Plug 'N Playr

The Plug 'N Playr solution is a free and fully configured version (distro) of Linux, called Webconverger that lets your computer automatically boot up to a web browser. In the simplest setup it can even run directly off of a USB flash drive, so you don't even need a hard drive in your computer.

Plug 'N Playr can only be used in combination with a regular computer. You cannot put it on a USB flash drive and run it on a TV directly, an Android device or a Chromebox.

Make sure you use a USB flash drive of at least 4GB. If you are going to boot off of that USB flash drive daily, a respected brand is also advisable. A nice option, for example, is the Kingston Digital 8GB DataTraveler Micro.

Creating a Plug 'N Playr USB flash drive

First of all you need a regular Windows PC to create a Plug 'N Playr USB flash drive. This is generally a different PC than the one that you are going to use as playback device. You need two files for this: the actual Plug 'N Playr software and the program that can install it on the USB flash drive.

  1. Download the latest version of the Plug 'N Playr software (approx. 700 MB). For older computers, this older version of the Plug 'N Playr software might work better (approx. 485MB).
  2. Download the installer program (approx. 5MB).
  3. Unpack the PlugNPlayr.zip file that you just downloaded and double click the PlugNPlayr.exe program to run it.
  4. Make sure there are no USB flash drives or hard drives connected to your computer or make sure you know exactly which drive letter is assigned to the USB flash drive that you want to put the Plug 'N Playr software on. The program that you will use to write the Bizplay software to the USB flash drive will overwrite any data present on the target device.
  5. Click the button next to the Image file input field to find the bizplay-web-kiosk-X.Y.Z.img file that you just downloaded (X, Y and Z stand for the version numbers of the file that will change through time).
  6. Insert the target USB flash drive.
  7. The drive letter that is automatically assigned to the USB flash drive should appear in the Device select box. If it does not after a few second please select the drive letter manually. You can check that the correct drive letter is selected by checking the drive letters that are visible in the Explorer.
  8. Leave the Use player management option checked; this will setup the recommended playback through registered player method.
  9. On your playback device, it is generally best to use a wired network connection. However, if you have to use Wifi instead you should also set the right wireless network settings:
    1. Fill in the right wireless network name in the SSID field.
    2. If the wireless network is hidden, check the Hidden checkbox.
    3. If the wireless network has a password, enter it in the Password field.
    4. Select the network protection type.
  10. If you want your device to automatically shutdown at a specific time, fill out the hours and minutes in the two corresponding input fields and select the time zone the player is in.
  11. Press the Write button to start transferring the Plug 'N Playr onto the USB Flash Drive.
  12. When the stick is ready, you can close the application.
  13. Safely eject the USB drive from your computer.

Check The BIOS

In order for a computer to boot from a USB drive make sure the following three things are set correctly in the BIOS of the computer:

  • Make sure the UEFI/Legacy settings are correct
  • Make sure the order of boot devices is correct
  • Make sure the computer can boot into Linux

These three points are addressed below and are illustrated with the BIOS of an Intel NUC. A different computer will have a BIOS that has a different structure but the points mentioned below can probably be set in the BIOS.

To Enter The BIOS

  1. Before turning the computer on make sure a keyboard and, if possible, a mouse are connected to the device
  2. Put the USB drive in one of the USB ports
  3. When turning on the computer, press F2 to enter the BIOS.

On a different computer the key might be different; at startup of the computer a text will appear telling what key to use.

Make Sure The EUFI/Legacy Settings Are Correct

  1. On the BIOS configuration screen select the Advanced tab.
  2. Select the Boot tab.
  3. Select Boot Priority.
  4. If an SSD is present in the computer and UEFI Boot is ticked and there is a list of boot devices put the USB device over the SSD (drag and drop with the mouse). If the USB device is not in the list untick UEFI Boot If UEFI Boot is ticked and the list is empty leave it as is.
  5. Make sure that when the USB drive is in the list under Legacy Boot Priority the Legacy Boot is ticked and the USB drive is dragged to the top of the list.

If the computer does not boot from the USB drive enter the BIOS again and untick UEFI Boot so the Legacy Boot is the only active option.

Make Sure The Order Of Boot Devices Is Correct

  1. On the BIOS configuration screen select the Advanced tab.
  2. Select the Boot tab.
  3. Select Boot Configuration.
  4. Tick the Boot USB devices first option and make sure the USB option is ticked under Boot Devices.
  5. Tick the Boot Network devices last option and set the Network Boot to Legacy PXE under Boot Devices unless network boot is actually used.
  6. Leave Fast boot, Unlimited Boot to Network Attempts and BIOS Setup Auto-Entry unticked same as Internal UEFI Shell and Optical under Boot Devices

Make Sure The Computer Can Boot Into Linux

This is necessary on some NUC models (e.g. NUC5 and NUC6 models)

  1. On the BIOS configuration screen select the Advanced tab.
  2. Select the Boot tab.
  3. Select Boot Configuration.
  4. Set the OS selection option to Linux.

Leaving The BIOS

Exit the BIOS by pressing the F10 key to save the changes that were made. To cancel the changes that were made use the Esc key.

Booting From The USB Drive

The USB flash drive can now be inserted to one of the USB ports of the playback device. Depending on the configuration it will either boot from the USB drive straight away or you will need to configure it to do so once in the BIOS.

When started, the system will always check for system updates. It will show an icon with the text Configuring.... If a new system is available, it will be downloaded and installed, which could take some time. So please be patient when you see this screen.

If ever the USB flash drives fails and you need to replace it with a new one, the playback device will still be recognized as the device you have registered before. So you don't have to register the device again.

Pro tip: for advanced troubleshooting it is possible to open a terminal during the boot process. Make sure you have connected a keyboard and press and hold Ctrl + Alt + F9 when the player is booting.

Automatic Player Startup

If you have configured the device to automatically shutdown at a specific time, you will also need to tell it to startup at a specific time. You can do this in the BIOS of the playback device.

The clock that is used by the BIOS does not take daylight saving time into consideration. So any scheduling needs to take into account that the clock will run early or late for half the year.

You need to check the documentation of your computer's BIOS on how to do this. Here's an example of how it works on most Intel NUC computers:

  1. When turning on the computer, press F2 to enter the BIOS.
  2. On the BIOS configuration screen select the Advanced tab.
  3. Make sure the time is set correctly. Remember that the BIOS uses the UTC time zone.
  4. Select the Power tab.
  5. In the right hand column select the Wake system from S5 tick mark.
  6. Enter the time the computer should start up automatically and on which day(s).
  7. Save the options by using F10 and confirm.

Installing Plug 'N Playr On A Hard Drive Or SSD

Running the computer off the USB flash drive is a very easy and cheap solution. However, depending on their quality, USB flash drives can sometimes get corrupted, causing the system to not start up correctly. In that case you best create a whole new USB flash drive and use that. Do not put the Plug 'N Playr software onto the same USB flash drive again after that USB flash drive had trouble starting the computer correctly. Most likely the USB flash drive got corrupted on a hardware level and rewriting the Plug 'n Playr software will not fix that, or, at best, only for a very short time after which the problem will return.

If your playback device has a hard drive or SSD, then we actually recommend installing the the Plug 'N Playr software from the USB flash drive onto the hard drive. It is recommended that the ssd/hard drive is at least 16GB in size.

You can install the Plug 'N Playr software on the hard drive (or SSD) by following these steps:

  1. Connect a keyboard to the playback device.
  2. Insert the USB flash drive with the Plug 'N Playr software in the playback device.
  3. Power up the playback device.
  4. When you see the menu, select Install Webconverger on hard drive with your arrow keys and confirm with the Enter key.
  5. After a short while a blue screen will appear with available hard drives. Select the drive you want to install the software on. This is usually the first one (/dev/sda) and can often be recognized by its capacity.
  6. Confirm that you are sure that you want to install the software on the selected drive.
  7. When the installation finishes, the bottom line on the screen will read >> press enter to reboot...
  8. Remove the USB flash drive and then press the Enter key.

From now on you can boot the playback device directly from the hard drive an you don't need the USB drive anymore.

Post-installation Changes

If you like to change the configuration on the stick (e.g. the wifi configuration) after you created the USB flash drive, you have two options:

  • Simply re-install the stick.
  • Change the configuration file on the USB flash drive:
    1. Insert the USB flash drive in a regular computer that is turned on (can be Windows, Linux or MacOS).
    2. Find the volume called PROGRESS_CA.
    3. Open the folder boot folder.
    4. Right click the live.cfg file and select edit.
    5. In the file you will find multiple lines that contain the name of your wireless network and its password. Use Find and replace to make sure that you change all relevant occurrences.
    6. Save the file and eject the USB flash drive.

There is also a way to change the configuration once during startup:

  1. Connect a keyboard to the player.
  2. Start the player as usual.
  3. At the menu with the countdown press the Tab key.
  4. On the line with options that is now presented you can change the startup configuration. To change Wifi settings, look for the keys wpa-ssid and wpa-psk or wpa-wep-key0.

This one time change will not be persisted. The next time the player restarts it will use the Wifi settings again that are stored in the life.cfg file on the stick.