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 Forum index » Taking the Puppy out for a walk » Suggestions
Smart TVs ... Puppy
Moderators: Flash, Ian, JohnMurga
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Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 6730
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug 2012, 16:47    Post subject:  Smart TVs ... Puppy  

Just bought a new TV. I bought it because I noticed an Ethernet port on its back side. Working with the store, I reviewed the specs and sure enough it mentions the ethernet port. I made a immediate buy decision because it was last dat-last hour of the sale to buy. BAD MOVE (aan I know better too...).

I am aware of Smart-TVs. For those of us who have stayed in a hotel which provide these in your room, its a TV that has Internet and other neat things built-into the TV's Menu system, Smart-TVs in the consumer space come with WiFi built-in.

But, I bought a TV that, although it has a menu, it is NOT labeled as a Smart-TV and does NOT have a built-in WiFi adapter. So, what prompted me to purchase was that I could somehow make use of the ethernet port to add "smarts" to the TV once I got it on my network.

Here the problem
Many of us who have installed Rack mount servers know that servers built for racks can/do have an "extra" RJ45 port on its back. That extra port is for the manufacturer's service technician, should they be making a service call to access the hardware in the system. Well, guess what!!! This new TV has that port ONLY for the service-tech's use. ... not for mere mortals like the rest of us. I spent the better part of 3 hours in research and with the manufacturer's support tech to understand much more about how this TV differs from the Smart-TV. The information I received, now, will allow me to ask more intelligent questions when I do purchase a TV to address my future broadcast expectations

But, this leads to what is really going on in the world of TVs and whether Puppy has a chance in delivering technology that works in a TV.

I am asking the community for their ideas in this area and for their contributions. Your contributions can be as little or as much as you can for our understanding that may lead to production of a PET or distro that can work in/on a TV to provide "Smarts" to a TV which has HDMI and cable connections at a minimum, while if it also has Wifi and ethernet port (not a technician port), and USB, then, Puppy will take advantage of managing multimedia streams in concert with the TV.

In review, there are really 2 differing aspects to using the TV from a PC.
  1. Use it as a monitor for the the PC (primitive approach in today's world) - this ignores the TV aspect
  2. Manage the current TV deliverable while the PC is a recorder/streamer/Internet conduit/ for Smart services adding to the already existing services on the TV - this may mean replacing TV firmware with a Puppy distro. In this manner, Puppy controls all of what shows on the screen. That is remote control management, Picture-in-picture in picture (that is not a typo), channel management, Internet access and traditional desktop applications.
HP/Sony have kinda already done this with their "all-in-one" offerings that include a connection for digital TV. But, their offerings is Microsoft based. I think we can hi-jack a TV to do a similar effort and not have the user locked only into the manufacturer's offering as we extend and build this into the OS.

Benefit to Puppy community and membership
Think of how many TVs with HDMI there are in the world? What if we had something that ....

Because I am so new at looking at this, I am appealing to this community for their inputs, understanding, and suggestions/requests for how to make a TV Puppy Smart or how to make a PC TV Smart.

So lets start with asking the obvious

  • What characters a Smart TV?
  • What is the processor(s) in the Smart TVs?
  • What is the OSes (firmware) in the Smart TVs?
Lastly, TVs have been able to do Picture-in-picture for years, is there a OS subsystem that can do that on a PC today? PIP is the ability to have 2 threads active at the same time and to be able to "switch" the smaller screen with the larger one in a press of the remote's button. So, in other words, can a hot-key (or remote controller) do the same thing on an OS's screen?

What would you do or what should we do?

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Joined: 15 Dec 2008
Posts: 4439
Location: West Lothian, Scotland, UK

PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug 2012, 17:50    Post subject:  

1. I have the following smart TV...
(a) Sony Bravia KDL32EX503U 32inch widescreen full HD 1080P 100Hz LCD +HD Freeview
Also bought...
(b) UWA-BR100
It's a USB dongle, wireless network interface.
Connected successfully and easily at 1st, but then...
After a couple of years of non-use [didn't know how to make good use of the "Smart" features] I decided to unplug it.
When I plugged it back in to use it, a poor signal strength was reported.
So I bought and now use instead, quite routinely...
(c) Devolo 1409 dLAN 200 AV Wireless-N Starter Kit
This is really good.
Gives reliable wired connection from the Ethernet port on any device [PC, laptop, TV], to the Ethernet port on the router.
It also worked just fine using the wireless dongle to connect to the 2nd Powerline unit [rather than by wire], but wired is better in my opinion.

2. The "Smart" features on the TV are not so smart as we'd like.
Not as good as a PC on the internet.
I now know how to use a "Love Film" account via the Sony server, so we have that in use.
The BBC iPlayer is easy to use and rather good.
Bit of a pain not to have a wireless keyboard and mouse; using instead the on-screen keyboard by moving the cursor with the TV remote is exasperating.
We use that to search at Youtube for videos, but it's much easier using a PC and keyboard.

3. Bought a low-cost HD Media Box.
This is very handy, although I seldom use it.
Connects to the TV via an HDMI cable.
Plug into the USB socket, either a Flash Drive, or an external HDD enclosure, and it's easy to play pretty much any audio-visual file type ever devised.

4. Was hoping that one day the Raspberry Pi with a Puppy developed for it [or something similar] would make a good small PC for use with the TV.

P.S. Going to London tomorrow for a week, so may not be able to respond during that period.
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Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 1502
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug 2012, 23:16    Post subject:  

My house mate has a whizbang Samsung 3D SmarTV. It has everything, wireless etc. He can easily connect to my Puppy PC via WLAN and go through all my videos and pictures shared via DLNA installed on puppy. I don't think there has been a video format that his TV won't play. It is fantastic at what it does with pictures and videos, including youtube.

It is not fantastic at surfing the internet. It will do it, but pages don't always render quite right, and it is painfully slow.

I on the other hand have an old CRT tv that has a VGA input. It has a mini PC connected to it running LUPU 5.20. It does everything that the SmarTV does, except 3D (of course). It connects via DLNA, or even better, via SAMBA. It has firefox for surfing the web, so that is generally flawless. It plays every video I throw at it. If I wanted to, I could do work, word processing and such, because it is a real computer.

With the advent of RasPi and other similar small android / Puppi devices, there is a real scope to deliver a full computer experience on TVs.

I know that at some stage there have been attempts to overwrite the existing firmware in smart tv's to put a customised OS on them, but, I think it reality, using the TV as a glorified monitor, with a mini / micro PC attached is the best way to go for full PC use, and probably better value.
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Joined: 15 Jan 2009
Posts: 713

PostPosted: Thu 23 Aug 2012, 10:49    Post subject:  

Samsung use Open Source software in their firmware updates for their Smart TVs.

In my brothers 3D TV, I read somewhere that it includes a 1ghz ARM processor and when he install apps it comes with 1gb internal storage; bear in mind you only get to use 800mb of this.

If anyone has a Samsung, take a peek here:



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