Highlights of EPE May 2013

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Everyday Practical Electronics, May 2013 issue (an electronics hobbyist magazine):

Configuring a RaspberryPi multimedia hub with OpenELEC (XBMC);

Mention of the Pure Avalon 300R Connect FreeviewHD+ recorder in AlanW's column (traitor).


New Member
I've just installed OpenELEC 3.0.0 on a Raspberry Pi for our upstairs TV. Needless to say playing SD/HD recordings off the Humax is flawless.

I did have a couple of challenges that got sorted in the end: hopefully this helps somebody, but I guess I might be in the wrong thread..? Possibly some of it is covered in the EPE magazine article itself.

Problem 1: A reliable network connection. Hummy and Pi are wireless clients on 802.11n, at opposite corners of the house, but each within range of the router in the middle of the house. Performance would be brilliant initially but would collapse under load, so I wondered if it might be a hidden station problem... I got that sorted with judicious use of some nice directional antennae*, e.g. the TP Link 2409a for about £15 each. I figure this means that the Hummy and Pi can now see each other (rather than just seeing the router) so that they don't collide when grabbing the wireless network. Recommended.

(I've used ZyXEL powerline adapters in the past rather than wireless, but found they'd drop out occasionally and require a power cycle to get them back)

Problem 2: Make it user-friendly for "normal" people..! I'm using an Android app called UPnPlay. That lets you use a phone to browse the media on the Humax, and then the app pushes the selected media straight to XBMC; so effectively your phone becomes a neat remote control for the whole setup. There's almost no need to interact directly with XBMC. I realise there are other UPnP control programs out there too, but I've found UPnPlay to be pretty lightweight (even on my ancient Android 2.2 phone) and reliable. It's available (free) from the Google Play store here.

Problem 3: Playback of SD recordings on the Pi. This requires a license key, which can be bought from the raspberrypi.org site. The Raspbmc version of XBMC has a utility for adding the license via the user interface; but with OpenELEC it requires editing the config file in the Fat partition of the SD card. There's plenty of help available online. I think it's been covered already in these forums.


* I've got a few links for these; I'll try to remember to put them back into the post once I've passed newbie status...