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Digital Signage, Using duration in FWi Content Manager

In Content Manager, the Duration field is used to determine how long a piece of content plays before switching to the next scheduled content item. This article will explain how it works in more detail in conjunction with different content types.


The majority of content types have a Duration field in their Properties window. To set the Duration, when the content item is created, or right-click the content item, and select Edit Source Content. The Properties window displays. The duration field format is hh:mm:ss.
The Duration field is used to determine how long a piece of content plays before switching to the next scheduled content item. In a case where multiple items are scheduled in a region, the first content item plays for its assigned duration, then switches to the next scheduled content item. This pattern continues until all the scheduled items in a region are played and replays in a continuous loop.
In most cases, when the Duration box is unchecked, the content item plays indefinitely unless another content item interrupts it. If a content item does not have an assigned duration and there are other scheduled items after it, those items may not play. The Use exact duration box forces the content item to play for the specified duration, regardless of the other duration or page duration properties it has.
The Duration variable name is used to assign the duration of the content item based on a variable. In order to be recognized, the variable must be formatted as hh:mm:ss. If the duration variable is not properly assigned, CMD defaults to the assigned duration.
The general duration behavior varies based on the type of content. Some files, like PowerPoints, PDFs, and Live Data, may have multiple pages or slides, which can affect the duration settings. Other items, like Feeds, Video, and Flash, have durations that may be determined by the native duration of the content file.

Duration Properties

PowerPoint Duration

PowerPoint (PPT) content items may contain one to numerous slides. By default, CMD plays each slide for ten seconds, unless the slide in the PPT deck has a specific timing assigned in the PPT file. PPT slide durations can be assigned in the Transitions tab within PPT.

To play a PPT presentation once and switch to the next scheduled content item, uncheck the Duration box. This causes the PPT to play through the entire slide deck once, and then switch to the next scheduled content item. The PPT only plays indefinitely if the Loop Content box is checked.

If a specific duration is assigned to the PPT file, it plays for that exact amount of time, and then switches to the next scheduled content item. However, this configuration is not recommended.

Feed Duration

Feed content items display content from RSS feeds. If the RSS feed is displayed as a text crawl, the length of time it takes to play through the entire feed may vary depending on the scroll speed of the text, the number of entries in the feed, and the length of the entries. Therefore, the normal duration rules do not apply.

Like other content items, if the Duration box is unchecked, the Feed plays indefinitely and never switches to the next scheduled content item. If a duration is assigned to a Feed, the content item plays at least that length of time and continues to play until the entire feed has displayed. This ensures all items in the Feed are played even when a short duration is assigned with a smooth transition between the feed and other content items. If the Use exact duration box is checked, the feed cuts off as soon as the duration has elapsed, regardless how much of the feed has displayed.

Video Duration

Video durations do not follow the normal duration rules because every video file has a native duration, which is the length of the video. For Video content, to ensure the video plays in its entirety, uncheck the Duration box. Unlike other content items, when a Duration is assigned to a Video content item, the video only plays for the exact amount of time specified in the Duration field, potentially cutting off the video. To set a video to repeat, uncheckDuration and check Loop Content.

Live Data and PDF Duration

Both PDF and Live Data content items may contain multiple pages of data. These content types have an additional setting in the Properties called Page Duration, which allows more granular control over how long the pages within the content items play. This additional setting can change how the duration behaves based on a few rules.
  • If no duration is assigned :: The content item plays indefinitely and remains on the first page.
  • If a duration is assigned without a page duration :: Recommended. The duration functions as a page duration. This configuration accounts for any number of pages in the data and allows the content item to cycle with other content items that may reside in the same region.
  • If no duration is assigned, but a page duration is assigned :: The content item plays indefinitely and plays all pages based on the length of time provided in the Page Duration.

Use Case Matrix

Duration Matrix

Keywordsdigital signage, signage, FWI, FourWinds, FourWinds, Content Manager, Duration, Content Types, Content, Playing Content, Adding Content, Content Properties four winds, Poppulo   Doc ID76008
OwnerBrian D.GroupUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
Created2017-08-24 11:50:37Updated2023-12-04 11:34:44
SitesUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
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