El Gato Cam Link: HDMI Capture on-the-cheap

Earlier this year I replaced by aged desktop computer.  The rather bulky, traditional HP tower was replaced by a fantastic little Airptop-PC. The Airtop is a fanless wonder. It’s powerful, has multiple (six!) monitor outputs, a massive array of ports, and draws a tiny amount of power.

While the Airtop-PC is a silent thing of beauty, what it lacks is the extra PCIe slot necessary to install my Aver Media C127 HDMI capture card. This has left me considering USB-connected HDMI capture devices.

An early experience with the Black Magic Design Ultra Studio has left me with an aversion to their lower-end products. I hear good things about the Magewell USB 3.0 capture dongles. There’s no doubt they’re very capable, but at around $300, also quite costly. Continue reading “El Gato Cam Link: HDMI Capture on-the-cheap”

Forced To Rethink A Long HDMI Cable

A while ago  I bought a new desktop computer. It’s lovely. Shiny. New. Silent. One of its many fine attributes is the fact that it can drive five (!) separate displays. Now, my desk has only two monitors, but it’s not too far to the credenza whereupon sits our old HDTV.

The old beast is an ancient 42” Sharp Aquos. While not pretty, it’s still basically functional. I could not simply discard it. So it sits out here connected to a Tivo Mini, only occasionally used to watch TV.

The new computer presented a new opportunity to put the old TV to use. I ordered a suitably long HDMI cable to make it monitor #3 on the desktop.

It was nice to be able to drag a YouTube window over to the big screen, even making the TV play the computer sound. In fact, it was nice enough that I was considering acquiring another Vizio M Series for the office, when budget allowed. We like the M50-D1 a lot. No hurry though, as the price is sure to fall when new models are launched in Q3.

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Tip: Faking an HDMI Connection

FITPC-HeadlessLast week I once again saw a need to share the output of an Android device. As I’ve described previously, this requires the use of an HDMI splitter to feed both a monitor and the HDMI capture card in my vMix PC. The monitor satisfies that HDCP handshake, which allows the PC to see the video stream.

However, there are times when it’s just not convenient or practical to have an extra monitor involved. This came up recently in a thread in the Wirecast support forum. Someone wants to capture the screen of a number of Mac Mini’s in order to bring multiple Skype video calls into a streaming production. They run the Mac Mini’s headless, accessing the Mac desktops using a software screen sharing application.

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Revisiting The SlimPort Output Of Android Devices

HDMI-SplitterA few days back I received a G+ IM from someone who had discovered my description of how to use an HDMI splitter to make the output of an Android tablet more useful. He posed a question that I think is worth sharing. He asked the following;

Dear Michael,

I just read your article about capturing video from a Nexus 7 and I have a question about that if you do not mind.

I bought a Nexus 7 (2013) to be able to give presentations and show short movies in my classroom. The thing is that most projectors still have only a VGA socket. I have a cable Slimport=>HDMI and it works perfectly well.

I also have a cable HDMI=>VGA but it does not work and I suspect it is because of the HDCP. I was wondering if the splitter and HDCP stripper you used could work in my case. If yes that would be great and would literally save my classes.

Thank your for your time and sorry again to bother you with that.

Thibaut Bailly

To begin, as a blogger, I welcome questions from readers. For the most part people blog because the want to share what they’ve discovered. As a non-professional blogger I may not always respond immediately, but I try to respond to every comment and question.

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Capturing The Video Output Of A Nexus 7 Tablet

DoorBot-in-Nexus5There are times when it would be handy to capture the video output of an Android device. This is typically what I need when writing something about an app that does something dynamic. For example, AudioTool by J.J. Bunn. As a tool for simple audio test & measurement capturing its output in real-time is the ideal way to communicate the measurement being taken. A static screen shot is fast & easy to accomplish, but video can be much more illuminating.

Both my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 (2013) support the use of a Slimport USB-to-HDMI adapter to connect to a monitor. The output of that adapter is 1080p60. The BlackMagic Design Intensity Pro HDMI capture card that I’ve used for the past couple of years can capture streams up to 1080i60, but not 1080p60.

Quite recently I swapped out the Intensity Pro for an AVerMedia Game Broadcaster HD. This card has the ability to capture a 1080p60 stream. In so doing it drops every second frame to actually save a 1080p30 stream to disk.

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CNET On 4K & OLED TVs

CNET’s “The Next Big Thing” is a brand new show. They recently did an interesting segment on the coming wave of 4K/Ultra-HDTV and OLED display technologies. Even though I don’t entirely agree with some of their conclusions it’s not a bad primer on the subjects. It’s well worth the few minutes that it takes to give it a look.

 

I’ve long held that OLED in particular holds great potential. The picture quality offered by OLED can be outstanding. So much so that Sony has offered a line of professional OLED displays, even winning a Technical EMMY in 2012.

Priced at a whopping $26K, the BVME250A is the 25” model at the top of Sony’s present Trimaster EL lineup. In 2011 it won the Hollywood Post Alliance Engineering Excellence Award.

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