Interactive Digital Fireplace Is Great For Those Chilly Winter Evenings


We’ve all seen them – those fireplace DVDs that seem to pop up on grocery store endcaps and get traded in white elephant gift exchanges. If you don’t happen to have a fireplace in your home they might make a reasonable solution, but [Nick] from the Gadget Gangster thought it would be far better if you could create your own interactive digital fireplace instead.

Using the Gadget Gangster Propeller USB platform and ProtoPlus board, his fireplace merges various video segments together based on user input, and plays them on any TV that comes equipped with RCA jacks. The process is fairly straightforward, and involves wiring up switches along with audio and video output to the Propeller board via the ProtoPlus board. The remainder of the work is done using software, requiring the user to select and encode video segments for storage on an SD card. [Nick] does however provide a whole set of clips for download, should you want to take the quicker route.

After encoding and categorizing the video clips to coincide with the “stoke” and “add wood” user input buttons, the Propeller does the rest of the work, randomly selecting clips from the appropriate category when requested.

The result is admittedly a bit Lo-Fi, though we thinks it’s cool and prefer to call it “retro” instead. It might not be a Hi-Def fireplace recording, but it’s far nicer to snuggle up to a hand made fireplace rather than a DVD you picked up as an afterthought.

Continue reading to see a quick demo video of the digital fireplace in action.

[vimeo w=470]

14 thoughts on “Interactive Digital Fireplace Is Great For Those Chilly Winter Evenings

  1. fireplace dvd is a reasonable solution to not having a fireplace? eh? i prefer to think of my electric heater as a reasonable solution, but hey, maybe you’re not into that whole staying warm thing.

    1. Some people enjoy fireplaces for the heat, others for the aesthetics. Yet others for both. Depending on which category someone falls into, I find this to be a perfectly reasonable solution.

      I don’t have a fireplace, but my wife likes the look of them. We had a holiday party and streamed a fireplace vid to my 61″ TV. It looked great, and was far better than the real thing. Who needs all that extra heat with 40-some people milling around the house?

        1. Certainly true, depending on the TV you are using.

          I have an LED DLP, which doesn’t seem to throw off any considerable amount heat that I can detect. Then again, I tend to sit a good enough distance from it, so I would never know.

  2. Hey HAD! This is my project –

    Video quality can be improved, although it requires changes to the video converter utility and the player code. Still won’t be broadcast quality, but it would be higher resolution with more colors.

    I was introduced to the ‘Yule Log’ TV show when I moved to San Jose from rural California. I think folks tune in for the music as much as anything else. And a 60″ plasma warms up a room surprisingly well :)

  3. I would say many city people just use fireplace for aesthetics. They even prefer using the DVD version, no smell, no cleaning.
    And hey… warm is coming from the floor or from the radiators… water from the tap, electricity from the outlet… as long as mummy pays the bills ;)

  4. A button for ‘stoke’ and a button for ‘add wood’?
    Around here, those two words mean the same thing.

    I’ll hazard a guess that this guy didn’t grow up with a wood stove?

      1. Some old coal furnaces had a handle on to agitate the grate. Working the handle also “stoked” the fire. Putting on another log, supplies more fuel, but is not the same as increasing the oxidation of existing fuel.

        In the video, you see that when the “stoke” button is pushed, a poker stabs the “fire”.

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