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My homebrew media player

Well, let's see. I had a dual output battery, I had a Pi Zero. I had a little display unit. The obvious conclusion of this is to join all the bits together:

It is all mounted on a serving tray, because I couldn't be bothered making a hole in a box and fiddling with hot melt glue in order to make something more enclosed. As already mentioned, the display is rather dim (even at full brightness) and seems a little shifted into the blue hues. However it was enough for my mother and I to watch a program broadcast on BBC Four over the winter which had a Scots man going up into the Sami wilderness of northern Finland in search of the northern lights.
What you see on the screen is a film called "Bright Hair" that I recorded with my satellite receiver a while ago.

Let's look from the side:

The Pi Zero is held in place with the back-to-back HDMI adaptor. A piece of rubber band holds a little "travel USB hub" to the bottom of the Pi Zero.

Bottom view now:

Nothing too exciting there. A mouse for UI input and an SD card reader.

Today, I added a keyboard and a USB WiFi adaptor - the latter of which was pretty simple to get going once I realised that the network settings were in "MyOSMC" instead of, you know, Settings!

Of course, adding WiFi to OSMC means it wanted to update itself. So here is a picture of the screen during the update process. It's a little hard to read, but not impossible.

What was impossible was the sheer amount of rubbish that it wanted to download and install, turning itself to a version of Kodi along the way. Oh, and as a side effect, adding a high pitched whistle to the audio output. The audio is set to "keep alive" for a minute, and when that time is up there is a crackle and then perfect silence. Strange...

Another screen photo. This time it's Soy Luna trying to convince the world that roller skates are cool, about thirty years after it went out of fashion... Maybe time is different in South America? I played with my camera's settings for a while to get hues that matched what my eyes could see. You'll notice the blue tinting on her skin.

Now a picture of my favourite bad-ass, Azumi. The colours look more natural. That's because I did some post processing because the Azumi film has... I don't know, a weird transfer from film? Pretty much the entire movie has a green hue to it, and photographing that wouldn't be doing justice to the display (it's the source that looks weird), so I tried to make something that looked correct. The darkness on the right is a shadow of "the final boss". You'll know what I mean if you've seen the film.

And finally, a close-up of Luna, so you can see the pixel arrangement. At a resolution of 480×320 (usually quoted in advertising as 320×480 so they can try to pass it off as 480p - it isn't, it's 320p!) the pixels can be quite visible. The lack of colour (64K instead of 16M), on the other hand, is not so apparent. It is going to be there in areas of flat colour (such as the wall behind Luna, above?), but I'm so used to this sort of thing happening as an artefact of video compression - subtle colour transitions often get flattened into bands of distinct colours if the bandwidth is too low or the compression too aggressive.

That said, this display cost me only a mite over the price of two of those dinky OLEDs and is far more useful. As already said, it is - to date - the only display that works reliably with my Beagle xM. And being a standard HDMI input, it's a simple plug'n'play issue. Indeed, having on-board rescaling for resolutions up to FullHD, the display ought to work with just about anything. I tried it on my satellite receiver with NHK World at FullHD. No problem.

For media playback, this won't replace my phone (a lot brighter, and something truly insane like 2560×1440 in the same sort of display size), but for an experiment of hooking some bits together for a little media player, it was a success. Yeah, I bought this display to mess around with. This is the sort of messing I had in mind. ☺



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jgharston, 18th April 2018, 03:53
"Enough for I to watch BBC4"??? I think all that Japanese is rotting your English. :)
Rick, 19th April 2018, 18:01
Where did you see that? Must be some sort of rendering problem as the text copy-pasted on my phone is "However it was enough for my mother and I to watch a program broadcast on BBC Four". Just a few more words than you quoted. ;-)

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