Close-up of the mod installed into the HDMI switch, tapping the IR receiver

Interfacing A Cheap HDMI Switch With Home Assistant

You know the feeling of having just created a perfect setup for your hacker lab? Sometimes, there’s just this missing piece in the puzzle that requires you to do a small hack, and those are the most tempting. [maxime borges] has such a perfect setup that involves a HDMI 4:2 switch, and he brings us a write-up on integrating that HDMI switch into Home Assistant through emulating an infrared receiver’s signals.

overview picture of the HDMI switch, with the mod installed

The HDMI switch is equipped with an infrared sensor as the only means of controlling it, so naturally, that was the path chosen for interfacing the ESP32 put inside the switch. Fortunately, Home Assistant provides the means to both receive and output IR signals, so after capturing all the codes produced by the IR remote, parsing their meaning, then turning them into a Home Assistant configuration, [maxime] got HDMI input switching to happen from the comfort of his phone.

We get the Home Assistant config snippets right there in the blog post — if you’ve been looking for a HDMI switch for your hacker lair, now you have one model to look out for in particular. Of course, you could roll your own HDMI switch, and if you’re looking for references, we’ve covered a good few hacks doing that as part of building a KVM.

Metalab Bypasses IR Remote With Audio Circuit

Infra-red (IR) remotes are great, unless you’re in a hackerspace that’s full of crazy blinking lights and random IR emissions of all kinds. Then, they’re just unreliable. Some smart folks at Metalab in Vienna, Austria cut out the IR middle-man with a couple transistors and some audio software. They call the project HDMI Whisperer, and it’s a cute hack.

Metalab’s AV system has a web-frontend so that nobody ever has to stand up unless they want to. They bought an incredibly cheap 5-to-1 HDMI Switch to switch between displaying multiple video streams. But how to connect the switch to the Raspberry Pi server?

Fortunately, the particular switch has a remote-mounted IR receiver that connects to the main unit through a stereo audio jack. Plugging this sensor into a laptop and running Audacity while pressing the buttons on the remote got them audio files that play the remote’s codes. Simply playing these back out of the Raspberry Pi’s audio out and into the switch’s IR input through a tiny transistor circuit does the trick. Now they have a networked five-way HDMI switch for $10.

Given the low data rates of most IR remotes, we could imagine using the same trick for devices that have built-in IR receivers as well. Simply clip out the IR receiver and solder in a couple wires and then inject your “audio” signal directly.

But IR hacks are loads of fun. We’ve seen a bunch here, from the classic camera shutter-release hack to a more general tutorials on cloning IR signals with Arduinos.

Thanks [overflo] for the tip!