Scala Media Players

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Set-up and Support

 How do I set up a Scala Media Player?

You can find step-by-step instructions in the Setting up the SMP-S Device.

 Who do I contact for support?

You can get support for Scala Media Players through your regular Scala support channels. See Services & Support for more information.

 Upon first startup, why does it say the Recycle Bin is corrupted?

The first time you start up your Scala Media Player-S it may present a message that says:

    The Recycle Bin on D:\ is corrupted.
    Do you want to empty the Recycle Bin for this drive?

This issue affects a small number of units, and is a side-effect of how these systems were imaged. Simply click Yes, and the issue will be resolved. There is in fact no underlying data corruption.

Content

 What kind of content does the Scala Media Player–S support?

The type of content you can display depends on the Player license. The Scala Media Player-S is normally paired with the Single HD player license, which supports playback of:

  • Video
  • Audio
  • Pictures
  • HTML5
  • ScalaScript

The intensity of content you can display depends on the Player hardware capabilities, number of screen zones, and so on. The Scala Media Player-S is powerful enough to display a wide range of dynamic and powerful content. It is a best practice to always test your content on the intended media players before deploying the content.

 How much space is there for content on a Scala Media Player?

The Scala Media Player-S has about 33 GB available on its D: drive for content and related files.

How much content you can use depends on how often the content files actually change. This is because:

  • Player continues to play the content from the current plan until all the files for the new plan are fully downloaded
  • Player cleans up unneeded content nightly

As a rule of thumb, a total content size of 1/2 to 1/3 the total available is fine, meaning 11 GB to 16 GB is a safe amount of content. The actual limit can be a lot higher or lower in cases of extreme content update patterns. Here are some examples:

  • Pattern of rolling updates: Say you always have 5 GB of content, but every day 10% is retired and a new 10% is added. In this example, you would need 5.5 GB of storage.
  • Pattern of full daily change of content: Say you always have 5 GB of content, and it is fully replaced with a new 5 GB every day. In this example, you would need 10 GB of storage.

  • Pattern of frequent change of content: Say you always have 5 GB of content, and it is fully replaced with a new 5 GB four times a day. In this example, you would need up to 25 GB of storage.

Hardening and Security

 Why are regular reboots recommended?

A media player is a very dynamic system. Although Scala designs and tests these systems to run for many weeks with complex content, there is always a small probability of degradation over time. To keep systems running smoothly, it is a best practice to schedule a weekly reboot. There are configuration scripts on the Scala Media Player to do this, or you can schedule reboots from Content Manager.

 What do I need to know about the Unified Write Filter (UWF)?

Windows 10 IoT has a feature called Unified Write Filter (UWF) that protects against unintended modifications to important files and registry settings, including most of the operating system. Any accidental or malicious changes to these files will appear to apply, but do not actually modify the on-disk copies, and are automatically undone at the next system restart.

As part of the security defense in depth of Scala Media Players, we recommend that UWF be enabled. This means that when you intend to make changes to the configuration or other important files and registry values, you need to turn off UWF before making those changes, and turn it back on after. We provide a script C:\Tools\Disable_UWF_C.CMD to turn off UWF, and a reboot is then required for it to take effect. You can make your changes, and then use the companion script C:\Tools\Enable_UWF_C.CMD to turn UWF back on, then reboot for that to take effect.

When using Content Manager maintenance jobs to modify protected files, such as when installing a Microsoft hotfix, you need to follow a specific sequence of steps to temporarily disable UWF in order for the changes to persist. See Remote Installation of Microsoft Hotfixes on a Player for more information.

 Does UWF affect Content Manager maintenance jobs?

Since UWF protects important files and registry values, any maintenance jobs that are designed to modify protected files should take this into account. Please follow the procedure described in Remote Maintenance on Players That Use Write Filters.

 Should I enable Windows Update?

Unlike most versions of Windows 10, Windows 10 IoT allows rich control over whether and when Windows Updates are applied. On Scala Media Players, Windows Update is disabled by default for several reasons:

  • Many Windows updates, including security updates, are of no benefit in a digital signage context, and are at best unnecessary.
  • Occasionally, a Windows update can have a negative effect on system behavior.
  • In many cases, the administrator will want to control the timing of the bandwidth and the system restart that is needed.

For instructions on how to remotely apply a specific Windows Update using Scala Enterprise Content Manager, see Remote Installation of Microsoft Hotfixes on a Player.

 Should I enable anti-virus?

As configured, Scala Media Players do not any any antivirus or antimalware software enabled. Because the threat model of a digital signage network is very different than a PC used to access arbitrary web sites and documents, this is often the most appropriate choice, with antivirus and antimalware in place instead at the point of entry, namely Scala Enterprise Content Manager.

Should circumstances or policy dictate that antivirus software be used, a duly-licensed solution can be installed and enabled prior to deployment. Considerations include:

  • Antivirus software can impact system stability. Since antivirus software has to interact deeply with the operating system, Scala has occasionally seen a negative impact on system stability when antivirus is enabled.
  • Similarly, antivirus software can impact system performance.
  • Antivirus software generally receives frequent updates to the patterns it searches for. You need to plan a strategy for automatic or manual updating.

When adding or updating antivirus software, it is recommended you perform testing for stability and performance to ensure no negative effects. In addition, it is recommended to schedule nightly or weekly restarts of the Scala Media Player in order to help preserve stability.

Note that if you enable Windows Defender, it will not receive virus/malware definition updates unless you also enable Windows Update.

 How do I prevent the Escape key from quitting the Player?

You can configure Player to require a numeric password after hitting <Escape> in order to exit playback. In your MMOS.INI file, set

INPUTMGR_EscapeKey=0
INPUTMGR_EscapePassword=12345

To exit, you must then type <Esc> 12345 <Enter>. The password can be any number from 1 to approximately 4.2 billion.

Typically, you should also disable the Window close function (Alt+F4):

INPUTMGR_WindowClose=0
 How do I disable the USB ports?

Storage devices only: To prevent Windows from accessing USB storage devices, use the registry editor, as follows:

  1. Run RegEdit.
  2. Navigate to the registry location HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\UsbStor
  3. Select the Start registry-value, and change its value-data to 4

To reverse this, change the registry value-data back to 3.

All devices: Using the Windows Group Policy feature, it is possible to blacklist all devices (including keyboards and mice), and even whitelist specific input devices from specific vendors.

Display

 What does the Display Continuity switch do?

Normally, if the HDMI cable is removed while a computer is running, Windows notices the loss of display and will reset the configured display mode settings.

The Scala Media Player–S is equipped with a Display Continuity toggle push-button. When the Display Continuity push-button is pushed in, the system will not notice the loss of cable, allowing the display mode settings to persist. When the Display Continuity push-button is out, the system behaves normally. You should configure your media player with the Display Continuity button in its out state, then push it in.

 How should I configure the system for a portrait mode display?

Generally, you can expect higher performance and stability if you use the Scala Player Configuration tool to set the display mode for 90 or 270 degree rotation, compared to using the device driver display rotation feature.

Remote Access

 How can I remotely access a player?

As configured, you can use either TightVNC or Remote Desktop to remotely access a Scala Media Player, unless these have been disabled. TightVNC lets you remotely access the Player's screen, keyboard, and mouse exactly as if you were at the media player. While TightVNC is connected, the player will continue to display its normal content, and you can see this content remotely although the update rate through TightVNC is not as smooth as being on site. If you escape out of playback to perform maintenance, any maintenance or diagnostic actions you perform will be visible to those who can see the display on site.

By contrast, a Remote Desktop connection will cause the local display to switch to the Windows account lock screen, and your remote access will show the Windows desktop. However, at the end of your Remote Desktop session, the local session will not log back in automatically. Therefore, Remote Desktop is suitable mostly for administrative cases when the Player is not running or does not need to be running. Your final action should be to remotely reboot the player, so that content playback will restart.

Storage

 Why is there unallocated space in the disk partition map?

The way SSD storage works, each data cell can be re-written thousands of times, but there is a limit. By reserving some space, the drive can perform "wear-leveling", which means that the drive intelligently moves data around to maximize the overall working life of the drive, and to replace any cell that has reached its limit. In the partition manager, this reserved space appears as unallocated.

 Why are there two partitions on the disk?

The Windows UWF feature requires that the paging file (virtual memory storage) be on a partition that does not have UWF protection. Therefore, a second partition is needed. On Scala Media Players, we also place the content and configuration folders for the Scala Player application, as well as various temporary files, on this second partition.


Other

 What other software or links are included on the Scala Media Player?

In addition to various operating system components and the Scala Player application, the system comes with installers for or links to some useful third-party software. Look in C:\Downloads for:

  • 7-Zip: archiving utility (link to website provided)
  • Blat: command-line mail-sending tool (zip of utility provided)
  • DynDNS.com client: Dynamic DNS client (link to website provided)
  • Entech PowerStrip: advanced video mode software (link to website provided)
  • HackBGRT: utility for changing the Windows OS load-screen logo (installer files provided)
  • InfoZIP: archiving utility (zip archive of utility provided)
  • Notepad++: Text editor (7z archive of portable executable provided — Notepad++ is already installed on the system)
  • Sumatra PDF: PDF viewer (various archives/installers provided — Sumatra PDF is already installed on the system)
  • TightVNC: Remote viewer (installation files provided — TightVNC is already installed on the system)
  • UltraDefrag: Disk defragmenter (zip archive and portable executable provided)
 What do I do if I need a system restore?

Please contact your Scala representative for more information.

 How do I restore a Scala Media Player using a System Restore USB key?

To restore the Scala Media Player image to its original defaults, follow these steps:

  1. Begin with the Scala Media Player powered off.
  2. Connect a USB keyboard to the unit.
  3. Insert the System Restore USB key into the unit.
  4. Power on the unit, and hit the <DEL> key to enter the BIOS screen.
  5. Navigate to the BIOS Save & Exit tab, then under Boot Override, use the arrows to highlight the device name of the System Restore key.
  6. The system will restart into the System Restore state.
  7. On the initial System Restore screen, the first option should be highlighted. Press <Enter>.
  8. The System Restore process will begin.
  9. Because this process will overwrite the hard drive of the Scala Media Player, it will twice ask “Are you sure you want to continue?” Type <Enter> each time.
  10. The restore process will proceed over the next several minutes.
  11. When the restore is complete, you will be prompted to remove the restore key and restart the system. (After a certain amount of time, the system will shut off automatically.)
 What are some of the important BIOS settings?

The Scala Media Player-S has many BIOS settings. Specific settings to note include:

  • On the BIOS Advanced tab, under CPU Configuration:
    • Scala recommends that Intel Virtualization Technology be set to Disabled.
  • On the BIOS Power tab:
    • Scala recommends that Enable Hibernation be set to Disabled.
    • Scala recommends that ACPI Sleep State be set to Suspend Disabled.
    • Scala recommends that AC Power Loss be set to Power On, or Last State.
  • On the BIOS Boot tab:
    • Scala notes that Boot Mode is required to be set to UEFI Boot.
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