Raspberry Pi configured for media playback

Last weekend I finally turned my Raspberry Pi to media player appliance (IP TV STB) using Raspbmc. Raspberry Pi reaches critical mass as XBMC hardware so trying it out sounded a good idea. My main was to use Elisa Viihde service also with my Rasberry Pi connected to monitor (I already had set-top-box and I could watch the programs with PC).

My collegue had earlier (many moths ago) informed me how to make this work: install raspbmc, buy MPEG2 decoding key and install XBMC-Elisa-Viihde-plugin.

That looked like something not too hard. But ended taking hours because few problems. I had earlier downloaded
Raspbmc has a simple UI installer, so all I had to do was to run it to make SDHC card for my Raspberry Pi. The idea is that put the card in and wait the system to install itself from network (takes around 20 minutes). Things did not work well. I got problems like ones described in Errors when Installing Raspbmc discussion:

I tried different ways to solve the problems mentioned in discussion. None of them seemed to help. Finally I found what solved the problem: the installed I had was a bit old. I downloaded the newest Raspbmc has a simple UI installer and things worked well with that.

Installing XBMC-Elisa-Viihde-plugin step was easy: I was happy to see that Raspbmc already had that plugin as the list of plugins you can directly add within XBMC without doing any additional installing steps which were needed earlier.

When I tested viewing the programs I got two problems: lack of picture and sound. The lack of sound was caused by the fact that Rasbmc was sending by default audio to HDMI, while I needed to have it on analogue output (easy to change on audio settings).

The lack of video was due the fact that MPEG2 hardware decoding key was missing (recorded TV programs on Elisa Viihde are in MPEG2 format like they come from digital TV broadcasts). All I had to do to solve the problem was to add the MPEG2 license key (I had already bought) to the config.txt file in the FAT partition of the SD card (I did editing of config.txt with Notepad++ on my Windows PC).

Now things started to work well and I could watch the recorded TV shows.


  1. Anonymous says:

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  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EDN seems to be writing about this same topic:

    Kit turns Raspberry Pi into low-cost home media center

    Raspberry Pi owners can now quickly and easily turn their Pi into a low-cost media centre for their home or office, with a new XBMC bundle from element14. One of a strong pipeline of Raspberry Pi solutions to be launched this year, the XBMC bundle is available through Farnell element14 in Europe.

    Containing all the additional hardware and software necessary to start using the device, the starter kit will allow users to stream content from devices on their home network through their Raspberry Pi, turning the screen or their TV into a media centre. The Raspberry Pi will then stream content from any computer on the local network.

    The XBMC bundle includes an SD card pre-loaded with Raspbmc software, an open source Linux distribution created by Sam Nazarko that brings Xbox Media Center (XBMC) to the Raspberry Pi.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    I had been using the XBMC-Elisa-Viihde-plugin version 0.0.6 successfully after writing the blog posting – until last weekend. After last weekend I have not been able to view anything with XBMC-Elisa-Viihde-plugin :-(

    Now I always get script error on addon.py script :-(

    I even tried to uninstall and reinstall the plugin, but no luck.

    Elisa did some updating on their server last week (they announced it in advance), and I quess that it could have something to do with that.

    I remember some other third party add-ons kept failing after some earlier major upgrades (until they were updated to work with new system).

    Does anyone have similar issues with XBMC-Elisa-Viihde-plugin ?
    Is there any fix I could try?

  4. Tomi says:

    When looking at code at https://github.com/anylonen/XBMC-Elisa-Viihde-plugin/blob/master/addon.py and testing the calls it makes to Elisa system it seems that the problem seems to be related to logging in to system.

    The current 0.0.6 seems to make GET using this URL

    def get_login_url(username, password):
    return “http://elisaviihde.fi/etvrecorder/login.sl?username=” + username + “&password=” + password + “&savelogin=true&ajax=true”

    Call to this address with correct user ID and password seems to lead to fail with password missing error..

    When looking at Elisa viihde login page, it seem that the form is expected to use POST method..

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  6. Tomi says:

    At Elisa viihde discussion (in Finnish) at

    Some users say that the plugin still works for them well (on Raspberry Pi and other platforms).

    Strange because it does not work for me on my Raspberry Pi.. :-(

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    I did some more testing.
    It seems that the current Elisa Viihde plugin version 0.0.6 works well on XBMC Windows version. So it seems that the plugin as such works, as well as the way it logs to Elisa Viihde service. But for some reason it fails to work on my Raspberry Pi…

    Maybe I need to do a complete reinstall again to check if it helps in any way…

  8. tomi says:

    Finally success with my Raspberry Pi media player.
    Reinstalling the newest version of whole system to a new SD card fixed the issues. Now Elisa Viihde works well with the plugin-

    It seems that something was wring on my installation and/or some earlier RasbMC installation, something that normal updating did not solve… and an earlier attempt to reinstall..

    Anyways now everything works again.

  9. Raspberry Pi media player works with Elisa Viihde « Tomi Engdahl’s ePanorama blog says:

    [...] Pi media player works with Elisa Viihde Earlier I have written how I configured my Raspberry Pi configured for media playback. Then on comments I write how XBMC-Elisa-Viihde-plugin started to fail and I could not solve the [...]

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    build a video looper to drive some TV screens for a Hotel
    Raspberry Pi uses a shared folder on the hotel’s network as the source slides.

    Video looper with Raspberry PI

    send video in a continuous loop of video to all guests of the hotel rooms in televisions and monitors

    Raspberry PI and a video modulator. The interesting part is the video looper made with Raspberry with a classic sharing Microsoft windows where the hotel manager can put the videos you want to show to everyone.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Raspberry Pi Media Center on an Apple TV

    You may tend to think of the AppleTV as a sort of walled garden, and you would mostly be right. Apple keeps tight control over what runs on their devices. That said, [David] decided to look closer at how the various ‘applications’ work. It turns out, the applications are nothing more than glorified web plugins. Using XML and Javascript, the apps simply define library function calls, giving them a consistent interface. So using fairly simply methods, the options really open up.

    Using a jailbroken AppleTV, [David] was able to do a fair bit of detective work and found a way to enable the ‘Add Site’ option, which allowed him to use his Raspberry Pi as a media server. The good news: you don’t need to jailbreak if you’re running 5.2 or 5.3…

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    XBMC performance demo

    One of the areas we’re putting a lot of work into is XBMC performance – we’ve been a bit shocked on working through some data* to find that the Pi now appears to have more XBMC users than any other platform in the world, bar the PC (we’ve overtaken cracked Apple TV 2s), and we want to make sure you have the best possible experience with the software.

    Dom Cobley and Ben Avison have been working on the platform for us, and the results so far are pretty impressive: video playback has always been good, but they’ve really tidied up the user experience in the menu in particular, and browsing through your media collection, even if it’s as big as Dom’s, is now much smoother and faster.

    If you’re running the latest firmware, XBMC on the Pi is more than useable: it’s something you can happily use as your main HTPC.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Raspberry Pi Smart TV

    [Tony] decided his “smart” LED TV wasn’t quite smart enough. So he stuffed a Raspberry Pi in it.

    Upon opening the case of his 40″ Hisense Smart LED TV, he discovered that the logic board actually had two unused USB pads — what luck! He tapped off of them to get 5V @ 500mA to power the Pi… Later on he realized this wasn’t the ideal solution — when the TV turned off, it cut the Pi’s power too.

    The included speakers on this particular TV weren’t that good,

    Cutting out the grill and removing the whole assembly left him with more than enough room to store the Pi and mount a 3D printed LAN and USB port cover!

    He’s running Raspbmc which lends the TV tons of functionality.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Another alternative media player for Raspberry pi:

    A Plexible Pi

    If, like me, you’ve jumped onto the Plex bandwagon with both feet, you’ve probably discovered how difficult it is to make a standalone Plex player.

    RasPlex is a custom Linux distribution based on the popular (and awesome) OpenELEC Raspberry Pi port. Rather than installing XBMC on an RPi, however, RasPlex installs the Plex Home Theater application.

    If you have Plex on your phone, tablet, computer, browser and Roku, but really wish you could make a standalone Plex Home Theater with your Raspberry Pi, check out RasPlex today: http://www.rasplex.com.

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  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Interesting looking idea:

    A Raspi Ambilight With HDMI Input

    With the Raspberry Pi now most famously known as a $30 media PC, it only makes sense that the best uses for the GPIO pins on the Pi are used for an Ambilight. [Great Scott Labs] put up a great video on using the Pi as a uniquely configurable Ambilight with Hyperion and just about any video input imaginable.

    With the software in the instructions, the Raspi effectively mirrors the video coming from the video capture dongle. The Pi is running Hyperion to control a strip of WS2801 RGB LEDs, making the back of any TV glowey and blinkey.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    12 Years After Its Debut On Hacked Xboxes, XBMC Changes Its Name To Kodi

    Back in 2002, a small group of developers whipped together an app that was meant to turn a hacked Xbox into a full-fledged media player, capable of playing all sorts of video and music content that the Xbox couldn’t handle out of the box. Reasonably, they dubbed the project “Xbox Media Player”.

    Over time, the name started to make less and less sense.

    “XBMC” is now “Kodi”

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    There are several software packages for Raspberry Pi media playback:

    RaspBMC vs OpenELEC vs XBian: The Final XBMC Raspberry Pi Shootout

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    An Upgrade To A Raspberry Pi Media Server

    The build consists of a Raspi 2, a HiFiBerry Dac to address the complaints of terrible audio on the Pi, an aluminum enclosure, and some electronics for IO and a real software shutdown for the Pi. The Arduino also handles an IR remote and a rotary encoder on the front of the enclosure.

    The software is the Logitech Media Server along with Squeezeslave.


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