Xibo for Android FAQ


#1

Can I get the source code for the Android Application?

The Xibo Project is an Open Source project and the source code is freely available for anyone to download and use. Xibo for Android is a commercial application built to communicate with the Xibo Platform and the source code is not available.

Both are designed, developed, maintained and sponsored by Spring Signage.

Xibo for Android will enable us to keep the Xibo CMS, two clients and API free and open to everyone in the future.

Please see the Xibo blog for more details: http://xibo.org.uk/tag/android/.

How much does the Android Client Cost?

The latest pricing for Xibo for Android Client Licences is available on our website. Client licences are perpetual and valid for a entire “series” of Xibo, however there may be a charge to upgrade to the latest Xibo Series as they become available.

For example, the current client is for Xibo 1.7 series and a purchased licence will cover all updates within this series. When Xibo 1.8 becomes available there may be a charge to take advantage of the new features.

You may continue to use a given series for as long as you choose at no additional cost, however newer versions of the Xibo server may not be compatible with older Android Clients.

Will Xibo for Android run offline without an internet connection?

Xibo for Android is fully capable of offline playback of content - please be aware of the following things:

Xibo Content Management System
The amount of content that the client will cache into the future is determined by the settings defined in the Xibo CMS. These are configured by your Xibo CMS administrator under the “Settings” page. In particular the “required files look ahead” setting determines how many seconds this period will be - by default this is set to 4 days.

The client will require an internet connection in the first instance to get connected to the Xibo CMS, submit its registration information and download the schedule.

Licensing with Spring Signage
Xibo for Android will require a valid internet connection to check its licence information after the 14 day trial period and once every 30 days thereafter. If this period lapses the client will stop downloading further content from the Xibo CMS but will continue to play cached content as normal.

Will Xibo for Android play Flash files?

Support for Flash in Android
Flash in Android is made available through an application provided by Adobe. This 3rd party application is solely responsible for flash playback through the standard android web browser, Chrome for Android and Xibo for Android.

Adobe have discontinued development and support for this application.

The future of Flash
Many device manufacturers make flash available by bundling the flash application from Adobe directly into their devices firmware. This means that the application is available out of the box. As this application is not being maintained by Adobe it will not receive any security or bug fixing updates.

As of the publish date on this article the Minix devices we recommend all have support for Flash.

Spring Signage support for Flash
Unfortunately due to the announcement from Adobe and the future trend of using HTML5 instead of Flash, Spring Signage cannot provide support for Flash on Android. This decision was not taken lightly, however after extensive testing we could not be confident that running flash content in Xibo for Android would not introduce instabilities in the client which would cause the client to close.

We have taken steps to ensure that should our customers choose to run flash via the Xibo Flash module or on embedded websites, it will render using the flash application if available.

This means that if you are having stability problems with your device and have flash content running, one of the first things we will ask you to try will be to stop running the flash content.

Can I change the “Xibo” splash screen?

The splash screen is compiled into the client application and is present to ensure that there is always one valid content item for Xibo for Android to show. The background content of the splash screen is black by default but can be changed from the client settings.

The standard logos will be overlaid on the background image as normal.

White Label Service

Altering the splash screen is one item that can be changed under the white label service. If you would like to white label Xibo for Android please refer to our reseller documentation or open a ticket with us and someone will help you.

Is SSL supported?

Xibo for Android is capable of communicating to a SSL enabled CMS, the only step required in most cases is to change the CMS URL in the client settings to be prefixed with https:// instead of http://. We recommend all Displays use SSL and our Cloud CMS instances come with SSL enabled as standard.

SSL Certificates
In some cases the certificate authority will not be listed as a trusted authority by the Android device and in these cases it will be necessary to install the SSL certificate manually. There are some instructions for how to do this on the Google Support Pages.

This will certainly be the case for self-signed certificates.

Common Errors
SSL certificates have to be correct and have to be supported by Android. Common sources of problems are:

  • Incorrect date/time on the Player
  • Incorrectly configured certificate

The most common error is:

"SSL23_GET_SERVER_HELLO:sslv3 alert handshake failure"

All certificates should be regularly validated with SSL Labs (or similar) to ensure they are secure and compatible. During a support case related to a SSL error we may ask for a SSL Labs report to help diagnose the problem.

Can I use Portrait Displays?

Xibo for Android can control rotation on your device but only if the device supports screen rotation.

Many set top box style Android devices don’t allow screen rotation and so Xibo for Android can’t support it on those devices. Some devices, such as the Minix devices we recommend, can be flashed with custom firmware which forces the device to always be Portrait configuration.

If your device is not rotating the screen as you would expect, first make sure you have selected portrait in the client settings and secondly make sure that your device manufacturer has allowed portrait support in their firmware.

Is there a way to have embedded TV in Xibo for Android?

RTSP
Android (and Xibo) support RTSP streams in a region using the local video module.

Unless the site already has a streaming server, most customers that want a solution using TV invest in a PC with a TV card which runs VLC to publish a RTSP stream in the correct codec/container for android. In some cases RTSP streams are available from TV providers that can be played on Android.

Local Video Module
The local video module is enabled by default in 1.7 and over. In 1.6 it needs to be enabled in the CMS by navigating to the Administration -> Modules page, finding Local Video, clicking edit and selecting the check box to enable it.

Local video can be the path to a video stored on the device or the path to a on-line stream.

Notes
It is important to note that when using local video to play an on-line stream, should that stream become unavailable then layout will be prematurely ended and marked as invalid until it next plays.

Can I embed a Youtube Video to my layout?

It is common to use Embedded HTML to show YouTube videos on websites and Digital Signage. Xibo for Windows can take advantage of this feature to show YouTube content on your digital signage. Unfortunately using the same method with Xibo for Android doesn’t work and the video doesn’t start and/or show correctly.

This situation relates to a decision Google made to disable autoplay for all mobile devices embedding YouTube videos. We have taken the recommended action to work around this in Xibo for Android, but that does not appear to work on all devices.

Road Map for a YouTube Module

We are planning to develop a dedicated YouTube module which provides cross platform support for YouTube content and makes it easier to add to Layouts in Xibo. There is a feature request topic here //link.

Workaround - Download the Video

You can download the video and upload it to the CMS. You can use any online converter to do that. What is really important here you absolutely MUST have permissions to do so from the original author, otherwise it’s illegal.

Video codec must be supported by the android device, you can find core list here

Why is Xibo is using a lower resolution than the device can support?

Xibo uses the full screen resolution that is provided by the underlying Android O/S on the device.

Unfortunately there was a period between 2012 and 2015 when alot of lower end devices (and some higher end ones too!) advertised a 1080p output when actually they used a 720p internal resolution, and then upscaled the output to 1080p.

Xibo for Android detects the native resolution of the devices frame buffer and would report “720p” resolutions in those cases. However the upscaling of the output will apply to everything Xibo outputs, so this shouldn’t be a cause of concern.

This practise has become far less wide spread as ARM CPUs gain power and Android becomes more efficient. The Minix devices recommended by Spring Signage that were affected by this (Minix X5/X5mini/X7mini) can all be upgraded to Android 4.4 firmware which supports true 1080p output. Details of that firmware are available on the Recommended Hardware page.

Can I make my own translation of Xibo for Android?

It is possible and we can provide a language file to translate, but there are two points to note:

  • The translations must be done as “direct” translations, i.e. you
    cannot adjust the meaning or add their own product name, etc
  • The translations will be available in the next release of the
    software for everyone - we can build a version for you between that
    time.

If you would like to translate Xibo for Android, please contact us directly via support ticket.


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