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Author Topic: Cheap Alternate Solutions to TRE or Raspberry Pi to be used with TV  (Read 3759 times)
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Hello everyone!

I am looking for technical advice on a product which I intend to build. A cheap set top box type hardware that can be plugged into TV on output side (via HDMI preferrably) and computer on the other (via LAN). In fact, I just came to know about the TRE and Raspberry Pi but they come out to be costly solutions as compared to the set top boxes. Therefore, can anyone suggest other alternatives which are cheap yet satisfy the following requirements? Open source technology, cheap programmable STBs, Android Sticks or Arduino modifications (Uno or Mega etc. fall in the required price range)?

My requirements are,

1. HDMI output, Ethernet connectivity
2. I want to connect it to the TV. Hence I want at least 10hrs a day operation.
3. Owing to point 1 and 2, performance and durability are important criteria.
4. Programmable through any language whether C or Java or Python or Android
5. Cost should be lesser than 20 USD (Max. 30). The lesser the better.

COST IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR. Please suggest solutions satisfying my requirements. Please mention the approximate costs in your answers.

I shall be highly obliged. Thanking you all in anticipation and looking forward.
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You don't say what the box is to do.
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Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years. Check out the ATMega1284P based Bobuino and other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17.
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the TRE and Raspberry Pi but they come out to be costly solutions as compared to the set top boxes.
Set top boxes are the price they are because they are made in ridiculously large numbers. If you intend to make several million of your project you too can have components at those prices. I know because I used to design set top boxes.

You will not get cheaper than a Raspberry Pi, they are made in moderate numbers but as they are made by a charity the profit margin is ridiculously small, much smaller than any commercial board. 
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Thanks for your replies. First, let me make some revision to my requirements. I asked for HDMI output but I believe that DVB output will also suffice my purposes.

As for Mr. CrossRoads, I want to display a ticker on TV and take a command from TV remote and send to a server via Arduino connected through LAN. I dont know at the moment, whether it is even possible or not with Arduino (non-TRE models)? Looking for suggestions.

Mr. Grumpy:

Yes that's perfectly understandable. Is it possible that we design a prototype on Arduino and then take our design to custom PCB? (I am relatively new to these things). Secondly, if you have any such STBs in mind which I can order from China and use for my purpose?
 
Lastly, apologies for late reply as I did not get a notification about your replies in my email inbox though I had had selected the option of "Notify". Any help on this too?

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if you have any such STBs in mind which I can order from China and use for my purpose?
Sorry no. All set top boxes are basically locked system that are not programmable in any way.

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I dont know at the moment, whether it is even possible or not with Arduino
It is not.
There is not the processing power nor enough memory on an Arduino.

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Is it possible that we design a prototype on Arduino and then take our design to custom PCB?
It is but it will cost a lot unless you are making a lot, I mean batches of 50,000 or so.
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Quite a depressing reply  smiley haha! anyways..then tell me the solutionnn Sir! There must be some way..which your experience and expertise and exposure can call out earlier than me! nothing is impossible in today's world you know! :-)
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Things are impossible if you put impossible restraints on them. When I worked for the set top box company there was great pressure to reduce the price. I showed that even if you could get all the components for free it would still cost £7.00 to produce a STB.

I think the raspbery Pi is your best bet.
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hmm..Thanks a lot for your help. Will post if i find something new (a solution or a question both :-) )
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