Arduino Uno and Movie files?
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Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by BMur on Fri May 17, 2013 12:09 am

Hello all you Arduino wizards,
I have a problem; I have an Arduino Uno that I'm going to install in my 54" model boat (a Chris Craft Cruiser). At the moment I'm just testing out what I want to do with it, but I am really new to micro controllers. I can program though.

Here's my problem, I've got a small model of a 1951 Motorola combination Stereo Radio Tuner, Record Player and TV that sits in the Main Salon. The TV screen measures about an inch (1") diagonally. I've downloaded a bunch of vintage TV shows from the '50s in Windows movie file format (apparently I can't use the word "A"-"V"-"I" on this forum, but that's what I have). What hardware do I need to get and how do I hook it up to the Uno to play those files using the Arduino? I thought I'd be able to load a few onto a micro SD card, then "play" the Movies, much like an MP3 file. I have read the specs on the LCDs and tiny Displays that AdaFruit sells, but none suggest that they can display movies. I wondered about how to "fudge" one of the tiny TVs into playing the Movie file instead of a television hookup, but I don't know if that's possible, let alone how to accomplish it.

Any help on this would be appreciated, Thanks, Barry.
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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by franklin97355 on Fri May 17, 2013 12:34 am

I've seen a old video camera eyepiece used as a small tv screen in a model dollhouse but I don't think there is enough computing power in an Arduino to provide full motion video. You might try a Raspberry pi for this.
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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by BMur on Fri May 17, 2013 2:57 am

franklin97355 wrote:I've seen a old video camera eyepiece used as a small tv screen in a model dollhouse but I don't think there is enough computing power in an Arduino to provide full motion video. You might try a Raspberry pi for this.

Hi franklin97355,
I guess I'm surprised to hear that an Uno doesn't have enough computing power for this. However, lets say I had a Raspi, what would I use to run my movie files? Or does that show how little I know about these things?

Thanks, Barry
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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by adafruit_support_mike on Fri May 17, 2013 4:58 pm

The average Arduino has 32k of Flash memory that holds the firmware and 2k of RAM to run the code. Codecs for compressed media formats need space to work. Trying to run them on a microcontroller is like trying to fit an entire pizzeria in a phone booth.

The Raspberry Pi is a complete computer. It has stuff like off-chip RAM, an operating system, and a filesystem. Its processor was made to run a smartphone, so it has built-in hardware to handle video output. Playing movies on a RasPi is pretty much the same as playing movies on any Linux box: you download software that knows how to read the video format, store the video files where the software can find them, hook up a monitor, and run the program.
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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by BMur on Fri May 17, 2013 6:48 pm

Hello adafruit-support-mike,

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!!! Ok now I understand.

So if I buy a Raspi and one of your tiny, tiny b/w LCD displays, I could mount the display behind my "TV" screen and the vintage 1950s TV Show movies could be driven by code in the Raspi? Sound about correct? Would the audio come from a speaker hooked up to the Raspi?

One of the modelers in our group has some code that allows an Arduino UNO to "control" a Raspi. They are using it like an R/C Transmitter and Receiver, to talk back and forth. But I think I could modify it to do what I'm looking to do. Would you agree?

Thanks again, sorry to be such a newbie, Barry
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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by BMur on Fri May 17, 2013 7:41 pm

Hi adafruit-support-mike,
I just thought of something (please be nice, I really am new at this stuff), but I was wondering would an Arduino Mega be able to do the job? If so, that would be better for me since I can program C but I've never even heard of the Raspi programming language, let alone be able to use it.

Thanks, Barry
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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by BMur on Sat May 18, 2013 2:30 am

OK, never mind my dumb Arduino questions. I read the specs of all the Arduinos and the Raspi and see the RAM differences.

I looked at the Raspi models and other than the extra 256K RAM is there any reason to get the 512K model? Would I need the extra RAM to play the movies or is it overkill?

Does anyone know what accessories I would need to do this?

Thanks, Barry
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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by adafruit_support_rick on Sat May 18, 2013 11:31 am

Regarding the Ras Pi - there's no decision on RAM. The 256K model is the old version. It's been replaced by the 512K version.

How large will your TV screen be?

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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by BMur on Sat May 18, 2013 12:17 pm

Hi adafruit-support-Rick,
The "TV" screen will be about an inch measured diagonally. I was thinking of AdaFruits product #684 - the .96" 16 bit color OLED with Micro SD Holder (I only chose that because of the size and the micro SD though). The vintage 1950s TV shows (movie files) are b/w but I think they would display on a color screen ok at this size.

Thanks for your response and help, Barry
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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by adafruit_support_rick on Sat May 18, 2013 6:25 pm

The problem with using the OLED is that you would have to write some code to write the frames to the display. Since the Pi already has NTSC video output, ideally you would use an actual video monitor.

The smallest we have is 1.5" diagonal. If that will fit in your enclosure, then you're all set for hardware.

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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by BMur on Sat May 18, 2013 7:36 pm

Hi adafruit-support-Rick,
Firstly, thanks so much for clarifying that. I didn't know.
Would you be so kind as to include your Adafruit Part/Item number, please? I think I know what you're talking about when you say monitor, but I really want to be sure about it before I purchase anything. I see NTSC/PAL TVs but I wouldn't have thought those as suitable. Then I see some TFT shields, but I'm not sure if they're what you mean.

Finally, a big THANK-YOU for taking the time and effort to help me through this. If you could give me the Adafruit Item numbers for everything I'd need, I'll order them tonight.

Thanks, Barry
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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by adafruit_support_rick on Sat May 18, 2013 8:05 pm

Sorry - I hot-linked the product page in me earlier response. Here's the full URL:
http://www.adafruit.com/products/910

NTSC is the US analog color television standard. The Pi has an NTSC console output, so your 1.5" TFT would actually show the Pi's linux desktop. You will be running a program or shell script to open a window on the desktop and play the movies. The display is 1.5", but the playback window could be 1", so it just shows through the opening in your model.

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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by BMur on Sun May 19, 2013 3:05 am

Hi adafruit-support-Rick,
Please forgive my ignorance of the Raspi, but the way I programmed my Arduino was to connect it to my laptop via a USB cable.

Since I know absolutely nothing of the Raspi, can I connect it to my laptop and run a programming IDE on it, then upload to the Raspi like the Arduino? Or will I be entering a new world? I just can't see myself using a 1 1/2" screen as my development monitor and what do I use for a keyboard?

Sorry to be such a nuisance, thanks Barry
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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by adafruit_support_rick on Sun May 19, 2013 11:40 am

It's a whole new world. But we've made it a bit easier with our WebIDE. And you don't have to use the tiny screen for programming.

First of all, the Pi is an actual computer, not simply a microcontroller like an arduino. So you will start by installing a version of the Linux operating system. You load the operating system onto an SD flash card that plugs into the Pi. We have a tutorial for that.

Since the Pi is a computer, you can connect keyboard, mouse, and display directly to the Pi, and use it just like any other computer.

You can also remotely operate the Pi from your regular computer. Instead of USB, you connect to the Pi over ethernet.
There are several options for using the Pi from your computer. The most common are:
- You can open a terminal window and control the Pi via standard(-ish) Linux command-line operations.

- You can run a program known as a Virtual Network Computer (VNC) on your computer. This allows you to use your regular computer keyboard, mouse, and monitor as if they were directly connected to the Pi.

- You can use Adafruit's WebIDE, which connects to the Pi through a browser window on your computer (like Firefox), and shows you an IDE somewhat analogous to the Arduino IDE. The WebIDE is oriented around using python as a programming language, instead of the C/C++ programming language used on the Arduino.

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Re: Arduino Uno and Movie files?

by BMur on Sun May 19, 2013 12:11 pm

Good morning Rick,
OK, that is a different world, but doesn't seem impossible.

Thanks again for all your help on this, I think we'll order the Raspi, display unit and I guess an SD card reader, go to AdaFruits wonderful tutorials and go from there.

Cheers, Barry
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