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Jun 05, 2018

Developing Apps for Your TV the Easy and Open Way

The biggest screen in your house would seem a logical place to integrate cloud apps, but TVs are walled gardens. While it’s easy enough to hook up a laptop or PC and pop open a browser, there’s no simple, open framework for integrating all that wonderful data over the TV’s other inputs.

Until now. Out of the box, NeTV2’s “NeTV Classic Mode” makes short work of overlaying graphics on top of any video feed. And thanks to the Raspberry Pi bundled in the Quickstart version, NeTV2 app developers get to choose from a diverse and well-supported ecosystem of app frameworks to install over the base Raspbian image shipped with every device.

For example, Alasdair Allan’s article on using the Raspberry Pi with Magic Mirror and Google AIY contains everything you need to get started on turning your TV into a voice-activated personal assistant.

I gave it a whirl, and in just one evening I was able to concoct the demo featured above. Magic Mirror is a great match for NeTV2, because all the widgets are formatted to run on a black background. Once loaded, I just had to set the NeTV2’s chroma key color to black and the compositing works perfectly. Also, Google AIY’s Voicekit framework “just worked” out of the box. The only fussy bit was configuring it to work with my USB microphone, but thankfully there’s a nice Hackaday article detailing exactly how to do that.

Personally, I find listening to long-form replies from digital assistants like Alexa or Google Home a bit time consuming. As you can see from this demo, NeTV2 lets you build a digital assistant that pops up data and notifications over the biggest screen in your house using rich visual formats. And the best part is, when you want privacy, you can just unplug the microphone.

If you can develop an app that runs on a Raspberry Pi, you already know everything you need to integrate apps into any TV. Thanks to NeTV2, there’s never been an easier or more open way to make the biggest screen in your house the smartest screen.

The NeTV2 is crowdfunding now at, and we’re just shy of our first stretch goal: a free Tomu bundled with every board. Tomu is a tiny open-source computer that fits in a USB Type-A port, and it’s the easiest way to add an extra pair of status LEDs to an NeTV2. Back now and help spread the word!

$34,830 raised

of $15,000 goal


days left





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Buy bunnie a beer!

Designing hardware is thirsty work. Your donation will help provide bunnie the sustenance to power through long nights.


Buy bunnie a keg!

It takes a village to mass produce hardware: J.A.R.V.I.S. is fiction, gritty factories are reality. Back this tier so I can pour a pint for all the unsung heroes who mill the steel, mind the machines, pack the boxes and manage the supply chain to create the miracle of a product arriving at your doorstep.


Support the EFF!

Add this to your order and get an EFF Multisticker Sheet. The stickers are purchased full-price from the EFF and bundled into your order, so this is a convenient way to help support the EFF's broader efforts while also supporting this campaign. If you believe in the need to reform Section 1201 but video isn't your thing, please also consider donating directly to the EFF!


NeTV2 - Just the Board

Just the NeTV2 open video development board plus a 12V power supply. For the power developer who has their own JTAG box or the hobbyist who enjoys spending an afternoon provisioning a Raspberry Pi with the NeTV2 dev tools. Back now - post-campaign pricing goes up by $15! Version with large FPGA only available during the campaign.


NeTV2 Quickstart Package

For developers and users who want to skip the screwdrivers and go straight to a SSH prompt. The Quickstart Package is a turnkey solution for open video, optimized for video overlay. It's an NeTV2 dev board bundled with a Raspberry Pi 3 B+, 8 GiB SD card with pre-loaded base firmware package, power supply, and our custom HDMI Flex Jumper, all assembled into a case and fully tested. Ready for you to SSH in and load your application code! Back now - post-campaign pricing goes up by $25! Version with large FPGA only available during the campaign.


NeTV2 - Just the Case

All the plastic parts necessary to protect and mount your NeTV2 dev board: case top and bottom, front bezel, light pipes, standoffs, and screws. If you plan to mate this with your own Raspberry Pi as a video source, you'll also want to get the Custom HDMI Flex Jumper.


Custom HDMI Flex Jumper

Even the shortest HDMI cables don't quite fit inside the NeTV2 case, so we built a custom flexible PCB that provides impedance-controlled differential pairs to bridge between the Raspberry Pi overlay video source and the NeTV2 open video dev board. Make sure to select the correct FPGA image when using this cable, as it leverages the pinout flexibility of the FPGA to optimize signale routing.


Making the Case

Backers of this tier get a 25mm space to engrave their name (or pseudonym) in a 10-point open licensed font inside the case. The names will be engraved in the mounting-boss-free area underneath the NeTV2 board mounting.


Secrets in Plain Sight

There's an array of cooling holes on the bottom side of the case. But when I look at a 24 x 8 array of dots, I don't see cooling holes. I see 24 bytes (192 bits) that could be used to code a message. Here's an opportunity for one backer to code something that will be milled into hardened tooling steel and stamped into many plastic cases. Final design must have enough holes for sufficient air flow.


Deploy, Deploy, Deploy!

Looking to retrofit a set of existing video displays in your office, restaraunt, or store? Get this campaign-exclusive 10-pack deal. It's a bundle of 10 Quickstart Packages. The hardware is fully assembled and tested, so you just have to just SSH in, configure your application, and you're in business.

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We create products for digital video processing.

Andrew Huang

AQS Inc.

Contract Manufacturer

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