info-beamer

Self Hosted / Local Network Pi Options

Hello!

I’m trying to better understand some of the capabilities of info-beamer-pi. I am trying to create a large scale art installation with ~100 tv screens running on 100 pi zeros or 50 pi 4’s in a location with very few networking options.

  1. Am I able to manage content across multiple pi’s with info-beamer-pi? Without using ‘hosted’
  2. Is it possible to manage multiple pi’s, where they are all connected to a local network?
  3. Is there a self-hosted version of info-beamer-hosted?
  4. Is offline mode expected any time soon?

Thank you!!!
B

  1. What do you mean by across multiple Pis? In a video wall setup? Or in managing all those Pis from a central place?
    The former is possible, but will be very clunky to do by hand: info-beamer pi is really only the raw player software. It does nothing to help you manage content. That’s all up to the user of the software and is the part that info-beamer hosted solves. This also answers the second part: There is nothing to help you manage the Pis. So you’ll have to set up Raspbian on all of them and either manually or somehow automatically set up the content on all of them.

  2. Not with info-beamer hosted. It requires the Pis to reach info-beamer.com. It is with info-beamer pi, but then there’s no managment whatsoever.

  3. No. info-beamer hosted is only available on info-beamer.com. There’s no on-premise version at the moment.

  4. We might figure out a way to use the current version for your installation. All the parts required are there already. Please contact support and we might find a way to run your installation offline. But that would still require an initial connection to set up everything. It’s not possible to update content by sneakernet.

I developed a LAN-only pair of tools to control info-beamer (classic, or whatever the old license was called), because we have spotty LAN and can’t guarantee Internet access. Unfortunately, this gives up the really nice tooling of info-beamer hosted, but it has been good enough to get through a once-yearly convention.

We only had 3 displays running, and your application is a couple orders of magnitude larger. In theory, it should scale OK, but there are probably some pain points that would be exposed.

You run beamin-target on each Raspberry PI (or development computer) which is responsible for starting up info-beamer. It then runs a really basic web server that beamin-controller pushes updates to. The update is just a zipped copy of your application which the target unzips on top of the running node.

Because info-beamer is really clever about how file-updates cause data reloads, this actually ends up being pretty graceful. For example, if you have one laptop with a reliable internet connection, that laptop can update its copy of the node with new data, then perform beamin --push schedule which could be configured to only push a new schedule.json file and cause the displays to refresh only that data.

The target also supports running python scripts as “services” for tasks like building JSON files for info-beamer to consume.

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