Posts Tagged ‘hdmi’

The USB-CEC Adapter is a look into the Future | XBMC

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

I was researching some fun and new things to do with my xbmc, as my computer is in tip top running shape. I stumbled upon this gem of an article. It gives us an idea of the things to come to HTPC entertainment and shows how hard media and cable companies may have another thing coming!! I totally stole this from The USB-CEC Adapter is a look into the Future | XBMC.

Sometime around 2006 or 2007, I modded my first Xbox. I admit it, I’m practically a n00b in the realm of XBMC hacking. I didn’t even know what YAMP or Xbox Media Player were until I researched them! I bring this up because since that amazing day I haven’t felt the complete astonishment of a perfect merge of hardware and software until this past weekend, when I connected my TV to my pc via the Pulse Eight USB-CEC Adapter.

The HDMI CEC adapter

Here we can see the tiny adapter connected on both sides to HDMI cables and a mini-USB cable attached on the end. Those aren’t over-sized HDMI cables either. The adapter is REALLY tiny.

First, a bit of back story: Often, people don’t understand why the Team so excitedly awaits the coming of Binary Addons. To put it simply (and probably factually inaccurately), binary addons mark the step in which much of XBMC becomes self-updating.

Since XBMC Atlantis and Babylon, the team has slowly been trying make XBMC more and more modular, so that pieces of XBMC could be updated without the need for a complete reinstall of the system. A highly successful example is our scrapers, which were once built into the system, and are now easily and often updated.

Unfortunately, many pieces of XBMC are simply too integrated to ever fully get pulled out or added onto without the use of an independent program. Likewise, a great deal of functionality can never be added using the simple python addons we rely on today. Thus, the necessity for independent, binary addon programs becomes clear.

With binary addons XBMC could add an entirely new video player (possibly even one that actually plays DRM content). It could add independent Live TV and PVR software. Practically every individual component of XBMC could be updated without needing a new release.   And, particularly relevant to this article, the binary addon system could add new libraries that interact with specific pieces of totally unanticipated hardware.

XBMC and Siri, XBMC and Kinect? Sure, all with a simple (at least, simple for the user) addon, without the need of additional helper software like EventGhost.

First out of the gate of exciting new ways to control your entertainment system is the USB-CEC Adapter. While the USB-CEC Adapter’s library is not a binary addon itself, it does act as a demonstration of how XBMC will be able to act with peripheral devices. The USB CEC Adapter doesn’t require lirc, a change to the Windows registry, or a default OSX remote. It operates entirely independently via a separate software library. When binary addons become a reality, any user could add (and update) a software library that allows a completely new piece of hardware to interact more closely with XBMC.

So what does this adapter do?

Simply put, the USB-CEC adapter lets your computer, your TV, and any other CEC compatible hardware “talk” to each other via HDMI cables. In one fell swoop, this adapter has the potential of making Harmony remotes entirely pointless.

For example, I have a Samsung TV that uses AnyNet+, the Samsung-branded version of CEC,  to communicate with other devices. Once I set up the adapter, I was able to use my television remote to navigate the XBMC menus, play, pause, and stop video, switch between pictures, videos, and music menus using my colored buttons, and, of course, select various options.

The USB-CEC Adapter is sold by Pulse Eight, but was pretty well entirely developed by a subset of Team XBMC members. Bob van Loosen, maker of the boblight, known in the forums as bobo1on1, did a first schematic cut. The board was layed out by Pulse Eight and then tested externally by Newbury Electronics. Bob then finished the firmware and built a test lib (i.e. a software library of commands that help software and hardware interact). Lars Op den Kamp, known as dushmaniac around here, then developed the official libCEC library based on Bob’s original work.

Once the adapter is plugged in, XBMC and libCEC work together to delegate which buttons control which aspects of your system. In XBMC, you can alter these controls by visiting system -> input -> peripherals -> CEC adapter. In addition, because the CEC adapter allows XBMC and your computer to control your TV and other peripherals as much as it allows your TV to control XBMC, you are given a host of thoughtful (and power-saving) commands that a Harmony remote could not hope to replicate. For example, when XBMC turns on its grayed-out screensaver, it can turn off your television. And when you turn off your television, XBMC will be able to recognize the change in state and go into sleep mode itself. For a video on some of the simpler functions, check out the bottom of this page.

CEC Adapter settings page

The CEC Adapter is currently compatible only with the most recent nightly versions of XBMC Pre-Eden. As always, when using pre-release software like Pre-Eden, users may run into odd quirks that can vary from night to night. Once the adapter is installed and working though, everything should be smooth sailing… with one major exception.

It is possible that your peripheral devices (but most importantly, your TV) may not have support for CEC. This lack of support can range from entirely being unable to interact with other devices to mild, device-specific quirks. For example, my Samsung had no problem recognizing and connecting with XBMC, but its firmware separates “receivers” from “players.” So if I want to interact with XBMC using my TV’s remote, I can, but I can’t control the audio in XBMC. This is actually a known issue that is being worked on by the Pulse Eight development team. In fact, the development team has been incredibly helpful and is actively seeking out additional hardware to support. If you have any problems with your specific devices, you are welcome to list the issues in the Pulse Eight forums, and the team should move fairly quickly to add support. I presume that most recent name brand televisions should all work relatively well over CEC, but looking through the manual of your television would probably not hurt, nor would asking on the Pulse Eight forums. Odds are, your device will use an alternative naming scheme for CEC. For example, Samsung uses Anynet+. See here for a list of alternative trade names.

In the end, I’m sold on the USB-CEC adapter. It really is an awesome device and a great deal cheaper than the equivalent Harmony remote. But more important than that, I’m excited about the future of XBMC and what the CEC adapter and devices like it mean for that future.

With binary addons now slated for Frodo (the release after Eden), we look forward to more and more hardware vendors integrating their devices with XBMC and providing new and innovative methods for creating a more connected home theater system. Until then, feel free to have a go at the USB-CEC adapter and keep an eye out as we bring you additional interesting developments.

The USB-CEC Adapter is a look into the Future | XBMC.

Moving day, setting up 4 tvs

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Final pics of a 4 tv install, cleaned up a lot of things in a older home, where a customer moved 2 old tvs and bought 2 new ones

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iClarified – AppleTV – How to Jailbreak Your Apple TV 2G Using Seas0nPass (Mac) [4.3]

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

WORKS!

just did it, Now onto xbmc!

via iClarified – AppleTV – How to Jailbreak Your Apple TV 2G Using Seas0nPass (Mac) [4.3].

HDMI Cable Tutorial About HDMI

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

To follow up my facebook article about HDMI pinouts (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?created&&note_id=211924685506768)

I thought I’d share a great source of information on coming technologies. I’m only including what I think is pertinent, there is a link at the bottom with the whole article if you’re interested!

How do consumers benefit from HDMI?
The new HDMI digital interconnect provides:

  • Superior, uncompressed digital video and audio quality
  • Simple, user-friendly connector that replaces the maze of cabling behind the entertainment center
  • Integrated remote control
  • A popular interface enabling the transmission of high-definition content. HDMI opens the floodgate of digital content from major motion picture producers

What is HDMI 1.3?

  • HDMI 1.3 allows the availability of a new mini connector for devices such as camcorders
  • The availability of HDMI 1.3 depends on your specific equipment.
  • All HDMI cables should be made using the largest gauge (AWG) wire with individually shielded pairs possible with top quality workmanship. This protects your signal from Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Radio Frequency Interference (RFI).
  • Increases single-link bandwidth to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbit/s)
  • Optionally supports 30-bit, 36-bit, and 48-bit xvYCC with Deep Color or over one billion colors, up from 24-bit sRGB or YCbCr in previous versions.
  • Incorporates automatic audio syncing (Audio video sync) capability.
  • Optionally supports output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio streams for external decoding by AV receivers.[8] TrueHD and DTS-HD are lossless audio codec formats used on Blu-ray Discs and HD DVDs. If the disc player can decode these streams into uncompressed audio, then HDMI 1.3 is not necessary, as all versions of HDMI can transport uncompressed audio.

What is HDMI 1.4?

  • HDMI 1.4 was released on May 28, 2009, and Silicon Image expects their first HDMI 1.4 products to sample in the second half of 2009.
  • HDMI 1.4 increases the maximum resolution to 4K x 2K (3840x2160p at 24Hz/25Hz/30Hz and 4096x2160p at 24Hz, which is a resolution used with digital theaters);
  • HDMI 1.4 includes an HDMI Ethernet Channel, which allows for a 100 Mb/s Ethernet connection between the two HDMI connected devices;
  • HDMI 1.4 also introduces
    • an Audio Return Channel
    • 3D Over HDMI (HDMI 1.3 devices will only support this for 1080i)
    • a new Micro HDMI Connector, expanded support for color spaces
    • an Automotive Connection System.
  • HDMI 1.4 supports several stereoscopic 3D formats including field alternative (interlaced), frame alternative, frame packing, line alternative, side-by-side half, side-by-side full, 2D + depth, and 2D + depth + graphics + graphics depth, with top/bottom half and full formats to be added in January 2010.
  • HDMI 1.4 requires that 3D displays support the frame packing 3D formats at either 720p50 and 1080p24 or 720p60 and 1080p24.
  • High Speed HDMI 1.3 cables can support all HDMI 1.4 features except for the HDMI Ethernet Channel.

What is the life expectancy of HDMI?
HDTV uses less than 1/2 of HDMI’s available 5 Gbps bandwidth. With capacity to spare, HDMI can incorporate new technology advancements and capabilities long into the foreseeable future.

Does HDMI provide a secure interface?
HDMI, when used in combination with HDCP, provides a secure audio/video interface that meets the security requirements of content providers and systems operators.

What is HDCP?
HDCP stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. HDCP encrypts the digital signal to prevent it from being recorded. HDCP encryption / decryption takes place within your equipment. Check your equipment documentation to see if it offers HDCP. Cables simply pass the digital signal between the HDCP compliant equipment.

What are the advantages of HDMI over existing analog interfaces such as composite, S-Video and component video?

  • Quality HDMI transfers uncompressed digital audio and video for the highest, crispest image quality.
  • All Digital HDMI ensures an all-digital rendering of video without the losses associated with analog interfaces and their unnecessary digital-to-analog conversions.
  • Low-cost HDMI provides the quality and functionality of a digital interface while also supporting uncompressed video formats in a simple, cost-effective manner.
  • Audio HDMI supports multiple audio formats, from standard stereo to multi-channel surround-sound.
  • Ease-of-use HDMI combines video and multi-channel audio into a single cable, eliminating the cost, complexity, and confusion of multiple cables currently used in A/V systems.
  • Intelligence HDMI supports communication between the video source (such as a DVD player) and the DTV, enabling new functionality.

Is HDMI backward-compatible with DVI (Digital Visual Interface)?
Yes, HDMI is fully backward-compatible with DVI using the CEA-861 profile for DTVs. HDMI DTVs will display video received from existing DVI-equipped products, and DVI-equipped TVs will display video from HDMI sources.

Will current HD TVs and set-top boxes using DVI-HDTV be compatible with HDMI devices?
Yes. Currently there are TVs with DVI-HDTV inputs available from a variety of manufacturers. Those devices will be compatible with future HDMI-equipped products.

What types of video does HDMI support?
HDMI has the capacity to support existing high-definition video formats (720p, 1080i, and even 1080p). It also has the flexibility to support enhanced definition formats such as 480p, as well as standard definition formats such as NTSC or PAL.

Does HDMI accommodate long cable lengths?
Yes. HDMI technology has been designed to use standard copper cable construction at long lengths. In order to allow cable manufacturers to improve their products through the use of new technologies, HDMI specifies the required performance of a cable but does not specify a maximum cable length. Cables are expected to be lengths of up to 15 meters. As semiconductor technology improves, even longer stretches can be reached with fiber optic cables, and with active cable technologies such as amplifiers or repeaters.


How much better is 1080p than 720p?
225%! It’s a huge difference. The soundtrack also improvesby 50% with the new totally lossless, bit-for-bit Dolby True HD and DTS Master HD multi-channel audio content. 

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE HERE:

HDMI Cable Tutorial About HDMI – HDMI Info – HDMI Information – High-Definition Multimedia Interface Tutorial – PacificCable.com – 1-800-931-3133..

Hanging a 37″ sharp over a fireplace

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Here we are, hanging a 37″ sharp aquous above a fireplace. There was no power or cable above said fireplace, but never a problem if you’re willing to patch and paint! 2 hours to fish the wires, hang the tv, and shelf!