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.
Google TV is a network connected television. It does what you would think: plays television programs, streams media from the internet, and allows you to open URLs on your TV. But one nice feature is that it can also be controlled over the network rather than just via an IR remote. Google publishes apps which make this simple with a smartphone. But the communications protocols are open source, so [Leon Nicholls] wrote a Google TV remote control library in Java.
The video after the break shows him pairing a Raspberry Pi with his television. The image above is the pairing verification code you must enter on the remote hardware before control is authorized. Apparently this is a step that needs to happen every time if using Google’s Anymote library. [Leon] improved that, by saving the pairing data so that the first authorization is all that it takes.
He figures this could be used for home automation. We’re not sure what we’d use it for but we’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.
The proud cry of “I am root” rings true once again, this time on Sony Google TV devices. Although a low-level exploit was found on previous firmware versions, a downgrade process lets you run unsigned kernels on updated TV or Bluray models of the Internet streaming devices.
These systems are Android-based, which currently run version 3.1 Honeycomb. This version patches the previous exploit, but with three different USB sticks you can downgrade, exploit, and upgrade to an altered and unsigned hack of the most recent kernel. This gives you the root access you may have been longing for, but other than the features discussed in the forum thread there’s not a whole lot of changes rolled into the exploit yet.
We’re always looking out for open source projects running on living-room devices and hope that someday we’ll see a branch of XBMC for the GTV. Until then we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed for the viability of a RaspberryPI XBMC.