Custom Video Streaming Box

tv streaming

There are a lot of options out today for streaming video to your Internet-connected devices. Whether it’s Hulu, Netflix, Slingbox, or the late Aereo, there is no shortage of ways to get your TV fix. However, [Jaruzel] wasn’t happy with any of these services and wanted a more custom solution, so he built his own TV-streaming box out of hardware he had lying around.

[Jaruzel] gets TV from a service called SkyTV, but wanted to be able to stream it to his tablet, laptop, and XBMC. While rummaging through his parts bin, he came up with a WinTV tuner card for capturing TV and a Mini-ITX board to process everything and stream it out over his network.

Once the computer was put in a custom enclosure, [Jaruzel] got to work installing Puppy Linux. He wrote a boot script that configures the WinTV card and then starts VLC to handle the streaming service which allows him to view the TV stream over HTTP on the network. This is a great hack that would presumably work for any TV stream you can find, even if it’s just an over-the-air source.

Pi Musicbox 0.5 Released

Pi MusicBox Logo

 

Have an extra Raspberry Pi kicking around? Pi MusicBox provides a way to quickly turn it into a standalone streaming device that can fetch music from tons of sources. The latest release of Pi MusicBox adds a bunch of new features.

We took a look at this software over a year ago, and noted that it made streaming Spotify easy, and had support for controlling tracks using Music Player Daemon (MPD). The newest release supports AirPlay, DNLA, Google Music, SoundCloud, and several other music sources.

Since the analog audio output on the Pi isn’t great, Pi MusicBox includes support for a variety of USB sound cards. It’s also possible to use the HDMI port for digital audio output, which can be connected into your home theatre system.

If you want to build a standalone music device, this looks like a great place to start. The user community has built a variety of projects that run this software, which are featured on the Pi MusicBox homepage.

Android stick mutates into a home server

small-form-factor-home-server

Kiss that energy hungry PC you’ve been using as a home server goodbye. [Vince Loschiavo] shows us how he squeezed a remarkable amount of functionality out of an inexpensive Android stick which manages his home’s digital empire.

He started off just wanting some network attached storage. For this he grabbed an MK802 Android Stick which you can get for a song if you find the right deal. To bend it to his will he said goodbye to the Android OS, installing Ubuntu for ARM instead. The stick (which is missing its case in the image above) connects to a USB hub in host mode, but does actually draw all of its power from the hub itself. This made it possible to attach a USB to Ethernet adapter to boost the speed which would have been limited by the WiFi connection. There’s a 320 gig USB hard drive for the storage. With that much space on hand it makes sense to add streaming media service as well which is simple since it’s running Linux. The last part of his work actually turns it into an Asterisk server by way of Google Voice and a SIP phone. An impressive outcome at a bargain price to be sure!

Raspberry Pi reaches critical mass as XBMC hardware

For years I’ve been dreaming of a streaming media device that could just be stuck to the back of a television. Since XBMC has been far and away my favorite set-top box software, I’ve closely monitored hardware developments that can run that package. Now I think it’s time to declare that the Raspberry Pi has achieved the base specifications to be branded the XBMC device that rules them all.

There are a huge range of opinions on this topic, but please hear me out after the break to see what has brought me to this conclusion.

[Read more...]

One remote to stream them all

We’d bet that most readers stream video as the lion’s share of their entertainment consumption. It’s getting easier and easier thanks to great platforms like XBMC, but not everything is available in one place, which can be a bit off-putting. [Tony Hoang] is trying to simplify his viewing experience by creating one remote to rule all of his streaming software. He’s got an HTPC connected to his entertainment center, and used a bit of scripting to add some functionality to this Lenovo N9502 remote control.

The hack is entirely software-side. The remote already works quite well, but he remapped the home, end, and page up buttons, as well as the mouse controller. The three buttons will launch XBMC, Hulu, and Netflix respectively. They are also set to kill the other applications before launch so that one button will do everything needed to switch between one another. The mouse remapping takes care of up, down, left, and right keys for navigation in the UI and control of the playing videos. See a demo of the setup after the break.

Everything was done with autohotkey scripts for Windows. But this should be easy to code with other OSes as well. If you’re prone to have a slip of the finger you might want to work out a double-click to launch the applications so you don’t accidentally hit a key in the middle of your favorite show.

[Read more...]

Building your Internet radio empire

It all starts with one station in your home office but who knows where it can go from there? If you’ve got dreams of being an Internet radio jockey you can get some ideas about equipment startup from this setup that [Viktor's] built for a friend.

He started out with a plan to have a station that offers twenty-four hour streaming but also supports live broadcast. Two computers are used in the setup. The first handles automated music broadcast and live mixing. This box has two sound cards, one is used for the automated music by feeding the output into a sound mixer that is a separate piece of hardware. The output of that mixer feeds back into the second sound card on the box. This secondary card outputs the final mix to the computer speakers.

The second computer is where a lot of the live broadcast work is done. Any steaming guest (using VOIP or Skype, etc.) come in through this box as well as jingles and sound effects used during the feed. Its sound card is also connected through the external mixer and joins the final feed headed into one of the sound cards on the primary computer.

In the end the Internet connection for the system isn’t beefy enough to reliably support a streaming station. For this a dedicated streaming service is used. It receives the live feed and then uses its increase bandwidth to propagate the signal to listeners anywhere in the world.

Want to listen to this radio station? Build your own streaming radio module, or outfit classic hardware to work with your computer.

Turning a one-armed-bandit into web slots

[Kyle Kroskey] just finished his first Arduino project, adding web control to a slot machine. He started with an IGT S+ model which were extremely popular in Vegas and Atlantic City casinos for years, but are now being replaced with more modern versions. His grand idea was to modify the machine so that it can be controlled from a PC, then unleash a live stream so that the Internets can play.

This turned out not to be too hard, there’s just a few controls he patched the Arduino into; the button for maxing out the wager amount, and sensors that measure coin inserts and payouts. In order to keep the peace he disconnected the speaker but rerouted the audio into a PC so that it can be played over the streaming feed. This make sure it’s quiet in the room without sacrificing the online fun. The PC is running Ubuntu and controls the video feed, a screen detailing jackpot data above the machine, and facilitates passing webpage player requests to the Arduino for machine control.

For another fun slot machine hack, check out this gaming device turned bartender.

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