There’s an open-source solution for just about any problem out there — but getting it up and running can more often than not turn into a nightmare of chasing down one rabbit hole after another for dependencies, drivers, sample configuration files, and so on. (Ever tried configuring a mail server?)
So it’s especially nice to come across a purpose-made open-source solution to a problem that’s not only Free, but actually easy to use.
MP4Museum is such a solution. With absolutely zero setup other than downloading and flashing an image file, it turns a Raspberry Pi into a preconfigured, kiosk-style video player that’s ridiculously easy to use.
By “ridiculously easy to use,” I mean you load one or more mp4 files onto a thumb drive, plug it into the Pi, and connect the HDMI and power cables. It boots up and does its thing automagically.
There’s even a custom 3D printable RPi case (for a Pi A+).
Or, as always, Thingiverse can hook you up with a few hundred options.
MP4Museum, along with similar “appliance” images like OctoPrint/Octopi, represents a new way of looking at small computers like the Raspberry Pi. They run from downloadable images and boot up as essentially completely configured systems. (OctoPrint, being a server, does require you to set up a few things.) Instead of downloading an app and using a multi-purpose PC, tablet, or smartphone to do a task, you can pull a $25 Pi off the shelf, throw the appropriate image on it (using the almost-as-easy-to-use BalenaEtcher), and you have an information appliance up and running.
Now if only getting the monitor mounted to the wall were this easy…