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Schedule and display content with Chrome Sign Builder

Chrome Sign Builder is a digital signage utility that allows you to schedule and display content across your managed Chrome device network.

Chrome Sign Builder makes it easy to show web content content such as restaurant menus, images, and YouTube videos and playlists–as well as Google Presentations, which can be edited by anyone who has access to the presentation.

You configure Chrome Sign Builder once. In initial setup, you create schedules and specify the URLs for content that will be displayed according to the schedules. Later you might need to change the content at those URLs, but you don’t have to reconfigure schedules and settings in Chrome Sign Builder. 

Typical use cases

Restaurant menu
To show menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you would create 3 schedules, where each schedule has its own menu URL to display content.
YouTube video or playlist
Chrome Sign Builder makes it easy to schedule a youtube video or playlist, because it detects a YouTube URL and modifies the URL for a digital signage display. The video plays and replays automatically, video controls are hidden, and the keyboard and player controls are disabled. You can change any of these default settings.YouTube configuration

Original YouTube URL:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJT3pagjd8s

URL as modified by Chrome Sign Builder:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/kJT3pagjd8s?autoplay=1&autohide=1&loop=1&controls=0&disablekb=0 

Google Presentation

Displaying content in a Google presentation means that anyone who can access the presentation can modify the digital sign. When you publish the presentation, set it to start as soon as it loads and restart after the last slide.

Note: When you add the presentation URL in the Add new content window of Chrome Sign Builder, don’t click Open presentation options. Instead, change any needed settings in the Publish to the web window in Google Slides and use the published URL. For more information about this workaround, see this Chromium bug.

Google presentation

Best practices

You should schedule content so that the media player screen doesn't go blank. For example, during the time between breakfast and lunch, a restaurant could display a message such as “We’re closed. Please come again.” Or display a repeating YouTube playlist that shows sample entrees or restaurant events.

There are 2 ways to avoid a blank screen when creating schedules. You can create a default schedule that displays 24 hours a day on every day of the week, and additionally create schedules for specific time periods. In the restaurant example, the default event is “We’re closed. Please come again.” If the breakfast menu is scheduled from 6 am till 10 am, it would display instead.

The ideal way to avoid a blank screen is to specify a default URL that displays whatever you want when nothing is scheduled. We recommend this instead of creating a default schedule, because your calendar will be less cluttered and easier to maintain. 

Working with Chrome Sign Builder

Download Chrome Sign Builder from the Chrome Web Store. While you can download and install Chrome Sign Builder on one of the same Chrome devices where it will be deployed, the deployment process is simpler if you install it on another computer.

When you launch Chrome Sign Builder, a schedule window and a preview window display. The preview window is blank until you specify a URL for scheduled content.

Create a schedule
Create a schedule for specific time slots

Restaurant menus are examples of schedules that display content for a limited time, such as a breakfast menu that displays only from 7 am until 10:30 am. Select a time slot on the calendar. Similar to Google Calendar, you can select a thirty-minute time slot or drag your cursor across multiple hours or days. Enter the URL for the content you want to display. Automatically reloading the URL refreshes the content displayed.

You can duplicate the schedule in the calendar by repeating it. For example, if you create a schedule for a breakfast menu to display from 7 am to 10:30 am on Monday and repeat it daily, your schedule will be on the calendar every day of the week.

Chrome Sign Builder schedule

Rename your schedule by selecting Edit settings in the drop-down next to the schedule name and editing the name.

Create a schedule that displays content all day for a set number of days

A conference agenda is an example of a schedule that displays the same content all day for a set number of days. A Google presentation could contain the agenda and an admin could change the presentation as needed during the conference. Those changes would be displayed according to a refresh rate you set.

Click in the all-day row under the day the conference starts. After entering your URL, click Advanced to show the settings for automatically reloading the URL and the beginning and end dates of the conference.

Chrome Sign Builder conference schedule
Create a schedule that displays content all day for an indefinite number of days

A retail business that wants to show hours of operation is an example of a “forever” schedule that displays content every day of every week for 24 hours a day. Click in the all-day row under the day you want to start displaying the hours of operation and select Show forever.

To indicate how often you want the media display screen to refresh, click Advanced and Automatically reload url. You can change the default refresh time of 10 seconds to what is appropriate for your digital sign.

Chrome Sign Builder business hours
Set a default URL

Setting a default URL is a way to display content on the media player screen when nothing else is scheduled. This is important to do because it keeps your media player from displaying a blank screen. To set a default URL, select Edit settings in the drop-down next to the schedule name and enter the default URL.

If you don’t have a default URL you can click Reset URL, and Chrome Sign Builder will display a message saying that nothing has been scheduled to display. If you allow a white screen to display, it will be hard for you to tell if there's an issue with the media player or if there's nothing scheduled. 

Chrome Sign Builder edit settings
Export the schedule file

A schedule file contains the URLS for your content, settings such as screen orientation, and the schedules you created. You need to export the schedule file by clicking Export so you can upload it in the deployment process. 

When you deploy Chrome Sign Builder to the org units where you want your digital sign to display, you will click UPLOAD CONFIGURATION FILE and select the schedule you exported. After the devices in these org units boot, the digital sign displays using the schedule, display URLs, and settings you have configured.

Delete a schedule

To delete a schedule, click on it in the calendar and click Remove, or select Delete schedule in the drop-down next to the schedule name.

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