So after reading with great interest this post and watching this video, on the Raspberry Pi website I was really excited about using it as a frontend for my TuxTV project.
However it turns out, after a number of questions on the Raspberry Pi Forums, and a final blog post stating which codecs will be available to use, it seems this will not be possible at the moment.
To explain it simply, Digital TV (Freeview) within the UK is currently streamed using MPEG2 encoding. While the GPU within the Raspberry Pi can physically support it, the foundation say that the cost of the licensing to use MPEG2 is too much in relation to the price of the board, and including it at this stage wouldn’t meet the objectives of the Foundation.
Two licensed codecs will be provided at launch, MPEG4 and h.264. Codec licences have quite an impact of the cost of the device which is why there are only two at this stage. There are non-licensed Codecs such at MPEG2, VC1 etc, but for the moment they will not be accelerated by the GPU.
This basically means that you can use an MPEG2 decoder on the Raspberry Pi, but it will have to be a software decoder, and will run on the ARM processor, and not the dedicated GPU. This would put a large amount of strain on the main processor, and the end results are likely to be un-viewable.
So. All in all, no MPEG2, no live or recorded TV on the Pi.
The foundation have stated that it might be possible to buy an additional license for each Pi you own, but this would take time, and they aren’t sure that the administration could be managed smoothly enough from their end to make it worth while.
Looks like I’m on the hunt again for something to use as a frontend, that doesn’t cost the earth to purchase. x86 architecture is looking good now…
Cloud, Networks and Infrastructure Specialist at IBM
Rob Clarke is an Infrastructure Specialist from Portsmouth, United Kingdom.
Rob specialises in working in Data Centre environments, with an keen interest in Computer Networks, Server Systems and Cloud Computing.
Since joining IBM in 2011, Rob has worked with many major clients, across multiple industries and business sectors, utilising many different platforms. He currently works in a number of operations roles, managing server systems and networks for many of IBM’s top clients.
At IBM, Rob’s interest in Computer Networks grew, and he is now actively working towards expanding his knowledge in this area.
Before joining IBM, Rob studied Computer Science, Electronic Products, Information Technology and Psychology at Bay House School & Sixth Form, in Gosport. He also spent time at various web hosting companies, where he gained a number of important skills. Rob’s position at SimplexWebs gave him a great insight into the world of Web Hosting. He continued with SimplexWebs up until their second birthday, when he moved on to IBM to further his career.