Userful™: Release Notes

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Copyright © 2018 Userful Corporation. All rights reserved.
(Updated 2018.01.30)


Introduction

Userful™ is a converged software appliance (operating system and application software bundled together for easy deployment and maintenance) for AV & IT professionals that lets you centrally control large numbers of displays, content sources and desktops from your web browser.

Userful's appliance enables an ordinary PC to do extraordinary things, like driving a whole building of desktops, digital signage, touch screens, virtual machines and video walls all from a single host PC/server over a standard Ethernet network. From high-performance video walls, to virtual desktops, to Power-over-Ethernet touch screens -- it's never been easier.

Features

  • Stable, versatile Linux-base operating system (CentOS 7.1)
  • Unified browser-accessible Control Center
  • Session Launcher
  • Media playback
  • Ability to preset video wall zones
  • GPU-Assisted Decoding of video playback and interactive content
  • GPU-Assisted Acceleration for 3D rendering – vastly improved performance for dynamic content (HTML5, WebGL, and Flash)
  • Intuitive browser based Layout Manager with the bezel correction ability
  • Integrated color calibration for color correcting video wall displays
  • Support for Artistic Video Wall layouts that can be configured using a free layout of display position and rotation (including an intuitive browser-based drag and drop GUI for positioning and any degree rotating displays)
  • Support for wide range of interactive video walls including Cloud desktop, Linux Desktop and touch screen Kiosks
  • Integrated various Content Management System (CMS) to create and schedule the signage content (Dynamic HTML5 pages, presentations, tickers, widgets (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, and RSS feeds)
  • Support Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) to broadcast security camera or conference feeds on video wall
  • Support for variety of Capture Cards (Blackmagic Design and YUAN line of capture cards)
  • Support for much broader range of host PC/server hardware and touch screens

What's New

Userful™ comes with exciting new features and improvements, including:

Nvidia Offload Card Support

  • Added Nvidia Offload Card support with significant improvements to:
  • Scalability (supports up to 60+ displays)
  • Performance (supports up to a 6K source canvas)
  • Synchronization (improvements to video wall synchronization)
  • Substantially improved scaled image quality (switched from linear scaling to cubic / lanczos scaling)
  • Freed up CPU resources (by offloading 50%+ of the typical workload from the CPU to the Nvidia Offload Card)

VDI Support

  • Added support for outputting Virtual Machines directly to a station or video wall
  • Upgraded from VirtualBox 4.x to 5.x (large number of improvements including para-virtualization support. See Virtualbox.org for a full list)
  • Added support for Windows 10 guest OS
  • Supports Windows desktops displayed on the video wall using a locally run virtual machine

Mirroring Support

  • Source content is rendered once and output to multiple stations (saving significant server resources) and allowing a perfectly synchronized mirrored video stream of a single content source to be output to multiple displays or video walls within the network.
  • Mirroring works across all session containers.

Control Center (UI) Improvements

  • Added GUI option to "Change Hostname" via Control Center > System Operations
  • Added GUI option to "Change IP Address" via Control Center > System Operations
  • Added tooltips for video wall zone settings
  • Additional languages: Added Persian translations

Video Wall Enhancements

  • Added negative bezel support in grid layout to support projectors and projected video walls
  • Improvements to static image playlist playback

Peer Database Synchronization & Video Wall Failover

  • Automated live video wall failover allows 2 PC's to automatically back one another up
  • Should the primary PC fail, the secondary will take over without human intervention
  • Automated Database synchronization means session containers added to one machine can be automatically added to the failover machine as well

Core Enhancements

  • Upgraded to the Userful 8.x architecture (dramatically faster boot time, scalability and stability improvements)
  • Added FTP support to copy the large content files to the host PC/server

Miscellaneous new features, GUI improvements and bug fixes. For a comprehensive list see the changelog.

License Agreement

This product includes commercial software that is licensed, not sold, and is governed by an End User License Agreement (EULA). By installing, copying or using this software you acknowledge that you have read and understand this Agreement, and agree to be bound by this EULA's terms and conditions. The EULA terms can be viewed online or from the file included in your download.

Trial Version

Userful™ will operate as a trial version until you purchase an appropriate license for your system. You may purchase the license from your Userful representative or from Userful.com – see the Licensing Guide for details.

Limitations of Trial Version: The Userful™ trial software is fully functional, but will display a brief license reminder on all attached screens every 10 minutes or so. Customers who are considering buying the software and are presently evaluating it, can do so in the trial mode. Such customers will receive limited technical support lasting up to 30 days after which an appropriate license should be purchased.

Language Support

All features of Userful™ are translated in following languages:

  • English (en)
  • French (fr)
  • Italian (it)
  • German (de)
  • Spanish (es)
  • Brazilian Portuguese (pt_BR)
  • Russian (ru)
  • Turkish (tr)
  • Japanese (ja)
  • Traditional Chinese (zh_TW)
  • Simplified Chinese (zh_CN)
  • Korean (ko)
  • Vietnamese (vi)
  • Romanian (ro)
  • Persian (fa)


The language selected must be specifically "Brazilian Portuguese"; if simply "Portuguese" is selected as a system or session language, then all Userful user interface strings will be in English.


Known Issues

Following are the known issues with this release of Userful™ 8.5.

  • Once an Artistic Layout video wall is created and saved, you cannot switch it back to a Grid Layout
Workaround: Delete the Artistic Layout configuration and create a new video wall
  • Mapping a GPU-Accelerated Video Wall to supported session containers disables onboard station
  • Atrust m321 zero-client device doesn't properly support DVI->HDMI or DVI->VGA converters (10744)
Workaround: Use DVI monitors only on the Atrust m321
  • Images larger than 10800 x 8552 pixels may not display properly (10769)
Workaround: Keep images smaller than 10800 pixels wide and 8552 pixels tall
  • Video wall Color Calibration does not work with host PC/server (10843)
  • Color Calibration will not reapply after zero client is manually disconnected/reconnected (10861)
Workaround: Restart or reset the zero client
  • Blackmagic session container lists down resolutions not supported by the hardware (10870)
Workaround: Confirm that your HDMI source media supports the resolution and frame-rate the HDMI Capture session is configured to use.
  • HDMI audio is currently not supported for Blackmagic DeckLink capture cards (10896)
  • Duplicate display IDs can show up in Rise Vision (CMS) interface (11029)
  • Inside Scaling on rotated Signage Player video walls does not scale properly (11178)
Workaround: Use Outside Scaling
  • The Show Station ID feature may not work on stations running a Linux Desktop which has been locked by the screensaver (11589)
Workaround: Unlock or disable the screensaver, then press Show Station IDs button in Control Center
  • DisplayLink, TN-750 and TN-502 devices are not supported with video wall solution (11668) (11654)
Workaround: Use an SMSC-based zero-client for video demanding applications
  • Same user logged in on multiple stations cannot output sound properly (11672)
  • When calibrating a video wall, unrelated video walls will be shut down. This is required because the calibration process needs to be exclusive to the host PC/server (11868)
  • Using Blackmagic Design DeckLink Duo HDMI Capture card, transitions between HDMI capture sources can result in a flicker of 0.5 to 1.0 seconds (11918)
  • Adding and removing a row in grid video wall can cause the video wall to miscalculate its sizes (11978)
Workaround: Close and reopen the video wall calibration dialog to resolve. Note that running video walls are unaffected by this problem
  • Plugin/out of USB hub from a Atrust m321 zero-client device do not wake station from DPMS sleep (12181)
Workaround: This issue would be fixed in a future release.
  • Lowering the display resolution of 1080p monitor to 640x480 may cause black screen (12562)
Workaround: Revert back to the normal resolution
  • Login to Control Center may fail after system update (12664)
Workaround: Open a new tab, clear the cache and login to Control Center
  • Stations mapped to Video Capture session container may take some time to start (12895)
  • Webcams connected to Network zero-client devices for video capturing are not supported (12939)
Use only USB zero client devices for connecting webcams
  • Control Center may not reflect correct network settings when system is configured using DHCP (12950)