Yet Another Digital Signage Solution on the Cheap

1st Gen Chromecast
1st Gen Chromecast

The first-generation Google Chromecast dongle was made available in 2013 for around $35 dollars. I acquired one of these devices for our library so that I could wirelessly cast our Samsung Galaxy Tab’s screen to our AV system during classes and training sessions, and thus handily avoid the need for wired tethering along with the necessary adaptors to effect this.

The device has served us well, but with the advance of screen resolution technologies in mobile devices as well as the demands of mirroring the same, it makes sense to upgrade to Google’s latest model refresh, the Chromecast Ultra model, which promises better overall performance, less wireless lag, and support for 4K resolution and high dynamic range, among other things.

This leaves us with the question of what to do with our older Chromecast, instead of retiring it to some electronic graveyard? One of the things that I took advantage of when using the Chromecast is its scrolling background wallpaper images (curated by Google), but which can be customized with content from your Google Photos Album to run as a photo slideshow.

It occurred to me that I could continue to use this older Chromecast dongle as a publicity tool harnessed to run promotional slideshows of library services and events. What’s nice about this application of the device is that, once configured to connect to your wireless network, as well as configured to use your Google Photos Album for the scrolling background/slideshow, you can plug in the Chromecast dongle into the kiosk monitor and/or HDTV and it’s good to go, no other technology required, except for the occasional content curation which you can accomplish simply by updating your Google Photos, either by the removal or addition of photos, all of which you can do remotely. By the way, you can also use content from your Facebook or Flikr account for the scrolling display.

What are you doing with your Google Chromecast devices, old or new?

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