I have a projector out in the theatre room, however, this same room does not have any coax run for TV reception. Nor does the projector have a tuner for Digital TV. Thus the idea for the RPi TV streamer! I could have easily gone to the local tech shop and purchased a tuner and ran some coax, but I already have an android device hooked up to the projector, why not try and stream TV to it locally in the house. My own IPTV service of sorts.
I do want to give a bit of a shout out to CWNE88, (Go follow him if you get a chance!) This is the guy that got me started streaming TV via the Raspberry Pi, however he concentrates a lot on multicast streaming and to be honest, most of us do not have the infrastructure to handle multicast traffic on our LAN. So I had to find an alternative option that actually worked. (dvblast works great?if you have suitable switches/routers to handle multicast) Anyhow, during my research, I stumbled across TVheadend. I learned pretty quickly that it could be installed on a Raspberry Pi and be used to stream tv via HTSP. (Home TV Streaming Protocol) HTSP is a TCP based protocol and works in a unicast type fashion without killing your home network.
This is the hardware you will require:
- Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (This is what we tested with)
- USB Extension Cables
- Good quality 5v power supply for RPi
- USB TV Tuner (We used Avermedia Volar Green HD @ $29ea)
- Splitter (We used a 3-way splitter to really push the RPi3B+)
- F-type adapters
- USB to Ethernet Adapter (Optional)
I am going to assume you know how to get Raspbian/Stretch Lite onto your Raspberry Pi. If not check out the Prerequisites of this post here. It will walk you through, downloading the image, using Etcher to put the image onto an SD card, setting up the RPi via Raspi-config, and enabling SSH. Once you have completed those steps, come back here and continue.
The end state of the Prerequisites is to have access to your Raspberry Pi via SSH and have the command line up and in front of you.
For those confident on the RPi
Step 1: Update/Upgrade the Raspberry Pi
First things first, you need to ensure your Raspbian repositories are up to date. Run the Following commands:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade
After running the second command, select ‘Y’ and go get a coffee. This process can take 5-10 minutes depending on how old the initial image was.
Step 2: Install TVheadend server
Now that your Raspberry Pi is fully up to date, you need to run the following commands:
sudo apt-get install dirmngr
This command may not need to be run, however, for me, TVheadend would not install without it.
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 --recv-keys 379CE192D401AB61
More info about installing the GPG keys can be found here.
echo "deb https://dl.bintray.com/mpmc/deb raspbianstretch stable-4.2" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/tvheadend.list
Again, more info on where to get the correct repo for the RPi is here.
Check and make sure the correct one is used. This can update at times.
sudo apt-get update
In a nutshell, we are telling ‘apt-get’ to grab any updates from the repository we added above. This will then allow us to install TVheadend because it now knows where to ‘grab’ it from.
sudo apt-get install tvheadend
Select ‘Y’ and allow TVheadend to install. If you tried to run this command without doing the steps above, you would run into errors
During the install, you will be asked to set an administrator username and password. (See Screenshots below!) Be sure to set this correctly and remember. You do not get two chances to enter the password. I learned this the hard way!
If for some reason, you did stuff up the username and password. Uninstall tvheadend with:
sudo apt-get purge tvheadend
sudo apt-get autoremove
Then reinstall tvheadend again.
Step 3: Log into TVheadend
Open up a web browser and enter the IP address of your Raspberry Pi. Also, use the port number ‘9981’. For example http://192.168.1.168:9981 (Your IP address for the RPi will be different.) Type
ifconfig in the terminal screen to confirm RPi IP address.
When you first open Tvheadend, you will get the Wizard which will step you through setting up the tv tuners. Hopefully, you left them plugged in from the start. If not, plug them in and restart the Raspberry Pi. Go back into the web browser and log back into TVheadend.
Step 4: Configure TVheadend for streaming
The configuration for TVheadend settings post is here.
I have no doubt, however, if you got this far, you will be able to bumble your way through the configuration. This was the easiest part. I then used VLC to watch the streams. You can get these links from inside Tvheadend.
Update: Apple/iOS App
If you want to consume some TV from your iOS device, I can confirm that the tvhclient app works a treat. No nonsense setup, easy channel browsing. It can be used in conjunction with the VLC app to stream video easily.