Raspberry Pi

Until recently the Raspberry Pi was not powerful enough to show Bizplay content properly. With the 4th generation of this device becoming available in 2020 this was the first time this hardware became usable as a player for Bizplay. We advise you to use the Raspberry Pi 4 model B with 4GB or 8GB of memory (the 8GB memory is only useful if you use a 64 bit version of the operating system). Any other model should be avoided or used for static content only. We further advise to connect the Raspberry Pi to only one monitor/TV with a 1080p resolution even though it is advertised to be able to connected to two 4K monitors.

Introduction

This article assumes you are able to assemble a Raspberry Pi into one of the available cases and create a SD card to be used in the Raspberry Pi. Knowledge of Linux will probably make it easier to follow the description below but is not necessary. If you feel these concepts are "not for you" you should probably have a look at using a Chromebox or one of the other player options that can be used with Bizplay.

To use a Raspberry Pi as a player for Bizplay you need; a Raspberry Pi 4 (model B with 4GB or 8GB of memory), a power supply that is as powerful as this model of the Raspberry Pi foundation (if the power supply cannot deliver the power that de Pi needs the Pi will shutdown unexpectedly), a case that preferably cools the CPU passively and a micro SD card of at least 16GB. It is important that the CPU/GPU is cooled to get the best performance out of the device. However fans should be avoided since they are very small and can easily get clogged up with dust when the device is mounted behind a TV.

Installation

There are two options install the Raspberry Pi as a player. We advise to use the first method using our ready-made SD-image that is based on Raspberry Pi OS (also called raspios and that was previously known as Raspbian). The second - DIY method - takes longer, requires more knowledge of Linux and will likely not result in a better performing device.

To perform all steps on this page you will need, apart from the Raspberry Pi: a keyboard, a mouse, a PC or laptop that has an SD card reader or a separate USB SD card reader that you connect to your pc or laptop.

For both options it is necessary that you assemble the Pi into the case and connect the power supply, keyboard and mouse to the Pi. Leave the device off (by not connecting the power supply to the mains) until the instructions tell you to turn it on. Since there is no power button on the Pi you turn it on and off by connecting and disconnecting the power supply.

For both options it is necessary to have software on your PC/laptop that can write an image file to an SD card. If you do not already have software that can do this please install the application that the Raspberry Foundation offers on their site for this purpose. You can download versions for Windows, MacOS and Debian or Ubuntu Linux.

Setting up a Raspberry Pi using our image

To set up your Raspberry Pi (this option will only work for the Raspberry Pi 4) using the image we provide follow these steps:

  1. Download our Raspberry Pi OS zipped image file from here
  2. unzip the file; you get the image file
  3. Use the imager software (see paragraph above) to put the image file on a micro SD card
  4. Connect the mouse and keyboard to your Pi, connect the PI to a monitor/TV, put the SD card in the Pi and turn on the Pi
  5. The screen should show a black page showing a registration code. We are not yet going to use the code for registration of the player. We close the playback by typing Ctrl-W
  6. You will now see the desktop of Raspberry Pi OS. Start Pi Wizard by opening the menu (click in top left corner), click Run and type piwiz How to start Pi Wizard
  7. Choose the correct country, timezone and other settings and continue through the wizard by clicking next. When asked for a new password for the pi user leave the fields empty. At the end of the wizard it will check for software updates. It might take some time for these to be downloaded and installed. By running through the wizard you have set up the Pi for the appropriate time zone and you have updated the software to the latest version.
  8. If you want the Pi to shut down (turn off) at a specific time then you need to:
    1. Open a terminal by clicking on the terminal icon in the top menu bar How to start the Terminal
    2. Type crontab -e and have it open a text editor of your choice.
    3. Add the following new line to the end of the file:
      30 19 * * * sudo shutdown -P now
      and save the file. This this will shutdown the Pi at 19:30 (7:30 PM).
    4. From now on the computer will shut down at the set time every day.
  9. Now shut down the Pi by opening the menu and choosing Shutdown How to shut down the Pi
  10. Turn the Pi off by removing the power from the Pi. Remove the keyboard and mouse. Turn the Pi back on by connecting it back to the power.
  11. When you see the black screen showing the registration code use that to register the player in the Settings screen on Bizplay as described on this page

Automatic startup

The Raspberry Pi can be automatically shutdown using a cron job, see the description above. The most basic way to turn the Pi on is to use a timer switch.

Plugin socket timer witch

Please Note: when using a timer switch you should make the switch power off the Pi after the cron job has done the shut down of the Pi, to prevent corruption of the data on the SD card that can occur when removing power from a running system.

An alternative for the cron job and timer switch is using additional hardware such as the Witty Pi by UUGear. Please follow the instructions of the manufacturer of the hardware solution to achieve the required results.

Updating the OS

To ensure the best security and performance for your Raspberry Pi we advice you to regularly check for and install updates to the Raspberry Pi OS and the installed software. To do that you:

  1. connect a mouse and keyboard to the powered down Pi and turn it on
  2. when your Bizplay channel starts quit playback by typing Ctrl-W
  3. Open the menu and click Run and type piwiz followed by return
  4. Run through the wizard, everything should be already set correctly, don't set a password for the pi user, at the end of the wizard it will check for updates and install them.

Aleternatively if you are familiar with the terminal you can:

  • open a terminal window and typing
    $ sudo apt update
    $ sudo apt full-upgrade

Setting up a Raspberry Pi the DIY way

We advise to use Raspberry Pi OS (raspios) as the preferred Linux distro for the Pi since that has the best CPU/GPU drivers and uses specific optimalisation on Chromium. Ubuntu Mate is also a performant alternative. If you want to use a different distro:

  • Check for kernel greater than 5.4 and drivers for the specific GPU used in the Pi
  • Try different browsers to make sure you find the best performing one for you distro on the Pi

Follow the steps described in our Linux how to