iScreensaver
iScreensaver has been updated to version 6.4.0.1310

Release Notes
We are pleased to announce the release of iScreensaver version 6 which supports macOS 10.11 through 10.15 and Windows 7 through 10. Read about Version 6

video sync on multiple monitors with v6

Hi, we recently got the new v6 software and have started designing a new screensaver for our company using an mp4 file that our graphics department built. I was able to build the screen saver and set it up for deployment but when we pushed it to our test group the one feed back we got that was bad is that the video plays differently on each monitor. It will start on the primary screen and then start a few seconds behind on the 2nd monitor and then a few seconds later on the 3rd monitor. The standard setup for all users here is 2 monitors, with developers and controllers having 3 and 4 monitors.


I can't find the setting anywhere to enable or change the sync between monitors. Can you help me out?

Comments

  • Unfortuantely there's no way to guarantee sync across multiple monitors in version 6 at the present time. However, in our testing on multi-monitor systems, the screens will generally start out in sync with perhaps only 1/10th of a second delay.


    If you are seeing "a few seconds" of delay, this sounds like some other issue. iScreensaver runs one process per screen, so the sync speed will depend on how fast those processes can be launched.


    Things that can slow down process launch:

    • Computers that are just slow (using Hard Drives instead of SSDs, not enough RAM, processor too slow, too many apps open, other background processes using CPU, etc.)
    • Antivirus software - some AV software will scan an app each time it opens, causing a noticeable delay


    Can you confirm with you users that the delay is actually more than 1 second?

  • Another possibilty: If your MP4 file is not encoded properly, then the screensaver playback engine may have to load the entire MP4 file before playback starts. Or the MP4 playback may be using way too much CPU.


    Check out our tips for re-enconding your video here: https://iscreensaver.com/help/notes/video_encoding/video_encoding.shtml


    Also here's another blog which discusses how to optimize your MP4 files for fast start and streaming: https://rigor.com/blog/optimizing-mp4-video-for-fast-streaming

  • If you can share a copy of your screensaver, we'd be happy to download to test on our systems - you can post a link here if it's public, or email us privately.

  • The delay seems to vary. Same computer that reported a significant delay saw hardly any delay the next time it ran. On the 3rd time it was more like half a second delay. The systems with 3 and 4 monitors have a noticeable delay no matter what. The systems being used are fairly new (<1 year old) systems with i7 cpu's and 16gb memory with SSD drives. What each employee is working on varies wildly.

    Would probably be a good feature to add soon to enable multi-monitor syncing. Or a way to turn off the other monitors and only have it display on the one.

    Thankfully there is no audio with our video so its not that bad.

  • "Or a way to turn off the other monitors and only have it display on the one."


    That feature already exists :-) In the screen saver control panel, you can click Settings and have full control over which screen(s) you want playback on. You can also control volume on each screen if you have audio (though we recommend against audio in screensavers except for special use cases, as it can be really annoying).

    See https://iscreensaver.com/help/help15.shtml#userControlPanelScreens

  • edited January 31

    Some more thoughts:

    • "The delay seems to vary. Same computer that reported a significant delay saw hardly any delay the next time it ran. On the 3rd time it was more like half a second delay." -- there will be some benefical caching behavior, so the screensaver may run faster after a few times. But, this could also be due to background processes (for example, Windows 10 is pretty aggressive about running background tasks when the screensaver is running, which can slow things down, for example if updates are happening)
    • Since Sync can not be guaranteed, another idea is to think about the design of the video itself - there are ways of designing and editing videos so that sync is not required or even beneficial: using pauses, sections with repeating elements of varying durations, etc. When done right this can give a different look which looks more like "each monitor is playing randomly selected content" rather than "monitors are slightly out of sync".
    • You can use iScreensaver's sequence editor to make this work - create a multiple-item sequence and play around with the https://iscreensaver.com/help/help07.shtml#globalSettings features.
    • You can set custom start and end times for your video as well, and if you use the exact same video file repeatedly, iScreensaver will be smart enough to only include the MP4 file once.
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