Well, the most scary thing in digital signage is a black screen that appears on the display (reminds me of the blue screen of death of Microsoft Windows). You think your customers watch digital signage, while in fact they see a black screen 🙁
So what to do? First of all, do not be in panic. Whether you have an Android, Windows or ChromeOS signage device, everything has a rational explanation. In this post, I’ll try to guide you of what 10 steps should you take in order to resolve the problem and dig to the root cause of the phenomenon.

Digital signage black screen

1. Take a look at the TV display: does the black screen replaces (pay attention to the duration) a slide in your playlist or is it permanent (that means, replacing the whole playlist)?

2. If it’s replacing a specific slide, there might have been a download problem with that slide. The setting called “Skip incomplete slides” should omit an uncompleted slide.

3. To be sure, you can always check the Monitoring & Reports tool (https://reports.novisign.com), look at the Device Monitor, especially at the “Download Status” column, to see if the last download was completed or not.

4. In some cases, when you have a single slide playlist and you get a permanent black screen, the reason might be an error or missing element which makes the slide “incomplete” and since the default settings include “Skip incomplete slides” set to “on”, it will skip the slide. But because there are no other slides to show, it will show a black screen instead. You can clear the app’s cache (from the cache control in the settings), which will force the app to download all the media again (might be helpful in case of corrupted media file).

5. I warmly suggest to set the “Display notifications” setting to “on”, so if there is an error message, you’ll be able to see it on screen (some error messages might appear only for few seconds). Just bear in mind, that once the trouble is over, put it back in “off”, as you do not want the people that see the signage to meet any error or notification message.

6. In some cases, maybe the device froze or the app got stuck. Connect a mouse to the signage device and try to move the mouse cursor. If it doesn’t move, your signage device is frozen. If it does, try to stop the app by existing the running playlist (yes, black screen counts as “running playlist”) and start playing it again. A good example for this can be trying to run 4K videos on a device which has only full HD screen resolution – it will freeze after a while.

7. Check if the device is on. If the device is off, then of course you’ll have a black screen. The device sleep mode should be turned to off to prevent this. Also, the app should be set to start running the playlist automatically when it is started (if it’s Windows app, make sure that the app’s shortcut is in the startup folder, so the app will start when the Windows starts). A good example is using a Chrome OS device (such as Chromebox) not in kiosk mode (kiosk mode means that the device should run a dedicated app 24/7) – which will turn off the device within 24 hours to save power.

8. Did you check if the TV display is on? In some cases, due to power saving feature, a TV might turn itself off or enter sleep mode to save power, while the device signage is still up and running, playing your digital signage software. If the TV is off, turn it on and see if something appear on the screen. If yes, it means you need to adjust your TV settings to prevent the sleep mode.

9. Better take a look at your online Studio account, take a look at the creatives which construct this playlist and see if there is anything unusual in them (i.e. using SWF or FLV video files, when displaying on Android device, while you should use MP4 files in this case).

10. Send an email to our support team (support@novisign.com). We will do our best to resolve the black screen issue as fast as we can.