The best smart TV projects to try with your Raspberry Pi

12th September 2017

There is a broad choice before you if you want to sample the smart TV experience. You can buy an external device, like Google’s Chromecast or the Apple TV, that gives a basic TV smart functionality or purchase a complete TV set that already has that kind of functionality built in.

Yet another option is putting together your own smart TV with help from that wonderfully versatile microcomputer, the Raspberry Pi. This is a more palatable option than you might have realised; it can give you a highly customised streaming device at a low price tag while also letting you pick up some tech knowhow. Here are some great examples of smart TV projects that you could try building.

Kodi HD Streamer

Kodi is well-recommended streaming software – and, believe it or not, you can put it on a Raspberry Pi 3. After buying that Pi from a specialist online store like The Pi Hut, you will need to also ready a few other essentials – to be more specific, an open-source Linux distribution and some cables.

To make this little media dongle, you can follow a step-by-guide posted by Alphr. You would start by installing OSMC, a Pi-friendly version of Kodi, onto that microcomputer, which you would then move onto connecting to your Wi-Fi network. Under the Programs tab, enter Raspbmc Settings and then the Network tab that appears. You can input your network’s name and password there.

Playing media on this streamer would just be a matter of plugging in an external hard disk or flash drive that contains this media and then heading to the relevant tab, selecting the external device and playingthe media that you find there.

Dedicated Netflix streamer

Many smart TVs offer a good range of streaming services; however, for many of us, when we are eager to stream a great show, Netflix is the most obvious option. Fortunately, you don’t strictly need to go to the hassle of making services other than Netflix accessible via a Raspberry Pi.

Here’s how you can set up a Netflix-only streamer. Firstly, download the disk image of Raspbian, one of the best-known Pi operating systems, before writing this to a microSD card. Then, using command lines provided on The Pi’s website, download and install a Widevine Support-ready version of Chromium.After that, there’s a Chrome extension that must be installed…

That extension, “User-Agent Switcher for Chrome”, is available from the Chrome Webstore. Into that extension, type some values cited by The Pi’s website, and you’re well on the way to having it all working.

A complete smart TV for the Raspberry Pi

You might think that a smart TV isn’t really a smart TV if it lacks the typical features of one, like an on-screen interface with details of the date, time and weather. Fortunately, you can definitely build this kind of solution with the Raspberry Pi –Codementor’s website has a guide explaining how. That tutorial, provided byDonald Derek, has been proven to work forthe Raspberry Pi 2 and below.

Corey is an all round tech guru who has worked at some major blue chip companies. He started Poweronemedia to share his views and knowledge with the rest of the blogging world.