Catalyst Blog

News and information related to Catalyst products and services.

We are happy to announce general availability of our 4K video support. With an increasing number of displays supporting 4K, along with ever improving player hardware performance, we are providing the option of enabling 4K video on any device in your account. There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding to make the 4K transition.

  • 4K video is big! By that we mean the file size is much larger than even a 1080p video. 4K, or UHD, video is 4x the pixel resolution of a standard 1080p video. That combined with a higher bitrate can inflate the file size substantially. Keep this in mind if storage space is limited on your player hardware.
  • GPU support for HEVC video decoding is necessary. Ensure your player is capable of decoding HEVC video in hardware. In most cases this will be specified in the tech specs or marketing materials for your player. Windows 10 has support for HEVC, but more recent updates now require the installation of an HEVC package from the Microsoft Store. More information is available here:
  • Size matters. Some would argue there is no reason to utilize 4K video for displays under 50". The increase in pixels is only visibly beneficial once you get past the 50" threshold. That said, most 4K displays also incorporate other technology to improve the display quality including local dimming and HDR, so there are usually other benefits to utilizing high-end displays.
Enabling 4K for your Revel Digital device is simple. First, your device must be on either the Enterprise or Enterprise Plus service level, then just toggle the 4K button. From that point on, all video will be provided in it's original resolution up to 4K as well as in HEVC format.

Enabling 4K video support on your Revel Digital player

More information is available in our associated KB article:

Hot off the press, a new stock quote gadget! We have tuned up our existing stock gadget and added a new one with a different display format. This is a 'large format' gadget for boldly displaying a single quote at a time. Multiple stock symbols can be configured which the gadget will then rotate through. We have also added an optional back panel with drop shadow to simplify adding a background.

Stock Quote Panel
As with our other gadgets, this one is freely available in the template editor. Just add a Gadget zone and select it from the Gadget chooser dialog.

Two new gadgets are now available, one designed specifically for meeting room signage, and the other a minimalistic weather gadget. Both are free to use and available now in the template editor.

The new weather gadget displays a high/low temperature along with a condition icon in a compact format, great for signage with limited screen space.

Mini weather gadget

The new meeting room gadget is designed to be used as a room status indicator with current and upcoming reservation details. Similar to our Google Calendar gadget, the meeting room gadget uses Google Calendar as the source of event details. Configuration of the meeting room gadget is simple, just configure with your Calendar ID and room/location name. The gadget takes care of the rest displaying current room reservation (if ongoing), along with the the date/time of the next scheduled reservation. More information on this gadget is available here:

Meeting room gadget

Actual Revel Digital alert notification
Automated alerting has always been a feature provided by the Revel Digital platform, but was restricted to emergency alerts from the NWS (National Weather Service) or EAS (Emergency Alert System). We have expanded on this to now allow monitoring for alerts from any CAP provider. CAP stands for Common Alerting Protocol which is a standard data format developed by FEMA for disseminating emergency information. Not only does the NWS and EAS now conform to this protocol, but any 3rd party is free to implement services utilizing the same protocol as well. This means services such as Blackboard Connect are able to provide emergency alert feeds which can then monitored by other services such as Revel Digital.

See our KB article for more information on configuring your digital signage to monitor CAP feeds.

This blog series has explored the various ways in which digital signage can interact with it's environment. In this post we will focus on the audience and how it's possible to adapt signage content in real-time based on viewer attributes. It's important to recognize that the data collected in this process is completely anonymous and can in no way be used to track individual viewers.

What is face detection?

By using what's called 'computer vision', it's possible to algorithmically determine the number of faces in a video frame along with approximations for age, gender, and even mood. This data can then be used in real-time to adapt signage to better match the make-up of the current audience. For example, if the audience is primarily male, then adjust the playlist to include more male oriented content. By targeting the right demographic you are automatically improving the value of your content.

What is audience analytics?

Audience analytics is taking the audience data and massaging it to learn various 'big picture' statistics and trends. Revel Digital has a suite of visualization tools we refer to as AdHawk which can provide these valuable insights.
AdHawk provides audience analytics
With AdHawk it's possible to determine, at a glance, various metrics such as total viewership, busy times of the day, age and gender percentages, dwell time, and more. You can even compare those metrics with previous periods for A/B testing. Combined with proof-of-play reports, this data is invaluable to advertisers.

Getting Started

Most any Android device with a camera should work well. The Revel Digital player app for Android is all you need to install. For those of you new to Revel Digital, please see our website for more information.

Once your player is up and running you'll need to open the player settings by pressing Shift-F12 on an attached keyboard. Then click the Camera Mode option and select Audience Analytics.

Enable audience analytics in the player settings
That's it! your player is now collecting audience data in real-time.


Our demo will utilize the real-time face detection to tune a playlist. The playlist will consist two sets of images, one set will target male viewers, the other set will target female viewers. When the majority of viewers are male the playlist will show more male oriented images, and vice-versa for female viewers.

Step 1: Create a Slideshow Playlist

Step 2: Add at least 2-3 different images.

For one of your images, click the Schedule tab and add a When condition for '% Male Viewers'. Enter a value of 50. This means the media will play only when at least 50% of the viewers are male.

Do the same thing for another playlist item, but this time use the '% Female Viewers' condition.

Step 3: Schedule the playlist to your player device and update.

You're done! Now the media will only appear when the associated audience condition has been met. This same technique can be used for any playlist item, and anywhere smart scheduling is available.

Another popular use case for face detection is for attract screens. A kiosk, for example, could play an attract loop until a viewer has been detected.

AdHawk Analytics

Audience data will be available in your AdHawk tools as well, but only for devices on the Professional+ or Enterprise+ tiers. You can adjust your tier but editing a device and clicking the Change Service Level button.

Audience analytics is available to the Plus service levels


Technology is quickly becoming more intelligent and digital signage is no exception. It's important for digital signage owners to get their content in front of the intended audience and this technology is great means to that end.

The button, arguably the most basic of computer human interfaces. The button is a powerhouse in the kiosk industry with screens everywhere urging viewers to 'touch here to learn more'. While it's true the button is intrinsically boring, it's also an essential element to a kiosk design. This blog series has been focusing on how users interact with digital signage. In this post we will explore the utility of the button and how to turn your digital sign into an interactive kiosk.

When I think of a button I envision something like this red 'push me' button which hearkens back to my days in the arcade. In the modern era, however, the button has been assimilated right into the display itself. With touch screens there is no longer the requirement for a physical button, but rather an image resembling a button, somewhere on the screen which reacts to touch.

Enough button prologue, let's create a simple kiosk.


For the button demo we will create a simple template consisting of a slideshow zone along with two gadget zones for the buttons. The buttons will determine which image in the gallery is currently visible. Instead of an image, this could just as easily be a video or even an entirely different template triggered by the button press.

Step 1: Create a playlist

Log in to your Revel Digital account and create a new Slideshow playlist. The playlist will contain the images to display when a button is pressed.

Step 2: Add images to the playlist

Next, we need to add two images to the playlist, one for each button. Any image will do. Set the Display Duration to 1 second since we want the image to transition immediately when a button is pressed.

Each image will need to have a condition for When to play. To do this, select the Schedule tab when adding the playlist item. Then select Command as the condition type.

For the first image use 'button' as the command name, and '1' as the command argument as shown in the screenshot below.
Conditions determine when the item will play. In this case we want the image to play when a specific command is sent.
Do the same for the second image in the playlist, except this time use '2' as the command argument.

Step 3: Create a template

We need a template for the kiosk. The template will consist of a slideshow zone along with two gadget zones for the buttons.

Add a Slideshow zone to the template and make it the full size of the template. Assign the playlist we created in Step 2 to the zone.

Add a slideshow zone and two gadgets for the buttons

Next add two Gadgets to the template anywhere you like. The gadgets will need to have their source set to:

The button gadget has properties for command name and argument

Once the gadget source is set, the gadget properties will fill in. For the first gadget we will need to assign the Command to 'button', and the Argument as '1', as shown in the image. The second gadget will have the same properties with the exception of Argument which will be set to '2'.

Step 4: Schedule and enjoy

Now just schedule your template to any touch enabled player. Pressing a button will trigger the corresponding content to play.

Voilà, a basic kiosk with no programming required!