KB172: Your Display Player crashes when you include PowerPoint or Web zones in your content

Summary

Occasionally when software is no longer using system resources and it fails to release those resources back to the operating system, a memory leak occurs. Omnivex Display 3 does not contain any known memory leaks. However, Display 3 uses third-party components which may cause a memory leak.

The operating system runs into problems managing system memory if a third-party component causes a memory leak.

Symptom

When a third-party component used by the Display Director or Player causes a memory leak, the Display Director or Player generates an error indicating a lack of available resources. The error message is frequently general and not descriptive enough to point to a memory leak. Errors that occur consistently after a certain amount of time has passed is a strong indication of a memory leak. Users experience crashes frequently due to memory leaks involving either PowerPoint or Web zones.

Memory leaks encountered in the past involving older versions of Adobe Flash Player, Apple QuickTime Player, and various video codecs have been resolved by their respective authors.

Cause

Microsoft acknowledges that PowerPoint and Internet Explorer contain memory leaks. During typical usage, a slide show presentation or Web browsing do not display this behavior and memory leaks are not apparent. Only under continuous and persistent use over a long period of time are the effects of memory leaks apparent.

Solution

The use of PowerPoint and Web content should be minimized or eliminated. Neither PowerPoint presentations or Web pages are particularly suited for wide format public display. These types of content limit layout design and make updating onscreen content more time consuming.

PowerPoint content can be eliminated by either exporting the slides as still images for use in a sequencing multimedia zone or by recreating the same information in the Display Director. Both options allow you to avoid memory leaks introduced by PowerPoint.

Eliminating Web content from a layout may not be possible because there is no analogous equivalent, but increasing the value of the Refresh property of the Web zone lowers the refresh rate which can slow a memory leak. If the Web content rarely changes then set the Active property of the zone to No so the page is refreshed only when loading the zone for the first time. The ideal solution is to recreate the same information using Display Director and DataPipe data so there is no need to show a live Web page within your content.

Note: Some Web content can cause Display Player errors very quickly and there is little Omnivex can do in these cases. The design of a Web page dictates how smoothly it displays in the Internet Explorer component and whether issues occur in combination with other media.

For assistance modifying your layout to improve performance and stability, contact Omnivex Technical Services. Omnivex also offers content creation services.

Workaround

If your Display content runs for 24 hours consistently without errors, then you can use either a daily system reboot or Display Player restart to avoid running into memory leak errors. Omnivex has a free tool, Omnivex PowerDown, that is used to schedule system reboots via Windows Scheduled Tasks.

You can also use the Display Player restart feature to have Display Player shut itself down and restart on a scheduled basis.

To configure your Player to automatically restart on a scheduled basis:

  1. Click Tools > Options. The Options dialog box appears.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Select the Schedule Omnivex Monitor to restart Player application checkbox.
  4. From On these days, select the days of the week to restart the Player.
  5. In Time of restart, set the time of day to restart is to occur.
  6. Click OK.

For assistance implementing a system or Display Player restart, contact Omnivex Technical Services.