YouTube repairs underway

Update (03/28/2017)

Excellent news. Our Dev and QA teams have completed their work. All changes have passed.

The YouTube repairs will be released to our Production environment tomorrow morning, Wednesday (03/29/2017). Although this is two days earlier than previously estimated, we felt it was important to release the update as soon as it was available. The update will include a new version of our server, template and player software.

Customers will see the YouTube templates restored to the Content Create process. Customers with YouTube content already published will have their content resume playback automatically.

Note – As previously shared, not included in this fix: Preview in the ScreenManager app; the Browser player; templates with overlays on Windows devices (weather/logo/news layered on top of YouTube videos).


Update (03/21/2017)

The YouTube fix is no-go for Wednesday 03/22/2017.

Our quality assurance process has uncovered corner cases with older versions of Windows 7, as well as a conflict with playback for customers using our Browser Player. These player versions are now out-of-date, but nonetheless the issues would disrupt service for many longtime and loyal customers. The corner cases are now being addressed; unfortunately, this will push out our release date.

The new release estimate is Friday, March 31st.

Note – Based on our current findings our team expects that YouTube features will be permanently disabled for devices running the Browser Player (built circa 2009). The current fix is simply to stop YouTube from disabling the player so that other content can play normally. Customers still using the Browser Player or running older versions of Windows are encouraged to upgrade their player to a ScreenScape Connect at their earliest opportunity.


Update (03/17/2017)

Good news. The progress from earlier this week has resulted in a resolution to the YouTube issue.
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The new approach successfully restores YouTube access to full-screen and multi-panel templates. The video decoding employs hardware acceleration (critically important for smooth playback on devices with lightweight CPUs). The memory leak problem has been addressed.

The current estimate for release is Wednesday 03/22/2017. This release date is subject to change pending the results of extended QA testing.

Note – Not included in this fix: Preview in the ScreenManager app; the Browser player; templates with overlays on Windows devices (weather/logo/news layered on top of YouTube videos).


Update (3/14/2017)

Our Development team continues to work on resolving this issue.

Excitement was high over the weekend after we had a breakthrough and sent a possible fix to QA. Unfortunately, extended QA testing identified a memory leak resulting from the new code. Our player is designed to auto-detect memory leaks and reboot itself in response, so the new code would result in an unacceptably high reboot frequency.

Although we’re back to the drawing board to address the leak, there’s renewed optimism that the new approach will result in a solution.

We remain committed to solving this situation for our customers and will post further progress here.


Original post (2/24/17)

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Earlier this week our Support and QA teams identified that playlists with YouTube content were generating unexpected errors. The errors were caused by a recent change by YouTube to their player API. Internally the Smart Player software throws an error on the attempt to stream the video. The players handle this type of error by rebooting. Not only is the loss of the YouTube content distressing, but the hardware reboots are also highly disruptive.

In response, as of this morning’s maintenance release (2/24/17):

  • YouTube content is disabled from playback. SmartPlayer will automatically skip any playlist item that contains a YouTube video.
  • All YouTube templates are ‘hidden’ from users in ScreenManager Create – new YouTube content cannot be created.

These immediate changes are designed to stop the reboot disruptions. They will bring players back to a stable state.

In addition please note that:

  • Users in ScreenManager can still see YouTube content already created.
  • Playlists in ScreenManager remain unchanged.
  • In the event that we restore YouTube functionality, no action will be required for these playlists to begin playlist their YouTube content again.

Our development team is now working on restoring full access to YouTube content. Progress on this effort will be posted here.

We apologise to the ScreenScape / YouTube users affected by this issue. We appreciate your patience while we address the problem.

Our Support Website Has Had A Facelift

We’re excited to announce that our new and refreshed support website is live. The updated website includes changes to navigation, with new menus for both mobile and desktop versions. We’ve also improved the structure of our content, so you’ll get more from a quick read or a quick 5 minute (or less) tutorial video. There’s a whole host of smaller but impactful changes, all to make your experience much better for you.

support.screenscape.com

So if you’re looking for some help, just head to support.screenscape.com. The new format makes it easier to find what you’re looking for so that you can get back to creating amazing content for your digital signage display.

Upgrades for the Holidays

It’s been a busy pre-holiday season for ScreenScape. This morning we released updates and new features to all three main areas of our service: the ScreenScape application, our Windows and Android SmartPlayer clients, and our templates.

New feature: Repeat Schedule

Repeat Schedule
The ScreenScape app received a boost to its Scheduling capabilities, in the form of a new feature called Repeat Schedule. Similar to setting up a repeat meeting on your calendar (“meet every second Tuesday at 10am”), ScreenScape users can now publish content on a recurring basis.

For content items such as bi-weekly menus or alternating daily promotions, this advanced schedule option allows playlist managers the freedom to set up complex schedules in advance.

This feature is compatible with all content items and all previously defined schedules – no action required.

You can find out more about Repeat Schedules on our Support site.

Player upgrades

Both our Android and Windows SmartPlayer clients were upgraded today.
In the case of Android, the update was an invisible change to allow the players to recognise the new ‘repeat schedule’ formats.
In the case of Windows, the update was major, with new features and improvements on several fronts:
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  • New device Setup (more on that here)
  • Embedded live support
  • Additional WiFi options (802.1x PEAP, Enterprise WiFi, Proxy connections)
  • support for Repeat Schedules
  • Faster boot times, performance improvements and various bug fixes

The new SmartPlayer for Windows capabilities will enable 2017 improvements such as a new range of device offerings based on Windows 10 IoT Enterprise (more on that in the new year) and drop shipping direct from our OEM partners.

All upgraded ScreenScape players will detect, download and install their new versions automatically – no action required.

Template updates

Because of a recent bug introduced in the latest version of Adobe AIR 23 (more here), about a dozen of our templates were reworked and redelivered to sidestep the issue. These updates will apply themselves automatically – no action required.



We’ve worked hard to ensure that these are silent and automatic updates for our customers – no action required. But as always, if you see anything unexpected or have a question, our Support team is here to help.

Season’s Greetings templates

In the spirit of the season, ScreenScape added a new template collection this week to help our members celebrate the holidays.

The Season’s Greetings collection contains a dozen templates in a ‘Christmas Card’ format. These templates feature animated backgrounds on a holiday theme and a simple foreground text for customised glad tidings.

Merry Christmas x12

In addition, we’ve added a ‘Merry Christmas x12’ template. When added to a playlist, this template automatically rotates between a dozen Merry Christmas backgrounds.

Happy Holidays!