Digital-to-Analog Converter Tool

The following videos document recent research conducted on digital-to-analog television converter boxes (a.k.a. television tuners) with Jason Bernagozzi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Digital Media and Animation at Alfred State College, and Eric Souther, Assistant Professor of New Media in the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts at University of Indiana, South Bend.

Through our research, we propose to explore TV tuners as sites for intervention with the live broadcast signal. We are working to reanimate these boxes as artistic tools that can be used for exhibition or performance, both on their own or in combination with other systems (i.e., software, apps, image processing machines).

We have achieved datamoshing of the broadcast signal and other real-time visual effects via three methods: (1) circuit bending on the 5-pin antenna input strip; (2) vibrations on the TV tuner crystal; and (3) terminal commands.

Funding for this project was provided by the Digital Studies Center at Rutgers University, Camden. Final research will be presented at the DSC’s R-CADE Symposia in April 2017.

VIDEO DOCUMENTATION

1. We found that datamoshing of the signal occurred slightly when we simply tapped the TV tuner, or moved the detached shield cover over the coils. This lead us to theorize that vibrations applied to this area might also cause datamoshing. We experimented with an electric toothbrush and found that when vibrations were directly applied to the crystal located within the TV tuner that datamoshing of the live signal occurred.

2. We also experimented with transmitting radio waves over the coils of the TV tuner to see if the image would modulate in any way. We did get some nominal datamoshing happening (towards end of video).

3. We achieved some interesting visual effects by by hacking the operating system of the box – MicroController OS (Micro C/OS).

4. By circuit-bending the 5-pin antenna input strip we found that we were able to modulate the live broadcast signal in numerous ways including (but not limited to): datamoshing; pixel shifting; de-saturation of the image; and flickering and horizontal rolling effects. The following video documents our initial attempt at circuit bending.

 

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