Raspberry Pi used to build a smart television

rpi-based-smart-tv

In the title of his post [Donald Derek] calls this a Google TV you can build yourself. That’s certainly an over-reach. But the project is still a very impressive smart television built using a Raspberry Pi.

The open source project starts with the Rasbian OS, an RPi version of Debian Linux. Functionality is built up by installing Chromium to display webpages, a script to download YouTube videos, and OMXPlayer to play videos including 1080P HD content. The image above shows the smart phone controller for the system. This is provided by a Node.js configuration that manages communication between the remote and the RPi board.

On the one hand we love that this is open source. On the other, it’s not going to be able to tap into a lot of the content which makes a Google TV so valuable. For instance, you won’t be able to watch Netflix because that service doesn’t work on Linux systems. But you should be able to watch browser-based content like Hulu.

Comments

  1. polossatik says:

    Not sure if downloading youtube movies before playing is so handy,
    but at least kudos for the nice write up, it will be handy for some poeple.

    • Kark says:

      Nice work. I am sure it takes a lot of work to put together and write it up too. I wasn’t able to tell from the write up, but is this meant to improve on xbmc somehow?

      • Karl says:

        Never mind. I think it is important for everyone to try something like this, and post it because you never know what little bit will spark a really cool project that changes everything.

  2. randomstranger says:

    Hulu requires flashplayer which rpi doesn’t have.

  3. AJ Jeromin says:

    Looks like this would fix all of that:

    http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/04/airplaying-music-and-video-from-ipad-to-raspberry-pi-its-as-easy-as/

    Just load the Netflix and Hulu apps on iPhone and AirPlay to RPi.

  4. dirf says:

    Netflix works well through Wine. Though I have no idea how Wine is on RPi, if it works at all.

    • Hack says:

      Wine Is Not [an] Emulator… i.e. WINE translates Windows API calls to X/Linux calls. This doesn’t allow X86 code to run on ARM, so WINE won’t work.

      I do seem to recall a project that combined WINE with an x86 emulator, but I don’t recall the name…

  5. zibri says:

    Nice but a SmartTV motherboard (which now are all quad or dual cores) costs about the same as a rpi.

  6. garym53 says:

    9 out of 10 for the RPi arrangment
    -1000 out of 10 for using an crazily expensive smart phone as the controller
    combined average: -495.5 out of 10.

  7. fartface says:

    Neat, but XBMC still destroys this. and it’s already done and 100% functional while using the CEC control channel from your TV to use the TV remote for control.

    If he can do something that XBMC cant do, then we have a major contender. but as a tinker pet project, it’s cool.

  8. DosX says:

    learning new ways of using a hardware or software that you possess is an admirable thing. Most people see something and think, well “this can do that” or would be better if you used “this” instead of seeing the fun in using whatever you have in as many different ways as possible until you exhaust your imagination with the item.

  9. Andrew says:

    “For instance, you won’t be able to watch Netflix”

    I like this sentence. I can guarantee it will soon be irrelevant. Either people will get the same content from elsewhere, or Netflix will start supporting Linux. It’s the march of technology in microcosm.

  10. BotherSaidPooh says:

    Nice, now someone just needs to do a write-up “How to fix broken backlights on LCD TVs” :-)
    I have a few here, including one which works but gets fairly hot. Possibly CCFL aging, has anyone else seen this symptom?

  11. Donald Derek says:

    Hello folks, I appreciate all your feedback! This is still a very experimental project, I promised myself to continue working on it. The reason why this can get better than XBMC is because of the ease of development that you get while developing apps using web tech. I think it’s rather complicated to develop apps for XBMC that for rPiTV, any thoughts ?

  12. Sasha says:

    A lot of people don’t realize that only a very small portion of the world has access to Netflix – less than 6% of the total population. Amongst those, even fewer choose to use this service, making Netflix’s user base only a very small percentage of the world. Piracy, on the other hand, is very widespread – according to a study conducted in 33 countries and 15’000 participants, 57% of the connected population downloads, or, ‘pirates’ content (it’s legal where I live, and although often illegal, only a handful of other countries enforce copyright thoroughly). Therefore, instead of complaining relentlessly that Netflix isn’t available on Linux, why won’t you guys talk about using rTorrent or even Transmission with RSS feeds to automatically download pretty much anything? Setup takes literally minutes, especially with Transmission. In addition to software such as XBMC or Plex, you can turn your RPI into an awesome, independent media center.

  13. liam says:

    Yeah, um, Android uses linux and runs netflix. Moreover, there are projects that allow you to run netflix from standard linux distros (http://fds-team.de/cms/articles/2013-08/pipelight-using-silverlight-in-linux-browsers.html).

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