Hi - My question is a bit like Gene's back in July. I am working with a non-profit to build a media gallery, which we hope will display a wide range of video works including animation, documentary film, PowerPoint presentations etc....
This is to be a permanent fixture in our building. We want to use 4-5 plasma or LCD screens that can present works continuously on all screens and also have the ability to present different images on different screens simultaneously.
I am now trying to determine what playback system to use. Watchout and Montage have been recommended. Can I get some feedback about what system might be best for us and a ballpark cost for such a system?
If by the term 'continuously on all screens' you meant a panoramic of sorts and there will be moving images then you would likely need a frame-accurate controller like Dataton's Watchout or AvStumpfl's Wings Platinum. Of the two, Watchout has a shorter learning curve. Though Wings Platinum 3 may look daunting at first, once you learn it, it is pretty easy and powerful. Since these are timeline-based controllers, both probably have a limitation for your purposes, in that, while playback is happening, you cannot be adding new materials to the controller or fiddling with the Master Timeline. You have to stop playback to do that.
If you do not need absolute frame accuracy, you could have a look at a shareware solution which basically controls a playlist and triggers the playlist on all connected pc-players via a simple TCP/IP network - http://www.syncmaker.com
Another alternative is to google for "Digital Signage" solutions. Plenty out there. Some are centralised servers distributing to plasmas/LCD outputs (example: http://www.broadsign.com/digitalsignage/digitalsignage.htm)
while most others are de-centralised where each outlet (plasma/LCD) has its own player box attached taking only updates from a central server.
If your outfit does not produce any of the materials for playback, then digital signage is probably the way to go - just update the master playlist, specify and upload to the outlets/players, let them do their thing, and that's basically it.