Building a PBS streaming device with Raspberry Pi and OpenELEC XBMC : Part 1, Hardware


In this series, I'll go from start to finish on how to build a home-theater computer with Raspberry Pi and the OpenELEC XBMC Operating System. At the end we'll be able to install XBMC plugins to stream videos, including PBS.

This first article about the hardware needed applies to any Raspberry Pi project, not just a video streaming device.

  1. Hardware for a Raspberry Pi PBS Streaming Device
  2. Installing software for a Raspberry Pi PBS Streaming Device


Before we get started, we need to acquire all the needed hardware.

That is quite the shopping list, but it is possible, even likely, that you already have most of these things.

Putting together the enclosure

Once you get your Raspberry Pi and its case, it's time to put it together. I got the case through Allied Electronics, which does not include a hole for the general purpose I/O ports. That's OK, though, since we won't be using them for this project. For future projects, I'll want to get a different case, like the HungryPi enclosures, which have a hole to put a ribbon cable connecting to the GPIO ports.

This is the Raspberry Pi and the Allied Electronics case I bought for it. Look at how tiny it is! Raspberry Pi and case with
my hand for scale

The first step to put it together is to place the Raspberry Pi on the base of the enclosure. Put the left side under the small plastic clips. This leaves the right side (with the GPIO ports) just above the large plastic clips. Raspberry Pi over bottom part of enclosure

Then, we just clip the board in. Raspberry Pi clipped over bottom part of enclosure

Finally, we put the top part of the enclosure on. Simply line up the slots with the corresponding components and click the top into place. Placing the top part of the enclosure on our raspberry pi.

Connecting the components.

Now that the Raspberry Pi is pretty well protected in its enclosure, we can connect the components we will need to it. The two most important things for the Raspberry Pi are the Operating System SD card and the power connection. These are necessary for any Raspberry Pi project, be it a web server, home automation device, or video streaming device.

For building a streaming device, first follow the directions in the software article for flashing the OpenELEC operating system onto the SD card. SD card and power plugged in.

Plug the power cable into the micro-USB port on the Raspberry Pi. The SD card is right next to the micro-USB port. Note that the card needs to go in upside down. SD card and power plugged in.

Then, plug in the rest of the devices. This should be pretty straight-forward, since the HDMI and USB ports are well labeled (at least on the case I got). SD card and power plugged in.

One last thing I have noticed is that for the display to show up, the monitor or TV needs to be on and connected to the HDMI input before plugging the power into the Raspberry Pi.