LCD TV Table – Inprogress

Having a coffee table with a TV screen in it doesn’t serve any real purpose, but if you have an unused, trashed, coffee table and 80cm LCD TV, it cant hurt to merge the two.

The table is a brown Ikea coffee table from the Markor range. I haven’t got any product links for it. I’m assuming it’s discontinued. The TV/monitor is an Panasonic 80cm LCD with 2x HDMI inputs. The media player is a 512MB Raspberry Pi running Openelec (Kodi).

The table was in the Mancave for a while and had oil and glue over it. It was roughly sanded with a belt sander (quickest option). Next I took measurements of the bottom inner space under the table to correctly center the TV screen to table top.

Beige: Area available for the TV on the underside of the table – excluding the small areas used to secure the legs to the top. Red: Size of the TV. Blue: The screen size. You can see that the red has protruded from the right of the beige. This means the TV needs an additional 12mm more space underneath the table to fit the screen in the center. This was fix by removing a section of side rail, which is 19mm wide.

Coffee table bottom inner dimensions.

Coffee table bottom inner dimensions.

You can see in this picture below where side rail was cut to the width of the TV base and  the TV laid into the slot.

Base size and screen alignment testing

Base size and screen alignment test.

By sheer luck the TV depth (10cm) and the side rail are close enough to be considered the same. So to mount the TV under the table all I needed was two thick planks of wood across the bottom of the side rails. The TV is an older model so it’s got a bit of weight. The wooden planks were placed near the base and across the VESA mount, which provided  the most support and left the most amount of air vents clear.

To hide the cut side rail and brackets, I added larger side rails which fit nicely into the gaps between the legs and are level with the extruding legs. I needed to putty up the gaps between the legs and the side rails, because the legs’ corners had been routed.

First upright with brackets and lights

Upright with brackets and wider side rails

To test the screen I used a Raspberry Pi (model B) with RaspBMC, then changed to OpenELEC – So far OpenELEC v5.0 has been the distro of choice for this project. I did have issues with it randomly rebooting and locking up. But this was fixed with a better power supply, and changing from the 256MB model to the 512MB RAM model.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is RGB LED strip lighting that goes around the back of a TV and usually projects onto the wall behind it. The colors are sampled from around the edges so it resembles a blurier version of whats on the TV. To me it generally makes the TV feel bigger. For this project, they will be pointed to the floor under and around the table to add a little more excitement to the table.

I started with 4 meters of WS2811 strip lights (left over from Christmas). I had used WS2811 strips before on a network DMX project and liked the quality and colors. Used an Arduino UNO R3 to control them (will change to a NANO when finished). Followed most of this guide,  and after much frustration got it working: boblight config and Arduino code (C) 2014 Hans Luijten, www.tweaking4all.com.

Loosly install lights

Loosely installed lights.

My experience with Boblight was OK but there was >1 second delays between color frames and CPU usage went through the roof, leaving the GUI non-responsive, and after ~30mins the Raspberry pi locked up and had to be reset. After some more research I found Hyperion and this guide. These are the working configs and Arduino code I used: hyperion (cant find original source for code).

Hyperion integrates into XBMC and you can change the boot effect, and if you want it active during videos, music, the menu, etc…. By turning on the smoothing option the small delay is far less noticeable. There is also an Android App that allows you to choose the active effect.

Hyperion Config Tool used to create the config included above.

Hyperion Config Tool, used to create the config included above.

The camera used below makes the colors more vivid than they actually are. The podcast shown below is The Ben Heck Show (check it out!).

The power supply used for the WS2811 strip (86 LED’s), UNO R3 and Raspberry Pi is 5v and 6amps. So far so good.

Total cost so far: about $50 – wood for side rails, and paint. The other items where left overs from other projects or spares.

UPDATE

Used some peg board to cover the bottom of the table and contain the electrics. The holes in it also make good LED mounts and ventilation holes:

Bottom of the table hidden using peg board.

Bottom of the table hidden using peg board.

To Be Completed

  • The wood was very porous so it needs at least another coat of matte black.
  • Glass or Acrylic top to cover and protect the TV screen.
  • Make a strong mesh cover for the underside of the table to make it safer.
  • Find a more uniform way to mount the LED strips.

Other Possible Options

  • Adding arcade buttons to either side of one end and make it a low Visual Pinball machine.

Cheers.

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