Posts Tagged ‘amazon’

Samsung & Amazon Introduce HDR10+ Standard with Dynamic Metadata & Tone Mapping

April 20th, 2017 7 comments

Most recent 4K Ultra HD televisions support high dynamic range (HDR) through standards such as HDR10, Dolby Vision, or Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG). Samsung and Amazon have jointly introduced an update to HDR10 with HDR10+ that adds dynamic tone mapping & metadata.

The companies describe the issues for HDR10′ static metadata as follows:

The current HDR10 standard utilizes static metadata that does not change during playback despite scene specific brightness levels. As a result, image quality may not be optimal in some scenes. For example, when a movie’s overall color scheme is very bright but has a few scenes filmed in relatively dim lighting, those scenes will appear significantly darker than what was originally envisioned by the director.

HDR10+ will be able to adjust metadata for each scene, and even for each frame, hence solving the issue of darker scenes. If you already own a Samsung TV with HDR10,  it’s not already outdated, as all 2017 UHD TVs already support HDR10+, and 2016 UHD TVs will support HDR10+ through a firmware update.

Amazon Video will be the first streaming service to deliver HDR10+ content, and Samsung also collaborated with other companies to integrate HDR10+ into products such as Colorfront’s Transkoder for post-production master, and MulticoreWare x265 video encoder.

HDR10 – and HDR10+ – is also said to be an open standard, but it could not find the specifications online, and only managed to find that HDR10 Media Profile main  must support EOTF: SMPTE ST 2084, 4:2:0 color Sub-sampling, 10-bit color depth, ITU-R BT.2020 color primaries, and SMPTE ST2086, MaxFALL and MaxCLL metadata defined in CTA 861.3-A standard (free preview) which you can purchase for $67. There must be some sort of CTA Standard for HDR dynamic metadata extensions for HDR10+, but I could not find anything [Update: Maybe SMPTE ST 2094-20-2016?]

Samsung showcased a static vs dynamic tone mapping demo at NAB 2016 last year, but it’s quite hard to see any differences in the video.

Categories: Hardware Tags: amazon, hdr, HDR10, samsung, standard

Secure IoT Connectivity with NodeMCU ESP8266 Board, ATECC508A Crypto Chip, Mongoose OS, and AWS IoT

March 7th, 2017 16 comments

There are many examples of Internet of Things projects, but more often than not the implementation is not secure, either because the device is exposed to the Internet with minimum or no security (worst case), or a gateway (hopefully) provides secure connection to the Internet, but the communication between sensor nodes and the gateway in the local network is not secure, due to memory limitation of the nodes, for example it might be challenging to implement security on ESP8266. Mongoose OS is an open source operating system for the Internet of Things developed by Cesanta working on ESP32, ESP8266, STM32, and TI CC3200, and the developers have demonstrated a secure solution with Mongoose OS running on ESP8266 connecting over a TLS connection to AWS IoT (Amazon Web Service IoT) and using TLS credentials stored in Microchip ATECC508A CryptoAuthentication Device.

NodeMCU with ATCRYPTOAUTH-XPRO (Left) or barebone ATECC508A (Right)

The addition of ATECC508 chip either using “XplainedPro extension board for crypto products” (ATCRYPTOAUTH-XPRO) or ATECC508A chip itself, is to avoid storing private TLS credentials in NodeMCU’s flash memory, as anybody with physical access to the device could steal private keys and get access to the cloud. ATECC508A is connected via the I2C interface of the target board.

So I guess the crypto chip truly makes sense if you have sensor nodes on the field with information important enough that third parties may be interested in getting access to your sensor to try read your private key from ESP8266’s flash. It costs less than $1, so you may consider it anyway, although you can still get a secure TLS connection between NodeMCU and AWS IoT without it, but it adds another level of security.

Once you are done with the hardware connections, you’ll need to install Mongoose OS on the board, and follow the MQTT + AWS IoT tutorial to get started. Nothing complicated need to be done to leverage the crypto chip, as the command mgos aws-iot-setup should automatically detect ATECC508A chip and use it.

Netgem SoundBox is a Speaker with Built-in Set-Top Box Features

February 25th, 2017 1 comment

Netgem, a company specializing in Connected TV & Home, has sent a press release about profit growth, and two new “innovations int its smart home roadmap” with voice control with Amazon, and SoundBox, a connected speaker which embeds set-top box technology.

Netgem does not sell directly to consumers, but instead sell its products and solutions to service providers, and they have not provided a great deal of technical details. But we still know the company has improved Netgem Home Platform, a cloud service allowing the deployment and management of multi-screen features, content discoverability, with support for multi-room, multi-source music service through technology from Voxtok.

SoundBox will then offer both video and audio service, and be controlled by voice using Amazon Alexa. The SoundBox will be customized for each Telco to adapt to the needs of local markets.

A few more details may eventually surfaced on Netgem’s SoundBox product’s page. They’ll also demonstrate their solutions at Mobile World Congress 2017.

Amazon EC2 F1 Instances Put Xilinx Virtex Ultrascale+ FPGA Boards into the Cloud

February 22nd, 2017 4 comments

We’ve covered several board and modules based on Xilinx Zynq Ultrascale+ MPSoC such as the AXIOM Board and Trenz TE0808 SoM, both featuring ZU9EG MPSoC, with systems selling for several thousands dollars. But I’ve been informed you may not need to purchase a board to use Virtex UltraScale+ FPGAs, which are different from Zynq UltraScale+ since they lack the ARM CPU & GPU and normally feature a more capable FPGA, as last November, Amazon launched a developer preview of F1 instances giving access to this type of hardware from their cloud.

That’s the FPGA hardware you’ll be able to access from one F1 instance:

  • Xilinx UltraScale+ VU9P manufactured using a 16 nm process.
  • 64 GB of ECC-protected memory on a 288-bit wide bus (four DDR4 channels).
  • Dedicated PCIe x16 interface to the CPU.
  • Approximately 2.5 million logic elements.
  • Approximately 6,800 Digital Signal Processing (DSP) engines.
  • Virtual JTAG interface for debugging.

I understand those FPGA boards are PCIe card plugged into servers with an Intel Broadwell E5 2686 v4 processor, up to 976 GB of memory, and up to 4 TB of NVMe SSD storage. This is obviously only usable if the FPGA do not need extra hardware connected to the board.

You can choose from two instance types as described in the table below.

Instance Type FPGA Cards vCPUs Instance Memory (GiB) SSD Storage (GB) Enhanced Networking EBS Optimized
f1.2xlarge 1 8 122 480 Yes Yes
f1.16xlarge 8 64 976 4 x 960 Yes Yes

Amazon provides an hardware development kit or FPGA Developer AMI (Amazon Instance), where developers write and debug FPGA code on their own hardware/instance, before creating an “Amazon FPGA image” (AFI), and attaching it to an F1 instance as describe in the first diagram of this post. If you’re a customer who needs a specific “acceleration routine”, you don’t even need the FPGA development kit, as you can purchase the AFI on the market place, and deploy it on F1 instances.

If you are interested in Amazon solution and want to know more and get started, Amazon organized a one hour webinar last December.

Hardware-accelerated computing leveraging FPGAs is especially used for genomics research, financial analytics, real time video processing, big data search and analytics, and security applications.

AFAIK, Amazon has still not officially launched F1 instances commercially, at which point you’ll be able to pay by the hour for the use of the instance, but you can still sign up for the F1 preview.

Thanks to Jon for the tip.

Seagate Duet Portable Hard Drive Automatically Syncs with Amazon Cloud Drive

December 2nd, 2016 1 comment

Seagate has announced the launch of Seagate Duet 1TB portable hard drive with auto-sync to Amazon Cloud Drive, so that your data is always backed in the cloud. If you use the drive to backup data, that means you’ll have a extra backup copy in the cloud, which could be useful if the drive fails just when you want to back it up (it happened to me), or somehow your house burns down…

seagate-amazon-driveAnother advantage is that if you forget to take your drive with you, the data will be accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection from Amazon Cloud service. It connects through your Mac or PC’s USB 3.0 port, and sync files to the cloud after an initial setup with your Amazon account. Once the setup is done, you can use the drive as you’d normally do, and files will automatically be backed up in the cloud. The Amazon Drive mobile app will allow people to access their files from phones or tablets running Android or iOS operating system.

I guess it should be possible to set this up yourself with a normal drive too, but this just makes it a little easier. It should be slightly cheaper if you intended to use Amazon Drive, as Seagate Duet is available for pre-order $99.99 on Amazon (US customers only), and comes with one year of Amazon Drive Unlimited Storage ($59.99 value) for new US Amazon Drive customers, as well as a two-year limited warranty from Seagate.

Via Liliputing and AFTVnews

Categories: Hardware Tags: amazon, seagate

Marvell EZ-Connect MW302 IoT Starter Kit Supports AWS IoT Cloud Services

October 9th, 2015 6 comments

Amazon has just launched AWS (Amazon Web Services) IoT (Beta), a cloud platform that lets connected devices securely interact with cloud applications and other IoT devices. As pasrt of the announcement, they also released AWS IoT SDK that comes in three flavors:

  • Embedded C SDK for C-based platforms such as Linux, RTOS, with variants for OpenSSL and mbed TLS.
  • JavaScript SDK in Node.js
  • Arduino Yún SDK.

Ten started kits are currently officially supported by AWT IoT, many of them being existing platforms such as LinkIt One, BeagleBone Green, Intel Edison, or TI LaunchPad CC3200,  with several of these kits including SeeedStudio’s Grove modules.

Marvell MW302 IoT Starter Kit (Click to Enlarge)

Marvell MW302 IoT Starter Kit (Click to Enlarge)

One of the kits that’s completely new, at least to me, is Marvell EZ-Connect MW302 IoT Starter Kit which include a mini USB to USB cable, and Marvell 88MW302 development board with the following (preliminary) specifications:

  • SoC – Marvell EZ-Connect MW302 ARM Cortex-M4 WiSoC with 512KB SRAM
  • Storage – No info
  • Connectivity – 2.4Ghz b/g/n Wi-Fi (built-in MW302 MCU
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG,
  • Debugging – 1x mini USB for UART console and JTAG, 1x 10-pin JTAG connector
  • Expansion headers – 2x 32-pin header with access to SPI, I2C, UART, I2S, PWM, ADC, DAC, as well as power signals and GND.
  • Misc – Reset key, four buttons, various jumpers, two LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V DC via power jack
  • Dimensions – N/A
Marvell 88MW302 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Marvell AB-88MW30X V2.0 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Information about Marvell MW302 SoC is limited to the product page, and more details require an NDA. Documentation for the kit is slightly better, with the SDK soon to be released on Github, and a getting started guide explains how to use AWS IoT dash with the board to monitor key presses, blink LEDs, and trigger actions with AWS IoT to AWS Lambda feature, which appears similar to what TI Connected LaunchPad does with Exosite cloud platform.

MW302 IoT Starter Kit is listed on Amazon for $49.90, but currently out of stock.

Amazon Fire TV 2015 Features Mediatek MT8173 Cortex A72 & A53 Processor

October 1st, 2015 11 comments

Last year, Amazon launched the Amazon Fire TV box based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor for $100. The company has recently introduced an upgraded model powered by Mediatek MT8173 quad core processor (2x Cortex A72, 2x Cortex A53), and with support for 4K videos, while keeping the same price tag.

Amazon_Fire_TV_2015Fire TV 2015 specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT8173 quad core processor with 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores @ 2.0 GHz and two ARM Cortex A53 cores @ 1.6 Ghz, and a PowerVR GX6250 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB
  • Storage – 8GB internal storage + micro SD slot up to 128GB
  • Video Output – HDMI up to 2160p30, 108060, 720p60. HDMI CEC and HDCP 2.2 support
  • Video Codecs – H.265, H.264
  • Audio Support
    • Codecs – AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC)
    • Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1 LE with support for HID 1.0 , SPP 1.2, HOGP 1.0, GATT, A2DP 1.2, and AVRCP 1.0
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Power Supply – TBD
  • Dimensions – 115 mm x 115 mm x 17.8 mm
  • Weight – 270 g
Amazon Fire TV Game Controller

Amazon Fire TV Game Controller

The device will run Fire OS 5 based on Android 5.1, and including its own voice assistant: Alexa. Amazon Fire TV will ship with Amazon Fire TV Voice Remote, a power adapter, two AAA batteries and a Quick Start Guide. There’s also a Gaming Edition which replaces Fire TV Voice Remote by Fire TV game controller, and adds a 32GB microSD card, as well as Shovel Knight and Disney’s DuckTales games.

Amazon Fire TV 2015 can be purchased on Amazon US for $99.99, while Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition goes for $139.99, and the products are scheduled to ship on October 5. The remote control and game controller can also be bought separately for respectively $29.99 and $49.99.

Nvidia Shield Android TV vs Apple TV vs Roku 3 vs Fire TV vs Nexus Player – Video Capabilities and Features Comparison

October 1st, 2015 6 comments

Since Nvidia released the Shield Android TV box, I’ve heard several people saying Nvidia raised the bar and even disrupted the TV box market by bringing a powerful HTPC and gaming console to the market for just $199.


The company has now released OTA 2.0 firmware that improves HTPC capabilities, including under Kodi and Plex, and the box supports for 10-bit HEVC, H.264, and VP9 @ 4K, and audio pass-through for HD audio codecs such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master.

As part of the release announcement, Nvidia also compared the Shield TV media capabilities to the ones of other US centric media players, namely Apple TV (2015), Roku 3, Amazon Fire TV (2015), and Nexus Player.

Shield_TV_Roku_3_Amazon_Fire_Nexus_Player_H.265_VP9Since it comes from Nvidia, it was also going to show the Shield TV in a good light, but I’m very surprised to see that Apple, Amazon, Google, and Roku would ship a device without MPEG-2 support… Maybe most people just stream videos online, instead of watching ripped DVDs… or in the case of Fire TV 2015 and Apple TV 2015, the products are not shipping yet, and the specifications were not completed. Nvidia Shield TV is also the one to support pass-through, but DTS-HD HR (High Resolution) is not listed and most likely not supported.

Nvidia also provided another comparison table comparing features and performance of Apple TV, Roku 3, and Fire TV (2015), against Shield, and somehow dropped Nexus Player from the comparison.

Apple_TV_vs_Roku_3_vs_FireTV_vs_Nvidia_ShieldThis confirms Shield TV supports HDMI 2.0a, and 2160p @ 60 Hz video output, and is much more powerful than its competitors, being the only machine providing decent gaming performance. Fire  TV is listed as not having a micro SD slot, but that’s a mistake, as Fire TV supports micro SD cards up to 128GB.

I’ve also checked the price of the competitors:

So only the Apple TV device is in the same price range as Nvidia Shield Android TV, and while it’s true the Nvidia device is well above the rest of the field in terms of performance and video capabilities, it’s also twice as expensive, but if that you need is a 4K HTPC with audio pass-through, it is the only viable solution among the other devices listed above, and the price to performance ratio is very good… as long as you happen to have an address in the US, or beginning today, in France, Germany, the UK, or Scandinavia, where it is now selling for 149.99 GBP, or 199.99 Euros. But if you live outside Europe or US, or other markets where the Shield TV is officially sold, you’ll have to go through parallel channels, and it will probably cost you between $300 to $400 to get the 16GB version of the device.

Thanks to Harley for the tip!