Tips Smart Apps don't run, update or install anymore on Samsung TV

Yesterday, I discovered that Plex, DS Video and a few other Apps didn't run anymore on my Samsung Smart TV. I was also unable to install new Apps. After looking for solutions, I finally decided to reset the TV. It solved the problem.

Click to Read More

Most of the Apps installed (except Youtube and Netflix) refused to start. Trying to start an App only resulted in a spinning wheel... spinning for minutes... the TV finally exiting the Smart Hub without having opened the App.

I tried to uninstall some of the Apps and reinstall them next. But it appeared that it was impossible to install any new or previously installed Apps.

I was also unable to update installed Apps although an update was available.

However, network connection was fine (I did use the diagnostic menu of the TV to check it).

Finally, I decided to reinitialize the TV, also using the diagnostic menu. During the reconfiguration, the TV got an update of its system. After the reconfiguration, all preinstalled Apps appeared to work fine. And I was also able to install new Apps and run them.

NB.: Maybe updating the TV system without doing a full reset would have been enough to solve the problem...

Tips Projector losing Raspberry Pi 2's HDMI signal

When I am watching a movie played with RasPlex (on my Raspberry Pi 2), it happens from time to time (possibly several times during a movie) that my projector loses the HDMI signal. The signal comes back quite immediately but this is a real annoyance. I solved the problem by boosting the HDMI signal in Raspberry Pi 2's config file.

Click to Read More

I had no issue when playing a movie with my PC or with my ChromeCast, both of them being however connected on the same home cinema amplifier (a Yamaha HTR-4067) as the Raspberry PI 2 and, from there, on the projector (a Benq W1070+) via a long HDMI cable.

The problem became especially unsupportable with 3D movies as not only the signal was lost, but also the projector was coming back in 2D mode. So, I had to set it back in 3D when the signal was recovered.

It was sometimes mentioned on various blogs or forums that the problem could have been with the HDMI cable, with the power supply of the Raspberry Pi 2, with the HDMI port of the amplifier, ... But I found the true solution here: boost the HDMI signal in the config file of the Raspberry Pi 2.

While already being in the config file to solve the problem, I took the opportunity to also overclock a bit the Raspberry as documented here. And finally, as I noticed that there was no specific memory size set for the GPU on my Raspberry, which has 1Gb Ram, if fixed that too. It seems to me that the config file used by RasPlex is not fully optimized for the Raspberry Pi 2.

To edit the "config.txt" file, I simply put the SD card of the Raspberry Pi 2 into my Windows PC and opened that file with Notepad++ (it's located on the root of the card). I ended with a config file like this one (changes are in bold):

#########################################################################
# This file is part of OpenELEC - http://www.openelec.tv
# Copyright (C) 2009-2012 Stephan Raue (stephan@openelec.tv)
# Inspired and partly copied from:
# http://youresuchageek.blogspot.fr/2012/09/howto-raspberry-pi-openelec-on.html
#
# This Program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
# it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
# the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option)
# any later version.
#
# This Program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
# but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
# MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
# GNU General Public License for more details.
#
# You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
# along with OpenELEC.tv; see the file COPYING. If not, write to
# the Free Software Foundation, 51 Franklin Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02110, USA.
# http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html
#################################################################
# Bootloader configuration - config.txt
#################################################################

#################################################################
# Memory (System/GPU configuration )
#################################################################

# default GPU memory split (do not change if you do not know what you are doing)
gpu_mem=128

# SDRAM size based GPU memory split, uncomment and setup to override 'gpu_mem'
gpu_mem_256=64
gpu_mem_512=128
gpu_mem_1024=256

#################################################################
# Overclocking settings
# WARNING: Do not change/enable if you do not know what you are doing!
# The System may become unstable or you can have data corruption or
# you can loose your warranty if you set wrong settings
#
# please read: http://elinux.org/RPi_config.txt#Overclocking_configuration
#################################################################

# Overclock mode settings.
#
# default recommended values are: arm_freq | core_freq | sdram_freq | over_voltage
# no overclocking : 700 | 250 | 400 | 0
# mode 'Modest' : 800 | 300 | 400 | 0
# mode 'Medium' : 900 | 333 | 450 | 2
# mode 'High' : 950 | 450 | 450 | 6
# mode 'Turbo' : 1000 | 500 | 500 | 6

#arm_freq=900
core_freq=500
sdram_freq=500
over_voltage=2

# set to 'force_turbo=1' to disable dynamic overclocking (you can lose your warranty!)
force_turbo=0

# If you have any data corruption using Turbo Mode and overclocking
# try with this setting uncommented
# If this still fails, try to use Medium mode without "over_voltage=2"
# If it ultimately keeps failing, forget about this until it gets fixed
# Use a more conservative mode that will works fine in any cases:
# initial_turbo=30

#################################################################
# Overscan settings
#################################################################

# Make display smaller to stop text spilling off the screen
# see also http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=15700
# overscan_scale=1
# disable_overscan=1

# Adapt overscan values to your needs
# overscan_left=57
# overscan_right=59
# overscan_top=20
# overscan_bottom=20

#################################################################
# various settings see also: http://elinux.org/RPi_config.txt
#################################################################

# Force HDMI even if unplugged or powered off
# hdmi_force_hotplug=1

# Uncomment to force a console size. By default it will be display's size minus
# overscan.
# framebuffer_width=1280
# framebuffer_height=720

# Uncomment to force a specific HDMI mode (this will force VGA).
# hdmi_group=1
# hdmi_mode=1

# Uncomment to force an HDMI mode rather than DVI. This can make audio work in
# DMT (computer monitor) modes.
# hdmi_drive=2

# Uncomment to increase signal to HDMI, if you have interference, blanking, or
# no display. Max value = 7
config_hdmi_boost=4

# Uncomment for composite PAL
# sdtv_mode=2

# Uncomment to overclock the ARM. 700 MHz is the default.
# arm_freq=800

#################################################################
# License keys to enable GPU hardware decoding for various codecs
# to obtain keys visit the shop at http://www.raspberrypi.com
#################################################################

# decode_MPG2=0x00000000
# decode_WVC1=0x00000000
# decode_DTS=0x00000000
# decode_DDP=0x00000000

#################################################################
#
# >>>>>>>> RasPlex default settings override <<<<<<<<<
#
#################################################################

hdmi_force_hotplug=1
hdmi_drive=2
gpu_mem_256=64
gpu_mem_512=256
gpu_mem_1024=256
dtoverlay=lirc-rpi
#################################################################
# End of default configuration
# all values below this line were inserted from config.txt.bk (your old config)
# and can be merged with the above values
#################################################################

FreewaresTips Put Windows PC's display to sleep immediately

Wizmo

Wizmo

When I watch a movie, I like to be in the complete dark... But if my PC is running, the screens are sources of light... Here is how to create a keyboard shortcut turning the screens off immediately, using "Wizmo".

Click to Read More

As I am lazy and don't want to turn off the monitors manually using their power button, I looked for a solution to put the screens to sleep immediately - without waiting for the screen saver to turn off the display as configured in the Control Panel > Power Options > Plan Settings... - using a keyboard shortcut.

I found a a first solution based on "NirCmd": Download it and create a desktop shortcut (assigned with a keyboard shortcut) to: nircmd.exe cmdwait 1000 monitor off

That solution didn't work fine for me. Indeed, after a few minutes, the screens were always turning back on magically... I didn't find for sure the reason why, but it could be that my wireless mouse (Logitech) is not 100% quite although untouched...

So, I looked for an alternative and found "Wizmo". Download it and use it in a desktop shortcut (also assigned with a keyboard shortcut) to: wizmo.exe monoff shake=99

This will eliminate the minor mouse "shake" that a wireless mouse seems to have and which is turning the monitor back on, while allowing you to still wiggle the mouse a bit to turn your monitor back on. (Notice: Wizmo won't run if you copy it into %WinDir%\System32 !)

Tips Play a movie on multiple devices via WiFi-Direct

When going to travel for hours by car with my kids, I usually copy some cartoons on their tablets before leaving. A question which arose recently was: how to play a movie from one tablet on the others, while there is no network in the car. Answer: using BubbleUPnP and Wifi-Direct.

Click to Read More

The question arose as I forgot once to copy cartoons on one of the tablets. Being in the car, I had no Wi-Fi network to connect the devices (no wireless router). And I didn't want to use a mobile data connection as, being in a foreign country, the cost would have been excessive. So I had to find another solution.

Looking on internet how to share media or files between two devices without Wi-Fi access point, I found that the modern way to go was: wifi-direct.

Connecting devices via wifi-direct was easy as natively supported by Android, as well as iOS (one can find many how-to on internet). But next, how to access the media on other devices was more tricky.

Usually, on mobile devices, I am using:

  • Plex connected via internet to play media from my NAS.
  • Plex to play media synced locally on the device.
  • Plex to play media synced on another device with Plex «advertised» on the LAN, by that device, as a server (see settings of Plex on the mobile device).
  • Archos Video to play media available locally (internal or external strorage) or via FTP, SMB shares or UPnP.
  • Possibly MX Player to play media while directly browsing the storage of the device.

I also used to play media via UPnP with MediaHouse as, just like Plex and Archos Video, it is managing libraries of movies with metadata automatically fetched from internet. But that was before getting support for UPnP within Archos Video.

As Archos Video and Plex are IMO, the very best apps to manage libraries of movies, my hope was to use them. Unfortunately, none of them was able to access media on the other devices using Wi-Fi direct... Plex didn't see the Plex servers running on the other devices, and Archos Video didn't even display any menu to access media via network. I think that none of them was aware there was actually a network (WLAN Direct).

As I read that UPnP over Wi-Fi direct was very well supported (it's now a standard), I thought that a solution could be to use an upnp server/client. My favorite being BubbleUPnP, I gave it a try. And good news, it works like a charm. I was able to play the same cartoon simultaneously on three devices without any hiccup (with MX Video as a player).

That being said, I wrote to the developer of Archos Video and on the Plex forum to ask if playing video with their app via wifi Direct was actually supported (with a trick) or would be soon or later...