Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

Using a WD TV Live device in a Windows Server 2003 domain environment

I had a situation where a client wanted to display messages to employees. Their old adbrite digital sign had died. I wanted to find a solution that would allow us to display powerpoint slides. However, the devices that would allow that are a bit limited.

We decided to go with a 32″ television in the breakroom connected to a Western Digital TV Live device via Wifi. The client would create individual jpgs and put them in a folder for the WD TV device to play. The WD TV streamer connects easily to a windows workgroup. However, when I tried to connect it to the Windows Active Directory Domain, I ran into problems establishing a connection.  As I searched for a solution,  I didn’t find any definitive answers.

As a backup plan, I had considered using a seagate network addressable storage device that we use for backups. It had plenty of available room. The seagate connects presents a ‘seagate’ workgroup on the network. It takes a little bit of fiddling to set up a user and establish the connection. I am running into some quirkiness but it appears we have a workable solution.

I had originally set up the WD TV to use it’s media manager. That should force the WD TV to rescan at a set interval for changes. However, it disconnected and I was having trouble re-establishing a connection. I decided instead to simply use the Photo Icon, Browse all folders and then browse the appropriate folder for the slideshow.

In summary, if you are trying to use a WD TV in a similar manner on a windows active directory domain, then using a network addressable storage device might be a way around trying to establish a domain logon. My guess is that the technology will mature over time and these devices will be much easier to connect to a domain.

The net result is that we have a system where it is relatively easy to create a series of messages for employees in an attractive format, it is relatively easy to use and fairly reliable. It isn’t perfect but it works.

Some tips based on my experience are as follows.

  • Use a photoshop type application to create the pictures.
  • Establish a numbering system so that you can control the order of the pictures. ie. 01, 02 etc.
  • Set the WD TV for 5 seconds between slides.
  • Keep in mind that you might have some connectivity issues with the NAS. However, most NAS drives are designed to be media streamers.
  • Keep security in mind. ie. lock up the remote control. to prevent someone from trying to browse files (although that is unlikely)

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