What You Don't Know About CEC, EDID, and TV Control Can Disrupt Your Retail Electronics Business

Demonstrating TVs and soundbars in a retail setting is a challenge. Despite the availability of infrared (IR) remote codes, consumer electronics control (CEC) technology, and extended display identification data (EDID), controlling home entertainment products in the brick and mortar retail environment is very different than using electronics in the family room at home. IR, CEC, and EDID were all designed to control one TV and one soundbar - if you need to demonstrate more than that, Black Diamond Solutions has you covered.

CEC is the protocol for different components - such as TVs, DVD players, cable boxes, and speaker systems - to control each other. This protocol is transmitted through one wire in an HDMI cable to all components that are connected by HDMI. Major brands have also developed their own extended standards, which include Anynet+, Bravia Link, EasyLink, and SimpLink. 

"There's a loose industry standard about how CEC should work - and the standard is loose enough to make a noose with," said Tucker McLane, President, and CEO of interactive customer experience company Black Diamond Solutions. "These brand standards generally work better than the industry standard, which is CEC, but their extended commands only work within the brand family - in other words, you can't mix Anynet+ commands with EasyLink commands, you can't mix Bravia Link and SimpLink, and so on."

Because CEC was designed to work only in the home environment, a host of issues can crop up - and our solutions can resolve these problems. We have created a control system that replaces the TV functions to enable using CEC to change the volume of a soundbar display without a TV attached.

Using Black Diamond's CEC technology, you can:

    •    Control multiple TVs and multiple audio devices, not just one device 
    •    Send a CEC command to one specific component, without other components responding to the command 
    •    Set a default volume at a desired level

Black Diamond has also developed an EDID controller to resolve issues in the retail environment that standard EDID can't accommodate. When establishing an HDMI connection via EDID, the source device communicates with the display to assess the display's capabilities - the communication between these two devices is known as the "HDMI handshake".

"EDID is the protocol that TVs and video sources use to simplify video resolution settings," Mr. McLane said. "When a TV plays a small video in the screen's center instead of the video filling the entire screen, this means there's a problem with the EDID handshake - our technology resolves handshaking-related issues too."

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Andrew R. Capobianco