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Jun 11, 2018

Libre Has a Posse

I’m extremely pleased to share that Tim ‘mithro’ Ansell’s HDMI2USB project (part of his bigger project) has committed to supporting NeTV2’s “libre mode.” is a group of open source projects that facilitate the recording and live streaming of talks at conferences and user groups. HDMI2USB project is a sub-project that has long out-grown its original name – think of it more as a general video-to-stream conversion FPGA codebase whose capabilities morph depending upon the ports available in the target hardware. As a result, the FPGA codebase has the ability to take in HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort and turn it into USB, Ethernet, and now with the NeTV2, PCI-express. Find out more about Tim’s projects by watching his talk at Teardown 2018.

There’s a wonderful back story behind this collaboration. Apparently, Tim got into doing FPGA designs with video in part due to the original NeTV that I released several years back as open source hardware. He developed the fantastic HDMI2USB infrastructure, spawned dev boards, and helped to mature the LiteX build framework. I then adopted migen/LiteX and a large portion of the HDMI2USB firmware for the NeTV2. And now, because I’ve adopted the frameworks he’s built, he can readily adopt the new hardware I’m building as a target for his application, unlocking a whole new user community for the NeTV2. This is a rich example of the powerful outcomes enabled by community-oriented development.

Speaking of which, we’re looking for a couple developers to help get data from the water’s edge of NeTV2 and into the rest of Linux. In particular, we could use someone to help build the encoding pipelines on the host CPU side once the video has made it across the PCI-express bus, perhaps using Gstreamer/V4l2. We’re also looking for someone who can implement the right driver for moving data directly between the GPU and NeTV2. Such a driver might use KMS and DMA-BUF/PRIME, but perhaps there are more efficient methods available. I’m more than happy to provide free early access hardware in exchange for git commits!

If you happen to know someone who’s willing to help, give either @bunniestudios or @mithro a shout on Twitter.

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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.


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AQS Inc.

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