How can I prevent read fatigue on a looping display?

Last Updated: May 6, 2016

Many BrightSign players are used to display an “attract” video loop. Typically, this is a short video that loops continuously all day, every day. Over a few months, the player will read this single video file over 100,000 times. Read fatigue occurs because only a small portion of the card is read continuously (see Setup A below). Eventually, that portion will wear out, and the SD card will fail.

Symptoms of read fatigue include the following: freezing during video playback, frequent rebooting, and booting to the BrightSign logo screen without playing the presentation. The player may also become unresponsive to management over the BrightSign Network (e.g. changing the schedule or moving the player to another group). Once read fatigue errors begin, the only way to fix the card is to remove it from the player and reformat it.

Some consumer-grade cards may fail after only 30,000 read cycles. BrightSign SDHC cards are specially designed to withstand a large number of reads; however, no matter what kind of SD card you have, there are some simple steps you can take to drastically increase the lifespan of your SD card:


Editing the Video File

Using free video-editing software such as Windows Movie Maker, you can create a larger video file that contains multiple loops of the original (as shown in Setup B). This means that a single portion of the SD card will be read much less frequently.

  1. Open the video file using a video-editing program.
  2. Drag and drop the video file into the playlist area of the application repeatedly, creating multiple copies of the original video.
  3. Make sure the file size of the video does not exceed the storage capacity of your SD card.
  4. Use BrightAuthor:connected or BrightAuthor to publish the expanded video as you would the original. 

Note: If your SD card is formatted using FAT32, the video file cannot be larger than 4 GB. If it is formatted using NTFS, there are no file size restrictions. However, you cannot perform networked updates (via Local File Networking, Simple File Networking, or the BrightSign Networking) on an NTFS-formatted card.

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  • 0
    Mark Courtenay

    This is definitely helpful advice, but I can't quite see the difference from just copying the video file multiple times, using a sequence number to ensure unique filenames, e.g. loopvideo01.mp4, loopvideo02.mp4 and so on? Or is this impractical when the loop video is part of a presentation created with BrightAuthor (you need a state for each copy of the video)?

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