Using Kodi as a television station.
I am infatuated with the Raspberry Pi computer and am always looking for a new use for one. Lately I’ve been using one as a media center box running Kodi. I also have more than one TV and I realized quickly that installing a kodi-pi device per TV was a lot of upkeep. I needed some way to have one Kodi broadcast its video to all my TVs. I could run an HDMI splitter and a LOT of HDMI cable but I already had the infrastructure in my unused coax cable already built into my house.
Previously I wrote an article on how to do this with an RF modulator and an analog NTSC video signal. I wanted that crisp clear HDMI/digital display & audio. Though not without cost, I did manage to find a very versitile digital RF modulator!
This will create a digital TV channel which can be picked up on your TV’s channel scan (either antenna or cable).
- Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 8GB. 4GB should work as well.
- Multicom MUL-HDENC-C-200
- Micro HTML to HDMI Adapter Cable
- Samsung EVO Select 32GB
- Coax cable
A LOT of trial and error went into this configuration. I had a lot of TVs from various decades with varying degrees of tuner technology. Here are some quick thoughts:
- If you are in a real pinch Multicom does offer decent email support.
- The Multicom box decodes HDMI and re-encodes into either an antenna or cable station. There is a lag of about two seconds.
- Out of all the TV’s the only consistent audio standard supported was AC-3. I do have a very old TV that shows a 2 second video lag from the audio. I couldn’t find a way around this other than adjusting the audio offset per video played.
- Go big or go home. Full 1080p support is your best bet.
- Use the web interface on the Multicom box, the panel interface works but is very tedious.
- Once the configuration is done, unplug the ethernet from the Multicom and walk away. You won’t have to touch it ever again and it will be more secure.
- ANY change in the HDMI output in the Raspberry Pi will trigger a pink or blank screen from the Multicom as it adjusts. In some cases it will also cause your TV heartburn.
- Multicom does have a smaller model that only has an HDMI input (MUL-HDENC-C-100).
There are many ways to install Kodi on Raspberry Pi: Native, LibreElec or OSMC. All of these should get you to an install.
Be sure to do all of your video and audio configurations first on a standard monitor before using the Multicom. This will save a bunch of frustration in the long run. The following config changes are based on the default settings:
- Resolution: 1920x1080p
- Refresh Rate: 50.00
- Limit GUI Size: 1080p
- Audio output device: HDMI (ALSA or Raspi)
- Number of channels: 2.0
- Output configuration: fixed
- Resample quality: Low (fast)
- Limit sampling rate (kHz): 44.1
- Keep audio device alive: Always
- Send low volume noise: On
Forget about attempting an IR or CEC remote. It just won’t work here. Your best bet is to control your Kodi install over your local network either through its web interface, Kore app for android or upnp (not the best option).
The connections are pretty straight forward. I do recommend using its web interface for configuration. It’s much quicker and easier to understand. Again the following are based on the defaults. The RF Output depends on your countries standards, my configuration is based on US standards. My pre-set configurations can be found in multicom-config.zip
- Video Input: HDMI
- Audio Output: AC-3
RF Output Setup
- Channel Type: ATSC:8VSB (Antenna) J.83B:STD (Cable)