So what are we building?

19Jul11

I’ve teased about it for a few weeks now, but I’m going to tell our blog readers a little bit more about what we’re building.

 

We’re keen to create a unified ecosystem for HTPC, so that’s control, automation and interaction. Our first step was the remote control, our next project is to get your TV/DVD/Blu-ray/Playstation talking with your HTPC, what we are building is a USB-CEC adaptor, in laymens terms, it allows XBMC to control your TV (i.e. turn it off and on) and change your amplifiers volume, or vice versa, use your TV remote to turn your HTPC/XBMC on/off and control the interface.

XBMC will have full support for our adaptor and it is due to be available in early September. As we are producing this entirely ourselves in-house, we know we are going to meet this deadline but we’re not going to open up pre-orders until we’ve signed off production. If you want however, you can register your interest by emailing us, and those emailing will get priority on ordering.

We’re initially only producing a limited run, with more being built as demand requires. So if this type of gadget sounds like something you want then get in touch so you get it first (cec@pulse-eight.com)

 

Oh about the price. Expect it to be around $45 including cables.

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16 Responses to “So what are we building?”

  1. 1 Stephen Gough

    This sounds very interesting, please keep me informed. How close to completing this are you ? and have you built any prototypes that are working ?

    • We’ve got hand built prototypes built and working, we have secured stock of the primary components and all the cables are en route to our facilities, so there is no stock reason why this item will be delayed.

      Just finishing off the programming and certifications. As I said in the blog, we should ship early September.

  2. 3 Scotland

    Interesting. Trying to imagine scenarios/use cases where this really comes into play and am struggling a little bit. For example, if you have a universal Harmony Remote, than that is able to control all the home theatre equipment but requires user-initiation. The USB-CEC would be similar but could be useful for automated initiation (assuming you had the necessary XBMC script) – but I’m having difficulty thinking through a scenario where that would be needed (what devices need to be controlled by XBMC when the user isn’t present to watch/listen…?) Is this just another means to a universal remote or is there more to it? I’m intrigued – care to elaborate further….?

    • So, this is ideal for users who like their existing TV remotes, or perhaps don’t want the effort of having to buy a harmony and setup all the scripting, or dont want the hassle of having to expose all the IR ports on all their devices, because this is a wired bus there is no need to have your amplifier IR port visible to your remote.

      Equally if you physically walk up to the TV and push the power button, then XBMC will shut down, much like your connected DVD player would do already now. Equally if you change the input on the amplifier (depending on CEC functions implemented) then XBMC could know to pause it’s output instead of continuing to play, (for example you quickly switch to the news, or put a dvd into the dvd player)

      Because your TV and XBMC can properly talk, volume control can be removed from XBMC essentially and put back into your amplifier where it belongs, instead of having 2 separate volume controls

      • 5 Scotland

        Hi – thanks for the answer. Yes, makes sense and definitely adds flexibility and some options regarding integration. Though I’m a fan of the Harmony remotes, the option you are presenting would also be less expensive (in addition to the other pros you listed).

  3. 6 luguber

    This sounds interesting, although similar devices has been on the market for some years already I have never researched much into them du to all the work it seemed needy to get them working the way you want. So to have one working out-of-the-box with xbmc suddenly makes them very interesting again. Now, is CEC function incorporated into the HDMI standard, or how do you tell if your setup supports it?

  4. 9 Ph. Beckers

    Guys, this idea rocks. I love it and ordered one. With this my XBMC experience will get even greater and it totally address a problem I was thinking about.

    • Wow

      I’ve wondered about this stuff for a while and have seen similar hardware but have not seen much evidence of software to support it.

      I’m still a little suprised the hardware manuafacturer’s have not stated including this kind of functionality in the base hardware

      Are you likely to write the software with library’s such that (something like libCEC) such that other software could also easily implement CEC? It would be interesting to have a program be able to send simple CEC commands from a GUI or a terminal based applications, this could open up quite allot of possibilities.

      (silly example but you could write software that turns your Amps volume up to match the ambient noise in the room etc)

      • We will be releasing a libcec (your correct on the intended name) along with this product, we will also be looking to ship with a windows service that utilises the library to allow Windows Media Centre users to get integration as well. Although we are still investigating how far we can go with the available APIs Microsoft provides.

        The library will be c++ based with c# wrappers available and will be dual licensed.

  5. 12 Branko Jambrosic

    Will it work with Boxee as well or only with xbmc also do you know how far away you are from shipping the hybrid remotes.

    • In theory, yes it would work with Boxee, however I’ve tried to approach Boxee already about shipping support and potentially them reselling this box, but they have not responded to my calls.

      However we will actively look after we ship to providing patches and/or builds of the boxee software with support. That said Boxee box support might be tricky.

      I’m having a conference call with Motorola tomorrow and should be able to update everyone then.


  1. 1 libCEC « XBMC, HTPCs and Pulse-Eight
  2. 2 Pulse-Eight and OpenELEC « XBMC, HTPCs and Pulse-Eight
  3. 3 Latest dates for the Nyxboard Hybrid « XBMC, HTPCs and Pulse-Eight

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