Broadcast TV in the Console Living Room

When Michael Branson Smith came to town last month as a visiting artist, he brought with him an entire day’s worth of CBS programming for network television from the mid 80s. He edited back in the commercials to most of the shows—which is awesome—and his programming featured everything from the $25,000 Pyramid to The Price is Right to The Young and the Restless to The Dukes of Hazzard. And the coolest part, he loaded the entire day’s video files on a Raspberry Pi Automatic Video Looper which broadcast through a short-range TV transmitter to the five televisions we have in the #umwconsole living room.

Michael Branson Smith not only left his TV transmitter behind for us to play with until ours comes (still waiting), he also blogged the entire setup from beginning to end in a Special MBS Presentation. The best independent TV station in the land 🙂


Below is a quick look at the TV transmitter setup and Raspberry Pi Zach Whalen and I finally got working last week. We followed MBS’s directions for getting the Raspberry Pi Automatic Video Looper up and running. The one issue we finally figured out was loading videos off an external thumb drive from the Pi–this was not working. We found if you format the USB external drive as Windows NFTS, and change the option for the Video Looper to look for it (Zach figured this out!) you can run all the videos immediately from the jump drive. So, it’s as easy as loading a days worth of TV programming on a larger thumb drive (NFTS formatted—which is a bit of a bummer for Mac users), that is then plugged into the Pi . Once you start the Pi (which has the Video/Audio out going to the TV transmitter) you are all set!

As the illustrative Vines may suggest above, I am getting ready for a marathon Broadcast of the Prisoner in the #umwconsole this week. I’ve already been watching a couple of episodes two or three times while playing with the transmitter this weekend, and getting everything all set. Be seeing you!

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One Response to Broadcast TV in the Console Living Room

  1. MBS says:

    So glad the network is still up and running! I’ve been directly connecting my RPi to the old TV in my office and using it as an 80s music video juke box. It’s led me to create a few gifs for Don’t Turn That Dial. Reading music videos for your proposed 80s class should be a focus, or maybe a specific focus on glam rock videos they are crazy interesting artifacts of that era. The outfits! The makeup!

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