Using Apple TV as Digital Signage

When I was at a conference a few weeks ago I saw a very novel idea, the venue where the conference was being held was using Apple TV’s as digital signage for their building. It looked great and it was cheap! Below you will find a guide on the workflow I use as well as how we use it in our buildings.

Overview: Basically all we are doing is creating images using Keynote, Google Docs, or Powerpoint and sharing them with the Apple TV. If you have music available you can also play that as well. Note: This setup only works if the computer that is set to be the host is on so I would pick a permanent computer if possible. We used the principals laptops which may not have been the best choice. My next plan is to move it to a server that is permanent in the buildings and make changes there.

 

Hardware: For our setup we used 1 Apple TV 1 32″ Dynex from Bestbuy 1 Macbook (you can use any mac computer I have not tested with PC)

Getting Started: To get started connect your Apple TV to your TV and mount your device where you would like it. We mounted ours to the back of the TV using Velcro:

Turn on your Apple TV and go through the setup process. While is setting up navigate to the computer that will control the device.

Creating Slides:To get started open your presentation creator of choice (or photo editor of choice) and layout your slides. In most presentation editors such as Keynote and Powerpoint you have the option to export your slides as images I will show you how to do it in Keynote:   Step one is to create your slides. After they are created click File -> Export…

 In the export pain choose images at the top toolbar. Set everything like the screenshot below:

Click next and choose where you want to save your images. I usually just choose the Desktop:

You should now see your images on your desktop:

Now that we have our images created we are going to configure our Apple TV and our computer to talk to each other.

Turning on Home Sharing:

Computer Setup:

On the computer you are using open iTunes and click “Advanced” and than “Turn on Home Sharing”

 On the next screen enter your Apple ID and Password:

When you have entered your information click “Create Home Share”

Next we will setup Home Sharing on the Apple TV (I apologize for my poor pictures I was in a hotel room when I took them.)

Apple TV:

To turn on Home Sharing on your Apple TV you click over to computers and choose “Turn on Home Sharing”.

In the next few screens you will be asked for your login information. Enter the same info as you did on the computer. Once you have logged into iTunes you will see your computer listed where “Turn on Home Sharing” used to be.

Click on your library name. And you should get a list of things that are available to share:

Once we see this we can head back to the computer to tell the Apple TV what photo’s we want to share.

Back in iTunes,

Click “Advanced” and than click “Choose Photos to Share”

First check the box that says “Share Photos From: ” Click the dropbox and select “Choose Folder” and navigate to the folder that you created earlier in your presentation creator. After you choose your folder click the “Apply” button.

Back to the Apple TV:

On your Apple TV move over to home sharing and choose your library. On your Apple TV choose pictures from the drop down. And choose the slideshow and your slideshow will start. 

Tips:

Add screenshots from widgets such as local weather.

We added our wind turbine stats so visitors could see how much energy is being generated.

Change settings (next to slideshow) to get different transitions.

Add a QR code that links to a video about your building or location.

Other Thoughts:

I did think about using the photostream functionality of iCloud to automatically pull in slides and not depend on a computer. I am testing this out and I will keep everyone posted!

What do you use for digital signage in your school / business?

TJ Houston

TJ Houston

Hey everyone,
My name is TJ and I am here to help you! I am a lifelong learner that strives to help others.

Work: By day I work for Panasonic as the Sales Support Rep for the Midwest Region.
Play: I love all things photography, videography, and tech!
Home: I have a loving wife (Ashley) and an adorable German shepherd (Jynx)

You can find me on twitter @tjhouston or if you want to check out some photos, you can follow me on instagram @lumix_tjhouston!

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