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Messages - ajward

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Users / Re: Dusky Sky Controller
« on: January 11, 2009, 09:08:45 pm »
Hi Andrew/Ian,

will this be part of 0810? i.e not only Dianemo systems,  (get back to work, devs  Grin ),

what hardware/capture cards are required?

Ian: not much of what Andrew's talking about has to be done through Diademo equipment. So it should be possible on 810 with or without Andrew's Company. On the other hand, the Diademo stuff looks pretty good. Why not?

Andrew: thanks for the summary. I've rummaged through your site, and the components you offer are IMHO well put together for LinuxMCE. I know your bias is the total home solution, and I think that combined with substantially better value for money than the AMD/Crestron/Clipsal approach is a winning combination.

I haven't decided whether to go centralised or distributed yet, but I'm leaning towards distributed.

Routing HDMI over dual-CAT-5 is expensive, and not very flexible it seems to me. I can see why you have to offer it - it's about the only way to offer the ultimate HD multi-room experience without clutter.

Sky-HD is a pain in the butt: the only decent HD source, and it requires the box to see the TV directly over HDMI. Awkward (but not impossible) to put something like LinuxMCE in the way.

To be honest, HD is an awful lot of money for very little improvement in the viewing experience.

IPTv seems like a good solution, as long as we don't run out of bandwidth. VideoLan showed me how capable that approach could be.

Can't do that for HD, though.

Roll on 50Mbit ISPs and TV-over-internet I say.

Andy Ward

Users / Re: Dusky Sky Controller
« on: January 11, 2009, 06:37:50 pm »
Hi Ian,

Can I ask why Myth ? just familiarity  ?     I followed  conventional wisdom  that VDR is more suited to DVB,plus the multi recording from different muxes, which myth doesn't appear to implement.

Well, first of all, I started with just an NTL cable box (no DVB). And a lot of the other stuff MythTv uses (transcode, xine, xmltv, ...) I'd played with before. In the UK digital TV can most easily be handled through a cheap set top box, and then MythTV is fine. So just horses for courses I suppose.

I got involved in the Sky stuff because we can't get cable out here - I'm surrounded by fields: 3 miles from the nearest village, 1 1/2 miles from the nearest neighbour. Took me long enough just to get ADSL working!

I've tried all interactive codes and they (sky+ codes only) are ok  ,no idea  how to test in ASCII/ binary as stumbling block  is lack of knowledge on how to  determine which USB port, and how to address it.

USB might be the logical successor to RS232, but it's a couple of orders of magnitude more complicated. The software that gets written behind the scenes just to have it plug in and work you would not believe. The HID standard is intended for things like mice and keyboard originally, and just to get a simple exchange of a few bytes needs a lot of setup. Just take a look at the C# code for the Windows sky controller (skyController.cs, HID.cs, API.cs) - C# isn't too frightening if you've ever seen object-oriented languages before.

As I say, I will take a stab at this, and at least in Linux I can find any amount of USB and LinuxMCE HID source code examples.

Andy ward.

Users / Re: Stupid IR blaster question
« on: January 11, 2009, 06:19:05 pm »
Hi Ian,

hmmm. I think you were right the first time. What I think I need to do is to assosocate the IR group with the TV.

I got to the Wizard->Devices->AV Equipment->(PS42S5H)A/V properties page, and it's asking me to choose a Group/Codeset.

I have a code "2007 Samsung LCD/Plasma/DLP" selected, but it doesn't have any codes defined (toggle power, vol+, vol- etc.). They all say click to add.

I try and add them via the learning capability of the IRTrans, and although it flashes green (saying it is hearing something), the learning process never completes (I assume I just leave it on the "learn" radio button and click away - it isn't clear). I'm not going to start translating IRTrans format manually to Pronto format except as a last resort!

Help me choose suggests there are 27 codesets for Samsung TVs. Sounds hopeful. Then it presents me with a wierd screen that talks about selecting a codeset and pressing 'V' or 'T'. Again, looks reasonable, but there is just a list of commands link this...

Infrared Group Toggle Power On Off 1 Vol up Vol down ...
The cursor changes to an I-beam when you hover over them, but V/T don't seem to do anything (no red flash on the IRTrans to suggest it's doing anything with T: no display of codes with V). I presume this screen is to help you select codesets and try them out, but that's not what seems to happen. Surely you should choose the codeset from the test screen.

The irritating thing is that I have a .rem file that contains commands for the TV, and the IRTrans softare is perfectly capable of using it. I just can't get in into LinuxMCE. As it suggests, I can probably use an existing codeset, but I could only do that by testing them one by one. Frankly, I don't find "Pronto Codeset nnn" very helpful as a description.

I must be missing something. If I find out what it is, sure I'll help update the documentation on the Wiki.

If anything else occurs to you (or anyone else) from my ramblings, please feel free to chip in!

Andy Ward.

Users / Stupid IR blaster question
« on: January 11, 2009, 01:34:37 am »

I have an IRTrans box, and I want to  use it to control my plasma TV in LinuxMCE. I've been through the AVWizard, and it has correctly generated most of the other config.

I have the results of a learning session in a .rem file in /usr/pluto/bin/remotes. I know from previous experience that irserver would happily use the appropriate remote and key when told to. I assume the IRTrans support in LinuxMCE will do no less.

The problem is this: I have set everything up, but where do I tell the system what codeset to use to control the TV?

Surely it is a characteristic of the TV device template, along with "controlled via device category IR". But I can't see how it can work it out automatically, and I can't see where it would be entered.

Sorry if I've missed it in the documentation, but I have had a good look. Honest.


Users / Re: Dusky Sky Controller
« on: January 11, 2009, 01:07:17 am »
Hi Ian,

I hadn't seen the additional codes, but there's no reason why the LinuxMCE device can't support them. I was just planning to use the codes from the Windows SkyController executable from Dusky Control. The button names and function names are actually supplied by an XML file, button.xml (and that only gives the functions of the standard Sky Remote).

Of course, untested code is useless code, and I don't have a sky navigator so don't assume all those extra codes will work!

My interpretation of totallymaxed's post is that his effort is concentrated on the diademo sky controller device rather than the dusky device (I could be wrong). If he's planning to support the Dusky device (or the diademo device is the Dusky device badged), we're duplicating effort (although his approach seems to be via a shell script wrapper, rather than C++).

Personally, I'm planning to use MythTV rather than VDR. Since the C++ device should end up as a shared library (.so), there should be a way to make it known to an existing (710) installation, and support VDR as well. I'm not plugged into the LinuxMCE developer community yet, so this is me working on my own for the moment.

Just as a bit of background, plans are well advanced to build my own house in Hampshire UK, and I plan to use LinuxMCE as the automation system. Since I'll probably end up putting all the wiring and plumbing in myself, a few device handlers isn't too much of a challenge!

Andy Ward

Users / Re: Dusky Sky Controller
« on: January 10, 2009, 09:25:40 pm »
Hi there.

I've been playing in this area too (controlling a Sky box from LinuxMCE with the Dusky Control device). Not sure whether to post this as a new topic, but since I'm trying to do the same thing as you are, I thought I'd do it this way.

I have the dusky-control device working (couldn't get it working reliably on IR).

I've had a MythTV setup for a while, so I thought I'd have a go with LinuxMCE.

I'm a competent C++ programmer, and various other relevant things besides, so I thought it would be straightforward (As straightforward as anything is - don't forget I've compiled MythTv from sources, and upgraded about the last 6 releases).

I could use the Linux command line tool, but that only provides channel changing (I'd like to use the LinuxMCE pass-through capabilities to get to the on-demand and programme guide stuff sometimes). Still, I thought I'd try the Ruby snippet approach, just to get it going. Boy, was that a mistake.

Is it me, or is the LinuxMCE Wiki seriously out of step with the code? I thought I could figure most things out from a good worked example, but I can't seem to get to any existing Ruby snippets.

For example, I tried, but it doesn't tell me where to put the fragments. It's something to do with Ruby internal commands, but it isn't clear where you put the cmd = <device from>, <device to>, <priority>, <type>, <id>)

I thought I'd try following the instructions here...

For Generic Serial Devices the architecture allows implementing the commands directly from the LinuxMCE Admin Web Page, using Advanced/Device Templates. After picking the device template, select ruby codes and add the command groups that you want to implement (should be supported by the devices for which you want to create the template)

...but if you try that, there's no help on the syntax of what you can put in there. OK, I went googling, and worked out that you put it as a series of bytes in <>. But then I've got to reverse engineer Ruby to work out how to extract (say) the channel number digits that come in cmd.params_["ProgramID"]. No help on that anywhere I can find.

So then, I thought I'd have a look at a non-trivial example elsewhere, and I found this on the Wiki It suggests that if you
Click Advanced, Device Templates, Manufacturer: Denon, Category: A/V - Amps/receivers, Model: AVC-A1SRA (RS232), and click "Edit". Under "Infrared Groups", click the "Edit Commands" next to "Denon AVR/AVC protocol #1300"
...those instructions seem to be wrong. I think it's...
Click Advanced, Configuration, Device Templates, Manufacturer: Denon, Category: A/V - Amps/receivers, Model: AVC-A1SRA (RS232), and click "Pick Device Template" (there is no "Edit"). Under "Infrared Groups", click the "Edit Commands" next to "Denon AVR/AVC protocol #1300"

...there is no InfraRed Groups, there is no Edit commands button next to "Denon AVR/AVC protocol #1300". Either I'm doing something wrong, or the Wiki is seriously out of step with the Admin site.

One final try with a worked example. Oh, here's another one that looks tantalising.... Unfortunately, although it goes much further discussing the uses of the Ruby internal commands (Private Method Listing et al), there is no Clipsal implementation example in the standard implementation. So I'm still stuck with instructions that don't quite fit the software.

I gave up on the Ruby snippet approach at that point.

The Dusky source code makes it apparent that the Dusky USB control device is a HID USB implementation, not serial. The C# examples make it clear what the code would look like in Linux/C++.

Frankly, I have some experience of USB programming, and HID devices are only "simple" in the sense that they don't require device driver debugging. In every other way, they're a bewildering maze of compexity. I think it's unlikely I can get a HID device to work without C++ code.

OK, so let's try the C++ approach. Define the device template, and using the instructions here The instructions say...

To create your C++ project, run DCEGen, which will be in /usr/pluto/bin on Linux or \pluto\bin on Windows. Add a -d [device template id] parameter. Your device template id is shown after the description input box. off we go, create the Dusky device, and run DCEGen. I get an error saying it can't find any of the templates. It seems to be looking in the filesystem for them, but I would expect it to look in the pluto_main database.

Clearly I've got a lot to learn, and clearly I'm not going to learn it from the documentation! If any of this rambling contains any obvious errors, please someone let me know otherwise I'm going to be stumbling around for a while.

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