3 Replies Latest reply on Apr 1, 2013 7:57 AM by Problemchild

    First Raspberry Pi Build: TV Tuner?


      Hey everyone!


      So I received my Raspberry Pi as a Christmas gift and got it up and running today. I started thinking about possibilities on how to use the RPi to make some things easier and I thought of something that I could use some help with.


      Since I am off at college I use a TV tuner plugged into a computer monitor as my TV back home (since my TV is at college). So I decided to take the casing off my tuner and wondered something...


      Is there anyway to use the tuner part of this card and some how make it connectable to USB and use through my Raspberry Pi to play on my computer monitor and go from there?


      So basically run the TV tuner through the raspberry pi via USB or one the the pin connectors. I could really use some help and knowledge on founding out if this is possible.


      Thanks everyone!






        • Re: First Raspberry Pi Build: TV Tuner?

          Hello Erik!


          I'm not certain as to what you already know or don't know, so it is hard to give you an easy answer. As for TV Tuners, you might need to check up on the kernel, visit the RPi Kernel Compilation page for more information.


          As for interfacing, have you had any electronics experience, such as Arduino? Have you done any soldering?


          Otherwise, if you're clueless about what I've written about, you may want to visit the RPi Verified Peripherials page to see if you need to purchase a compatible TV Tuner.


          Overall, what you're asking for, is possible, depending on experience levels. The best answer I can offer is get an already verified TV tuner for your Raspberry Pi. In that way, you can avoid unneccesary headaches.

            • Re: First Raspberry Pi Build: TV Tuner?

              You might not even need to connect the tuner to the RPi if your computer monitor has multiple source inputs.  I recently got a 19" Sansui monitor that has its own internal TV tuner and 4 other inputs (VCR, Componet, HDMI and PC(i.e. VGA)).  If you want to DO the project, terrific.  If you want to watch TV using your RPi, it would be easier to use an SD card with RaspBMC installed and get used to watching videos from the Internet instead of cable TV (seriously lacking live sports channels though).  We canceled our home cable TV years ago and just subscribed to the streamed-only Netflix (which your college might not allow?), but we're much happier not spending 1/3 of every hour getting pummeled by commercials.

              I like the first reply's suggestion to "avoid unnecessary headaches", but if it's something you want to do, just to see if it could be done (whether or not it's cost effective or makes any sense to others), then go for it! 


              Thinking "outside the box" ideas (instead of hardwiring tuners to your RPi): Maybe you have a TV tuner with an infrared wireless remote control?  It should be challenging enough, but quite achieveable to interface a USB IR transmitter and install LIRC (www.lirc.org) on your RPi to control your TV tuner as though you had a remote control, but using the RPi to do so. Yes, of course the remote control would be easier and you maybe already have it, but with the RPi, you could write your own control programs in Python and make the RPi turn on your favorite channel at the right time to watch your favorite TV show.  That would be a nice project that others could duplicate later. 


              Or maybe you'd fix a way to use your RPi as a universal remote, and make it turn on a VCR and start recording so you don't miss your show?


              Other easy remote control applications: While some people are buying Gertboards and PiFace boards to turn on lights or control appliances, you could buy an X10 USB wireless transmitter and control your things with lamp or appliance modules using a program called "bottlerocket" that you can install in Linux to run from your RPi  (I haven't tried this yet, but I DID successfully use bottlerocket a long time ago on my Ubuntu Linux desktop with an RS232 version of the X10 "firecracker" transmitter.)  One advantage of this transmitter is that it used radio frequencies instead of infrared, so it works through walls and around corners as well.


              You might also want to search for things people have done with Raspberry Pi to interface with CEC and XBMC.  The Raspberry Pi I have running RaspBMC connected to my living room TV via HDMI responds quite nicely to the TV's own remote control, thanks to the CEC features in XBMC.


              Keep thinking up ideas!  The Raspberry Pi was made to inspire people to be creative.



              p.s. - I was showing off my Raspberry Pi at last weeks local PC club meeting, and I had XBMC running, and was also playing some stored mpeg videos when another club member asked me "Can you get channel 9 on that?" -  LOL!  I told him to ask me again at next month's meeting.  Our town only has about 20 stations one can receive over the air, and only 3 come it well with an indoor, powered, amplified antenna and my external DTV tuner box.  I have a USB TV Tuner dongle that came with a 4 inch tall,  magnetic base, wire antenna that is completely useless in our area.  The dongle does work with the powered antenna, but I haven't tried finding software for it for the RPi.  It only came with PC & Mac software (sigh).  Crazy vendor also included an infrared mini remote controller for the USB tv tuner dongle - which apparently has NO IR RECEIVER in it!  Grrrrrr!   How goofy was that?  Thanks for your post though.  It reminded me of the club member's question, and if I search and order soon enough, I might find, buy, and receive some Raspberry Pi compatible USB TV tuner before next months meeting.  If not, I'll just demo the amplified antenna with my aforementioned Sansui TV that has its own built-in tuner.  Or maybe (hahahaha) record some of channel 9 as MPEG and store it on a flash drive and play it with RaspBMC.

              Hmm - an afterthought: I also have a "VHS-to-DVD" capture device that takes VCR type composite inputs and encodes the video and audio to MPEG and feeds it to the USB.  There's PC software for it, but I'll have to find some for the RPi to use it.  If I can, then I will hook the amplified antenna to the DTV tuner box and hook the tuner box output to the VHS-to_DVD capture device and see if I can get the RPi to play the MPEG video being streamed in through the USB port.  I wouldn't hope to record it, but maybe could get it to play through to the RPi's display output.

            • Re: First Raspberry Pi Build: TV Tuner?

              Personally I think this a fun thing but a bit of a tinker toy rather than an actual TV tuner

              If you need a tuner to work on the Raspberry Pi I would suggest getting one

              of the USB tuners from the loacl store or Auction site du Jour  which has known Linux

              compatability. They range in  the £5-15 area so not too bad. It's still a project of worth

              as you may well need to compile the existing driver module for the PI etc etc.


              This I feel would have greater chance of success and would be more generally useful to

              the RPI comunity as a whole.


              Good luck with your project

              Ha I see Marc says similar...take a look they have some good stuff in that list