I made this project for the Circuit Cellar/WIZnet iEthernet 2007 design contest, where it was awarded second place. Below is a brief synopsis from the contest entry.
The LED News Ticker displays the latest headlines in an easy to read, scrolling format, enabling people to stay informed without the use of a television or PC. Once powered up, the device will immediately connect to the Internet and download news updates every 15 minutes. The device handles all DHCP leasing and DNS resolving. The main board obtains local network information, retrieves news headlines from an Internet RSS feed, and parses them to a suitable format. Finally, this data is sent out to the slave boards to create a scrolling news ticker. The slave boards are responsible for receiving pixel data from the main board on the SPI bus and continually drawing it on their respective display. The main board uses a Microchip PIC18F2525 microcontroller connected to a WIZnet WIZ810MJ Ethernet module, while each slave consists of a Microchip PIC18F2221 microcontroller, a 1.32” bi-color 8×8 LED matrix, and some driving circuitry.