How to display Power BI reports and dashboards on a smart TV

After showing our readers how to schedule and send Power BI reports and dashboards by email, we address one of the most common client requests when we implement Power BI: the ability to broadcast their brand-new and beautiful Power BI dashboards and reports on a large screen.

On top of using Power BI to handle their data, some of our Business Intelligence clients, particularly those in the public sector, use it as a communication tool as well, directed at their business users and collaborators. We’re often asked to set up Power BI dashboards with the sole purpose of showing visitors how efficient the service is or how well a business is doing.

Clients usually want to display this data in receptions or waiting rooms, but the whole setup is far from an easy task: you have to hook up a dedicated computer to a TV using an HDMI cable, open Power BI, set it to full screen and configure it to refresh data. Besides being an expensive, and resource consuming effort, this method is limited to a single Power BI report or dashboard.

Although its most common use is sending Power BI reports and dashboards by email, PowerBI Robots was actually created to solve this problem.

If you haven’t downloaded PowerBI Robots yet, click here.

PowerBI Robots is a Robots Process Automation (RPA) tool that allows users to schedule and send Power BI reports and dashboards to anyone or any device connected to the internet – and that includes smart TVs. Whether the TV has integrated internet capabilities or is connected through a set-top box (such as an Android TV box or Amazon Fire TV), if it has a browser, you can have Power BI dashboards and reports running on it.

With an Android TV box, any TV with an HDMI port can become smart
With an Android TV box, any TV with an HDMI port can become smart

The first thing you need to do is go to the PowerBI Robots web agent and click on Create on the Playlist menu (alternatively, you can access a playlist you’ve previously created by selecting it from your list, click Actions and then Edit).

On the General tab, you should:

  • name the playlist;
  • pick PowerBI Robots Cloud from the Send To menu;
  • set the default screen size;
  • the screen-captures recurrence (i.e. your data’s refresh rate);

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint librarySince PowerBI Robots automatically generates a URL for you, skip the Recipients tab and jump to Visuals. Click Add Power BI account and a screen displaying your Power BI workspaces will pop-up. You may see all reports and dashboards contained on each by clicking the plus sign. Select the report pages and individual tiles you wish to send by checking their boxes (alternatively, select them all). You can also use this tab or the next to apply any filters to your reports. When you’re done, click Create (or Update) to finish your playlist.

As with every PowerBI Robots playlist creation or modification, you must launch the desktop agent afterward and hit Synchronize on the General tab for any changes to take place.

Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint library
Whenever you create or modify a playlist on the web agent, you must synchronize it on the desktop agent in order for those changes to take place.

The next step is launching your smart TV’s web browser, go to the PowerBI Robots web agent and log in to your account. Select your playlist, go to Actions and choose View Slideshow. A window will pop with the option to set up the interval between images (from 10 seconds to 5 minutes) and the automatically generated URL with your playlist.Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint libraryIf your TV allows you to do so, copy the URL and paste it into a new tab. Otherwise, you’re going to have to do it manually. Press Enter (or your TV’s OK button) and you will see the playlist you’ve just configured broadcast on your TV. All that’s left is select the full-screen option on your smart TV’s browser, and you’re done.Send your Power BI reports and dashboards by email, to the web or to a SharePoint libraryIf you haven’t downloaded PowerBI Robots yet, click here.

If you’re having any trouble installing and configuring the PowerBI Robots desktop agent, please see point 2 of our PowerBI Robots 101. If you still have any questions, please send us an email to support@devscope.net.Send Emails, PDFs or broadcast from Power BI with PowerBI Robots