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Posts Tagged ‘hdmi’

$99 Inforce IFC6420 Qualcomm Snapdragon 600E Board Comes with 3 HDMI Out/In Ports

September 11th, 2017 3 comments

Inforce Computing has introduced the first board of their “Application Ready Platforms” family with Inforce 6420 SBC powered by Qualcomm Snpadragon 600 / 600E processor, and equipped with three HDMI ports including one HDMI input, and two independent HDMI outputs making suitable for products needing streaming, content sharing or rendering on multiple displays. The board also comes with WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, etc… for “edge computing in the IoT space”.

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Inforce 6420 board specifications:

  • SoC –  Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 / 600E (APQ8064 / APQ8064E)  quad core Krait 300 CPU @ up to 1.7 GHz with Qualcomm Adreno 320 GPU, and Hexagon DSP
  • System Memory – 2GB on-board DDR3 (PCDDR3-533MHz)
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash (expandable to 64GB)
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet via Atheros8151, dual band dual stream 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 via QCA6234
  • Video – 2x HDMI 1.4a outputs up to 1080p, 1x HDMI input up to 1080p
  • Audio – WCD9311 audio codec; 8-channel 7.1 surround sound, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD, and DTS-HD via HDMI-out
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera – Via USB 2.0 port or/and HDMI input
  • Misc – IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A (typ.)
  • Dimensions – 160 mm x 70 mm
  • Temperature Range – 0-70° C
  • RoHS and WEEE compliant

The board comes pre-loaded with Android Lollipop 5.1.1, and the company provide a board support package (BSP) for development. Linux support based on an Open embedded is in progress. The solution is destined to be used for video collaboration, medical applications such as remote diagnosis & treatment, video capture, and smart boards.

Inforce Computing commits to supply Inforce 6420 board for at least 10 years, and you can purchase samples directly on their website for $99. Further information can be found on the product page.

Intel Gemini Lake Block Diagram and Yet More Info

August 14th, 2017 6 comments

So yesterday, I wrote about some of the new features of Intel Gemini Lake processors like native HDMI 2.0, 4-wide pipeline, 10-bit VP9, and possible built-in 802.11ac wireless controller. I went to bed, and somehow this morning I woke up with something that looks like Gemini Lake (GLK) block diagram, and a few more details.

So we indeed have HDMI 2.0 output, as well as DP 1.2a and eDP 1.4, and an embedded wireless controller via the CNVi (Connectivity Integration Architecture) block for WiFi’s MAC and Bluetooth’s MAC + Baseband modem. We’ll have plenty of USB 3.0 host interfaces, and the usual PCIe and SATA 3 interfaces. Still no UFS support, but eMMC 5.1 is supported, as well as x128 DDR4, LPDDR3 and LPDDR4 memory up to 2400 MHz (No ECC support). Cache size is confirmed to be 4MB for up to four GoldMont Plus (GLM+) cores, which combined with the wider pipeline (4 vs 3) will contribute to 10% to 15% better CPU performance compared to Apollo Lake. The Gen9LP GPU in GLK processors will come with up to 18 execution unit.

Another difference will be the update of GMM speech acceleration engine to the GNA version of the SIP with support for DNN (Dynamic Neural Networks) algorithms that could be used for applications such as Microsoft Cortana.

New Features of Intel Gemini Lake Processors – HDMI 2.0, 10-bit VP9 Codec, 4-Wide Pipeline, and More

August 13th, 2017 5 comments

Most recent low power Intel mini PCs are now based on Apollo Lake family with SoC such as Celeron N3450 or Pentium N4200, but we’ve known for a while that Gemini Lake processors will succeed those starting in Q4 2017, and we can expect some Celeron/Pentium SKUs like Intel Pentium J5005 or Intel Celeron N4000, but so far I had not seen that many details. However, an anonymous tip pointed me to some interesting publicly available information.

First, a kernel patch reveals a little about the CPU pipeline:

Add perf core PMU support for Intel Goldmont Plus CPU cores:
– The init code is based on Goldmont.
– There is a new cache event list, based on the Goldmont cache event list.
– All four general-purpose performance counters support PEBS.
– The first general-purpose performance counter is for reduced skid PEBS mechanism. Using :ppp to indicate the event which want to do reduced skid PEBS.
– Goldmont Plus has 4-wide pipeline for Topdown

Goldmont Plus is the microarchitecture  used in Gemini Lake processor. Goldmont found in Apollo Lake processors only uses a 3-wide pipeline, so there should be some performance benefits here.

Another patch indicates the processor will natively support HDMI 2.0 output:

Geminilake has a native HDMI 2.0 controller, which is capable of driving clocks up to 594Mhz. This patch updates the max tmds clock limit for the same.

Apollo Lake processors only support HDMI 1.4 natively, and while HDMI 2.0 is possible, it requires an external DP to HDMI 2.0 converter, which won’t be needed in Gemini Lake processors.

The last link to Intel 2017Q2 Graphics stack page lists the supported codecs and post-processing support in Gemini Lake processors via the VAAPI driver:

Add support for Gemini Lake (aka. GLK)
– Decoding: H.264/MPEG-2/VC-1/JPEG/VP8/HEVC/HEVC 10-bit/VP9/VP9 10-bit
– Encoding: H.264/MPEG-2/JPEG/VP8/VP9/HEVC/HEVC 10-bit/AVC low power CQP mode
– VPP: CSC/scaling/NoiseReduction/Deinterlacing{Bob, MotionAdaptive, MotionCompensated}/ColorBalance/STD

Finally, as I searched more about the Goldmont Plus microarchitecture, I found Wikichip page that also claims the processor will integrate an 802.11ac wireless controller, so no external module is needed. I could not find any other reference to this last claim, except for a FanlessTech tweet also claiming DDR4, Bluetooth, and 4MB L2 cache. Gemini Lake processors will be manufactured with 14-nm process like their Apollo Lake predecessors.

Checking Out Dodocool DC30S USB type C Hub with USB 3.0 Ports, Power Delivery, HDMI Output, and Card Reader

July 28th, 2017 11 comments

I reviewed Vorke Z3 Android mini PC last month, the first mini PC I’ve received with a USB type C port capable of handling video output too. I could see support for dual HDMI displays in the firmware, but at the time I did not have a USB type C hub with HDMI output. But Dodocool sent me their DC30C USB type C hub so I’ve finally been able to give a try.

Dodocool DC30S Specifications

  • USB Input – 13 cm USB 3.1 Type-C cable
  • USB Outputs – 3x USB 3.0 type A ports up to 5 Gbps; 1x USB 3.1 Type-C PD charging port
  • Video Output – HDMI port
  • Storage – SD & Micro SD card reader

Dodocool DC30S Unboxing

First the package which gives basic info about the USB hub.

The device comes with a warranty registration card, and a multi-language user manual.

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One side comes with the SD and micro SD card slots with LED indicator, and two USB 3.0 ports…

… while the other side includes a USB Type C female charging port, HDMI output, and another USB 3.0 port.

Using Vorke Z3 USB Type C port with Dodocool DC30S USB Hub

I found a two USB flash drives, and a SD card that I connected to the USB hub, as well as an HDMI cable connect to a Full HD TV, and my phone’s charger.

I connected the USB Hub to Vorke Z3 mini PC, and extra cables to another 4K TV, and Ethernet switch, as well as a dongle for my air mouse.

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At first I did not connect the USB type C charger, and the storage devices would not show, and while my Full HD TV would detect something was connected via HDMI, it would show “No Signal”. I tried to connect the HDMI cable from the USB hub to the 4K TV, and I had the same problem.  So I connected the USB power supply, and I could see the power draw from Vorke Z3 drop by about 2 Watts, but I would still not be able to use anything connected to the USB hub. Later I tried to disconnect and reconnect the USB hub, and magically everything worked (almost) as expected. It looks like disconnecting the USB type C port supply and reconnecting it may have an effect too.

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We have the 4K TV on the left connected directly via Vorke Z3’s HDMI port, and the Full HD TV on the right connected via the USB type C port through DC30S’s HDMI port.  The option “Display different content for double screen” did not work for me, so I could just use it to mirror the display, but that’s related to Vorke Z3’s firmware, not Dodocool’s USB hub.

HDMI1 is the output for the USB type C port, and I set it to 1920×1080 @ 60 Hz. That’s the maximum resolution via Vorke Z3’s USB type C port according to GeekBuying.

Storage also worked fine, but all USB flash drive were boot drives, and not recognized the TV box, I had another random USB flash drive, and I could mount and navigate LIBREELEC partition, as well as copy files to it.

A final test was to connect my USB 3.0 drive, and first I would get no storage shown at all. I disconnected the power supply, and suddenly it was detected, and got mounted, but there seemed to be power issues with the HDMI port of the USB type C shown on and off in my TV. I reconnected the USB power adapter, and got everything to work again. I ran A1SD bench to check whether I could still get the same 90 MB/s read/write speeds I got when the hardware was directly connected to the USB 3.0 port of the mini PC, and that was the case. I don’t have hardware to test the 5 Gbps bandwidth.

I’d like to thank Dodocool for sending a review sample, and if you are interested, you can purchase DC30S USB type C Hub on Amazon US for $26.99. You may also want to check the product page.

HDFury Vertex is a High-End HDMI 2.0 Splitter, Scaler, and Diagnostic Tool

July 4th, 2017 No comments

Most people won’t need this, but if you are working on HDMI, HDFury Vertex HDMI 2.0b splitter and scaler could be a very useful product. It comes with one HDMI 2.0b input port, two HDMI 2.0b output ports, some audio ports, an OLED display showing EDID, HDR, and other information, and a Windows tool allowing you to find out the full details about your HDMI connection over USB.

HDFury Vertex hardware specifications:

  • HDMI revision: HDMI 2.0b (Level A) 600Mcsc – 18Gbps
  • Max Resolution: 4K60 4:4:4 8b, 4K60 4:2:2 12b, 4K120 4:2:0 8b or 8K30 4:2:0 8b
  • I/O – 2 HDMI In, 2 HDMI Out, IR, RS232, USB, Analog Jack, Optical Out.
  • Upscale port – FHD 1080p to UHD 2160p & 4K/DCI
  • Downscale port – UHD 2160p & 4K/DCI to FHD 1080p
  • Signal Conversion – Resolution, Chroma Subsampling, Color Space, Color Depth, HDCP
  • HDCP Conversion – Any HDCP to any HDCP with CST1 support
  • Operating Modes – 18Gbps Scaler, Splitter & Matrix with CEC, ARC and EDID management
  • Special Modes – CEC Command, HTPC, Disable HDR, HDMI Doctor and booster.
  • EDID Modes – 10 EDID Flags, 100 EDID Banks (10 custom)
  • Infoframe Modes -: Capture, edit, block or replace HDR metadata, AVI & VSIF, Read SPD, Audio, HDMI Vendor, HDMI Forum
  • On Screen Display – Editable with custom text and mask. (cover TV channel logo)
  • OLED Display – 3.12″ diagonal, 256×64, 32 green colors
  • Dimension – 10 x 6 x 3 cm
  • Weight – 130g

The unit ships with a power supply and  a mini USB cable by default, but the company also optionally offers a Smart PSU for power monitoring, HDMI cables, and a GoBlue kit to add Bluetooth connectivity in case you want to use the Android/iOS app for monitoring data.

Sample Info Displayed on OLED Display

The picture above shows what kind of info you can expect to show on the OLED display with info about HDMI in, HDMI out, etc… But if you really to get the full HDMI details and control, you can connect the device to your computer USB port, and install VERTEX UTILITY Windows GUI 0.5.

There’s also a public API/DLL (but where? I could not find it…) to develop your own program for Vertex. You’ll find more details including the mobile apps, the Windows program, the user guide, and other documentation in the product page, where you can also pre-order HDFury Vertex for $349 with delivery scheduled for November 2017…

Categories: Hardware, Testing Tags: hdfury, hdmi, tool

USB type C to HDMI Cables Coming Soon thanks to HDMI Alt Mode for USB Type-C

June 29th, 2017 1 comment

Some devices already support video output over a USB type C connector, but they normally rely on DisplayPort over USB type C, so you’d either need a monitor that supports DisplayPort, or some USB Type C to HDMI converter. A DisplayLink dock is another solution, but again it converts video and audio signals. But soon you’ll be able to use a simple USB type C to HDMI cable between a capable device (camera, phone, computer, TV box…) and any HDMI TV or monitor.

This is being made possible thanks to HDMI Alt Mode for USB Type-C  that supports all HDMI 1.4b features including:

  • Resolutions up to 4K (@ 30 Hz)
  • Surround sound
  • Audio Return Channel (ARC)
  • 3D (4K and HD)
  • HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC)
  • Consumer Electronic Control (CEC)
  • Deep Color, x.v.Color, and content types
  • High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP 1.4 and HDCP 2.2)

There’s no video or audio conversion inside the cable, but there’s still a small micro-controller to handle messaging to negotiate the alt mode to use, which means the source device will have to be specifically supporting the new standard.

Charbax caught up with a representative of HDMI Licensing Administrator inc. demonstrating USB-C to HDMI cable with a 2-in-1 laptop connected to an HDMI monitor, as well as a camera prototype getting both HDMI signal with CEC support, and power (USB-PD) over a single cable.


The new specification is good news, and we should expect capable devices later this year. We’d just had to hope manufacturers will get serious with logos and description of features of their USB type C connectors, as there are now so many optional features that it could end up getting really confusing to end users. In case you wonder why HDMI 2.0b, with features like 4K @ 60 Hz and HDR, is not supported, the FAQ explains that “the HDMI Forum is responsible for the HDMI 2.0b specification and they have not made any public statements regarding the HDMI Alt Mode for the HDMI 2.0b spec”.

Categories: Hardware, Video Tags: camera, hdmi, standard, usb

InnSpire InnCable is an Android TV Box Embedded into an Ethernet Cable

June 27th, 2017 8 comments

We’ve got used to super small computer systems from TV boxes-in-a-plug to HDMI TV sticks, and tiny development boards such as Raspberry Pi Zero W. But InnSpire pushed the concept further with InnCable as the computer, or in this case the TV box, is placed inside an Ethernet cable, or more exactly a cable with Ethernet on one side (optional with PoE for power), and HDMI port on the other.

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Currently InnCable targets hotels, so it’s mainly designed as a TV box in a cable, rather than a computer as a cable. Some of InnCable smart cable’s key features and specifications include:

  • SoC – “Blazing fast processor”
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Networking – Ethernet and WiFi
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Serial – RJ-12 port for serial connection to another device
  • Power Supply – PoE (power over Ethernet) or 5V micro USB cable

The cable can be controlled with an RF remote control that does not require line of sight, an important features since the idea is to hide the cable behind the TV or furnitures in hotels. The company can also provide a remote control API of you want to develop your own remote or mobile app.

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You’ll be happy to learn that the cable is fanless (somehow I can’t help giggling as I’m writing this), and supports Dolby Digital 5.1 / AC3 audio. It runs Android with the company’s InnSpire 3.0 middleware that provides IPTV, iOS and Chromecast streaming.

While the company now focuses on the hotel industry, ZDNet reports they are also discussing residential and other applications. I’m pretty sure Chinese manufacturers will beat them at the latter game, just wait two or three months, and Android smart cables with not-so-polished firmware will start to show up on Alibaba… In the future I could also imagine more powerful Thunderbolt 3 cable computers with display, power, and data carried over a single cable, but it’s a longer term prospect as it would ideally require Thunderbolt cabling in the home.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

$18.9 Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 Board: Allwinner H3, WiFi + Bluetooth LE, HDMI and 8GB eMMC Flash

March 17th, 2017 24 comments

When will they ever stop? Shenzhen Xunlong has launched yet another Allwinner H3 board called Orange Pi Zero Plus 2, that has not that much in common with Orange Pi Zero, since it uses a different processor (H3 vs H2+), adds HDMI, and implements WiFi and BLE via an Ampak AP6212 module.Orange Pi Zero Plus 2:

  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU @ 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI port with CEC support
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Ampak AP6212) with u.FL antenna connector and external antenna
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera – MIPI CSI port
  • Expansion headers – Unpopulated 26-pin “Raspberry Pi B+” header + 13-pin header with headphone, 2x USB 2.0, TV out, microphone and IR receiver signals
  • Debugging – 3-pin serial console header
  • Misc – 2x LEDs for power and status
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 48 x 46 mm
  • Weight – 20 grams

So the board is slightly smaller than Orange Pi Zero, and won’t have some of the WiFi issues with Orange Pi Zero with many re-transmit packets leading to a lower throughput. It still works through contrary to what some people claim. Software support for Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 should be the same as with other H3 boards including Android, Ubuntu, and Armbian builds.

Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 has started selling for $18.90 + shipping on Aliexpress.

Thanks to Aleksey for the tip.