Hauke’s Projects

Playin' around with Electronics and Computers

Media Center

Building and optimizing a media center.

Media Center Auto Shutdown and RTC Wakeup Based on tvheadend Recording Schedule

I created a script that runs via cron job that will power off my media center if it is not in use, but will program the real time clock (RTC) on the motherboard to wake up the system in time to run a scheduled recording, and/or to update the EPG data, and from that derive potential new or changed auto-recordings. To determine if the system is currently not in use, I

  • Check if the monitor is off
  • Check if any audio is playing, e.g.,  Spotify or KODI is playing anything
  • Check if the wireless keyboard is connected
  • Check if tvheadend is currently recording something

Also, the shutdown processing can be blocked by creating a flag file. If that file exists, no shutdown will happen.

The wake-up time is either the next recording time plus some allowance for boot time, or every 24 hours, whatever comes first. This makes sure that at least once a day the EPG is updated and tvheadend can update its auto-recording-schedule.

As a result, I reduce power consumption of the media center considerably.

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My Next Media Center Iteration: Intel NUC8i3BEH

My Raspberry Pi 4 based media center has some issues, which I was able to resolve by switching to an Intel NUC8i3BEH platform. I was able to make the device quiet despite of its fan, and set up everything to have live TV and PVR, a web browser, Spotify and other DRM content in a very usable and performant setup.

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Quick Thing: TARDIS Housing for Raspberry Pi modded for Raspberry Pi 4

This is just a quick note that I updated my Tardis housing for my media center to now hold a Raspberry Pi 4. The new version features:

  • An improved “POLICE public call BOX” sign
  • A hole for a 5 mm LED in the top for a shining light
  • The necessary holes for USB-C, 2x Micro-HDMI and Audio out
  • A removable top

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Legal EPG Scraper for ARD TV Stations to Use With tvheadend External XMLTV Grabber

I wrote a Python EPG scraper for the EPG data of the German TV stations broadcast by ARD. It is legal for private use. Here I share the code and my thoughts behind it.

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Le Potato Media Center & German IPTV Re-Revisited

The comment by Argus Nymus on my Media Center for German IPTV post made it clear that my approach with playlist filtering via web proxy was way too overengineered. For several reasons I needed to rebuild my media center anyhow, so it was time to simplify my approch, which I describe in some detail here.

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Root shell on a MStar based UMC TV (Sharp LC-24CFG6132EM)

Not being happy with a few things on my Sharp LC-24CFG6132EM smart TV, I decided to dig deeper, hoping to find ways to reconfigure some settings. While I not achieved that goal yet, I at least managed to gain root access to the Linux running on the TV. Since the TV set is based on a MStar product, I suspect that my procedure will work for any MStar based TV, at least those manufactured by UMC, which for Europe own the brands of Sharp and Blaupunkt. So here I document the procedure.

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Media Center revisited: Libre Computer “Le Potato” plus LibreELEC

While Raspberry Pi with xbian is already a versatile media center, I’m not 100% satisfied with everything. And, with the advent of H.265/HEVC as German DVB-T2 standard, the technical requirements have outrun the current offerings of the Raspberry Foundation. So I decided to migrate my Kodi media center to brand-new Libre Computer’s Le Potato board with LibreELEC, and here are the steps to do so, starting from the xbian media center described in an earlier blog post.

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Building a Media Center for German IPTV

The Raspberry Pi with Kodi is a versatile media center. Getting it to work with German IPTV in a stable fashion is however somewhat challenging. In this post I outline the necessary steps to set up a XBian based media center, to make it usable on a rather small SD TV screen, to avoid the 30 minutes offset problem with the public German TV stations, to make the channel mappings stable and to control the media center via IR remote control.

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