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May the Fourth Movie Marathon

Star Wars Day

Background

What better way to celebrate Star Wars Day than to have a movie marathon (in story chronological order) but put a Pragmatic twist on it. Create in in-house TV station and broadcast the movies to all the TVs in the house!

As with most all folks, we are cord cutters and have an HD antenna mounted to catch the local channels. Many years ago we installed a Channel Plus 3025 video distribution box to boost the signal a bit and distribute it to the various TV’s around the house. This box has a neat trick, it has a 2 channel RF modulator in it. It can create it’s own analog tv channels (cable and UHF!) and inject them into the distribution. By using RCA connectors you can broadcast 2 TV stations to the entire house.

This is not perfect (doesn’t work with Commodore 64 for some reason) however it DOES work with a Raspberry Pi (all models).

Channel 18

Analog Channel

Following the instructions on the back panel of the 3025, I was able to find a couple of OTA analog gaps that would not interfere with local channels. Channel 18 was born, it was as simple as hooking up the composite output and analog audio outputs to the modulator and you are up and running! On modern televisions you will need to re-scan for channels just like you would do to search for HD channels only with an important difference (a new analog station!)

Raspi Configuration

All you need (software wise) is a copy of the Raspbian distribution. I’d recommend Raspbian Buster Lite, no desktop is required. Yup you read that right! Install as per the instructions to get your base system up and running. I would recommend a large enough SD card to hold your video files.

Once you’ve gotten your base system setup to your liking, be sure to install omxplayer (apt-get install omxplayer) and copy your video files to /home/pi.

I take none of the credit on the configuration. Michael Murtaugh at automatist.org has an excellent write up that works well with the new Buster raspbian distribution.

Hardware

/home/pi/start.sh

#!/bin/bash
while :
do
omxplayer -b "Phantom Menace.mp4"
omxplayer -b "Attack Of The Clones.mp4"
omxplayer -b "Star Wars The Clone Wars.mp4"
omxplayer -b "Solo A Star Wars Story.mp4"
omxplayer -b "Revenge of the Sith.mp4"
omxplayer -b "Rogue One A Star Wars Story.mp4"
omxplayer -b "Star Wars.mp4"
omxplayer -b "Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.mp4"
omxplayer -b "Return Of The Jedi.mp4"
omxplayer -b "The Force Awakens.mp4"
done

Append to the end of /home/pi/.profile

clear
bash start.sh

Setup autologin

Couldn’t be easier with versions newer than Jessie.

Post Install Notes

Get your Popcorn!

You are going to be watching for a long long time….

Last Updated: 2020-05-04