Author Topic: Remote real-time lightning display on TV  (Read 1416 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline dfroula

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 543
Remote real-time lightning display on TV
« on: May 30, 2014, 12:47:33 PM »
I've wanted to somehow set up remote viewing of the lightningmaps.org real-time display on my flat-panel television. I found a very inexpensive and cost-effective solution.

Google makes a little dongle called Chromecast that allows remote viewing of a Google Chrome browser tab, and even the entire computer screen. The dongle plugs into an unused HDMI port on the HD TV. It gets power from an included micro-usb cable and power supply. I have successfully powered the device from a spare USB port on my TV, avoiding the need to run a power cable to the dongle. The dongle communicates via WIFI to any computer on the local LAN. After installing a Chrome browser plugin, any Chrome tab (or the full computer screen) can be streamed to the dongle via the LAN, with full audio. Resolution is adjustable. Setup is via an Android or IOS app, and takes just a few minutes. It can also stream video directly from the web from Netflix, Hulu, etc., although I already have alternate solutions to do that.

The quality and performance is outstanding. Even the audio strike "clicks" come through fine. It also works in the lightningmaps.org real-time map in full-screen mode. I've really wowed a few visitors with the display, especially during approaching storms.

Best of all, the entire kit is only 35.00 USD. The device is also available on the UK and European markets. Best Buy sells it for the same price you'll find on-line, so I got mine there.

A picture of the lightningmaps.org TV display is at:

http://projectmf.homelinux.com/station_pics/BO_realtime_TV.jpg

I also have it working with my PlanePlotter SDR  aircraft radar receiver:

http://projectmf.homelinux.com/station_pics/planeplotter_chromecast.jpg

Regards,

Don
WD9DMP
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 12:50:36 PM by dfroula »

Offline DaleReid

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1672
    • Weather at Eau Claire, WI
Re: Remote real-time lightning display on TV
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2014, 01:05:54 PM »
Don,
You've found a great sounding solution to a great thought I've had, and for that amount of money, is certainly in the budget to give it a try.

A couple questions:

First, you say setup is through a cellphone device.  Is that the 'remote control' for the dongle, or does that perform some other function, too?  Seems a bit weird that you can't use Chrome to talk to the dongle and set it up from your computer, or is that, too, a possible way to get set up?

Second, you plugged the dongle into the hdtv.  I have an Onkyo receiver that takes the output of whatever, the DVD, the satellite box, or whatever, and routes it through to the one single HDMI port I have on the TV I'd like to use.

Do you know if this is generic/general enough that if I plugged it into one of the unused and open source input HDMIs on the receiver that I could choose that input on my remote control and jump to displaying the lightning screen?

Finally, is there an ongoing monthly fee to use this Chromecast thing?  Is there a subscription in addition to the $35 to purchase it?

Thanks for doing what I've been dreaming of an haven't found a good solution until you mentioned this.

Dale

ECWx.info
&
ECWx.info/t/index.php

Offline dfroula

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 543
Re: Remote real-time lightning display on TV
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2014, 01:20:39 PM »
I just bought this thing yesterday, so am still exploring its capabilities and limitations. Here's what I found.

I used my Nexus 7 Android pad to set it up, but you can also do the setup via any computer running a newer version of the Chrome browser. See: https://cast.google.com/chromecast/setup/ for details.

HDMI switching through the Onkyo receiver should work fine, as long as you have a spare HDMI port on the receiver. The AC3/DTS pass-through problems that can happen when routing through a receiver should not be a factor, as the audio appears to be standard 44.1 KHz PCM.

Yep, selecting the HDMI input to which the dongle is connected will jump immediately to the lightning display. Streaming continues, even though the HDMI port is not selected. The only issue I have had is that the real-time display times out after a while and needs to be refreshed at the PC. Maybe there is a "secret" URL to disable this.

There is NO fee, for local LAN streaming. If you want to direct-stream from Netflix or Hulu, you would need to subscribe to those services, but Google has no fee or even a login requirement to use the device. Netflix/Hulu/YouTube streaming is direct from the Internet to the dongle, not passing through the controlling device (computer, pad, etc.).

Regards,

Don
WD9DMP


Offline DaleReid

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1672
    • Weather at Eau Claire, WI
Re: Remote real-time lightning display on TV
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2014, 01:34:11 PM »
Great,
Thanks for the follow up.

What resolution is your computer display?  Equivalent to HD tv?

Also, I have a little bit of a bone to pick with you.  I went to the link you had for your TV displaying RealTime BO, and I see you waited to snap a photo to show Jim down in Mauston lighting up like a Christmas tree, and I was in interference mode with no blue or green zappers radiating.  Now I see where I rate....

Thanks again for the followup and all the things you post about making the icing on the cake of this effort to be just a little more fun.

Dale
ECWx.info
&
ECWx.info/t/index.php

Offline dfroula

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 543
Re: Remote real-time lightning display on TV
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2014, 01:52:06 PM »
Heh...luck of the draw on the picture! Fortunately, the reflection of me in my bathrobe didn't come through! :shock:

My TV can do almost all combinations from resolution and frame rates, up to 1080p. However, the Chromecast dongle can do only 480p (standard def), 720P (regular bitrate), and 720P (high bitrate). 1080I/1080p would likely be too much for the WIFI connection. Interestingly, my TV reports a 1080p input from the Chromecast HDMI port, so perhaps it is receiving at 720p and upscaling.

I usually run 24fps with motion interpolation off for my other input devices (Raspberry Pis running OpenElec) for a more "natural", film-like quality to the picture. The Chromecast HDMI seems to use a 60 Hz refresh rate (not adjustable), which is fine for this application. The frame rate is normally set over the HDMI interface after a connected TV reports its capabilities, and Chromecast appears to set those values, at least with my TV. YMMMV.

Don
WD9DMP

Great,
Thanks for the follow up.

What resolution is your computer display?  Equivalent to HD tv?

Also, I have a little bit of a bone to pick with you.  I went to the link you had for your TV displaying RealTime BO, and I see you waited to snap a photo to show Jim down in Mauston lighting up like a Christmas tree, and I was in interference mode with no blue or green zappers radiating.  Now I see where I rate....

Thanks again for the followup and all the things you post about making the icing on the cake of this effort to be just a little more fun.

Dale

Offline Dr Obbins

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1148
Re: Remote real-time lightning display on TV
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2014, 04:02:56 AM »
Question: Is the cellphone just the controller, or does the signal pass through it first? Does it -
a. Pull up a website on the cell and it tells the Chromecast what page to go to, then the Chromecast accesses the internet directly and displays the page?
b. Pull up a website on the cell, and then the cell sends the feed to the router and then from the router to the Chromecast? Basically the TV is a big screen for the phone and the Chromecast does not access the internet directly?

Offline dfroula

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 543
Re: Remote real-time lightning display on TV
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2014, 08:34:23 AM »
Dave,

Currently, when mirroring a tab in the PC/Mac Chrome browser or the entire computer desktop, the video stream is sourced directly from the computer itself. The plugin creates a video stream from the browser tab content and sends it to the Chromecast dongle. There is no browser functionality on the Chromecast dongle. There is no tablet or phone needed to control that. It is all managed at the computer with the the Chrome browser. After installing the required Chrome browser extension, a small icon appears in the browser toolbar that brings up the control menu. At the moment, there does not seem to be a similar screen mirroring capability for Android or Apple phones/tablets, although Google has recently released the SDK development toolkit and is promising that capability "soon".

There is another Google extension that allows direct streaming of video files stored somewhere on the local LAN to the Chromecast dongle. The video can be sourced from the controlling PC itself, or the PC can initiate the video stream from another device on the network, as long as it is mounted on the controlling PC. For example, I have a Synology NAS server on my LAN where I store my video files.  I have the video directories of the NAS mounted as network drives on my PC. I can start playback of one of the video files on the NAS from my PC. I think the data transferred is directly from NAS to Chromecast device. I have transport controls from the plugin on my PC, yet the video only plays on the Chromecast-connected TV. In other words, the decoding of the video is done directly by the Chromecast dongle...I think. I see no CPU usage increase when streaming this way, so I assume the PC is only controlling the stream and not involved in decoding the file. Not sure about this, though.

If initiating video streaming from YouTube, Hulu, Netflix or another supported video site on the Web (any HTML5 video) from either PC/Mac or phone/tablet, the computer/phone/tablet is acting as a controller only. The content streams directly from the web, so a broadband connection on the LAN is required.

Regards,

Don
WD9DMP
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 08:38:22 AM by dfroula »

Offline Dr Obbins

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1148
Re: Remote real-time lightning display on TV
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2014, 10:09:45 AM »
They do not go into much detail as to how it works on their website. It is kind of important if someone has bandwidth limitations on their cellphone and starts streaming a lot of video content that is not built into the Chromecast device.
Thanks for the reply.

Offline Bushman

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 7480
    • Eagle Bay Weather
Re: Remote real-time lightning display on TV
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2014, 10:20:25 AM »
You  absolutely DO NOT need a cell phone for Chromecast.  Unless you want things on your cellphone on your TV.   CC does not work like Slingbox where you MUST use a cellphone or a Sling-channel equipped  device.   Also, ANTHING  on your PC can go to the TV without a special app other than Chromecast extension.  However there are some  neat Chrome browser extensions like LocalGalleryViewer that do slide shows of images from the PC to your TV via Chromecast.
Need low cost IP monitoring?  http://wirelesstag.net/wta.aspx?link=NisJxz6FhUa4V67/cwCRWA or PM me for 50% off Wirelesstags!!

 

anything