WolfTech Billboard Screensaver

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WolfTech Billboard Screensaver for Windows

In the past, WolfTech's Billboard software has been used in conjunction with a Mac tied to the individual display screens. This requirement was due to the fact that the webXsaver application (the screensaver we connect to Billboard with) only ran on OSX-based hosts. Today, I am happy to announce the unveiling of the new WolfTech Billboard Screensaver, an alternative for those who'd prefer to run Windows to power their digital signs.

The screensaver has been tested on the following Windows operating systems: Windows XP, Windows 7 32-bit, and Windows 7 64-bit

Note: Any browser can be used to MANAGE your WolfTech Billboard signs via the website http://billboard.ncsu.edu. This applicant merely provides you another option for the OS of your endpoints.


WBS can be downloaded at http://billboard.ncsu.edu/screensaver/WolfTechBillboard.zip - Version 1.0 - Last Updated 03/26/2010

First, extract the archive and copy "WolfTech Billboard.scr" to C:\Program Files\WolfTech Billboard (you will need to create this directory if this is your first installation)

Once you have copied the file into the proper folder, right click on the screensaver icon and hit "Install". This will take you to your "Screen Saver Settings" page. The WolfTech Billboard Screen Saver has now been installed. You can further edit your settings by clicking the "Settings" tab, if necessary. The configuration options are listed below.


WBS comes with the following options pre-configured

  • Display URL is set to http://billboard.ncsu.edu/
  • Screenshots are set to "Enabled"
    • This takes a screenshot of your Billboard every 30 seconds while WBS is running and uploads it to Billboard at the URL: http://billboard.ncsu.edu/live_view/[your Billboard's IP].jpg
  • Behavior is set to "Wake on Mouse Movement/Keyboard Press"
  • Customize User Agent is set to "Yes"
    • This updates a registry key on the system to include the words "WolfTech Billboard" in your Internet Explorer user agent and affects all Internet Explorer instances on the computer for the current user.

Note: WBS's options are set at the Current User level within the registry. This means that any custom options you set will need to be modified using the user account you plan to run Billboard under. Otherwise they will reset back to the defaults.

Important Notes

  • Please make sure you've downloaded the most recent version of slideDetect.js ( http://billboard.ncsu.edu/provided/dynamic/final/slideDetect.js ) and scroller.js ( http://billboard.ncsu.edu/provided/dynamic/final/scroller.js ) from the Billboard site before using WBS if you have any slides that use them. They have been updated to help improve performance with WBS.
  • The Transloc slide was running into an issue on occassion. We believe the issue has been fixed, though if you run into any other issues, please let us know.
  • Trailers slides will require new code when run in WBS which has been added to the Dynamic Slides section.
  • Please make sure the Weather Slide ( http://billboard.ncsu.edu/provided/dynamic/final/weather.php ) is set to NOT refresh after it has been displayed. When it is set to refresh after display it triggers a memory leak in Internet Explorer that could lead to instability. The Weather Slide (for both webXsaver and WBS) now automatically refreshes on it's own, so there is no need to set it to do so within Billboard.
  • Seminars.php has also been updated to fix scrolling related issues
  • random_image.php has been fixed to remove a potential issue that could crash WBS. random_image_bg.php has been removed since the new random_image.php works the same as random_image_bg.php did. New code: http://bilboard.ncsu.edu/bb_app/files/random_image.phps

Differences between the WolfTech Billboard Screensaver (WBS) and webXsaver:

  • webXsaver uses Safari as its rendering engine; WBS uses Internet Explorer 8
  • WBS can also be run as a standalone application; not just a screensaver (simply change the extension from SCR to EXE)
  • WBS can update the Internet Explorer User Agent to help identify when the screen saver is accessing a page.
  • Has multiple behaviors:
    • Wake on Mouse Movement/Keyboard Press (Requires Mouse Movement of 10+ pixels)
    • Wake only on Alt + F4
  • Automatically takes screenshots of the board every 30 seconds, allowing you to check the status of it without remoting in, easily link the image in to your webpage, and use the screenshot to help report or find errors. Note: Screenshots are saved locally to the Common Program Files folder (C:\ProgramData on Windows 7; C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\ on WinXP).
  • Allows for computers to be added to the WolfTech Active Directory which (when combined with the proper Group Policy), will allow the Billboard software to be updated with no effort. [Group Policy profiles for Billboard usage are still being developed]
  • New video slides will be able to use a Windows Media Player plug-in, compared to the Quicktime plug-in that webXsaver/Safari use. This will allow for better video playback compatibility.
  • Flash performance is significantly better under IE on a Windows-based machine
  • An error log (error_log.txt) is generated in the Common Program Files folder as well. This is for any errors that WBS may encounter, not JavaScript errors from the built-in web browser instance.

Issues with WBS

  • The main issue with WBS is remote administration of the machine. While OSX allows for Remote Access to the Apple controlling Billboard without interrupting the screen saver, Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection does not. In addition to this, after changes are made, the screensaver will not automatically restart on the Billboard screen. The computer must be restarted before it resumes. For this reason, we’ll be designing a custom Billboard login background that will display on the computer when someone has remotely logged into it. [Will be included in Billboard group policy]
  • Internet Explorer doesn’t support certain CSS attributes that are currently being used by some slides (namely: text-shadow). Drop shadows can still be added through the use of IE filters, however they disable ClearType text processing which makes things less visually appealing.