Thursday, February 24, 2011

In-store Media Marketing with Roku


So you want to do some dynamic media marketing in your stores on an extremely tight budget?  All you need is a TV, PowerPoint (or Presentation from OpenOffice), ROKU box, and a Picasa account.  By using an Internet connection and a ROKU box, you can present your PowerPoint presentations (or any picture files) to your TVs located at multiple locations.

At the heart of this solution is a Roku (http://roku.com) streaming media device.  For a onetime cost of $60, you can easily convert a non-networked TV into an instant streaming entertainment system.  Roku presents over 100 channels with most of them available for free, such has Picasa.  For those more adventurous, download the SDK to create your own public or private channels.  For example, convert your presentation to video, overlay current weather and commodity prices, then present as a private channel to your sites.  Only a PIN is required to access it.

To get started, first create your PowerPoint presentation and save it as picture files (.png format seems to work best).   In PowerPoint, you might want to go to Design, Page Setup, and change the “Slides sized for” to “On-screen Show (16:9)”.  This will format it to fit the wide screen of most HD TVs.  It will work in the default size too, but it won’t completely fill the screen.

Next, create a Picasa Web Album.  If you don’t have an account, create one for free at https://picasaweb.google.com/.   Once that is complete, simply click on Upload and select your PowerPoint pictures.  The pictures will remain in the same order as the slideshow but you can easily reorganize with Picasa.

Connect the Roku box to the TV then fire it up.  Add the Picasa channel and link it to your Roku.  You will be presented with a code that must be entered at http://roku.chrishoffman.org/ to complete the link.  Now you can view your Picasa pictures, in a slideshow format, on the TV.  There are setting options to change the duration to your liking.

The great thing about this solution is that you can link geographically dispersed TVs to the same Picasa account - creating a dynamic world-wide media marketing solution.  In addition, we are leveraging free cloud services, eliminating monthly fees associated with most commercial solutions.

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