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N310 + 10.6.3 + Broadcom Crystal HD + XBMP = :)


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#1
limini

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If you're like me and you like the idea of a very portable media player, you'll likely have considered using the Broadcom Crystal HD mini PCIe card for your netbook. I bought an AzureWave AW-VD920H off ebay, which is functionally equivalent to the BCM70015 and supported by Broadcom's latest drivers.

On my N310, there's a second PCIe card that came populated with a 3G card, totally useless to me. When I changed my Wifi card for an OSX supported one, I took out the 3G card and put some heatshrink around the antenna connectors to avoid shorts. So it was easy to open it up again and just plug the Crystal HD card into the second slot. Under Win7 Starter, all I had to do is install the latest driver and use either Media Player 12 or Media Player Classic HC (and introduce it to the Crystal HD filter) and it worked: 1080 HD plays back at about 30% CPU. The same would max out the CPU and stutter/freeze without Crystal HD. So great news: the extra PCIe seems fully functional on the N310. Even the Wifi card worked in it.

So now OS X: I basically froze my N310 at 10.6.3 because it was the most complete and stable install I have (the only thing that doesn't work is "sleep on lid close"). It turns out that XBMC (X-Box Media Center... for all platforms now...) is the only way to get Crystal HD to work on osx. I found all this out on Aehso's Output.

Links:

Broadcom Crystal HD latest drivers (latest version = 3.5.0)
crystalhd-for-osx (latest version = 3.6.0)
XBMC builds (latest = Dharma RC2)

Steps:

1. Since I use NBI, I just put BroadcomCrystalHD.kext in the "Extras\GeneralExtensions\" folder and ran "UpdateExtra". The crystalhd drivers also come with two driver flavors: one for the older 70012 card and one for the newer 70015 card. Correction: actually in the crystalhd-for-osx author's instructions, he installs both so maybe the driver uses 70012 functions even for the 70015 card, so I suggest installing both. There's no harm in doing that anyway. Just put them both in instead of the "bcmFilePlayFw.bin" in Aesho's instructions, do the permission fixes and done.

2. Get the latest "Dharma" build of XBMC. The previous version won't work with Crystal HD. It turns out lots of people are populating their Apple-TV or mac-mini's with this Crystal HD card so the new version will natively support it.

You're done! Run XBMC and you can check under System>Video>Playback where the CrystalHD should be preselected ("Allow hardware acceleration (CrystalHD)"). Then just run any file supported by CrystalHD and HD away!

Some notes:

- Your files have to be supported by Crystal HD: MPEG-4, DivX, Xvid, AVS, MPEG-2, VC-1, WM9, H.264/AVC, Flash 10.1, WMP 12 (some of these like DivX and Xvid are new on the 70015). Crystal HD won't do anything for other formats.
- I'm not sold on the Flash support; it seems to help but HD content CPU use still climbs high on youtube. It's not too important to me as lower res stuff is fine on that media. It's really hard to find any official news about Flash support from anyone especially Adobe; it really feels like they're sweeping this one under the carpet.
- It works fine on the internal monitor but only win7 works properly on the external; I think that's because it's possible to switch to the external monitor exclusively. I haven't figured out how to do this on osx (anyone know?); on osx, HD just isn't perfectly smooth regardless of how low res I set the external monitor. It could also just be an XBMC bug. Using the external monitor also costs more CPU, around 60% (on both os's).
- According to reviews battery life is only impacted if you watch a lot of HD video, but not as much as using a dedicated chip like the Ion. I haven't used it enough yet to make a firm determination, but I do know that 10.6.3 uses more power than win7; could be because my power management isn't ideal.

That's it! Working HD on an N310 netbook. FYI...

#2
jmacie

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I was wondering if you would report your experience with flash,crystalHD, in osx on your netbook. I have a dell mini 10v with crystalHD, same kexts, same media player. I have excellant playback of videos, but flash 10.1 and 10.2 don't provide 720 or 1080p playback of flash in safari,chrome or firefox in osx. In win7, the crystalHD works flawlwssly with flash 10.1 and 10.2 in same browsers @ 720 and 1080p. I've googled to find a discussion on this topic, to no avail. So any info would be appreciated. Thanks, johnm
P.S. it seems as one of your sig rigs has the same mainboard as me. I use an ati 5750 video card, and I think that's why I can't get osx to sleep. I have a clean dsdt and legacy usb disabled. Any thoughts on that, thanks again, johnm

#3
limini

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I was wondering if you would report your experience with flash,crystalHD, in osx on your netbook.

Like I mentioned, it seems to help Flash on win7 but like you've noticed, it doesn't do anything in OS X. That's likely because Adobe didn't include any hooks for it in the OS X versions of Flash Player since Crystal HD isn't even supported under OS X by Broadcom; they never provided OS X drivers, only Linux sources from which crystalhd-for-osx was built which happens to be supported by the XBMC people. Considering Apple's relationship to Flash, I don't expect it to ever work or to be officially supported by anyone.

P.S. it seems as one of your sig rigs has the same mainboard as me. I use an ati 5750 video card, and I think that's why I can't get osx to sleep. I have a clean dsdt and legacy usb disabled. Any thoughts on that, thanks again, johnm

Actually, I retired those machines when I got my MBP; I just redid my sig. But the basic rule of thumb with hackintoshes is starting with gear that is identical or nearly the same as Apple's. The P5W DH mobo was my first hackintosh and I was amazed when I installed Jas Leo on it and everything worked: it had all the right parts. When I built those boxes, nVidia was in every Apple machine, so that's what I used. I really can't help you more than that. But think of the time you spend fiddling with your machine and ask yourself if it isn't worth just buying a compatible card... :D

#4
jmacie

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Thank you for your time and insight. It's just a hobby, nothing critical. I'd have macbook for sure if I could afford one. Take care, johnm

#5
limini

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NP, John.

Quick updates:

1. I corrected the Crystal HD driver install; I think both libs are required.

2. I also tried using a demo of SwitchResX, which is the only only way I've found so far to totally switch off the primary monitor while keeping the secondary active. But XBMC playback on the VGA connected display still stutters the same way, so I think the problem is XBMC's.

#6
jmacie

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Newest xbmc 10 working better for me. I've tried posting on their forum, but the brains and power seem too busy to help a noob. But it seems that you don't need both library .bins for cards. And the 3.6.0 kext is optimal for 970012. The r174 @ http://code.google.c...sx/updates/list
is what the developer recommends for 970015 crystalHD. To reference this read davilla post #5 @ http://forum.xbmc.or...ead.php?t=87927.
r156 is what we're using now with 3.6.0 kexts.
I know NOTHING about compiling to install the r174 rev., and my searches aren't helping, so if you've got any ideas. The forum does have others asking for the newer kexts, since the newer XBMC ver. 10 just got put out, so I'll contact you if I get any more info. johnm
p.s. using the youtube addon for XBMC gives me 1080p flash, so figure that one out, I can't

#7
limini

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Wow! Thanks for the heads up, John. I'll check all this out later today. I think we're on similar missions: I tried to join the xbmc forums but for some reason my email address is rejected as a spam source, which I'm most certainly not...

BTW, do you have a 70015 too?

#8
jmacie

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Here's another davilla post saying 3.6.0 kext/firmware includes support of 970015. Post #7 http://forum.xbmc.or...ead.php?t=84291
Now I'm more confused. I guess I'll try to install xcode and compile r174 even though I don't know how at all.

#9
limini

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Here's another davilla post saying 3.6.0 kext/firmware includes support of 970015. Post #7 http://forum.xbmc.or...ead.php?t=84291
Now I'm more confused. I guess I'll try to install xcode and compile r174 even though I don't know how at all.

That thread does say that 3.6.0 supports both the '12 and the '15, but I imagine that the more recent 174 code supports '15 better.

Building the code will likely also require you install SVN to sync the code repositories before you can build to the latest version. Plus if I'm not mistaken, I read that the new build is only temporary and reverts on a reboot. I'm sure 174 or better will appear at some point; it's likely davilla wants to make sure things are stable before offering a binary.

As for the youtube plugin, where did you find it?

#10
jmacie

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When you have xbmc open go to video, then video add ons, choose get more, and you tube is at the end. After install I restarted system to get it working. To access just open xbmc go to video, then add ons, then youtube. It's alot of navigation just for youtube, but, it's also the only way to get HD video.
I seriously will not try to compile r174. I'll just wait, too much to comprehend. Keep me posted if you get any new enlightenment, take care, jm

#11
limini

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Well Youtube through xbmc works fine, but like you say navigation is awkward; they should integrate a web browser! Maybe that'll be a plugin...

My only beef now is actually the fact that I can't get smooth HD playback out of the VGA port. But I can do it in Win7 with Media Player Classic. The difference between the two is that Win7 has an Intel graphics driver that can toggle between exclusive use of the internal and external monitors, and I suspect that when it's using the external, it's using the entire graphics power of the chip. The only thing similar in OS X is the "closed lid mode" which does the same but requires physical closure of the lid (or on a real macbook, a trick requiring magnet to make the system believe the lid is closed by pulling on the magnetic latches). Nothing in OS X natively does this from the GUI. It would be useful to find a way to trigger this behavior without the hardware.

I tried using SwitchXRes again but it really makes no difference which makes me wonder how low-level its working. It could just be blanking the monitor while the graphics is still pumping pixels to it, which could explain why it can't handle the playback on the second screen. The 950 graphics chipset is pretty bare-bones so its use really needs to be attributed appropriately. I'm starting to think that's a more likely candidate for my problem than the r174 driver.

#12
jmacie

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I'm trying, ever so delicately to get someone on XBMC forum to tutorial me on compiling r174 with xcode. The developer was kind enough to point out that brief instructions are on that code page, but even reading an xcode introductory, it's gonna be a ruff ride. I'll let you know.

#13
limini

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I guess you're feeling adventurous, which is good! Having done some programming myself (but not on the Mac, yet) I have an idea of what's involved:

1. Install the XCode programming environment from your SL installation disk.

2. You have to get davilla's source code to your machine. On the Google code page the files are all there under "Source" but it's a pain to download one by one. Subversion is a code archiving system that allows devs to keep generations of code so they can backtrack and refer to older versions as required. You have to figure out how to point it to the source tree. There's also several items you need to install and you'll find them on the download page.

3. Once you're set up, you just sync the project source to the latest version.

After that you can follow the davilla's compiling directions. Friends have told me that compiling code on the Mac is generally quite simple.

If you do manage to do this, please let me know! :wacko:

#14
jmacie

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Will do, thanks for the pointers,Happy Holidays!

#15
limini

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Will do, thanks for the pointers,Happy Holidays!

Merry Merry!!! :thumbsup_anim:

#16
snackole

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I just got mine last night. I tried to compile it in 10.6 but it would not. I will install 10.5 and see if that works. If it does I'll post the files needed.

#17
limini

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3 notes for the record:

1. To know if CrystalHD is active, in XBMC got to (from XBMC's root menu) Settings\Video\Playback and it should be listed there. It's NOT in Settings\Settings\Video... ;)

2. If CrystalHD was active before but isn't now and you haven't changed anything, run this command in the terminal to reactivate it:

sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/BroadcomCrystalHD.kext

3. Turns out if you have a 700015 card, you don't need bcm70012fw.bin in ~usr/lib, just bcm70015fw.bin

BTW: I'm still running the old r156 version of the Crystal HD drivers. Don't know if there ever will be a proper release of r176, anyone know?

#18
chrisrand

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Hello all,

 

I understand this post is a bit old, but it never hurts to ask right?

 

I have a ExoPC 11.6" Atom based tablet that I have managed to get Mavericks to install on, but I am missing compatble kexts for the display which is a GMA3150.  I know that will never work properly, but it also has a secondary device which you are all familiar with called, the Broadcom Crystal HD.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExoPC

 

Is there anyway for me to load the kext on a more modern version of Mac OS X other than 10.6 Snow Leopard?  If not is there a way to make it my primary display driver so that I can get QE/CI to work?

 

Thanks







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