Computer recommendation for Open LP

My church is interested in moving away from SongShowPlus and using OpenLP with a new computer.  I need a suggestion or "things to think about" as we "spec out" our new machine.

We previously used a desktop PC whose video card had two outputs.  The DVI output went to a desktop monitor, and the HDMI output went to the projectors.  Here are my thoughts thus far:

  • With the new setup it would be nice to be able to display different things on each projector. 
  • We will need to monitor the OpenLP controls while the projectors display the actual content.  I don't know if a laptop can display one program on the laptop screen while the video output is sent to projectors; is this possible?
  • Most of our congregation isn't very tech savvy so I'm thinking a Mac would be a good plan, but we can use a Windows machine too.  We are looking for a computer that we won't have to "mess with" after purchase.
  • Refurbished computer seems reasonable.
  • I5 processor seems more than adequate (??).
  • How much RAM?  16GB?
  • An SSD would be nice but I don't think it will be a requirement.

Any thoughts/recommendations?

Comments

  • Hi Wanaride,

    OpenLP is able to maintain controls on 1 screen while showing the congregation what they should see.  This is done fairly simply.  If you use a laptop and have an external monitor, you can simulate the external monitor to be your projector.  After plugging in the external monitor to your laptop, then launch OpenLP.  In Settings, you can then select to output the "show" to Screen 2, which is your external monitor.

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    Refurbished computers will work just fine.  I'm using 1 myself :)

    i5 processor is definitely more than adequate.

    4GB RAM at minimum these days for Windows as I am assuming in the future you may run OpenLP alongside with VLC and perhaps MS PowerPoint (or LibreOffice) and maybe a browser all running concurrently.  But to be at comfort level (considering it's a church, funds are not easy to come by, get something now which will take you some years ahead so you don't have to upgrade again etc etc), average 8GB is more than ample if you can afford and it will see you through a couple of years.  Do make sure you get a 64bit operating system (Windows 7 or Windows 10), not a 32bit.

    SSD is totally not a requirement.  I'm running on a standard hard disk and it's working awesomely for me, thanks to the developers!


  • Thanks EzraNV!  I was beginning to wonder if I had offended someone with my post. ; )

    I've read that OpenLP users have had issues with Macs (PPT not supported, buttons not responding and requiring OLP restart), so I think Windows desktop PC is a good plan.  And your points about planning ahead vs current funds are 100% correct.

    So, Win'10 64-bit, i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, spinning HDD, and we should be all set.  Any PC manufacturer recommendations?  And do you have a PC service contract, like "we will come out and fix your machine if it breaks within X years?"

    Do you use MS Office, OpenOffice, Google Docs, etc, for PPT slide import?  I'm thinking that one of those free solutions would make sense but I don't know if any "gotchas" are out there.

    Can OLP drive two or more external devices (monitors/projectors)?

  • Hi Wanaride,

    To me, PC brands don't matter much as it's just the branding.  Components within like hard disk, RAM, CPU, graphics card etc, these are not brand specific.  Example, if you buy a HP or Dell etc, the RAM, harddisk, CPU is not manufactured by them.  Harddisk will be like from Western Digital or Toshiba or Seagate, RAM from another manufacturer, CPU will be from Intel or AMD, and then you have the graphics card, Radeon, NVidia, Intel etc, but not manufactured by Dell or HP.
    I'm sure you get the drift :)

    Oh I forgot to mention in my previous post.  Get the SSHD hard disk.  They are significantly lower cost than a SSD but a tiny bit more than the usual spinning HDD.  SSHD are a mix breed of the spinning HDD and SSD: a bit of SSD, more of spinning HDD.  Net: value for money.

    I do not have a PC service contract.  By His grace, things are going well so far. :)

    I am based in Singapore.  I contacted Microsoft just this year for MS Office for non-profit organisation and they hooked me up with Techsoup (http://www.techsoup.org).  For me it's TechsoupAsia, but for you it's likely Techsoup :).
    Our church is a registered non profit organisation and we were able to show proof to TechsoupAsia.  We get heavy discounts.  I can't tell where you're based, but you may want to take the same route.  You will notice that they also have refurbished computers (TechsoupAsia does not have refurbished computers, but Techsoup does).

    So, we are now using MS Office officially.

    As OLP is freeware, you may want to consider just trying it out with OpenOffice and see how it works for you.  At most I would imagine the trial run will set you back about 4 hours in total (downloading, installing, creating a sample slide or 2, getting familiar with OpenLP etc).  It's worth a shot.  I love OpenLP.  It's just awesome!

    OLP can support 2 or more external devices.  Example, a desktop (not laptop) connected to VGA monitor via VGA cable and HDMI cable to projector.  So yes, it does support multiple external monitors.

    To end, please note that I am not the developer of OpenLP, nor affiliated to them.  I am just a user as you are.  So the comments and recommendations made are purely my own and not from OLP developers whose views may differ from mine. :)
  • Hi wanaride,

    I just recently tried OpenLP on my home computer to see it it would work for our church. It seems to be working just fine.
     Planning to install on church computer for Sunday.  Both computers are running Ubuntu,14.04   Ubuntu, another free opensource product to consider. 


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