Lightberry HD Review

How we watch and use our TV has changed so much. I still remember the time of VHS and being grateful that I could even watch my favourite films at home. Now technology has advanced so far that watching a film at home can be more immersive than going to the cinema. Ambient light TVs are one of the latest technological advances for your television creating the illusion that the light from the screen carries on beyond the edges of the TV.  Lightberry HD allows any TV to have this technology using a HDMI cable.

Lightberry HD

Picture taken from

The first thing to say is that the Lightberry really enhances the viewing experience.  I ran the kit off of my Sony Bravia 55” TV and was amazed at the results. It is a really immersive way to watch films adding extra atmosphere. I tried the kit out with several genres of films and it worked well for all of them. I suggest the first film you try it out on is an effects heavy film such as Star War as you really notice the difference. I also tried the Lightberry HD out with my PlayStation 4 and it was just as good if not better than the films. I think this is because games have less cut scenes so the changing light seemed a lot smoother.

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How to setup and configure Lightberry HD with Hyperion & HyperCon

I recently purchased a Lightberry HD so that I could get the cool ambiilight colours with my TV. Despite there being information on the internet about how to set everything up, the information is fractured, brief, confusing, and a lot of times out of date. This guide aims to walk you through everything you need in regards to pre-purchasing, physically setting up, and finally configuring the software (Hyperion) to get the best from your Lightberry. If you are just simply looking for a quick review about the Lightberry HD, then golly gosh, I have one just here for you 🙂

Lightberry HD

Picture taken from

1) What to buy/What do I need?

Exactly what you need will depend on what you want to achieve and your current home theatre and TV setup. I’ll run through the absolute must haves to actually get things working, and then we’ll talk about the different types of Lightberry kits which can be used depending on if you want standard 1080p video or if you are a cutting edge 4K viewer. If you already have all the kit then you can jump ahead to the setup part of this tutorial.

Raspberry Pi 3:

Raspberry Pi 3B

The Raspberry PI is basically a credit card sized computer, and this little guy is going to be doing all the processing of your picture to then send the information to the LEDS and make them light up all pretty like. The PI 3 is a quad core 1.2ghz computer which will run flavours of Linux from a micro SD, it has 4 USB ports along with a HDMI port to connect to your TV, and thankfully the model 3 does have onboard Wifi. You can buy the Raspberry Pi 3 direct from Amazon.

If you already have a Raspberry Pi, then you can use that, but the Pi 3 – model B ensures you have enough computing power to light the LEDs as smooth as butter.

Raspberry Pi 3 Power Supply:

Raspberry Pi Power supply

The Pi 3 (or any other version for that matter) doesn’t come with a power supply. As above, you can buy an official power supply from Amazon.

Raspberry Pi 3 Case:

Raspberry PI 3 Black Case

It’s probably a decent idea to get a case for the Pi 3, just make sure that you put the Pi into the case WITHOUT the Micro SD card inserted, else it will snap. I went with this case that fits perfectly, again from Amazon.

Lightberry HD Kit:

Lightberry HD Kit

Lightberry HD Kit

Lightberry HD Grabber

Lightberry HDMI Grabber

Lightberry LED Controller

Lightberry LED controller

If the Raspberry Pi is the brains of this operation, this Lightberry HD kit is the heart. This kit includes everything that you need to get up and running (except the parts listed beforehand), the components of the kit are…

  • HDMI Grabber (2nd image above) – This is a smallish box which takes the input from a HDMi cable and then passes it to the Raspberry PI via USB. It also has a HDMI out port so that the image from your HDMI source can still be passed through to the TV. It also includes a physical switch to well, switch the HDMI between PAL and NTSC formats.
  • Lightberry LED Controller AKA level converter (3rd image above) – This is another little box that connects to the Raspberry PI via USB (or GPIO pinout) and also to the LED lighting strip. This box, as you can probably guess, takes the data that the Pi has analysed and turns it into signals that are sent to the LED strip to light up your world.
  • LED Lighting strip – The model of this lighting strip is APA102 (this is important to note later), and comes in 4meter and 5meter versions. For my 55″ TV I have the 5M version which resulted in a bunch of extra LEDs, but that’s cool as we will configure it so that they are simply always turned off. Also note that the 5M version requires power from the start of the strip and also from the end, whilst the 4M version only requires power from the start of the strip, the 4m version also allows you to cut away any excess lights you don’t need (don’t do that with the 5M version).
  • Power cables and Hooks – Hopefully you know what power cables do. The hooks are used to stick to your TV so that we can run the lights around it. It’s worth noting that you are going to need 3 spare power sockets to plug everything, 1 for Raspberry Pi 3 (not included in this kit), 1 for the HDMI Grabber, and 1 for the LED controller which will also split into powering the end of the 5M LED strip.

You can purchase all these parts separately, and you can go for the older “non HD” model, but the best solution (and what this guide uses) is the Lightberry HD + HDMI FullHD bundle direct from Lightberry.

Lightberry HD purchase Options

I recommend buying the 5 meter USB version of the kit.

If you are a 4K user, then you will want to read this new blog post of mine about getting true 4k 60 FPS with lightberry. If you are thinking “Well, I might upgrade to 4K in the next five years and will buy the 4K kit for future proofing” then don’t bother, get the Lightberry HD kit and read my latest post. If you are unsure of what you need read about Lightberry and 4K first.

Pre-Loaded Micro SD Card:

Lightberry Micro SD Card

Fist off, let me say that you can use any Micro SD card and that I will show you how to set everything up with your own SD card later in the guide. However, for ease of use and for “Plug and Play” I suggest that you just purchase a pre-loaded Micro SD card from Lightberry. The card that they sell is 8GB and comes loaded with OpenElec which boots directly into Kodi. I shall cover OpenElec and Kodi and what they do later, but basically this is the operating system that will be plugged into the Raspberry Pi and make everything work. You must have an SD card to make this work, you cannot load any operating system directly onto the Pi without an SD Card!

HDMI Splitter/Switcher (Optional):

HDMI Splitter

Whilst the Lightberry HDMI grabber will take a single HDMI input, send that to the Raspberry Pi via USB, and then pass through the HDMI source to the TV, you may need a HDMI splitter to allow you to pass multiple HDMI inputs to your setup. Let me try and explain that a different way, if you have your Sky/Cable, your Bluray, your Apple TV etc all plugged into the back of your TV then as it stands you can only choose one of those to plug into the Lightberry HDMI Grabber and have the LEDs light from that source. If you want ALL of your devices to feed through the Lightberry HDMI Grabber then you are going to have to plug them into a HDMI splitter first so that the splitter/switcher takes all those inputs and outputs them as a single source into the HDMI Grabber.

If you have a Home Theatre system or AV receiver then you do not need a HDMI splitter as you can just use the single HDMi cable output from your receiver to your TV. Just to be crystal clear, AVR’s work perfectly fine outputting all sources through a single HDMI cable into the Lightberry HDMI Grabber.

You can get a 3 port HDMI splitter from Amazon.

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A little comic based story about negative SEO

I just had the pleasure of speaking at MORCON 2015 on the subject of Google Manual Penalties, part of my presentation was a little bit of fun about how someone may go about running a negative SEO campaign on a competitor. Now arguments aside whether or not it is actually worth doing, I figured it might make a nice little web story if taken in the light hearted way it is meant to be.

Sit back and relax. Grab some Milk and Cookies, or a Whiskey and Coke (whatever takes your fancy) and let’s listen to a tale

It's Story Time

There once was a guy called Chewie. Chewie was a friendly chap and had a wonderful girlfriend by the name of Angelina, along with the bestest of friends named Jerico. They all hung around together and drank, and just generally had a great time.

Chewie had a dream, and that dream was to open a cupcake shop. For some reason he absolutely loved cupcakes and wanted to use his SEO and Internet knowledge to open up and promote the best cupcake shop in town.

However, Chewie got some bad news so he had to leave the country and fly back home 🙁

Comic 1

During the time that Chewie was away, Jerico and Angelina became closer and closer. After some time they fell in love and got married in a grand ceremony.

After becoming wed, Jerico and Angelina stole Chewie’s dream of opening a cupcake shop. Chewie hears of this and is extremely upset 🙁

Comic 2

Jerico’s cupcake shop, and the dream that he ruthlessly stole starts to really take off. People are talking about it all across town and he’s starting to dominate the SERPS for high traffic cupcake related terms.

Comic 3

Whilst Jerico and Angelina are living the high life off the back of their dream stealing escapades, Chewie returns!

Comic 4

And Chewie wants his revenge!

Comic 5

So how is Chewie going to get his revenge? With a Negative SEO campaign of course, let’s see what he has planned!

Comic 6

So he enacts his plan, but did it work?

Comic 7

Thanks for reading 🙂

The End

How to use an Apple (Mac) Remote with Plex running on Windows through Bootcamp


I recently acquired a new A/V receiver as I have been watching quite a few films lately. So I hooked the bad boy up and sat down to watch something or other only to find that OSX EL Capitan on a Mac Mini (mid 2011) would not work correctly (and it wouldn’t work when I rolled the Mini back to fresh install of Yosemite either). Basically the screen was flickering black every 5 seconds or so. I tried a different HDMI cable with no joy but connecting the Mini back to the TV directly fixed the issue… however there was little point in that as I wasn’t getting the surround sound that I bought the damn A/V receiver for.

After lots of searching I found that the 2012 mini had an issue with HDMI handshaking and CEC which resulted in this very same problem. Whilst Apple had released a firmware update to fix this in the 2012 models the problem was never corrected in the mid 2011 models. My only solution to fix this was to either buy a new Mini, or install Windows through Bootcamp and turn the Mini into a Windows box. I ended up being fine with the latter solution, as it would soon come to my attention that Apple do not allow Atmos Bitstream audio to be passed through the OSX operating system anyway, meaning that new movies with Atmos audio wouldn’t have worked whilst running under El Capitan… you can thank the late Steve Jobs for the “My way, or the high way” Apple method of thinking.

So I install Windows 7, it all works fine after taking about 6 hours to get setup in the way I want, and then I go to use Plex. Of course I am sat there clicking the remote and nothing is happening despite a) Bootcamp installing the remote IR drivers, and b) Plex natively support Mac remotes (but no go on Windows).

Just before I continue, I did submit a feature request to Plex to support for the Apple remote on Windows, since in my mind it should be fairly trivial. However, it would seem that not many people want to see the same thing as the post got no replies at all… which actually makes me wonder why I am even bothering to post this guide if nobody actually needs it :/

Whatever though, I needed it, so it might help someone.

Now, there is a forum post where people have done this for Kodi, and that is where I got my initial information to make this work. My method changes the key mapping to work with Plex Home Theatre and Plex Media Player, and also supports button presses from the Apple MC377 remote.

First things first, you are going to have to go and download EventGhost which has flavours for both X32/X64 versions of Windows. EventGhost is a nifty little program that takes the input from almost any peripheral you can think of and then executes actions on those inputs that you assign. So, I dunno, you can make the button press of a remote send an [Escape] key command to the operating system. You see where this is going?

I’m going to do the next part as a step by step how-to, follow along carefully now!

  1. After you have EventGhost installed, you need to change the way the Mac IR receiver is ‘seen’ by Windows. At the moment anything you do will be intercepted and the remote will only be able to control iTunes which is no good. You will actually have to go and change the drivers in Windows (you can easily change them back). Open up Control Panel, and go to System-> Device Manager. From there, expand the “Human Interface Devices” box, and right click on the Apple IR Receiver. Go to Properties->Driver->Update Driver. From here, choose “Browse…”, then “Let me choose…” Now, choose USB Input Device. You may, or may not have to restart Windows (I didn’t).
  2. You now need to open up EventGhost, fire that bad boy up!
  3. Now the general idea is that you need to capture each button press and assign it to the action, but Chewie’s got your back and I have Pastebinned the XML file which you can open in EventGhost to have this all done for you. So copy and paste that Pastebin into a new Notepad file, and save that file as PlexRemote.xml. Then open it in EventGhost.
  4. EventGhost will now look something like the image below…

    Click for Full View

    Credit to jhsrennie on the Kodi forum for the image

  5. With EventGhost open, go ahead and launch Plex Home Theatre or Plex Media Center. If you are using the same model remote as my good self then the remote should be working straight away and you can use Plex with your remote to your heart’s content.

“But Chewie” I hear your cry, “I don’t have the same model remote, what the hell is this?”.

Well my friend, in that case you will need to capture your remote buttons and assign them to each of the events.

  1. First of all, make sure that each ‘Folder’ in EventGhost is expanded.
  2. Find each instance of HID.1234546 . 123456 denotes the input from the remote. You will need to change these for your remote.
  3. Click the button on the remote that you want to assign, this will now be saved to the last input in EventGhost and appear in the left panel.
  4. You should then be able to ‘Configure’ the HID.123456 ID by right clicking on it which will then allow you to select the last remote input pressed.
  5. Go through each of the actions and assign your button, making sure that straight after you press the button on the remote you configure the HID element.
  6. There is one thing that is confusing. Both quick presses and long presses appear to have the same HID ID, but they are different by a single number, e.g…

    Thanks to perezbalen on the Kodi forum

    Thanks to perezbalen on the Kodi forum

  7. So if you find yourself assigning an input only to test it and have Plex jump up or down (or left or right) twice then it is because you have used the “Long Press” HID.

So yeah, there you go, it is pretty straight forward once you get the hang of it. There is a command which I have muted to launch Plex using the remote as it doesn’t work correctly with Plex Media Player due to the weird way it is doing full screen. You’ll be able to unmute this and test yourself by disabling the red X on the specific event HID.

If this helps you out, and you’d like to see Plex enable native Apple remote support on Windows then please comment on the Plex Feature Request and let me know how you got on in the comments.


I have updated the original EventGhost script so that the menu button on the remote now launches Plex.

I also recently bought a Harmony 950 remote from Amazon (which is awesome btw). I then taught it the commands from the Apple remote and it now works flawlessly with EventGhost, so if you are looking to get your Harmony Remote working with Windows and Plex, then the above is a solution for you as long as you have an IR receiver/port on your computer.