only game in town, but you might want to check out software from these guys: Key West.
posted by Area Control at 1:27 PM on July 16, 2007

Have you investigated Flash? A lot of "digital signage solutions" out there are just Flash development by another name.

I haven't had to deal with displays that size, so I don't know if there are any barriers or gotchas when you scale up that much. At 26-inch...no problemo.
posted by gimonca at 2:13 PM on July 16, 2007

Stick a TV tuner card in to your linux box and connect it to your plasma using a DVI to HDMI cable, then make up a webpage with the layout you want. Make one part of the page an embedded video that just streams from your TV card (you can certainly use VLC to act as the streaming server, but you can probably hook directly into /dev/video using the firefox mplayer plugin or something). Your marketing stuff will just be a webpage too that way. Then fullscreen your web browser.

Something like the Hauppage PVR-150 card can be hooked on to the video output of your cable box (and has good linux drivers) or you could try to get the TV-in that some video cards have working.
posted by markr at 6:54 PM on July 16, 2007

echoing the above, with slight changes.

Grab an old or unused pc, install your favorite flavor of linux (I recommend debian).

I assume you're able to use the plasma display as a monitor, and that you've got a graphics card already with the proper outputs (DSUB, DVI, S-Video, Composite, whatever - so long as the GC can output what you need)

Get yourself an ATI Tv-Wonder, or any other capture card based on the brooktree chipset (bt878). These cards abound and can be found for dirt cheap, and have great linux support (I've used my tv wonder since 1999, if that's any indication.) This will do the converting of the cable feed into something you can view on the PC. Others mentioned the Hauppage cards - in my experience they can be a pain to configure under linux, and more importantly they are overkill both pricewise and featurewise - all you need to do is play the video, you won't be using the DVR features the hauppage cards provide.

For sottware, you can't beat tvtime. Free, beautiful interface, easy to set up and use.

For a Window manager, ion is a good bet (as mentioned above).

You don't mention how your marketing data is displayed - I assume you've got a handle on that.
posted by namewithoutwords at 9:19 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Might want to change something about the adds every xx minutes or so to avoid the potential (let's not start a debate here about whether or not it would actually happen) for burn-in on the plasma screen.

Computer + Tuner card sounds like simplest idea.
posted by itheearl at 9:49 PM on July 16, 2007

Maybe a raw windowmanager like Ratpoison would work: http://www.nongnu.org/ratpoison/
posted by thadk at 4:42 AM on July 17, 2007

All great ideas! Thanks everyone!

I'm going to give namewithoutwords suggestion a try. I'll pose an update here later.
posted by cdmwebs at 2:53 PM on July 17, 2007

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