TV on your Raspberry PI

Right now due to technical issues I am unable to access normal IP TV, so what’s a news junkie like me supposed to do? 

The answer for now seems to be the Raspberry PI and OpenElec. The Raspberry PI itself is a small cheap computer that costs about $25. OpenElec on the other hand is a ready to install lighweight distribution of Linux that boots straight into XBMC. XBMC is a media player that gives you access to your library of music, movies, pictures and of course TV! What’s more it’s really to set up and the result is access to many of your favourite channels for free and without the need for expensive cable TV or IP TV! What’s more you can use your iOS or Android device to act as a remote control.

I am not sure if the basic set up is region based but out of the box (where I live) channels such as Al Jazeera, Arte and ZDF are available – plus many more. With extensions you can get BBC World News plus channels from many other countries. These can all be added with a click of a button. The picture quality seems ok on my meagre 5MB connection, there are some glitches from time to time but in general it is ok. Sound quality is a notably a bit worse than commercial options but perfectly ok. From what I can see all the feeds I have are standard definition, although it seems possible for high definition channels to be available as well. Indeed YouTube HD content works without any problems.

To put this in perspective, I rarely watch much TV however this still costs me about €20 per month plus the cost of the set-top-box (around €120). However, for around €30  I achieved almost the same results.

For information on how to set everything up check out the links below:

OpenElec for Raspberry XBMC Remote for Android

To get the remote working you need go to:

  • System->Settings Input devices, peripherals then enable remote control sends keyboard presses.
  • You should also note down the Internet address for XBMC on your raspberry PI, you can find this under System->System Info->Network.
  • You should also visit the System->Services menu in XBMC and enable the webserver option and note down the port and user name. You will need to enter the IP Address, port, username and password (optional) in the setting menu option under the “Manage XBMC Hosts” -> Add hosts option.

Once you have set all this up you should be able to use the basic included channels without any problems. You can find all the channels under Video->Add ons. There you can also add extra channels and services.

 

About Rod McCall

Rod McCall is a researcher in the field of human-computer interaction in areas such as augmented reality, mobile gaming in-car systems and virtual environments. He has a passing interest in economics after not being entirely convinced by the rubbish presented as fact during lectures on that particular subject while at uni.
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