Info-beamer hosted OS 14 release thread

info-beamer OS release 14 is now available via the ‘testing’ channel. This means you can now immediately use info-beamer OS on your Pi5.

Here’s a list of some improvements compared to the current ‘stable’ release:

  • Reworked the complete video output engine on the Pi4 to support both Pi4 and Pi5. It now uses KMS/DRM and is now future proof as it uses standard Linux mechanisms to do video decoding. Gone is the legacy MMAL API and the HEVC decoding hack.

  • Stable playback of HEVC video. The decoder can now also play multiple HEVC videos at the same time (assuming their combined size doesn’t exceed video reserved video memory for decoding). This makes HEVC a full replacement of H264 on Pi4 and Pi5. Of course H264 remains fully supported.

  • There is HDR support available on Pi4 and Pi5. Assuming the display indicates HDR support via EDID, info-beamer will try to switch the video output to a 10bit mode. This should allow playback of HDR encoded HEVC content.

  • Updated to the latest 6.6 Linux kernel series. This would normally mean that previously working GPIO scripts fail if they relied on /sys/class/gpio to access GPIOs. This is worked around within this release with the introduction of a special compatibility tool that allows continued use of the old mechanism.

  • Audio output via HDMI should now send audio to both connected HDMI displays.

  • CEC can now turn off both connected HDMI displays.

  • Various optimizations to work better on the original Pi1 and Pi Zero.

  • Updated bundled Pi4/Pi5 firmware release and reworked the update mechanism. Now on booting up the OS checks if the bundled version matches the one installed on the hardware. If not an attempt is made to flash the Pi.

  • Support for newer hardware release of the Edimax WiFi stick for older Pis without built-in WiFi support.

As usual: Feedback is welcome.

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Updated the testing release. Improvements:

  • Reworked HDMI screen blanking on Pi4/5. Now uses KMS blanking as vcgencmd display_power is no longer available.
  • Amount of space reserved on an SD card now uses 10% of available space up to 512MB. This helps with smaller SD cards (in case you still have 1GB cards around :slight_smile: )
  • Added a way to transparently flip either one or both screens on Pi4/Pi5 devices with zero performance overhead. This helps with dual display setups if both displays are physically rotated differently. You can now also use the same setup on devices with different orientation. Flipping is by 180 degree only. Right now there is no way to easily configure this option on the dashboard. Stay tuned (or get in contact if you want to use this right now). EDIT: It’s actually possible to split this feature into horizontal and vertical flipping. So if you have a rear projector, the output can soon be flipped horizontally only. Stay tuned.
  • Pi4/5 video decoder now properly handles single frame videos.
  • Assigned video modes are now tested to ensure they work on the connected display. If not, the resolution is first reduced to 1920x1080 and finally to 640x480, so there is always at least some output.
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Updated testing (now 240424-14917d) again.

  • Support for independently rotating/flipping one of both displays on Pi4/Pi5
  • Support for overscan setting on Pi4/Pi5
  • Support for ignoring HDR on Pi4/Pi5
  • Updated kernel to 6.6.28 / FFmpeg to 5.1.4-rpi_24 / EEPROM to April 20th version
  • Fixed some package properties (like streaming support) not getting activated properly

Updated testing (now 240426-280b1b):

  • Added support for content processes (allowing embedded browser content). See this very technical post. If you want to try it out on a Pi4 or Pi5, click this button to import the experimental package into your account. Be sure to update your testing release to the latest version (Device detail page > Manage > Activate testing channel). Do not use it in production please :slight_smile:


Updated again to 240427-cb91f4:

  • Fixes content process code in info-beamer required to run the browser demo package linked in the previous post.

Updated to 240506-552176:

  • Fix EEPROM update condition on Pi4/Pi5
  • Avoid briefly switching resolutions on info-beamer restart when changing setups.
  • Fixed H264 playback on Pi4 (oops)
  • Improved info-beamer to support both RGBA and BGRA pixel formats for future content process plugins
  • Potentially improved rendering performance when using fully opaque textures
  • Improved CEC handling. Might hopefully be more compatible with more displays?

Known issues:

  • PoE hats don’t really automatically adjust fan RPM. Note sure yet why that doesn’t work: The necessary modules and overlays should all be there. See this other post.

Updated to 240515-125a8c:

  • Allow YUVJ420P and YUVJ422P video frame format.
  • Added a way to remotely show a small text overlay on demand. Could be used for another ‘second factor’ auth in the future or as a way to recover account access. This isn’t used yet.

Known issues:

  • The PoE issue from above
  • There’s still sometimes an annoying flickering of the last two frames when info-beamer is briefly stopped while switching setups. I’m not sure why that happens as nothing info-beamer is doing should cause that. It seems almost as if double buffering swaps between buffers while DRM/KMS is shut down. Odd.

Updated to 240604-c73c3c

  • Fixed info-beamer occasionally getting stuck while running Lua. This is related with the JIT somehow and I’m not yet entirely sure what causes this. For now the JIT is disabled which fixes this.
  • Updated kernel to 6.6.31 and EEPROM to 2024-05-17
  • Pi1 optimizations (see here)

Known issues:

  • Still no update on the PoE issue :-\
  • Disabling the fbdev emulation seems to help with the flicker, but it’s not perfect yet.