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Troubleshooting Windows Players

March 5, 2019

Overview

Carousel for Windows is an application that can be installed and ran to display Carousel Signage on a computer with the Windows operating system. We call these simply "Windows Players" and allow customers to buy a few different models from us or use their own hardware and install the application. We provide support for only the software on custom hardware.

Where to Start

Get on the Carousel player, close the display, run "Carousel Player" from the desktop, click configure and click the Server Connection Test.

Common Issues/Questions

"How do I close the display to get to the Windows desktop?"

There are two keys to exit the signage display: ESC or right-click (each pressed three times in quick succession). If a video is playing, you'll have to press space first to pause it, then you can exit. 


Player connects to localhost / "How do I point a player to my server?"

All new and replacement Windows Players will have a stock configuration set to point to themselves/localhost. Launch the Carousel Player application on the desktop, click Configure before the timer runs out, set the Server URL to the correct value.


"My Windows players did not update automatically." / All Windows players show offline after an update

Carousel for Windows does not benefit from the ability to automatically update. If a customer updates their server software, they will need to also update the software on all their Windows players manually. They can either run the same installer they ran on the server, but select only the player option before installing, or running the Windows Carousel Player Installer msi from the Carousel interface in Setup > Configure > Players > Player Setup


Server Connection Check provides "This player cannot download bulletin data from the Carousel server."

The most common cause of this is that the .DAT file used for this test is not on the server. On the Carousel server there should be a file name Sample.dat located in [InstallationDrive]:\TRMS\Web\Carousel\Media\Dynamic\Test - if this folder or file is missing create them. You can just make a txt file called Sample.txt and change it to Sample.dat. The test should now be successful. If not, check other solutions at the end of this article in "Server Connection Test Breakdown - Download Bulletin Information."

Installation Issues

Installer Errors

Installer warns that another version of Carousel is installed then quits.

This can happen with the MSI installer. Just open programs and features and uninstall Carousel, then try the installer again.

The first time run for the player states that it is "Unable to install dependencies, please try again."

Try running the Carousel Player application "as administrator" If that does not resolve the issue ensure that the following files are located on the server in [InstallationDrive]:\TRMS\Web\Carousel\Downloads:

  • VLC
  • Chrome
  • Visual C Redistribution
  • DirectX

Here is an example screenshot of the files in a specific version of Carousel, which may have different names in other versions:

Configuration

The Carousel Player configuration menu can be accessed by launching the player and pressing the Configure. The menu looks like this:


Carousel Server

Server URL: This is where the Carousel Player will reach out to for a license and content. This can be an IP address, Hostname, or DNS record. Every system will be different. The general rule is that you can use the same base URL that is used to access FrontDoor (without the /FrontDoor at the end). HTTPS can be used if the customer has enabled TLS and installed a valid certificate in IIS on the server.

Check Server Connection: This run various tests to ensure the application is configured correctly. The test breakdown is located further down this article as "Server Connection Test Breakdown"


Time Settings

Synchronize Time: When checked, the player will change its Windows Time to match the Windows Time of the server. Having this unchecked will fail the Server Time connection check, which can be ignored if needed.

Offline Hours: If set, the player will not request new content from the server during the time range set. Bulletins will not update.


Display Settings

Displays: This option allows the selection of a specific display to be used in a multi-monitor setup. This is useful when there is a display monitor and a separate management monitor. You can select multiple monitors with this option but Carousel Signage does not support multi-monitor displays.

Graphics Manager: This changes the display mode that is used to render content. In almost all cases this should be set to "Standard."

  • Standard: Uses DirectX, supports all display functions
  • Simple: Does not use DirectX, does not support transitions or crawls. This mode is only used on weak hardware where the graphics chip does not support DirectX.
  • Performance: Do not use, this is not thread safe. Legacy display mode.
  • Diagnostic: This mode is useful for seeing the traffic and functions of the Carousel Player should all server connection tests pass.

Monitor Port: When using serial monitor control, this option is used to select the specific port to send serial commands. When using a USB to serial adapter, this will likely need to be changed.

Preferred Browser: Interactive/HTML Bulletins are rendered using a web browser. In come cases this needs to be changed for site compatibility. The options are Chrome (default) and Internet Explorer. No other browsers can be added.

Hide taskbar:

Hide cursor:

Allow Exit: When checked, this allows touchscreen interaction without closing player software.


Live Video Input

Note that live video works best on BrightSign players with HDMI in ports. They allow full HD, audio and are HDCP compliant.

Device: Select which capture device to use. At the time of writing this article only the AVer Media EZ DVD maker 7 is supported. The drivers will need to be installed for the device to be selected.

Audio: In the case where two audio inputs are available, select this one (or none) to get audio from.


Clear Cache

Sometimes the bulletin data on the player does not match what the server is providing or a corrupt bulletin causes display issues. Pressing the clear cache will purge the local bulletin storage and download fresh content from the server. If after using this option the display is black/blank ensure the connection to the server is successful and the RabbitMQ, Carousel and Carousel Rendering services are running on the server.

Server Connection Test Breakdown

When running the "Check Server Connection" test, here is a breakdown of each test and how to resolve if they do not pass. Always start with the first error and resolve it before trying to resolve the next one as some errors cause others to fail automatically:

Connect to Server

This player cannot connect to the Carousel Server. This can happen if you've entered the incorrect server name or if the server does not have the Carousel server software installed. If this is a standalone player, you must enter the Carousel Server's name, not the name of this player. If you are sure the server has the Carousel server software installed, it is possible the Carousel Service has not been started or a firewall is preventing communication. If there is a firewall on this player, it must be configured to allow outgoing connections on TCP port 80. If there is a firewall on the server or between the player and the server, it must allow incoming connections on TCP port 80 to reach the server.

This almost always means that the URL for Server URL is not correct or that there is a networking issue between the player and the server. The fastest way to test this is to take the Server URL and navigate to it on the player. If you don't get to FrontDoor, the issue is with the URL itself or connection. Other causes include the services not running on the server, or the customer using port 443/TLS but not using HTTPS:// in their server URL, and the firewall on the server not allowing connections on 80/443 or using an incorrect scope.

Download Data from Server

This player cannot download data from the Carousel Server. This can happen if you've entered the incorrect server name or the server you entered does not have its web server running. If this is a standalone player, you must enter the Carousel Server's name, not the name of this player. If you are sure the server is running properly, it is possible a firewall is preventing communication. If there is a firewall on this player, it must be configured to allow outgoing connections usually on TCP port 80 (HTTP) or port 443 (HTTPS). If there is a firewall on the server or between the player and the server, it must also allow incoming connections on the same TCP port 80 (HTTP) or port 443 (HTTPS) to reach the server.

Much like "Connect to Server" this has the same troubleshooting steps: This almost always means that the URL for Server URL is not correct or that there is a networking issue between the player and the server. The fastest way to test this is to take the Server URL and navigate to it on the player. If you don't get to FrontDoor, the issue is with the URL itself or connection. Other causes include the services not running on the server, or the customer using port 443/TLS but not using HTTPS:// in their server URL, and the firewall on the server not allowing connections on 80/443 or using an incorrect scope.

Server Notifications

This player cannot connect to the Carousel notification server. It is possible the Carousel Service has not been started or a firewall is preventing communication. If there is a firewall on this player, it must be configured to allow outgoing connections on TCP port 56907. If there is a firewall on the server or between the player and the server, it must allow incoming connections on TCP port 56907 to reach the server.

There is nothing to look for beyond the details and causes listed in the error message.

Download Bulletin Information

This player cannot download bulletin data from the Carousel Server. In addition to downloading data over HTTP, IIS on the Carousel server must be configured to allow downloading .DAT files. In the configuration for IIS under HTTP headers, you must add the extension .DAT to the list of file types and set it to have a content type of "application/octet-stream".

The most common cause of this is that the .DAT file used for this test is not on the server. On the Carousel server there should be a file name Sample.datlocated in [InstallationDrive]:\TRMS\Web\Carousel\Media\Dynamic\Test - if this folder or file is missing create them. You can just make a txt file called Sample.txt and change it to Sample.dat. If the file is there, or adding it does not resolve the issue, IIS is like not configured correctly like the error states. Open IIS, then Sites > Default Web site. Double-click MIME Types.

Look for the extension .dat if it is not found click "Add..." on the right and add set the name to .dat and MIME type to application/octet-stream and press ok.


Restart IIS, wait at least 1 minute, and try the server connection test again.


Proxy Server

The remote name could not be resolve: "[name]"

Proxy issues are causing an issue with server communication. More commonly this error happens when the Server URL is incorrect.

Server Time

This player's time is not the same as the server. This can prevent your player from getting updates from the server which can result in a "stuck" black screen or your bulletins not reflecting changes from the server. To fix this check the "Time Synchronization" option in the configuration panel or enable a third party time synchronization package.

Checking the "Synchronize Time" option will resolve this error, but the time will not correct instantly. Run signage for a few minutes, exit and check the test again and it should be clear. If the time is off by a good amount, clock bulletins will show the wrong time and scheduled bulletins will start/end at incorrect times.

Server Version

This player's version is not the same as the server. This can cause problems communicating with the server. You must install the same version on both the server and the players.

The player version and server version do not always need to match, but they should for best practices. As long as the minor build number is the same there should be no issues (for example if the server is 7.2.1 and the player is 7.2.2). This can be resolved by installing the same version as the server. Sometimes the error will say that the server version cannot be determined, this can happen if the server is lower than the player before the player's first run or if the server and player versions are way off (like 6.6.3 and 7.4.0). In  any case, match the player version with the server version.

Cache Server Data

This player cannot properly access the local cache. The player must have access to write to the local cache in order to download content from the server. Please check that permissions and your domain policy allow [PCName]\[User] to read and write to C:\TRMS\CarouselPlayer\Cache.

The user that the Carousel Player application is running under does not have read and/or write rights to the Cache folder, or the folder does not exist. Create the folder or set the permissions so the correct account can access it.

If even as logged in as the Administrator account the Cache folder cannot be access, modified or deleted run the following command in an elevated command prompt: takeown /F c:\TRMS\CarouselPlayer\Cache

Graphics Driver

If this fails on hardware we provided, ask support for the correct DirectX installation file. On other hardware, install the correct graphics driver for the model of PC being used. In some cases this error is provided when the graphics chip just does not support DirectX in which case the "Simple" graphics manager can be used.

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