play video

I would like to build some kind of interactive map, that would play a video on a small screen when hitting some buttons. If understand well, it would require a screen ( LCD, TFT OLED ? ), SD storage and a graphic driver. After googling a lot, all I found was using 4D systems shields and a single video In the comments, it seems that person has converted the video into a serie of bitmaps that are displayed separately. I might be wrong but I think their shields are expansive width small size. I don't need touch screen. Does someone have experience with this or a suggestion ? Regards, Philippe

PS: I found this cheap screen here Could this one be used for that kind of project ?

One advice: If it involves TV-size screens, music or videos, forget the Arduino. It just doesn't have the memory and the processing power to handle those and you will need so much dedicated hardware to play it, that the price advantage of the Arduino will be lost. Get a small PC for that. If you need some external buttons, you can either use an Arduino for that or something like the USB-Bitwhacker or just a disassembled and rewired keyboard.

I love the Arduino for what it is, but don't try it to force it to be something it can't handle. The results will just be frustrating.


I would like to keep this project as small as possible, TV output is not required. A small OLED display would be a good candidate, the idea is to have a map of Europe on a 'page' the size of a comic book and a display on top in a corner. When touching a city or any 'hotspot', a small clip would be played. I know the Arduino has small memory, therefore i was looking for a solution having external storage and a display driver to play the clips from the SD to the display, Arduino would be the controller. In my research I found shields from 4D systems, they seem to be a good candidate : I didn't find other solutions so it's pretty hard to compare, and I didn't find much about other users with similar projects. There is not much information about playing clips or videos, I don't think they support native video formats, but rather some export tool to create series of bitmaps, wondering how many clips and total time you could store on an SD card. Thus my post here, hoping to find someone having developed something similar. Regards, Philippe

Again, if you have to add memory to the Arduino, the Arduino is the wrong choice. Better start with a solution based on the ARM or some other more performant processor. If you intend to decode videos, best is a small form factor PC board like the Mini-ITX or Pico-ITX boards.


I'm not looking to decode video or add memory or similar things with the Arduino. If it was the case I would go for a beagleboard, but I like the small form factor of the Arduino and I have some kind of attachement to this platform. The 4D solution is Arduino talking to this chip, which is doing the bridge between SD storage and display. I'm just asking if there are other chips to do this and if OLED is 'the' choice, maybe some LCD TFT could be suitable and cheaper, but I don't know if the refresh rate would be good etc .... Thank you for trying to help. Philippe

From what I learned, some of the 4D displays have a serial interface, which would be the way to interact with them, I don't see how you would do that without a microcontroller (or any other machine that can talk serial, but in my case I want something small running in standalone). I just found this great intro/tutorial ( ), and from what I understand the displays can run in 'slideshow' mode using the 4D API, programmed via windows, or in serial mode, and be controlled by an Arduino, as I have in my idea. Or maybe they can be controlled without any external hardware but I didn't see that, and if I'm wrong, no Arduino would be necessary, lowering the cost.

Example from their catalog :

"The serial platform allows users to develop their application using their favourite micro-controller and software development tools."

"SGC PmmC By loading the SGC (Slave Graphics Controller) PmmC, the module is 'ready to go' by simply connecting it to the serial port of your favourite micro-controller, and sending serial commands to it. GFX PmmC By loading the GFX (Stand-Alone Graphics Controller) PmmC, the module is then like a microprocessor which you program, using the 4DGL language (very similar to C), to control the internal graphics and external interfaces. "

I'm not sure how far you can program it, like having external input buttons, or sensors for example. I will post in their forums and see what extra information I can get.

Obviously this is not the typical Arduino project. Sorry if I asked a wrong question in the wrong place, I'm a newbie in the microcontroller world. In real life I design video workflows for internet applications, I started this hobby not so long ago, and I have some ideas of physical projects, mainly inspired by my little boy, and not involving internet or desktop machines or the web languages I know. it's not easy to find the right path, and the Arduino community is what makes me like this platform, thus my interest to use it in this potential project.

OK, I can't post in their forum, but I think this is confirming what you just said :

"...15K bytes of flash memory for user code storage and 14K bytes of SRAM for user variables. 2 x Asynchronous hardware serial ports (COM0, COM1), TTL interface, with 300 baud to 256K baud. 1 x I2C interface (Master). 8 x 16 bit timers with 1 millisecond resolution. 16 x General Purpose I/O pins. Upper 8 bits can be used as an I/O Bus for fast 8-bit parallel data transfers. ..."

So even if it can be driven by an Arduino, it is a microcontroller by itself and one can program some interactivity with it. At first I started thinking based on an Arduino master, I didn't imagine a screen could be that smart ;))

Thank you for your time P*

I wish I had studied this before, instead of Latin and German ;)))) Going to order one of those displays, they look great on specifications, I hope they are easy to use. They can be programmed as standalone or slave, so if I had any need to have Arduino driving it, it would still be possible. Cheers !!