Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Using the FPGA of an eeColor Color3

The eeColor Color3 device is designed to enhance the colors in televisions that use HDMI input. The device is supposed to work well in all types of viewing environments, with various lighting situations. But what really got me interested in this device is the chip in the center, which is an Altera Cyclone 4, 30K logic element FPGA (EP4CE30F23C6N). I initially found the device in a post on reddit asking if the header on the board was a JTAG or USB header. The author posted high resolution images and a video of the case being opened. Most of the comments seemed to agree that it was a JTAG header.

The author also noted that these devices were being given out for free (with rebate) by Newegg. So I looked around to see if I could get my hands on one for a reasonable price and found the devices being sold on Amazon (search "eecolor") for about $5 to $15! A development board with one of these FPGAs typically retails for over $100. While 30K logic elements is not huge, it is definitely a good starting place for people want to begin developing on FPGAs.