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HDMI CEC - USB Adapter [Pulse-Eight]
#1
Hi,

we know a lot of you use the USB - HDMI CEC Adapter from Pulse-Eight (my company) and I want to canvas opinion on how you find it, what you would like to see improved and if you don't use it, I would be interested to know why not?

Did you look at our site, perhaps not understand what it does? or something else!

I really value feedback and so would like to see how we can improve the product going forward

Thanks
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#2
Interesting. I did not know something like this actually existed. lol
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#3
I still find the XBMC plugin settings not very clear. Also am I right in thinking you can't configure it in some skins (not your fault)

I did have it working on an old build but since updating to Ubuntu 12.04 and downloading latest packages (and updating the firmware) it didn't plug and play. Not had time to play with it since so its sat on the floor. When it worked it was ace, my only problem was that it couldn't control my amp's sound but I believe that is my TV's fault and not pulse-eights.

Also failed to get it to work (talking 6 months ago) on 2 Sony Bravia's which have HDMI-CEC. This was at my bro in laws and I haven't been round since. I'm hoping that all the work you guys have done has fixed this.

On a hardware design note (I know you now have an internal one) could you not design it like a USB stick shape ie it has a hdmi male port on one end which plugs into the HTPC with a female port the other end, and a mini USB on the side. It would make it tidier and do away with the short HDMI cable you supply.

Edit: Instead of mini USB could it run over the HDMI Ethernet Channel? I guess not, but that would do away with another cable.
Guide to building an all in one Ubuntu Server - TV(vdr),File,Music,Web

Server Fractal Designs Define XL, Asus P5QL/EPU, Dual Core E5200, 4gb, L4M-Twin S2 v6.2, Supermicro AOC-USAS-L8I, 1*SSD & 13*HDD drives (24TB total) - Ubuntu Server
XBMC 1 ASRock Z77E-ITX, G850, 8GB RAM, SSD, BD - Ubuntu / OpenElec frodo
XBMC 2 Revo 3700 - OpenElec frodo
XBMC 3 Raspb Pi
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#4
I have one, I like it. I have two issues with it currently. Firstly, it does not automatically turn my amp on when the TV is turned on, which is annoying but I think that might be a TV related issue as opposed to something the adapter is responsible for. In which case, eh.

Secondly, a clearly documented way to remap keys would be greatly appreciated. The default arrangement on my (Samsung) remote is quite bizarre when there is full screen video up. The 'Exit' key simply causes the video to pause for a split second, the 'Return' key brings up the codec info and the main select key (which anyone would instinctively expect to bring up the OSD) brings up the video size selection drop down. The only way to get back to the home screen from video by default is via the PVR channel list and I suppose that wouldn't work on a standard build. A normal user would just get frustrated I think, and while I've tried a couple of times to remap as suggested in scattered forum posts I've not been able to do it successfully.

These 2 issues are leaving me having to continue to use 3 separate remotes and it would be great if they could be solved, it would leave it near-perfect.
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#5
Would also like an easy way to remap keys.


AND

be in the main development build of XBMC , so that we can also use the nightly builds.
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#6
(2012-06-14, 16:23)charlie0440 Wrote: I still find the XBMC plugin settings not very clear. Also am I right in thinking you can't configure it in some skins (not your fault)

I did have it working on an old build but since updating to Ubuntu 12.04 and downloading latest packages (and updating the firmware) it didn't plug and play. Not had time to play with it since so its sat on the floor. When it worked it was ace, my only problem was that it couldn't control my amp's sound but I believe that is my TV's fault and not pulse-eights.

Also failed to get it to work (talking 6 months ago) on 2 Sony Bravia's which have HDMI-CEC. This was at my bro in laws and I haven't been round since. I'm hoping that all the work you guys have done has fixed this.

On a hardware design note (I know you now have an internal one) could you not design it like a USB stick shape ie it has a hdmi male port on one end which plugs into the HTPC with a female port the other end, and a mini USB on the side. It would make it tidier and do away with the short HDMI cable you supply.

Edit: Instead of mini USB could it run over the HDMI Ethernet Channel? I guess not, but that would do away with another cable.

Some thoughts on this and would welcome further feedback,

Simply having a Male connector on the case introduces a problem, currently the HDMI spec has a minimum clearance around a HDMI port but this is informal and not normative (i.e. not the law as far as HDMI goes) which means often you will find that the space available around a HDMI port will vary, designing an enclosure that works for everyone and doesnt stick out a million miles is difficult.

Also not everyone has any extra space at the back of the PC and might want to just tuck it out of the way.

HEC is (HDMI Ether Channel) is not supported anywhere, but as it requires CEC to work, it can't work with a PC that doesnt support CEC, equally the USB is for the data side, basically put, we have to use USB or something similar (not connected to the HDMI cable) to carry the data

Also, we thought about attaching a HDMI cable directly to the adapter, but then what is a suitable length for everyone, some need 10cm (what we supply) some might want 2m and a really long USB cable because it works for them, or whatever, equally if the cable is damaged the adapter is rendered useless, whereas now I think if the short cable fails the adapter can still be used with a new cable.
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#7
(2012-06-14, 16:46)rterblanche Wrote: Would also like an easy way to remap keys.


AND

be in the main development build of XBMC , so that we can also use the nightly builds.

I believe 1.7 will hit on 1st July
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#8
(2012-06-14, 16:36)Begall Wrote: I have one, I like it. I have two issues with it currently. Firstly, it does not automatically turn my amp on when the TV is turned on, which is annoying but I think that might be a TV related issue as opposed to something the adapter is responsible for. In which case, eh.

Secondly, a clearly documented way to remap keys would be greatly appreciated. The default arrangement on my (Samsung) remote is quite bizarre when there is full screen video up. The 'Exit' key simply causes the video to pause for a split second, the 'Return' key brings up the codec info and the main select key (which anyone would instinctively expect to bring up the OSD) brings up the video size selection drop down. The only way to get back to the home screen from video by default is via the PVR channel list and I suppose that wouldn't work on a standard build. A normal user would just get frustrated I think, and while I've tried a couple of times to remap as suggested in scattered forum posts I've not been able to do it successfully.

These 2 issues are leaving me having to continue to use 3 separate remotes and it would be great if they could be solved, it would leave it near-perfect.

Your first issue, join us on our irc channel or email our support to get solved, i'm sure it's something trivial.

The second point is a worthwhile one and I will start to see if we can come up with stock replacement keymaps for different brands
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#9
What about some kind of Mac support?

Oh, i forgot - "some kind of Mac support" is already there and it works like this:

You buy the adapter (back in November '11) and have to wait for about three months for the first working version of a Mac build.
You get regular updates for Windows, Linux and OpenELEC - great.
But you don't get it for the Mac.

First answers from "support" where, that i can compile builds for myself if i want them.
The other time around they were to busy for compiling Mac versions or their Mac guy wasn't available.

The latest working Mac build by now is 57 days old. In this 57 days they pushed two newer version for Windows, Linux and OpenELEC.

Again no Mac versions and no replies to my emails. Nothing.


So... what about real Mac support?


Kodi Krypton
macOS Sierra 10.12
Mac mini (late 2012)
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#10
(2012-06-14, 15:40)Malard Wrote: Did you look at our site, perhaps not understand what it does? or something else!
I think you've' hit the nail here - the USB CEC is a difficult product to explain to people. I remember you had a video showing it in use, which was very confusing. The video showed exactly how the adapter was wired to the TV and XBMC machine, but it was not clear to me what the device actually did. I actually have a background with these devices (I own a Rainshadow device), and so I figured it out - but I imagine a lot of people gave up quickly.
What you need to do is advertise what it does for end users, namely: Reduce the amount of remotes necessary - use a single remote for everything! Functionality of a Harmony with your current remote, at 1/3 the cost.

The other difficulty with these devices is that every customer's setup is unique. You already know how difficult it is for Pulse Eight to deal with all the semi-proprietary implementations of CEC from Sony, LG, Samsung, etc. in order to support as many customers as possible. In addition, the customer is in a difficult situation configuring the device to do what they want - there really is no "plug and play" experience with a device like this. This is good for extreme tweakers (or professional Home Media installers) to get perfect setups. It's not so good for people who want a pre-built or out-of-the-box HTPC.
I would suggest creating a reference platform. I mean, a simple HTPC (Revo RL70?) connected to a TV. No other AV equipment. Make this experience work out of the box, or with little configuration, and lots of detailed instructions online. Have it be able to do just the basics, using the TV's pre-packaged remote:
- Turn TV on and off
- select correct input on TV (switch to XBOX for example)
- adjust both TV and XBMC volume
- navigate XBMC
If you can get just that simple feature set rock solid on most HTPC/TV combos, then you've won. That gets rid of one remote for most users. Anything more complicated than that and you need a sophisticated user - who will figure it out anyway. But you need that basic feature set in order to bring in the non-sophisticated users - and it has to be simple to setup and use. I don't know how you do that since every remote is different, every user wants something unique, etc. It's a hard problem.

Next, you need better word of mouth. People read about FLIRC, and the feedback is "this is great" or "this simplified my system enormously" or "this is the greatest device I've ever used". I'm not trying to be negative, but the USB CEC device doesn't have that kind of word of mouth. The feedback I've seen on the forum ranges from "it's functional" to "I got confused and gave up" to "it's junk". The device is great, the idea is great, you somehow have to translate that into a great experience so that your userbase becomes your marketing team.

In addition to all of this, it's not in the XBMC Eden release. In order to use the adapter, you need to download a modified version from Pulse Eight. That doesn't sound like much, but that's a big barrier to entry for most users - myself included. Until a stable build of XBMC is released that includes this support, your market is artificially limited. You do a great job of supporting all platforms - but it's got to make it into the mainline. I know you're working on this, but truthfully until it happens I'm not interested in the device.

I love your device, and I really like what you're doing with Pulse Eight. I'd be glad to purchase your device, but I'm waiting until its built into XBMC.



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#11
teaguecl,

Thing is, CEC is built into the main XBMC, the issues is we are still producing updates to libCEC and releasing them (new features/fixes etc) and the latest stable release of XBMC isn't being updated to include them, so it's really just a simple tradeoff, if you want to use the official build then you get libCEC 1.2 if you want libCEC 1.7 with extra features (such as wake-on-cec you either need to roll your own) or download our build, it's a mirror copy to the one on the xbmc.org site just with a newer libCEC built into it.

Regarding understanding it, yup I agree and I am working on a better website to explain it, the basic setup you talk about does actually work, it has pretty much always worked, and I don't think we've found a setup that doesn't work when it should.
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#12
(2012-06-14, 17:03)Malard Wrote:
(2012-06-14, 16:36)Begall Wrote: I have one, I like it. I have two issues with it currently. Firstly, it does not automatically turn my amp on when the TV is turned on, which is annoying but I think that might be a TV related issue as opposed to something the adapter is responsible for. In which case, eh.

Secondly, a clearly documented way to remap keys would be greatly appreciated. The default arrangement on my (Samsung) remote is quite bizarre when there is full screen video up. The 'Exit' key simply causes the video to pause for a split second, the 'Return' key brings up the codec info and the main select key (which anyone would instinctively expect to bring up the OSD) brings up the video size selection drop down. The only way to get back to the home screen from video by default is via the PVR channel list and I suppose that wouldn't work on a standard build. A normal user would just get frustrated I think, and while I've tried a couple of times to remap as suggested in scattered forum posts I've not been able to do it successfully.

These 2 issues are leaving me having to continue to use 3 separate remotes and it would be great if they could be solved, it would leave it near-perfect.

Your first issue, join us on our irc channel or email our support to get solved, i'm sure it's something trivial.

The second point is a worthwhile one and I will start to see if we can come up with stock replacement keymaps for different brands

+1 on some keymaps for different devices and TV's
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#13
(2012-06-14, 19:36)bigbadrabbit Wrote: What about some kind of Mac support?

Oh, i forgot - "some kind of Mac support" is already there and it works like this:

You buy the adapter (back in November '11) and have to wait for about three months for the first working version of a Mac build.
You get regular updates for Windows, Linux and OpenELEC - great.
But you don't get it for the Mac.

First answers from "support" where, that i can compile builds for myself if i want them.
The other time around they were to busy for compiling Mac versions or their Mac guy wasn't available.

The latest working Mac build by now is 57 days old. In this 57 days they pushed two newer version for Windows, Linux and OpenELEC.

Again no Mac versions and no replies to my emails. Nothing.


So... what about real Mac support?

Couldn't agree with you more, the lack of Mac Support is a major let down.
They should state on their website that you're on your own if you use a mac.
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#14
(2012-06-14, 17:01)Malard Wrote:
(2012-06-14, 16:46)rterblanche Wrote: Would also like an easy way to remap keys.


AND

be in the main development build of XBMC , so that we can also use the nightly builds.

I believe 1.7 will hit on 1st July

Any news on this? Is it finally included? Also for Mac nightlies?
Kodi Krypton
macOS Sierra 10.12
Mac mini (late 2012)
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#15
I have an easy one. I have a quite stantard setup:

-TV: Sony 46EX720
-AVR: Sony STR-DH700
-HTPC: Asrock ION 300HT
-Remote: Logitech Harmony 300

Connected to the AVR are an XBOX 360 and the HPT (both via HDMI), and the TV through optical (for TV audio).

Very simple question: what would I gain if I change from this Harmony based setup over to the USB CEC adapter?

Of course, there are some areas in which I'm not too thrilled with my current setup. One for example is if I'm watching a movie and I want to have a quick look into a football match that's running on tv. I have to:

1. Pause the movie
2. Set the harmony to control the AVR
3. Switch avr inputs (to have tv sound)
4. Set the harmony to control TV
5. Switch to TV Tunner
And inverse to continue with the movie

Would using USB CEC make that easier? faster? For what's worth, I quite like the Sony remote..

Thanks Smile

EDIT: just to be 100% honest, even if it does everything I want it to do, I might not buy it.
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