Live Source

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This page is related to the HMP300 and HMP350 devices. For older models, see Client/Server mode page.

Introduction

Live Source is a content pull method whereby the HMP is requesting and displaying an entire project located on a remote content server. After configuring a Live Source, it can be activated within the content scheduling tool.

Each resource included in the network project is verified & retrieved when it needs to be played, therefore the content server must be accessible all the time, if possible. And the network connection needs to be (very) fast, so that, for instance, a large video file could be downloaded and played in real-time. Some resources (like SVG files, images, small video files etc.) might be cached locally to minimize the network bandwidth, nevertheless, Live Sources are generally not resilient to network failures.

But what happens when network failures occur? Well, the HMP regularly checks the main index.svg of the network project, so if the content server is not reachable or the network is disconnected, the HMP switches to playing the next asset scheduled in the same period within the content scheduling tool - the exact process is described in detail below.


Note Note:
Serious testing & validation of the bandwidth and quality of the network should be done before using Live Sources in a production environment. In case of issues, you should switch to using Scheduled Download or similar.

Comparison with Scheduled Download

Comparing to the Scheduled Download, where the local project is synchronized with the server periodically, using a Live Source has the advantage of retrieving the new / changed resource as soon as is needed to be displayed. However, the disadvantage is that the connection between the HMP and the server must be reliable and must transmit the files fast enough when needed to be displayed (otherwise the resource will be displayed when available or skipped).

Configuration

Content - Live sources

To configure one or more Live Sources, follow these steps:

  1. Open HMP Control Center and go to Content > Live Sources page.
  2. Enter the network project location URI or folder name.
    • This must be a valid HTTP(S) address, ending with a trailing slash, something like: http://synology-nas:5005/projects/MyProject/ .
    • A folder name could also be specified in case the HMP a was configured to retrieve some content in a local folder via Scheduled Download.
  3. Enter a friendly name for this Live Source. This name is shown in the Schedule page.
  4. To add another Live Source, click on "Add" button and enter its details in the same manner.
  5. Click the "Apply" button to save your changes.


Note Notes:
  • The HMP looks for and tries to open the index.svg file in the root of the entered URI / folder.
  • If the network location requires username and password to be accessed, then enter the credentials under System > Saved Passwords page. See Web servers page for information on supported authentication schemes.

Usage

Schedule Live Sources

Live Sources can be used within the content scheduling tool, just as any other asset.

To activate and display a Live Source, follow these steps:

  1. Open the content scheduling tool by clicking on the "SCHEDULE" link on the top bar menu.
  2. Select "Live Sources" as asset filter, to remove any media and playout assets from the list.
    Note Note: Live Sources that are not accessible by the HMP are not listed.
  3. Drag and drop the Live Source icon into the schedule or as default content, the same way as with any other asset.
  4. Click the "Save" button on the top-right side to save your changes.

Process

Note  
This section describes in detail the actions done by the HMP, using the latest firmware, when a Live Source is employed. For a quick description, see the introductory section above. Note that for older firmware versions, the behavior might slightly differ.


Right after configuring and scheduling a Live Source, sub-process I is activated; the rest of actions done by the HMP follow from there.

Process I

The HMP tries to open the index.svg file in the root of the specified network location.

Process II

This sub-process is employed when the HMP starts playing the main index.svg of the Live Source.

Each time a resource included in the network project, including its main index.svg, needs to be played by the HMP, the following actions are done:

  1. If the resource is actively cached, then the HMP displays the resource from its local cache. This process continues to the next resource.
  2. Else, the HMP requests the status of the resource from the content server.
  3. If, for any reasons, the server cannot be contacted or returns an error, then the following occurs:
    • for main index.svg, Process III is activated.
    • for any other resource, the HMP skips playing that resource. This process continues to the next resource.
    • new / changed, then the resource is marked for download.
    • unchanged, but the resource is not present on the HMP cache, then it is also marked for download.
  4. If the resource is marked for download, then the HMP downloads the resource from the server and adds it to its local cache (according to the caching directives).
  5. Finally, the HMP tries to display the resource from its local cache, otherwise, it skips that resource. This process continues to the next resource.

Process III

This sub-process is employed when the HMP decides that it cannot play the Live Source.

In this case, the following actions are done:

  • The Live Source is temporarily discarded and the HMP switches to playing the next asset scheduled in the same period within the content scheduling tool.
  • The HMP checks (at first after 10s, then 20s, 40s ... and so on up to a maximum of 2h) whether the Live Source is accessible again - when that happens, then Process I is activated.

Notes

  • The HMP tries to play the content as much as possible from its local cache (to minimize the network bandwidth), however a stable network connection is necessary to regularly connect to the server and check for updates.
  • The HMP will use up to 70% of its free space for the cache, without overwrite any existing content.
  • Do not use another HMP as content server, because this might have unexpected results on the client(s) and will definitely have a negative impact on the performance of the HMP used as server.

Tutorials

Troubleshooting

Network:

  • The HMP cannot connect to UNC paths - see the Web servers page for more details.
  • URLs are resolved using DNS; WINS is not supported by the HMP. You may use hostnames which are not Fully Qualified Domain Names, but they will only be resolved if your local DNS is properly configured.

Custom fonts:

  • Any custom fonts cannot be used remotely, so they must first be installed on the player to be used - this is a known limitation. An workaround is to publish an Elementi project using those custom fonts, before using a Live Source; you only need to do this once.
This page was last modified on 8 January 2018, at 17:19.