Raspberry Pi Perpetual Yule Log demo. I address the video transition glitches in the writeup below. Otherwise, I got to say... for a drop-and-forget yule log video player, it's pretty useful.
Who doesn’t like a fireplace? Who doesn’t like the Yule Log?
....also... who else doesn't have either?
Nothing is more comfy than a fireplace-fire during those quiet holiday moments. This project brings that to you - thanks to our good friend, the Raspberry Pi.
We’ve all seen “Yule Log” videos. I think they have been around since the days of VHS. The Pi plays those videos. They are the next best thing to having an actual fire.
However, this isn’t just a glorified video player, I took it a little further. Here were my design requirements:
- I didn’t want the Yule Log fun to end, but I also do not want to play the same video on repeat. I want to play a collection of videos – one after another – no repeats!
- I want the video playback system to be quiet. No PC fan sounds, discs spinning, etc.
- Portability is absolutely key… for strategically adding fireplaces where need be.
- And I need a way to cycle through videos if, for some reason, I don’t like the one playing.
The project by sections:
This project is about as straightforward as Pi projects can get. All you need is a Raspberry Pi, technically. There is no hardware you need to build.
However, in my version I added a few things outside the typical Raspberry Pi setup.
- I used the same wireless HDMI design I used in my “PiBall” project. This way, I didn’t have to run any video cable from the Pi to the Screen. I could have my Pi over 60 feet away from the screen! Let’s say all the plugs are used at the TV, put the Pi somewhere else!
- I had a 16GB SD Card in the Pi. This was mainly so I could hold all the Yule Log videos.
- I also used a wireless keyboard and mouse. But, this is pretty typical.
1x Wireless HDMI from Nyrius “ARIES Pro”
Schematic and design:
NONE! Just connect the Pi to a screen.
It is this simple. The complexity comes in the code.
HOW it functions:
It plays the yule log videos.
Press "S" to advance to the next video.
Press "A" to go to the previous video
A little setup is necessary.
The program and videos you want to play have to be located in the /home/pi directory (folder).
Write at pi command line or via SSH. This setup is used to display a background PNG file inbetween videos, so you don't see the desktop or the command line text:
chmod 755 pngview
So you know, the full code is attached to this post. I use pygame and omxplayer to handle it all. Take a look at the code if you are curious how it's done.
How to add autostart to this program so it load immediately after the Pi boots:
Edit the file /home/pi/.config/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart
sudo nano /home/pi/.config/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart
remove line @xscreensaver -no-splash
Add these lines to bottom:
Save the file. The next time you boot it up, it will start immediately.
Suggestions on the build:
- Personally, I’d just keep the Raspberry Pi somewhere within wireless HMDI range. But, if you don’t want to fork over the money for such a device, then buy a lengthy HDMI cable.
- The Pi 3 does get a little warm. If you have access to some heatsinks for it, then by all means use it. Otherwise, be aware of a potential heat hazard.
Other uses of the system:
- You could play the Yule Log, of course. But, any holiday related video would work. Holiday classics, family video.
- This could also be used in advertisement scenarios. A solid-state solution to repeating ads.
Oddities and observations:
The wireless HDMI brought its own problems. I experienced a graphical glitch in between videos. I found it was most prevalent with the wireless adapter.
If I had more money/time:
- Loading the next or previous video had a delay I didn’t care for. I would like to speed up this process. Perhaps preloading?