First off, a shoutout to Knievel and Slippyblade for requesting this post.
I have a few dedicated games in my gameroom, as well as a MAME cab or two, and like many, I wanted to find a way to use a dedicated scoreboard. I wanted something dynamic and electronic, since my first choice, a full-size Pepsi Messageboard with Letters is hard to find and expensive around these parts.
So I wanted to do a Plan B - something digital. I looked at a few suggestions on KLOV, but none of them spoke to me, man. Then, I got an idea based on some tinkering I had done at work... I would go ahead and do my own digital signage setup. You know, those information boards you see at hotels, airports, and everywhere else? I would create and design my own.
I went out and looked for freeware digital signage packages. Most of them required you to set up your own server and stuff like that, but one service hosted everything for you, for free. I used Risevision.com because you can create an account for free and you can tweak your setup anyway you like it. The basic stuff is free - you can pay more for extra doodads and plugin, but screw that! I just wanted to display a few photos and, more importantly, high scores. Below, you can see my basic design.
The main box, under high scores, is an area that loads and scrolls a Google Spreadsheet. I installed Chrome and Google Drive so I have access to the spreadsheet on my phone (more on that later). On the right, I have an area that scrolls cabinets and flyers that I host on Picasa, and under that is a spot that scrolls screenshots and arcade photos. Upper right is the time and date. You can make your layout as simple or as complicated as you want.
I had a spare 19 inch monitor that I had lying around, so I ended up buying a monitor mount arm for it. I also purchased a flush monitor mount, because I wanted to mount the controller right next to it. I got a dirt-cheap Dell OptiPlex 160 on eBay for like $40 or so. The ONLY thing this unit would be for is controlling the scoreboard, so it didn't need a lot of processing power. I set up the machine to run Windows 7, and once it was ready, I linked it to the digital signage account, so any signage I made or changes or updates would automatically be pushed out to it. I bought a cheap USB Wi-Fi connector for it, because I wanted all updates to be sent wirelessly.
I installed the monitor on the wall with no issues, and used the flush mount to put the PC directly behind it.
When you push the monitor into position, it effectively hides the computer.
So all I do is push the powerbutton on the OptiPlex. The machine automatically boots into Windows 7, then right into Chrome and the Digital Signage software. The Google Doc loads and the scores scroll up. I can open the spreadsheet on either my phone or my PC and make changes to the high scores if need be. It saves it and refreshes dynamically, so the new score shows up pretty much instantly. I can upload photos to my Picasa and they'll show up after the RSS feed refreshes. Also, there's a red scrolling ticker at the bottom I use for fun messages, but I bet you could stick sports scores or something else there.
Well, there's my scoreboard. It's pretty much exactly what I envisioned for it when I decided I wanted a digital one. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.