How to turn your old TV into a Smart TV with a Raspberry Pi?

To the old television that you have at home, we are going to give a touch of modernity by turning it into a Smart TV thanks to the Raspberry Pi. With a low investment, we will change its “old” status to transform it into a multimedia center capable of connecting to the internet, watching streaming and having all the functions of a smart TV at hand.

When we finish the process , you will have on hand a modern equipment to consume entertainment content that will give a second chance to your discontinued television, which will now look refreshed with applications such as YouTube , Netflix , Amazon or HBO .

In this guide we explain the basic resources you will need , four programs that will be your allies in the transformation and some recommendations to properly choose the model of your Raspberry Pi.

 What do I need to turn my TV into a Smart TV with Raspberry Pi?

Although it is true that smart TVs have dropped in price, with this guide you have the option to spend less money and not lose the equipment you have at home.

To put the transformation project to work, we will need the following resources:

  • A Raspberry Piwith its respective case to protect it from shocks.
  • A TV that has an HDMI connection
  • The HDMI cable, which has the type of connection of the Raspberry that you are going to use. In some models it has a micro input.
  • Micro SD cardwith a minimum capacity of 4GB on which the software must be installed.
  • Mouse and keyboard with USB connection.
  • Poweradapter .
  • Internet connection,preferably wired.

 Learn step by step how to create a TVBox with Raspberry Pi to turn your TV into a Smart TV

One of the elements that we need to turn the mini computer into a multimedia center is an audio and video file player  .

We have taken several options and we are going to explain their functions step by step:

 With Kodi

Kodi is free and open software that plays images, video, and music from any storage medium. Its design is friendly, simple and easy to handle, having the ability to reproduce the vast majority of existing formats.

If you prefer to use the Raspbian operating system, now known as Raspberry PI OS, you can begin the configuration by following the steps below:

  • We start by adding the repositories, you must open the command console and add the following line of code:sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
  • Then you should write:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa
  • Now, what follows is to update the list of software and install the package as we would with any other application, for this use the following code:sudo apt update
  • Finally, you must write:sudo apt install kodi

Once the codes finish running, we will have Kodi installed on our Raspberry Pi .

 With LibreELEC

This popular Linux-based distribution gives us the option to run Kodi. It can only be used for this purpose and was created with these small cards in mind, in such a way that physical resources are used to the maximum.

To install, follow the steps below:

  • Enterthe official page tv/downloads/and press “Download” in the option available for the operating system.
  • Once downloaded, we install “LibreELEC USB-SD Creator”on our computer.
  • When a new window appears, select the version for the Raspberry Pi modelyou have.
  • Then choose the “LibreELEC”version .
  • Another option is to run an already downloaded installer. To do this, you have to indicate whether it is on a USB memory or on an SD card.
  • Next, press the “Write image” button.
  • When the process is finished, you can remove the device where you created it on the PC and take it to the Raspberry Pi.
  • When you turn on the device, you can start the program,make the basic settings and then enjoy all the options you have at hand.

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To use it, we must carefully follow the steps described below:

  • We go to its official page tv/get-openelec, look for the “Raspberry Pi” sectionand select the appropriate version for the card. It is important to download the latest version .
  • Likewise, you have to download Diskimage,which will allow us to install the system on the SD card.
  • You also have to download SD Card Formatter,this application will allow the card to have the correct format. To use it, we introduce the device into a computer, choose the unit, go to the option section, leave the settings “off” and give it “Format”.
  • Now is the time to prepare the OpenELEC image. For that, you have to unzip the filethat we have previously downloaded. To copy it to the card, we have to use the “Win32 Disk Imager” program . After installing it, we open it, select the “.img” file in the “Image File” section that appears in the window we have on the computer. Next to it there is a drop-down called “Device” where we will choose the SD card. At the bottom there are three options, we press “Whrite” and we wait for it to be recorded.
  • When the recording is done, we extract the card and take it to the Raspberry Pi, making sure to have the keyboard and mouse connected to be able to perform the necessary basic configurations.

 With Plex

Let me tell you a little about Plex first. It is a multimedia server through which you can stream or play movies or TV shows. It allows you to organize your audio and video collection neatly for easy access.

The steps to use this system are as follows:

  • In case you haven’t already, install “Raspbian on your SD card”.
  • Download and save the image, you can use software like “BalenaEtcher”.
  • When you have the command prompt, identify yourself as “Pi”and the key “Raspberry” , after which you can log in.
  • Make sure your computer is updated with the latest version before starting the installation, to do this use the following command:sudo apt-get update
  • Then you should write:sudo apt-get update
  • Select the “yes”option that will appear in the terminal in the different queries that you will make.
  • It’s time to reboot, and when you power up again, enter your credentials.
  • The next step is to download the Plexrepository for  To install the download transport, use the following command: sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https
  • There it will ask you to enter the “Plex GPG”key , you do it with the following command: curl https://downloads.plex.tv/plex-keys/PlexSign.key | sudo apt-key add –
  • With that, the key will be added and it is time to download the software:echo deb https://downloads.plex.tv/repo/deb public main | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/plexmediaserver.list
  • At the end of the process, update the Pi again:sudo apt-get update
  • To install the plex software now, you just have to add the following:sudo apt-get install plexmediaserver
  • If everything is in place, the installation should be normal. Now you will need the current IP address:hostname –I
  • Once the data has been received, we edit the file “cmdline.txt” with the following command:sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt
  • And we are going to add this line to the end of the file and we give it to save:ip=YOUR IP
  • After everything is saved, type:
  • The computer will restart and you will be able to run the Plex server, entering with the following port:xxx.x.xx:32400/web/
  • The “xs”refer to your IP address When it loads you will be able to enter your audio and video files With this you will be ready to enjoy your multimedia server.
by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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