Content Formats

Broadsign Core supports many formats for playback, e.g. audio and video codecs. This section describes the technical details of the supported types.

Bitrate, which is also known as data rate, governs a video’s file size and its visual quality. It has a direct impact on performance, and you should tune it to your player’s hardware capabilities.

In the table below, find the quality of your video (e.g., 720p or 1080p). Then, if you are able, set the bit rate within the corresponding range.

When selecting a bitrate, there is a trade-off between performance considerations (i.e., hardware capabilities) and visual quality.

  • If you want excellent visual quality, you can set a higher bitrate. However, if you have limited hardware capabilities, performance may suffer (i.e. you will notice dropped frames and stuttering content).
  • If you want to ensure strong performance, you can set a lower bitrate. However, the visual quality may suffer (e.g. pixelation).

Container: MP4
Codec: H.264

Quality Bitrate (Mbps)
480p 1 – 4
720p 2 – 6
1080p 6-14
Note: With a resolution of 1080p, for best results we recommend a bitrate of 8Mpbs.
2K 20 – 30
4K 30 – 60
Broadsign Player supports internet audio streams using either the M3U format or the PLS format (see below).

To schedule an audio stream:

  1. Download the appropriate file from the internet radio station with either the .m3u or .pls extension (see below).
  2. Upload the text file (in .m3u or .pls format) as a standard ad copy.
  3. Schedule the content to a bundle or a campaign.

An .m3u file is in plain text and contains the locations of any media files that the player should play. Each location has its own line, formatted as a URL. In the case of streaming audio, the location should be a URL that serves the desired content. The file can also include comments, prefaced by “#”.

Here’s a sample file:

A .pls file stores multimedia playlists that are more expressive than M3Us. A .pls can store information about song title and length. The format is as follows:

PLS File Section Component Description
Header [playlist] Indicates that this is a playlist file.
NumberOfEntries Indicates the number of tracks.
Track Entry (assuming track entry #X) FileX Variable defining location of stream.
TitleX Indicates track title.
LengthX Indicates length, in seconds, of track. Note: A value of -1 indicates an indefinite length.
Footer Version The playlist version. At the moment, only a value of 2 is valid.

Here's a sample .pls file:

#The header section

#The track entry section
Title1=(#1 - 225/500) -=[:: HOT 108 JAMZ ::]=-
Title2=(#2 - 227/500) -=[:: HOT 108 JAMZ ::]=-

#The footer section
The Broadsign Player supports multiple video formats through Broadsign AV Player (e.g., audio and video codecs).

The following table lists these format types in detail:

Content Type Format Type
File Containers AVI (Including .DIVX)
MPEG-2 Program Stream
MPEG-2 Transport STream
Video Codecs MPEG-1 Video (H.261)
MPEG-2 Video (H.262)
MPEG-4 Part 2 (H.263v2), e.g.DivX, Xvid
MPEG-4 Part 10 (H.264), e.g.AVC
HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding)/H.265
VC-1 (WMV9)
Sorenson 3, FLV
VP8 and VP9
Audio Codecs MPEG-1 Layer II (MPL1 Layer 2) (Stereo)
MP3 (Stereo)
WMA Pro (Windows)

The Flash product displays Macromedia Flash clips in the Broadsign Player's canvas area. Flash clips have “.swf” extensions. The Flash product on the Microsoft Windows platform uses the ActiveX Flash Player plug-in that is installed on the system. The Linux platform provides support for Flash 7 using an embedded Flash player, but can also use the system’s installed plugins.

As of this writing, the Adobe Flash EULA indicates that Flash 8, 9 and 10 cannot be used for commercial digital signage. The embedded Flash 7 player on Linux is already licensed. However, if you wish to use newer versions of the Flash web plugin on Windows and Linux, an Enterprise Flash license must be purchased. Please contact your sales representative for more details.

Flash can be an expressive and efficient means of deploying dynamic digital signage content. However, Flash is a medium designed for the Web, and, as such, there are some limitations to how it can be used in digital signage.

Flash Limitations

The first of these limitations is a security feature included in Flash which makes it impossible to load data directly from a remote source whose DNS domain is different than the Player’s. Since Player plays Flash content locally, this means the current domain is localhost and all remote data sources cannot be accessed.
There is a workaround to this which involves placing a specifically formatted file on the remote server to indicate that it is a trusted data source which is documented in Adobe in an article titled "Security Changes in Macromedia Flash Player 7" which is located in the Flash Developer Center on Adobe's web site.
The Broadsign Player also includes a component called the Synchronization Monitor which allows you to synchronize remote HTTP or FTP feeds locally on the hard drive. This is compatible with the security features in Flash and also has the side benefit of allowing the Flash content to load immediately.

Error Handling

We recommend that you develop Flash (SWF) content to anticipate possible failures and react to them. For example, if the data feed you are using is unavailable or is stale, you can program Flash to revert to a default animation that you develop as well.These types of scenarios should be tested against before scheduling the Flash content.


Digital Signage and the Web are two completely different environments. Unfortunately, Flash was designed to work within a Web browser, and, as such, imposes only loose timing constraints on how it delivers frames in an animation. In Digital Signage, however, timing must be exact or animation will get truncated.
To ensure that playback timing is exact, you must add a soundtrack to your Flash file and set the synchronization type of the Flash movie to Stream instead of the default, which is Event. See the illustration of this setting below. If you do not have a soundtrack, you can create a blank sound file of the desired length using Windows Sound Recorder and disable the microphone on your PC.


For information about alpha transparency, see Transparency.

Broadsign Player will display the popular web image formats listed below:

    • GIF
    • PNG
    • JPEG

Broadsign Core can render HTML web content (and Flash files) semi-opaque or completely transparent.

Transparency will provide effects similar to the following image:

In this display unit, we can see a semi-opaque content on the right that displays interactive buttons. Notice that the video beneath it can be partially seen through the buttons. We call this effect translucency or opacity.


In "Transparency", we discuss:

    • System requirements;
    • Configuration of transparency in Broadsign Administrator;
    • HTML content (whether on Windows or a Linux OS); and,
    • Flash content.
System Requirements

In order to achieve the translucency effect without any undesirable flickering or tearing on screen, a desktop compositing engine such as Windows Aero is required.

This means that the player’s operating system must be Windows Vista or higher. For a complete list of supported operating systems, see Supported Windows Versions or Supported Ubuntu Versions.

Ubuntu Linux
For HTML transparency in Ubuntu Linux, Compiz is required.

Configuration of Transparency in Broadsign Administrator

To set up Broadsign Administrator to display content with transparency effects, take the following steps:

  1. Create/edit your configuration profile:
  2. Configure your display unit. In order for the player to display content on top of background content, the frames containing them must be set to a higher z-order than the background. See Frames.
  3. Ensure that both your display unit and configuration profile are associated to your player. See the General section and the Settings section of Edit Player Properties.
  4. Enable "Transparency" in your ad copy's properties. See the Settings section of Edit Ad Copy Properties.
  5. Enable Transparency in an ad copy's properties

HTML (Windows and Linux) Content

Each pixel has an "R" (red), "G" (green) and "B" (blue) value that ranges from 0 to 100% (depending on your system). When you add transparency, you add a fourth "channel" or value which is the "alpha". Adjust this value to adjust the degree of transparency.

Flash Content

Alpha transparency for Flash elements is only supported on Microsoft Windows players.


    • If the player’s OS is based on Windows XP (XP Pro, XP Home, XP Embedded, Windows Embedded Standard and POSReady), only the transparency effect can be achieved. Pixels in the Flash widgets can only be fully transparent or fully opaque. If a translucent Flash widget is displayed on an XP-based OS, the translucent areas will not be see-through.
    • Flash versions 8 and later introduced anti-aliasing for text. When using a text box over an object, anti-aliasing will break translucency. In order to achieve translucency when using a text box, use bit-mapped text and ensure Alpha settings are between 1-99.

Building the Flash content
By default, the Flash widget background is already transparent. To achieve a translucency effect, set the appropriate object’s Alpha setting to a value between 1 and 99, as illustrated below.

To build a video capture file, see Video Capture Content.

De-Interlacing your video signal (optional)

It is possible that video signals from capture cards are interlaced. Interlacing artifacts are often described as "combing".

These artifacts are due to an incompatibility between certain made-for-TV signals and the progressive nature of computer monitors. In order to eliminate the interlacing artifacts, some additional software and configuration of the Player are required.

How to Install a de-interlacing filter (Advanced)

Step 1: Install a Deinterlace filter
We have had success using this DirectShow filter:

    • ffdshow (GPL) (GUID={0B390488-D80F-4A68-8408-48DC199F0E97})

Step 2: Configure the filter (if needed)
You must configure ffdshow this way.

In non-dedicated mode:

    1. Go to Start -> All Programs -> ffdshow -> configuration.
    2. Select Deinterlacing.
    3. Select a good deinterlacing algorithm.
    4. To save and exit, click OK.

In dedicated mode:

    1. Go to Start -> Run -> type in "cmd".
    2. Type the following:
      cd c:
      			cd "Program FilesBroadsignbspbin"
      			runas_bsp.exe "rundll32.exe "C:\ProgramFiles\ffdshow\",configure"
    3. Select Deinterlacing.
    4. Select a good deinterlacing algorithm.
    5. To save and exit, click OK.

Step 3: Configure bsp to use the filter
In the bsp configuration, add your filter GUID (or a list of filters separated by a ';'):

    • ffdshow:

Step 4: Start bsp and make sure no errors are reported in the logs

Broadsign Core includes an embedded Chromium browser (version 51, branch 2704). You can enable Chromium in a configuration profile for players. See Configuration Profiles - Players - The Products Section.

The default settings in the configuration profile are:

    • Windows: Internet Explorer
    • Linux: WebKit

You can display content using HTML5 packages or web redirects:

    • HTML5 packages: Use these packages for static content that require little to no use of a network connection. For more information, see HTML5 Content and HTML5 Package Ad Copy.
    • Web redirects: Use web redirects for content that requires constant network access or that comes from 3rd-party servers. For more information, see Web Redirect Content.
Broadsign has developed its own RSS-capable scrolling ticker product.

To build a ticker file for the X-Ticker, see Ticker File.