Hackaday Prize Entry: A Modular Open-Source AV Receiver

Hi-Fi hasn’t changed much in decades. OK, we’ll concede that’s something of a controversial statement to make in that of course your home hi-fi has changed immensely over the years. Where once you might have had a turntable and a cassette deck you probably now have a streaming media player, and a surround sound processor, for example.

But it’s still safe to say that hi-fi reproduction hasn’t changed much in decades. You can still hook up the latest audio source to an amplifier and speakers made decades ago, and you’ll still enjoy great sound.

Not so though, if instead of a traditional amplifier you bought an AV receiver with built-in amplifier and processing. This is a fast-moving corner of the consumer electronics world, and the lifetime of a device before its interfaces and functionality becomes obsolete can often be measured in only a few years.

To [Andrew Bolin], this makes little sense. His solution has some merit, he’s produced a modular open-source AV processor in which the emphasis is on upgradeability to keep up with future developments rather than on presenting a black box to the user which will one day be rendered useless by the passage of time.

His design revolves around a backplane which accepts daughter cards for individual functions, and a Raspberry Pi to do the computational heavy lifting. So far he has made a proof-of-concept which takes in HDMI audio and outputs S/PDIF audio to his DAC, but plans are in hand for further modules. We can see that this could become the hub of a very useful open-source home entertainment system.

If you make one, please remember to enhance it with our own sound-improving accessory.

AV test box meets the incredible shrink ray

mini_avtester

[Chris] recently finished building a miniscule AV Test Box, capable of fitting inside a standard Altoids tin. It is a revision of a project he constructed a few years ago. His previous test box worked well, but was large and cumbersome – definitely not something you would want to carry around from place to place with any frequency.

The new test box does everything its predecessor is capable of, which includes displaying an 800×600 VGA test pattern as well as generating sound signals for testing audio systems. He updated the circuit design a bit, employing a newer PIC processor to run the show, otherwise most of the design details have remained the same, form factor aside.

His build log is full to the brim with details as usual. You will find thorough descriptions of all the components he used, schematics, source code, as well as the theory behind the build.

Be sure to check out the video embedded below of his new AV tester in action.

Continue reading “AV test box meets the incredible shrink ray”

Smartphone anti-virus software

cracked

With DEFCON and Black Hat going on, a lot of security issues are being made public. This year, cellphones have been a larger target than before. More and more people are carrying complex smartphones that have more ways to go wrong. Even worse, since phones are tied to a billed account, it is possible for malicious software to charge phones discreetly. However, Flexilis promises to keep your phone safe. It’s a free mobile anti-virus that works on most smartphones and PDAs with more clients in the works. It also provides easy backup and recovery options, as well as the ability to wipe the phone if it’s lost. The phone makers really need to fix the probelms, but in the meantime Flexilis can provide a quick response.

[via WSJ Digits]