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The steps that I took to build my Raspberry Pi 2 TV box via the OpenELEC Mediacenter image

After I got my new Raspberry Pi 3 to incubate my new WordPress website, I freed up my Raspberry Pi 2 for other things. Since my wife had been yearning for a TV box to watch her favourite videos on our TV, I decided to convert my Raspberry Pi 2 into a TV box.

This post documents the steps that I took to build my Raspberry Pi 2 TV Box with an OpenELEC Mediacenter image.

Getting the hardware that I need for my Raspberry Pi 2 TV Box

I used the following hardware to realise my Raspberry Pi 2 TV Box:

  1. A Raspberry Pi 2 motherboard
  2. A Raspberry Pi Model B+ Case Enclosure (Clear)
  3. A Samsung 16GB Class 6 Micro SDHC up to 24MB/s with Adapter
  4. A Asus USB-N10 Nano USB Adapter
  5. A GE 3' High Speed HD 3D 4k 1080p HDMI Cable

Getting a copy of the OpenELEC Mediacenter image

After I got the hardware ready on my desk, I proceeded to download a copy of the OpenELEC Mediacenter image for my Raspberry Pi 2. To do so, I visited the OpenELEC Mediacenter download page for Raspberry Pi 2 builds. From that page, I downloaded OpenELEC-RPi2.arm-6.0.3.img.gz onto my Windows 7 machine.

From OpenELEC-RPi2.arm-6.0.3.img.gz, I extracted out OpenELEC-RPi2.arm-6.0.3.img with 7-zip. I then used Win32 Disk Imager to write OpenELEC-RPi2.arm-6.0.3.img into the Samsung Micro SDHC card via the SD card drive on my laptop.

Booting into OpenELEC 6.0.3 on my Raspberry Pi 2

After the Win32 Disk Imager completed writing the OpenELEC 6.0.3 image onto my Samsung Micro SDHC card, I pushed the Samsung Micro SDHC card into the microSD card slot on my Raspberry Pi 2.

I then connected my Raspberry Pi 2 to my Panasonic VIERA TV via the HDMI cable, and the Asus USB-N10 Nano USB Adapter into one of the USB ports on my Raspberry Pi 2.

I first turned on my Panasonic TV and configured it to get the video input from the HDMI port that my Raspberry Pi 2 was connected to. After that, I turned on my Raspberry Pi 2.

Getting past the initial configurations

When the OpenELEC Mediacenter image started running for the first time, it performed a repartition to use all the available disk space on the microSD card.

It then rebooted itself and showed a configuration wizard where it asked my input for:

  1. A custom hostname
  2. My wireless network settings
  3. Whether to turn on SSH and Samba server, which I chose to do so

Updating OpenELEC image with the update file

After running the initial configurations, I would have a SSH server running on my Raspberry Pi 2 TV box to receive files from my MacBook.

Since there was an update file at the OpenELEC download page for Raspberry Pi 2 builds, I went ahead to update the OpenELEC image with that update file. I downloaded OpenELEC-RPi2.arm-6.0.3.tar onto my MacBook.

Earlier at the configuration screen on the wireless network settings, I was shown the IP address that my router had given my Raspberry Pi 2. I noted the IP address as 192.168.0.110

To perform the update, I would need to send OpenELEC-RPi2.arm-6.0.3.tar into my Raspberry Pi 2 /storage/.update directory. To do so, I entered the following command in my MacBook terminal:

scp /Download/OpenELEC-RPi2.arm-6.0.3.tar root@192.168.0.110:/storage/.update

When prompted for the password, I entered openelec.

Once the transfer had completed, I rebooted my Raspberry Pi 2 TV Box to get it to perform the update.

Calibrating the video display on my Panasonic VIERA TV

Somehow, my Panasonic VIREA TV was not able to show OpenELEC screen correctly; a large margin was being cropped out of the display area.

Thankfully, OpenELEC gives me the option to calibrate my display dimensions.

I navigated to SYSTEM -> Settings -> System -> Video output -> Video calibration...:

OpenELEC Video output screenshot with Video calibration highlighted

After choosing the Video calibration... option, I followed through the video calibration wizard to fix my cropped display:

I pressed the down and right arrow buttons on my TV remote until the top-left blue marks appear
OpenELEC top-left overscan compensation screenshot

I pressed the up and left arrow buttons on my TV remote until the bottom-left blue marks appear
OpenELEC top-right overscan compensation screenshot

I pressed the up arrow button on my TV remote to move the blue bar to my desired position
OpenELEC subtitles positioning compensation screenshot

I pressed the up, down, left and right buttons until the blue box became squarish
OpenELEC pixel ratio adjustment screenshot

With these video calibration settings, I was able to fix the cropped display on my TV screen.

Setting the correct timezone on the OpenELEC image running on my Raspberry Pi 2 TV Box

Since I lived in Singapore, the default timezone for my Raspberry Pi 2 TV Box was not applicable to me.

To correct the timezone for my Raspberry Pi 2 TV Box, I navigated to the Appearance Settings screen via SYSTEM -> Settings -> Appearance -> International. I then set the Timezone country to Singapore:

OpenELEC Appearance - Settings screenshot with Timezone country highlighted

I also navigated to the Network settings screen via System -> OpenELEC settings -> Network. From that screen, I clicked on Timeserver #1 and entered pool.ntp.org:

OpenELEC Network Settings with Timeserver#1 highlighted

Choosing a font which will display Chinese characters correctly

The default font would caused Chinese characters to appear as square boxes. To ensure that the OpenELEC image display Chinese characters correctly, I navigated to SYSTEM -> Settings -> Appearance -> Skin and changed the Fonts configuration to Arial based:

OpenELEC Skin settings with Fonts configuration highlighted

Installing some video plugins

After I had applied the timezone related settings, I went on to install a few video plugins so that my wife could watch her favourite shows. I navigated to the Video add-ons screen via Videos -> Add-ons -> Get more... to do so.

I was then shown a selection list for me to install some video plugins, for example The Wall Street Journal Live:

Video add-ons screenshot with the Wall Street Journal Live highlighted

Fixing Youtube plugin Bad Request errors

The default Youtube plugin was failing me with Bad Request errors. To solve the Youtube plugin problem, I downloaded a copy of the Youtube OpenELEC video plugin fix from RaspberryRabbit's GitHub repository onto my MacBook's file system, saving it as plugin.video.youtube-master.zip.

I then sent plugin.video.youtube-master.zip into the /storage directory on my Raspberry Pi 2 TV Box via the scp command:

scp /Downloads/plugin.video.youtube-master.zip root@192.168.0.110:/storage

After the scp command had completed, I used ssh to get into my Raspberry Pi 2:

ssh root@192.168.0.110

entering openelec as the password.

Once I was inside my Raspberry Pi 2 TV box, I went on to delete the old Youtube plugin:

rm -R /storage/.kodi/addons/plugin.video.youtube

I then rebooted my Raspberry Pi 2 TV box:

reboot

When my Raspberry Pi 2 TV box successfully rebooted, I navigated to SYSTEM -> Settings -> Add-ons -> Install from zip file:

OpenELEC Add-ons screen with Install from zip option highlighted

I then clicked on Home folder

OpenELEC Add-ons screen with home folder highlighted

and selected plugin.video.youtube-master.zip:

OpenELEC Add-ons screen with plugin.video.youtube-master highlighted

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About Clivant

Clivant a.k.a Chai Heng enjoys composing software and building systems to serve people. He owns techcoil.com and hopes that whatever he had written and built so far had benefited people.

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