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The last Boblight Config Maker …

The last Boblight Config Maker …
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After many iterations of Boblight Config Maker, I’ve decided to finally release v2 … keep in mind that I have the feeling it’s not quite finished yet, so it’s released as a beta, by request of many v1 users.

V2 has been rebuild complete from scratch, and (in my opinion) is not been quite perfect yet, but some will see benefit in this version as it adds a lot of new features.

Since building and maintaining this application is simply taking way too much time, this will, unfortunately, most likely be the last version as well. As with many free or open source projects, this project is taking just too much time, and unfortunately, I do have to make a living as well.

Note that for now the source will not be made public.

UPDATE: For Windows and MacOS X I have fixed several bugs, a new version (beta 3) is available.

Boblight Config Maker – Update 1.4 available

Boblight Config Maker – Update 1.4 available
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Today I released version 1.4 of Boblight Config Maker for Linux, Windows and MacOS X.

This version allows you to resize the window (for those with smaller screens).
I have also included the option to have a Magic Word calculation done automatically (commonly used with Adafruit and such).

The latest version can be found in the Boblight Config Maker article, or on the Downloads Page.

Boblight Config Maker – Update 1.3 available

Boblight Config Maker – Update 1.3 available
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Today I released version 1.3 of Boblight Config Maker for Linux, Windows and MacOS X.

This version allows you to choose the desired decimal separator (period or comma), as some users have ran into issues with this.
I recommend to always start testing with a period, and if that doesn’t work resort to testing with a comma.

The latest version can be found in the Boblight Config Maker article, or on the Downloads Page.

Ambient TV lighting with XBMC Boblight, OpenElec and WS2811/WS2812 LEDs

Ambient TV lighting with XBMC Boblight, OpenElec and WS2811/WS2812 LEDs
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Back in the day, when the first LED TV’s appeared, Philips came with a great feature: Ambient TV lighting.

Ambient TV lighting consisted out of lights that would project to the wall behind your TV, one or more colors matching the content on your TV. So if the majority of the screen would be red, then the light emitted would be red, if the majority of the screen is green, then green light would be emitted, etc.

Over the years this has been refined to multiple colors, matching small parts of the screen. Unfortunately though, this wonderful feature is not something you can simply add to your TV. You will have to buy a Philips TV with this feature, …

Until now though, and only for XBMC (Kobi) users. Some smart guy(s) created Boblight, which is opensource and can run (for example) on your XBMC computer. The computer analyzes the video content and “converts” it to signals for LED strands, so you can attach these strands behind your TV and have a DYI Ambient TV lighting effect.

Note : This will only work for content played through your XBMC Media player (I used OpenElec)! So your regular TV shows, your XBox or PlayStation, none of these will have an influence on the “Ambient TV lighting” we will be discussing in this article.

Boblight Config Maker for Windows, MacOS X and Linux

Boblight Config Maker for Windows, MacOS X and Linux
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When I started building my own “AmbiLight” project, based on OpenElec (XBMC) and Boblight, the first problem I ran into is finding a tool to create a Boblight config files for use under MacOS X. Naturally, there are quite a few great tools out there that do a good job, but it’s either a script, web-based or limited to Windows users (Boblight Config Tool), and again … not for MacOS X …

Creating a config file for Boblight can be quite tedious when you have a large amount of LEDs (I had 290 LEDs), when you mix up the orientation of your LEDs (pretty common issue), or when you do not have your LEDs spread out evenly.

So here is my tool, for Windows, MacOS X and Linux, written in Lazarus Pascal – enjoy!
UPDATE: Another minor bug fixed, added test video and Boblight Config Maker can now also be found at Alternativeto.net.

Arduino – Playing with a light sensitive resistor (LDR)

Arduino – Playing with a light sensitive resistor (LDR)
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After building my own Ambient Light for my TV (Boblight project), several users asked how to control the light intensity of the LEDs based on the ambient light.

So the LEDs should be brighter during the day, and more dimm at night.

This brought me to explore the use of different light sensors on an Arduino, where the cheapest and most common one is a so called LDR (Light Dependent Resistor). An LDR decreases in it’s resistance as light increases.

Looking at what I could find online, I did find that there is enough information available when using an Analog pin of the Arduino. In this article however, we will also look at using a Digital pin to read an ON/OFF state. So in this article I’ll show you some of the basics on how to use an LDR with your Arduino.

In this article I’ll discuss both options.

How to remove HDCP from HDMI signal …

How to remove HDCP from HDMI signal …
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I’ve been playing with ambient light for my TV for a while now, as you can see in the “Ambient TV lighting with XBMC Boblight, OpenElec and WS2811/WS2812 LEDs“, to make colorful lights (LEDs) light up matching the video you’re seeing on your TV.

The downside of that project is that it only works for a dedicated HTPC running for example Kodi (XBMC).

But what if I’d like to see this with video from my XBox 360, XBox One, Wii, or … Blu-ray player or cable box?
Besides the fact that we need to grab this video, and all it’s technical complications, we will be running into a copy protection issue called HDCP, a HDMI feature nobody really asked for.

Please note that I’m not writing this article to promote pirating content! This article is solely aimed at using non-HDCP compliant equipment with equipment that seems to require HDCP. So I’m looking at older HDMI LCD/LED/Plasma TV’s, HDMI Projectors, Game Recording (PS3), taking screenshots for documentation and/or articles, and of course my own little project to generate ambient light behind my TV! Please keep this in mind.

Arduino – Controlling a WS2812 LED strand with NeoPixel or FastLED

Arduino – Controlling a WS2812 LED strand with NeoPixel or FastLED
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The main reason why I bought my first Arduino board was to be able to play with LED strips with applications like BobLight and LightPack that offer colored backlighting to your TV comparable to what Philips offers with it’s beautiful AmbiLight TV’s.

I like really Philips, and I like Ambilight, so why not buy a Philips AmbiLight TV?
Well, pretty simple … first of all Philips does not carry 80″ AmbiLight enabled TV’s, smaller models are significantly more expensive than non-AmbiLight models, and it appears that these AmbiLight TV’s are hard to find in the US.

In this article we will be using an Arduino Uno connected to a strip of WS2812/WS2811 LEDs.