HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

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Livin
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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by Livin » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:09 am

v4 recent, but not "new"... from Feb 2013. On my Win7 x64 I don't have any problem with CECtray failing. I have all the latest firmware/drivers/libcec/etc. If you have another system I'd try in on that just to see if maybe you have a bad install or something on your dev system.
setup... XBMC, W7MC for DVR & Live OTA TV, JRMC for multi-zone audio, EG, MiCasaVerde Vera3, USB-UIRT IR receiver, Harmony remote, 5.2 home theater system

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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by barnabas1969 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:10 pm

Lars, from Pulse-Eight responded to my e-mails 8 hours after I sent them. It turns out that the latest version of the tray application is written in Visual Studio 2012, but the installer contains VS2010. He sent me a link to Microsoft.com where I can download/install VS2012, and told me that they will fix the installer soon. He told me to install both the x86 and x64 versions of VS2012 since I am running on Win 7 x64.

He also said that Windows should have automatically installed the appropriate driver, but that the unit I received must have been shipped before anyone installed firmware on it. Once I ran the firmware updater, it installed the appropriate driver.

I installed VS2012, and the tray application runs and allows me to change settings, view the log, etc. However, I am currently logged in remotely to the PC, so I cannot verify that it is working correctly yet. I can see in the log that it is indeed communicating with the TV that is connected to the PC, but I can't verify the functionality in Windows Media Center yet. I'll verify the functionality as soon as I can.

I'm hoping that the Pulse-Eight device works more reliably than the RCAware device. I'm certainly receiving better support now from Pulse-Eight than I received from RCAware. I also like the fact that the Pulse-Eight internal CEC adapter plugs directly into my Intel DQ77KB motherboard. It's a much cleaner setup than having an external adapter.

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Livin
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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by Livin » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:42 pm

I, and many others, will be very happy if you can get this working easily with EG.

I bought the device to do only 1 thing... turn my TV on/off... because it does not work with EG it has been sitting unused.
setup... XBMC, W7MC for DVR & Live OTA TV, JRMC for multi-zone audio, EG, MiCasaVerde Vera3, USB-UIRT IR receiver, Harmony remote, 5.2 home theater system

barnabas1969
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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by barnabas1969 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:19 pm

Livin wrote:I, and many others, will be very happy if you can get this working easily with EG.

I bought the device to do only 1 thing... turn my TV on/off... because it does not work with EG it has been sitting unused.
The tray application is supposed to work with XBMC and Media Center. It will turn your TV on and off when you use those applications. If all you want is on/off control, why do you need EG to do that when there is already a program supplied by Pulse-Eight for this purpose?

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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by Livin » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:39 pm

barnabas1969 wrote:
Livin wrote:I, and many others, will be very happy if you can get this working easily with EG.

I bought the device to do only 1 thing... turn my TV on/off... because it does not work with EG it has been sitting unused.
The tray application is supposed to work with XBMC and Media Center. It will turn your TV on and off when you use those applications. If all you want is on/off control, why do you need EG to do that when there is already a program supplied by Pulse-Eight for this purpose?
XBMC is my only front-end (WMC is only a 'back-end' for me and rarely used)... but there are times when I want to have XBMC launched but my TV still be OFF. My HTPC is on a laptop, and I often use XBMC to play music and control it via web UI or Android app... and thus, the CEC Tray app will have no clue what I'm doing... but EG does ;-)
setup... XBMC, W7MC for DVR & Live OTA TV, JRMC for multi-zone audio, EG, MiCasaVerde Vera3, USB-UIRT IR receiver, Harmony remote, 5.2 home theater system

barnabas1969
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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by barnabas1969 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:07 pm

That's something I definitely want to test. Most importantly, does the tray application turn on the TV when the PC wakes to record a TV show? In other words, does the tray application know the difference between waking for user activity vs. waking for an automated task?

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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by Livin » Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:52 am

any update from your testing?
setup... XBMC, W7MC for DVR & Live OTA TV, JRMC for multi-zone audio, EG, MiCasaVerde Vera3, USB-UIRT IR receiver, Harmony remote, 5.2 home theater system

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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by barnabas1969 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:52 pm

I messed with it a little on Friday night. Nothing new to report yet. I was out and about most of the weekend and didn't get home until late in the evening Saturday and Sunday.

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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by barnabas1969 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:46 am

I now have a bunch of stuff to report. I sent pulse-eight the following e-mail on August 7th:
I bought the internal CEC adapter, and installed it on an Intel DQ77KB
motherboard.

I don't use XBMC. I only use Windows 7 Media Center.

I have been using the RCAware device for more than a year, and I'm
dissatisfied with it, mostly because the firmware on the device "hangs"
after it runs for a week or two, requiring the power to be disconnected
from the device for a few seconds. I need a device that is reliable for
months on-end. The RCAware hardware/firmware is made by Rainshadow Tech,
and the driver/software is made by by RCAware. The RCAware device is
connected to a different PC that I built in March 2011.

The PC to which the Pulse-Eight (herein referred to as "P8") device is
connected is a new PC build, using Win 7 Professional x64. When I was
testing the P8 CEC adapter, I connected the new PC directly to the TV (in
order to eliminate the AVR as a possible source of problems) and
disconnected the RCAware device from the HDMI bus (in order to eliminate
the possibility that the RCAware device could interfere with the CEC
communication).

I have a few issues with the Pulse-Eight adapter, and I'd like to submit
the following bug reports, feature requests, and comments. Each number
below begins with "HIGH", "MEDIUM", or "LOW" as a label for what is most
important to me.

Please let me know how long you estimate that these will be
corrected/implemented.

1) LOW - When the device powers up (e.g. when the PC is first plugged in to
AC power), it turns ON the connected TV. This happens before Windows (or
BIOS) even starts. Just applying power to the CEC adapter causes the TV to
power on. This isn't a very high priority problem for me, because my PC is
always connected to a battery backup, but I don't think the TV should
power-on when power is applied to the CEC adapter. The RCAware device does
not power-on any devices when power is first applied to the device.

2) LOW - The P8 device does not automatically detect the physical address
of the PC. Neither does the RCAware device. But it would be a nice
feature. My CEC-enabled Bluray player automatically detects the HDMI port.
It seems like the P8 device could do this also.

3) HIGH - The P8 tray application does not work in Windows 7 Media Center
(x64) unless the tray application is set to "minimise after startup" and
also is set to auto-start Media Center (ehshell.exe). If the tray
application is not set to auto-start Media Center (ehshell.exe), or if ANY
settings are changed in the tray application without closing and starting a
new instance of the tray application, the tray application does not control
Media Center. This is a high priority item. The application should allow
me to make changes to the configuration, and it should continue to control
Media Center without the need to re-start the tray application. Further,
if Media Center is started by some other application (e.g. manually or via
some other application like Event Ghost) the tray application should still
be able to send commands to Media Center.

4) LOW - Is there a way to clear the LOG in the P8 application? It seems
that the log cannot be cleared. It would be a good idea to clear the log
immediately before testing a function so that the log would clearly show
the problem. Not being able to clear the log causes the log to become
cluttered... making your troubleshooting more difficult.

5) LOW - The setting "Minimise after connecting to the adapter" (on the
"Configuration" tab) is reset to un-checked each time the tray app is
started. If any changes are made at this point, the check box must be
checked again, or the tray application will not start minimized the next
time it is executed.

6) MEDIUM - I connected the PC to my Samsung PN64D8000 TV. On the "Media
Center" tab, the CEC command "Return (Samsung)" is mapped to "backspace",
which is correct. When I press the Return button on the Samsung TV's
remote control, the command is shown in the log... but the backspace key is
not sent to Media Center. I tried mapping the "Exit" button to "backspace"
and it works successfully. I would like to get the Return button as well.

7) LOW - In the default configuration, many of your buttons are incorrectly
mapped. For example, the FFWD and RWD buttons are set to left-arrow, and
right-arrow. They should instead be mapped to CTRL+SHIFT+F and
CTRL+SHIFT+B. There are others. Please see the following webpage for more
information on the keyboard commands that are recognized by Windows Media
Center:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/wind ... -shortcuts

In addition to the keyboard shortcuts documented at the above link, CTRL+U
will cycle through the captions/subtitles, and CTRL-Z will cycle through
the zoom options, and CTRL+SHIFT+C will display the close-caption menu.
See below regarding the "CC" button.

8 ) HIGH - The "Channel List" button on the remote registers in the tray
application log, but there is no way to define a command for it. There is
an "electronic program guide" command listed, but this command is not
activated when I press the "Channel list" button on the remote. This
button should send CTRL+G. This button works with the RCAware device.

9) MEDIUM - There are two buttons on the TV remote that display a message
on the TV screen that says "Not Available". These buttons are the Record
(labeled with a red circle), and "CC" buttons (for closed captions). These
buttons don't work with the RCAware device either, and nothing appears in
the CEC tray application log for them either. This seems to indicate that
the TV is not sending these commands to the CEC bus (which, in the case of
the "record" button, seems strange since the CEC adapter appears as a
"recording" device). It would be very nice if there is a way to make a
Samsung TV send these two buttons to the CEC bus.

10) MEDIUM - The RCAware device/software allow me to define different
functions for "double press" and "long press" of the various buttons on the
TV remote. For example, when I press the FFWD/RWD buttons on the remote *
once*, Media Center will FFWD/RWD. However, if I double-press these
buttons, Media Center will skip-back (default 7 seconds) or skip-forward
(default 29 seconds). It would be nice if the RCAware device was
customizable to allow this kind of functionality.

Please give me a reasonable timeline expectation for the resolution of the
above-listed items.
I received the following response on August 13th (6 days later!):
Thank you for this report, we will split this up and investigate in due course, some of these items are by design or controlled by the TV as so cannot be resolved.
I have since realized that item #4 was my own mistake. I missed the fact that there is a "clear" button in the tray application.

Numbers 1, 2, and 9 are not very important to me, and may not be something that Pulse-Eight can solve. The other six are definitely something that Pulse-Eight can fix.

Six days for a response is not acceptable.

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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by barnabas1969 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:53 am

I did some further testing tonight, and I found three CRITICAL problems with the tray application. Here's the e-mail I sent to Pulse-Eight tonight:
Tonight, I tried three simple tests using the tray application. I am
running Win 7 Professional x64, connected to a Samsung PN64D8000 TV
(directly on HDMI port 3). My RCAware CEC adapter, which is connected to a
different PC, was disconnected during this test to ensure that it didn't
interfere.

For each test, I started the tray application and allowed it to start Media
Center. The tray application is set to minimize after it starts. When I
set these two options, I am able to use my TV remote to perform simple
tasks in Media Center such as using the arrow keys. The PC is set to S3
standby mode. Hibernate is disabled.

All three of these problems are what I consider CRITICAL problems. Your
device/software are useless to me without this basic functionality.

The three tests I performed were:

1) I put the PC in standby while Media Center was in full-screen (while no
video/audio was playing). I did this by using the Media Center "Tasks"
menu, then selected "shut down", and finally "Sleep". The PC went to sleep
successfully, but the TV did not turn OFF. See attached log file named "PC
standby but TV stays on.txt".

2) After test #1, I woke the PC, closed the tray application and Media
Center, and started the tray application again (because the tray
application seems to not respond to CEC messages unless I start it from
scratch each time). This time, I used the TV remote to turn off the TV. I
expected the PC to also go to sleep. It did not. See attached log file
named "TV standby but PC stays on.txt".

3) Again, after test #2, I closed the tray application and Media Center,
and started the tray application again. This time, I scheduled a future
recording. Then, I put the PC to sleep, and turned off the TV. When the
PC woke up for the recording, it turned on the TV. This should not happen.
The TV should not turn on when a recording starts. Only a user action
should turn on the TV. Scheduled tasks that cause the PC to resume from
sleep should not turn on the TV. Only user actions like pressing a button
on the keyboard/mouse, pressing the power button on the PC, or pressing the
power button an an MCE infrared remote should turn on the TV. See attached
log file named "TV turns on when PC wakes for recording.txt".
The log files are attached to this post. These three problems mean that the tray application is totally unsuitable for use with Media Center.
PC standby but TV stays on.txt
(25.21 KiB) Downloaded 252 times
TV standby but PC stays on.txt
(21.31 KiB) Downloaded 254 times
TV turns on when PC wakes for recording.txt
(33.23 KiB) Downloaded 267 times

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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by Livin » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:03 am

have you tried contacting user Chir21 in this thread...
http://forums.pulse-eight.com/yaf_posts ... enter.aspx
... he may be the developer.
setup... XBMC, W7MC for DVR & Live OTA TV, JRMC for multi-zone audio, EG, MiCasaVerde Vera3, USB-UIRT IR receiver, Harmony remote, 5.2 home theater system

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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by barnabas1969 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:15 am

That guy is not the developer of the Pulse-Eight tray application. He has gone off on his own and written something that I have not tried yet. Based on what I've read in his thread, I may or may not want to try his app.

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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by barnabas1969 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:29 am

I'm planning to spend some time this weekend to figure out the Pulse-Eight DLL's methods/properties, and to start writing a plugin for EG. This will be my first attempt writing something in Python (other than adding new functions to already-existing EG plugins - for my own personal use - I've never posted any of my stuff on this site). I can't guarantee anything, but I think that it will be better to allow people to use EG with the Pulse-Eight adapter so that they can define their own events and actions.

If I'm successful (and if the Pulse-Eight device is more reliable than the RCAware device... BIG "IF"), then it will open the Pulse-Eight device to practically ANYTHING... not just XBMC and Media Center.

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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by barnabas1969 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:00 am

Wow. The Pulse-Eight software's embedded doxygen-style "documentation" leaves a lot to be desired.

I'll see what I can do, but I was really hoping for documentation on their DLL (only - I don't care about the other stuff) that includes the following:

+Names of all externally-available functions, with an explanation of what that function does.
+Names of all externally-available properties, including which ones are read-only, and which are read/write.
+Names and data types of the parameters of the above-mentioned stuff... along with allowed values, and what they do.

What I got, after after spending 6+ hours looking around (I don't know squat about Visual Studio), is a list of all the classes and their associated parameters/types; a list of all the constants, etc, etc, etc. The "documentation" contains "descriptions" that are so brief that they would leave anyone wondering what the hell they should do... unless they were the ones who wrote the damn thing. There is no documentation that explains a typical interaction with the DLL (e.g. Load the DLL, check some stuff, send some configuration info, connect to the device, information about the communication protocol for HDMI-CEC, how to listen for CEC messages, and how to send CEC commands).

I'll keep digging. I don't know C, C#, or C++, so I'm at a disadvantage. If I can figure out the flow of their crappy "tray application", then maybe I can create my own program or plugin for EG. Otherwise, I'll have to try the tray application that was written by a user on the Pulse-Eight forums (which, if you ask me, is of questionable quality, based on the posts on the forum)... or wait for Pulse-Eight to rectify the problems in their own (crappy) tray application.

I'm not a programmer by trade. I understand the concepts, and I can follow the flow of a program (and make some modifications when necessary). My most relevant Windows experience is in VBScript and VB6, which are both very old. It seems to me that writing a program in a text editor would be easier than learning Visual Studio. That program seems overly complicated to me. Just installing the stupid thing took 100% of my CPU resources (AMD Phenom II X4 840) and 100% of my RAM (4GB) for about 15 minutes. That's just plain ridiculous.

Then, once it finally finished installing, I perused the menus and the non-existent "help" for hours before I finally decided to simply Google "doxygen" (which I would not have known if I hadn't received an e-mail from one of the developers at Pulse-Eight).

When I installed the doxygen software, I was able to fairly-easily produce HTML "documentation" of the project. It's a long way from what I was hoping for. It's unlike what I've had for every other DLL that I have used in a program. Every other DLL I've called from a program had complete documentation, but the "doxygen" documentation is better than nothing.

It would be REALLY nice if one of the Pulse-Eight developers would simply create a list of the methods/properties and their associated values/types for the DLL.

Then, anyone could write a Windows program, using any language (and any tool, including a simple text editor) to interact with the Pulse-Eight device. If that developer then included some simple examples of how to interact with the device and the CEC bus, that would be invaluable.

I can dream.

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Re: HDMI-CEC to USB EG Support for Pulse Eight

Post by barnabas1969 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:08 am

Oh, I forgot to mention that I took time to read the Event Ghost Developer Documentation today. It seems pretty straight forward. I'm confident that I can create an EG plugin, if only I can figure out how to use the Pulse-Eight DLL.

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