A Hot Serving of Pi – P1

After having taken an unexpectedly long Python . . . sabbatical, I’ve decided to put Python down for a few more days and instead work on an actual Raspberry Pi project.

Something relatively simple, as I am still starting out.

A media server that will serve stuff from my Humax box, and other media drives, to my AppleTV.

You might think “Dan, if the stuff is on your Humax box, why port it wirelessly to an AppleTV when the Humax is plugged into the TV already?”

That would be a good question. You see, we use our Humax box like a digital hoarding station, the problem is that the Humax doesn’t have a very big hard drive, but I, however, have many, many hard drives. We only record things we want to watch, it just takes us a very long time to get around to watching them. So if I can move that content over to hard drive that can be accessed on the AppleTV, and the other Macs in the house, things might get watched much more quickly.

You might also think “Dan, there is still no need to stream stuff from the Pi to the AppleTV because you can just install OpenELEC on the Pi, and then just plug the Pi into the TV with an HDMI cable.”

My primary reason for avoiding this particular method is that the only way to then control the Pi is with a bluetooth keyboard. I could install an IR module, but I haven’t the skill to do that, or the desire to end up with yet another remote control.

While we’re doing this, I’d also like to be able to access my full iTunes library on the LAN without having to leave one of the Macs on 24/7. It’s already on a hard drive, but I am more than sure it will need reformatting, and considering that it’s nearly 350GB, plus another media drive that’s nearly 200GB, perhaps that will have to wait until I can ensure I have a full backup of everything.

The final hurdle should probably be addressed first. Out of the box, the AppleTV (ATV), doesn’t support any kind of network drive. It is possible to install XBMC on the ATV, but not without jailbreaking it, which I have done in the past, but it’s a little tedious. It is also possible to install Plex on the ATV too, but when I tried that before it seemed quite useless (but I’m willing to try it again) (turns out I was thinking of Boxee, that was completely useless.). Apparently it is possible to use Plex on the ATV without jailbreaking it, but I can’t imagine Apple will let that slide for very long, so it looks like we’ll have to go down the jailbreaking route.

Another issue I foresee is the USB WiFi adaptor. I just don’t think it is up to the job. Streaming video content, especially HD content, it quite intensive, I just don’t believe it will last very long. I could hardwire it to the BTHome Hub 2 (BT), or to the AirPort Express (APX), but this does pose other issues. The router has plenty of free LAN ports, but there are no more power outlets nearby. The APX has plenty of nearby power outlets, but no free LAN ports. To make that worse, I can’t move either of them.

I guess that does it for the introduction to the project. Unfortunately I have to go to work now, so Part 2 is for tomorrow. Jump to Step 1

Author: Dan

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