Campus Signage A140/A130 Getting Started Recommendations

Guides to help new users set up the various DMB Products

Campus Signage A140/A130 Getting Started Recommendations

Postby Cilutions Support » Thu May 19, 2011 3:57 pm

The following "best practices" are helpful as a guide for setting up a "campus" (e.g., school, hospital, hotel) private network with A140/A130 (diskless) STBs running Digital Media Bridge players and an NFS share containing files and metadata.

1) Establish an IT point person familiar with networking, NFS servers and operations. The A140/A130s mount to an NFS Server on your IP network and it is assumed that an individual is familiar with how a client can mount to an NFS share. And can set up an in-house NFS Server on the campus network. A common Linux NFS Server /etc/exports file setting is:

/exports *(rw,sync,no_root_squash,no_subtree_check)

If you want to purchase a dedicated NFS Server then this device has been certified to work well with the A140/A130 STBs:

http://www.qnap.com/pro_detail_feature.asp?p_id=112

Search the support forums for NFS to see the various options for using NFS and the A140 STBs; both Windows and Linux based.

2) This same individual should be familiar with SNMP Management if you want to set up and poll vital statistics on the A140s/A130s (e.g., active video playing).
3) Regarding creating screens:
    a. The Screen Builder application, after installation, includes a number of "example" screens just to show some basic functionality. If you double-click this on your desktop it should show some screen. Press 1 on your keyboard to see example one, 2 for example two, 3 for example three, etc.
    b. Although it is certainly possible, in practice users rarely build screens from scratch. For every customer we provide a number of relevant "starter" screens (e.g., signage, menu boards, video-on-demand) for you to download and begin operation (contact support@cilutions.com for screens)
    c. Users typically set up their own "workspace" directories so they can manage screens more easily. For example, if you create a directory on your Windows PC (where you have installed Screen Builder) named C:\ScreenBuilder then you can create subdirectories to manage different screen sets. Something like this: C:\ScreenBuilder\Marketing, C:\ScreenBuilder\Students, C:\ScreenBuilder\Teachers, etc.; and for each workspace users will make a copy of the "Portable Media Player" and "Screen Builder" desktop icons (initially created on the desktop during installation) changing the properties of each icon to "Start in" the corresponding workspace (e.g., Start in: C:\Screen Builder\Marketing).
We provide demo screen sets and you can just dump the contents (from zip files) into the corresponding directory and start to edit and preview the screens, using the relevant "Screen Builder" and "Portable Media Player" icons, as you see fit.
4) Regarding publishing screens the Screen Builder should either FTP content to the external server or NFS write to the common NFS mount point.
5) Regarding A140/A130 set-up the two most important config settings are the NFS Mount point and the Video Settings (SD or HD). Your A140s/A130s are typically set to HD by default (depends on how you ask for them from the factory) so you will need to connect them to a TV using the component cables (supplied in the box) or an HDMI cable (not supplied). To review and change your STB's configuration browse to the IP address of the STB (displayed on the TV during boot-up) and login to Username: cfg (see support@cilutions.com for the password).

Example Settings:
NFS Mount Point:
Mount Point: 192.168.1.200:/DMB
Screen List: dmb.screenlist.06.xml
Video Settings:
Video Resolution: 720p
Graphics Resolution: HD-720
Video Output: HDMI+YPbPr+COMPOSITE
Enable RF: Yes
RF Channel: 3

See the relevant STB release notes for more information.

6) Any videos played must be Transport Stream formatted. Unlike a PC the A140/A130 does not automatically play Windows Media, Apple Quicktime, etc. There is more on this here: http://www.cilutions.com/getting_started/. Note that the A140/A130 and the A540/A530 have the same video requirements.

This transport stream only video file format limitation no longer applies. Look at the A140/A540 Release Notes, in the support forums, to review the various h.264 video file formats now supported.

7) Once the infrastructure is all set up and managed by an IT administrator the process of updating the screen elements by individual users requires very little knowledge of these elements. Users can just drop files onto the NFS share to update screen zones. They do not even need to run Screen Builder to refresh elements of the screens. They can just, say, drop an excel spreadsheet on to the NFS share to automatically update a corresponding schedule on one or more TVs.
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Re: Campus Signage A140/A130 Getting Started Recommendations

Postby Cilutions Support » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:13 pm

When you configure the A140, using the web forms as described above, to mount an NFS Server at start-up the A140 will show its status page for 15 seconds after booting (reporting its IP address, video settings, etc.) then activate the screenlist in the NFS settings (e.g., dmb.screenlist.06.xml). If it never leaves the status page then the NFS mount may have failed.

To verify that the mount is successful you can telnet (or ssh) into the A140 and login as root (password supplied by contacting support@cilutions.com). Then run: df

It should show something like the following output:
Code: Select all
Filesystem           1k-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/mtdblock1          116736     36776     79960  32% /mnt/nv
nodev                        8         0         8   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs                    32768       152     32616   0% /etc/fusion
tmpfs                      348       276        72  79% /etc/htdocs
192.168.1.200:/DMB   479177424  11056456 468120968   2% /mnt/nfs


If it does not show the last line, the NFS mount, then test the mount command by running:
Code: Select all
mkdir /mnt/nfs
mount -t nfs -o nolock 192.168.1.200:/DMB /mnt/nfs


It should succeed immediately; you can run the df command to view the mount point again. If the mount command hangs or reports an error then the A140 cannot mount the NFS Server designated (in this example case it is the NFS Server mount point 192.168.1.200:/DMB). If the mount fails verify that NFS works by testing it using another NFS client (not the A140 STB) to make sure that works.

If you need to learn about NFS on Linux servers here is a good place to start: http://nfs.sourceforge.net/
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Re: Campus Signage A140/A130 Getting Started Recommendations

Postby Henry.G » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:35 pm

What if I don't have a Linux Server to store my content? Can I make one of my Windows machine an NFS Server?
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Re: Campus Signage A140/A130 Getting Started Recommendations

Postby Cilutions Support » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:23 am

Well, yes. Linux is the recommended platform for NFS Server hosting because NFS is much more widely deployed on Linux. But there are Windows NFS Server implementations as well. One which we have used, with good results, is Omni-NFS Server for Windows by http://www.xlink.com. It is not free but its cost is minimal; especially considering that you only run one NFS Server in your network of multiple STB players (each mounted to the same NFS Server).

Your local Windows firewall should permit operation of NFS so the local STBs can mount to the Omni-NFS Server to access files. To do this you should add two Windows Firewall Inbound Rules as follows:

    NFS UDP
      Protocol Type: UDP
      Local Ports: 111, 1058, 1110, 2049, 4045
      Remote Ports: All Ports
      Action: Allow the connection
      Profiles: Private
    NFS TCP
      Protocol Type: TCP
      Local Ports: 111, 1058, 1110, 2049, 4045
      Remote Ports: All Ports
      Action: Allow the connection
      Profiles: Private
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Re: Campus Signage A140/A130 Getting Started Recommendations

Postby Henry.G » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:46 am

I am using Omni-NFS and it is working well. How do I enable A140 logs on my NFS Server so I can keep track of the playback activity?
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Re: Campus Signage A140/A130 Getting Started Recommendations

Postby Cilutions Support » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:03 pm

You need to add Omni-NFS Server Credential Mapping so the NFS client, the A140 STB, has permission to create and update files on your local Windows machine. This is covered in the Security Mapping section in the Omni-NFS User's Manual. Basically, from the XLink NFS Server GUI console, select the User Mapping button. Then, from the NFS Server Credential Mapping screen, select New to bring up the Define NFS Server User to UID Mapping screen. Browse to find the:

    Domain/Workgroup: Of this computer, where the NFS Server is running
    Host Name: Of this computer as well
    User Name: Member of Administrators
    Default Group: Administrators

Then Specify UID manually as 0 (the Linux root UID by convention).

You also need to enable Windows File Sharing on your exported directory. So, for example, if your exported directory is: C:\A140\Content then use Windows Explorer on your desktop and browse to the C:\A140\Content directory and right click to Properties->Sharing and Share this directory as Administrator. Also select the Security tab to give full control for authenticated users.

After this you should see logs for all your mounted STBs in their corresponding subdirectories, based on STB serianlo.

You need to restart the NFS Server and your STB for this to take effect.
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Re: Campus Signage A140/A130 Getting Started Recommendations

Postby Henry.G » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:07 pm

OK. I have all the NFS stuff working and the logs are working well too. Question: How do I "turn off" NFS mounting from the web forms? I tried making the mount point field blank but after rebooting my A140 still mounts.
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Re: Campus Signage A140/A130 Getting Started Recommendations

Postby Cilutions Support » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:44 pm

To turn off NFS mounting set the mount field to ""

So, for example, if your NFS mount point is: 192.168.1.6:/DMB

to turn it off (i.e., to clear it) set it to: ""

Then when you reboot and look at it again the mount point field should be blank.

Note that this is how you can clear the screenlist field as well. If your screenlist field is set to, say, dmb.screenlist.04.xml you can clear it by setting this field to: ""

When you boot up again the config screen will remain on the TV until you change the channel (using the I/R remote or some other method - like SNMP Set).
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Re: Campus Signage A140/A130 Getting Started Recommendations

Postby Cilutions Support » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:49 pm

One other thing, you can clear the NFS mount point field but set the screenlist field for A140s using a locally attached USB drive for content. In this case the A140 will auto-mount the USB drive and start playing the screenlist on the USB drive as its default start-up screenlist.
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