Neuros OSD 1.0:FAQ

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Please note: Neuros Support has many questions and answers that you may be looking for.

Contents

Pre Sales Questions

What Does it Do?

A lot, which sometimes confuses people used to evaluating standard proprietary products. The OSD's being open and flexible means that it's general purpose and adaptable to a lot of different uses. The fact that someone's using it onboard their wind surfboard shouldn't be interpreted to mean that it won't do a good job recording shows that you can watch on your commute. It just means that lots of smart folks have used the tools to experiment broadly. A lot of that experimentation accrues the benefit of the product you'll buy at your local electronics store. See Neuros_OSD for a good description of the basic OSD functionality and specs.

In short and out of the box: The Neuros OSD is a multimedia hub that allows you to record, play, stream and share your video and audio content between all your media devices: your entertainment center (TV, stereo, DVD player, VCR, camcorder, etc), your PC/Internet and your portables (iPod, smartphones, PSP, etc).

Is the OSD suitable for average users or just open source developers?

It's suitable for both. The OSD user interface is intuitive so that mainstream consumers can make recordings, play back content, etc without even having to consult the user's manual. We even have menu-specific help screens and options menus available at any time just by touching a button on the remote control.

On the other hand, the OSD is Linux-based and open source so that our growing worldwide community of open source developers can get as involved as they want in creating new applications. Our community has been with us every step of the way, from designing the basic hardware to developing our operating system, and will continue to be essential as we make the OSD even greater. If you'd like to bring your hacking skills to the table (or just see what all the fuss is about), check us out at http://open.neurostechnology.com/.

And everybody benefits from open source because, once we make sure these new applications are suitable for mainstream users, we make them available to all OSD owners via free downloadable upgrades, which take only minutes to install.

How is the OSD different from the AppleTV?

While the OSD and the AppleTV are marketed to a very different crowd, a comparison is certainly warranted due to their similar features and functionality.

Neuros OSDAppleTV
Price$230$300
Access to ContentUnlimited -- moves content free of charge between your PC/Internet, Home Entertainment Center (Cable/Satellite TV, DVD, TiVo/DVR, VCR, camcorder, etc), and portables (iPod, PSP, other PMP's, smartphones, external harddrives)Mostly restricted to content purchased from iTunes
PlaybackAnywhere -- TV, PC, portables, etc HD widescreen TV's only
WirelessNot built in but can be wireless networked via wireless bridge or a USB dongle built-in 802.11n
CablesAll cables except S Video included in boxNot included
CompatibilityUses universal remote control and standard cablesremote dedicated to AppleTV
Hard DriveNo built in HD but works with virtually any external HD40GB HD built in
ExpandabilityUSB, Compact Flash, SDNone
OSLinuxModified OSX
Open SourceYes No
RequirementsAny computer running SMB file sharing OR hard drive OR CF card OR SD cardMac or PC running iTunes 7
InputsS-Video, CompositeNone
OutputsComposite, Ethernetvarious HD outputs
RecordingMPEG recordingDoes not support recording
Playback Formats SupportedAlmost all mainstream formats (but not MPEG4 H.264)MPEG4 H.264

Can I use the OSD to record live TV?

Yes you can. All you need to do is connect your Neuros OSD to a video source (DVR, Cable or Satellite receiver box, VCR, etc...) using the RCA cables provided. Get your video source on the channel you want to record (the Neuros OSD does not have a built-in tuner), and you are all set. You can even use the IR blaster included in the accessories to schedule recordings on different channels at different times. The IR blaster will emulate the IR signal used by your remote to set the tuner of your video source to the channel of your choice at the time of the recording. (you can also use the serial cable which has the potential for interfacing with devices such as TiVo directly). None of these solutions (IR blaster and serial cable) are in 100% working order as of 3/20/07, but they are being actively pursued. Stay tuned for updates.

Can the OSD view images?

As of firmware update on 8/2/07, there is a beta photo viewer. Stay tuned for updates!

Can I use the OSD to browse the web?

Turning your television into a general purpose web browser is not one of the goals of the OSD development team. Due to the lack of a mouse and keyboard, and the low resoultion common to most televisions, TV's tend to make pretty bad web browsers. However, there are a number of cash bounties out there for people to create specialized flickr, YouTube and Google Video browsers. Stay tuned for updates!

What video file formats/codecs can the OSD play?

The file formats (wrappers) that the OSD recognizes include the following: AVI, MPG, VOB, MOV, ASF, WMV.

The codecs which are playable on the OSD include the following: DIVX, XVID, MPEG1, MPEG4, DX50, DIV3, WMV3, MP43.

For actual playback performance and compatibility of the above, check OSD Player Testing

Note: At this early stage of development, the OSD is in a constant state of flux regarding the compatibility of various wrappers and codecs. Just because a wrapper/codec is not listed above does not mean that it is not supported by the OSD.


What is included with the OSD?

OSD unit, stand, remote, 2 sets of RCA cables, IR blaster cable, VGA output cable, batteries, AC adapter, and instructions.

What is the max video resolution for the OSD?

672x448 is currently the highest resolution.

What devices can I record to other than memory cards?

You can record to micro drives, USB thumb drives, external hard drives, to the PSP, iPod video (among many USB storage/portable media devices) and PCs (network required).

Is the OSD network ready?

Yes, the OSD can be hooked up to a home or office network and interact with devices on that network. You can record to and playback content from PCs on the network.

What are the key features of the OSD?

Recording and playback of video, audio and picture to and from a variety of sources, in addition to the commitment to our open source community through the release of software tools and code, the support of a wide variety of audio and video formats, and its ability to act as a home media center just to name a few.

What do you mean by Open Source Media Center?

The idea behind open source is that the consumer has a say in how the product works and evolves over time. For more information on open source and your digital rights. Please check the following link.


What type of memory cards does the OSD accept?

The OSD accepts SD memory cards, MMC memory cards, MS (Pro and Pro Duo) memory cards, CF memory cards, and microdrives. This includes all mini/micro variants of the previously mentioned cards assuming you have the proper adapters.

Can I record straight to the iPod video and PSP via the USB port?

Yes, you can record directly to both of those devices using the USB port and the device settings in the recording menu.

Does the OSD come with a built-in hard drive?

No, the OSD has no internal storage, but you can plug in any USB external Harddrive.

What are the dimensions of the OSD?

5.5 x 5.5 x 1.25 inches (14 x 14 x 3.2 cm)

Can I record straight from a camcorder?

As long as the camcorder has an output of either S-video or RCA (red, yellow, and white connections) then yes, the OSD can record from the camera's feed.

What is the largest capacity memory card that can be used with the OSD?

We have tested up to 8GB in size for memory cards with the OSD with working results. Using the OSD's USB connection, you can hook up external hard drives and expand your space to almost unlimited levels.

Usage

How do I record video using the Neuros OSD?

Once connected, you preview what you want to record through the TV. Then when you know what you want to record, you hit the record button and enjoy the show. Then after you're done, hit the record button again, your file will be saved to whatever storage device you use. You will be able record to either a memory card, USB device (PSP, iPod, external hard drive, etc.) or PC (network required).

How do I set up the Neuros OSD?

With the supplied cables, you use one for your source (DVD player, cable box, VCR, etc), then the other cable will go to one of your video inputs on the back of your TV. The cable from the source will go into the AV IN on the back of the OSD, and the cable to your TV will be coming from the AV OUT on the Neuros OSD.

Can it play songs stored on my iPod?

You will be able to play only DRM-free songs (which exclude most songs bought on iTunes).

Can I connect it to the network via WiFi?

Neuros is working on officially supporting this functionality through USB. Some in the community are already using WiFi. In the meantime, as another alternative, the forums have information on using a common wireless bridge to do the job.

Can I control the OSD WITHOUT the Remote?

At this time, there is no way to control the OSD without using the remote. Currently osdmain (the app that plays movies, music, shows the menu...) is one monolithic app that doesn't allow interaction from the outside. Once this barrier has been overcome people can start work on ways to interact with the OSD over the web. There have already been several successful attempts at running web servers on the OSD itself. Stay tuned for updates.

I have a hard drive connected to my OSD, can I copy files to it remotely?

This capability is not built into the OSD by default, but there is an easy 5-minute "hack" that will allow you to add this functionality. crweb has ported an ftp server that can be downloaded and run on the OSD. Follow the README for directions. You should then be able to use any ftp client to connect to your OSD and upload videos, pictures, music... whatever.

Note: work is actively being pursued to add windows file sharing capabilities to the OSD, so the above method will no longer be necessary.

How do I upgrade the firmware?

Please read the Neuros Technology Firmware Upgrade Instructions for detailed instructions on updating your firmwaree.

Can I log into the OSD with an ssh or telnet client?

The OSD does not yet support ssh, but you can log in via telnet. To find out your OSD's IP, go to Settings => Network Configuration. The username for the osd is "root". For firmware versions before 3.33-1.32 there is no password, after the default password is "pablod". The OSD uses the "ash" shell (a slimmed down version of bash).

       telnet 12.34.56.78
       Escape character is '^]'.
       neuros login: root
       BusyBox v1.1.3 (2007.03.08-07:55+0000) Built-in shell (ash)
       Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
       ~ #

I broke something and my OSD doesn't work! How do I do a factory restore?

Note: this assumes you have an SD or Compact Flash card, and have some way of connecting it to your PC. If you do not, it is highly recommended that you acquire one as you will not be able to do "emergency" firmware upgrades without it.

Download the latest firmware to your PC and rename it to r3.upk. Create a new directory on your aforementioned flash card called "newpackage" (no quotes). Copy the r3.upk file into the newpackage folder. (If you are downgrading your firmware, you should create a blank file called "disable_upk_version_check". You can do so by opening a blank word document, save the file with the "disable_upk_version_check" name and place that in the newpackage directory as well.)

Once this is complete, take your card and plug it into the OSD and recycle the power. It should automatically reflash the firmware, and you should be all set.

Note: Remember to delete the newpackage directory after this is complete, or every time you reboot the OSD it will reflash the firmware.

How do I turn it off??

You may have noticed that the OSD does not have an on/off switch. If it is plugged in, it is turned on, and vice versa. However, there really is no downside to leaving it on ALL the time. The OSD draws little to no power when it is not being used and the heat generated by the OSD is negligible. If you are truly concerned about leaving it on, you can simply unplug it, but this really isn't necessary.

The volume and power buttons on my remote don't do anything, what gives?

The OSD remote is actually a universal remote, and those buttons can be programmed to control your TV. Heres a nice tutorial explaining how to do just that.

Where can I buy replacement/better quality video cables?

We deliberately chose standard cables that you can buy just about anywhere. Here's one example but it's a generic part, look for mini AV connectors, or just ask for something to connect your camcorder to your TV with composite connectors. Replacement cables can also be purchased directly from Neuros here.


How do I know what version of firmware I am currently running?

In the menu screen you go to settings, then properties and it will be displayed there.

How do I know when the OSD is powered on?

Once the power is connected, the green light will be on. Then once you go to the right video channel on your TV, the menu will be displayed on there.

Can I record straight from a coaxial cable line?

No, you will need a VCR that will act like a cable box tuner or you will need a special converter/tuner.

Troubleshooting

Why is my audio/video recordings distorted?

If the cables aren’t securely inserted, or crossed this may cause interference. One thing that usually works is swapping the cables around. A wireless card may also cause interference if it's near the OSD.

Why is my recorded video choppy?

There may be a few solutions to this problem: 1.Upgrade your firmware 2.Defragment the memory card/device you are recording to 3.Choose a higher video recording resolution in the settings

I hear sound, but don’t see a picture, what do I do?

This may be due to the cables being plugged in incorrectly. Please verify that the White/Yellow/Red cables are plugged into the appropriate color coded ports on the source and the TV.

Is there a record time limit on the OSD?

There is no hard time limit in place for recording, however there is a 2GB file size limit per recording when recording on storage media with a FAT partition.

Why does my OSD keep freezing?

Older firmware may cause this issue. But with the latest upgrades, this issue is cured. Please see here for the latest firmware. If this doesn't solve your problem, you should contact customer service immediately.

Why does my OSD keep rebooting?

If you haven’t reformatted your card, that may be the issue. A simple format in the device that you are going to be using should work. Staying current on your firmware can also resolve this. If it doesn’t, please contact support.

Why doesn’t my memory card work?

If you haven’t reformatted your card, that may be the issue. A simple format in the device that you are going to be using should work.

Note: SD High Capacity (SDHC) cards are not (yet?) supported

Why isn’t my external hard drive recognized by the Neuros OSD?

If you want to record to/play from an external hard drive, you will need it to be formatted in FAT 32 file system. A complete step by step guide on how to do so using Windows and a free program can be found here.

In addition, make sure the jumpers on the hard drive are set correctly, typically should be "cable select" or "master with no slave present" or the behavior may be erratic.

I have a question that wasn't answered here. Where can I get some more help?

You're in luck! There is a forum designed especially for this purpose. Developers of the OSD and various members of the community check the forum multiple times a day, and theres a good chance they can answer your question. If you get your answer, we invite you to come back here and update this page with what you learned. Of course, you can always email (support@neurostechnology.com) or call (866-563-8767).

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