I spent most of the spring writing about UMW’s Living Room Console exhibit, a re-creation of a 1985 living room in a tucked away corner of the brand spanking new Information and Technology Convergence Center at UMW. I spent the latter part of this afternoon listening to Blondie‘s Parallel Lines on vinyl while playing Video Pinball on the 2600. Living the dream.
One of the things we’ve been working on is programming and broadcasting TV from 1985 literally over the airwaves for umwconsole. Michael Branson Smith showed us the way when he came to campus as a visiting artist in April, and Zach Whalen has been building on his work since. As I wrote about briefly already, Zach has been working on a TV scheduling program for the Raspberry Pi that automatically synchs the time of day when turned on, and starts playing the appropriate shows and pulling from a pool of commercials for a specific channel at a given time. It’s pretty awesome. The Raspberry Pi contains at least 24 hours of shows and commercials for a specific channel, say channel 7, that is then broadcast through an analog transmitter that the TV(s) in the living room can pickup via antenna.
Zach recently received the TV transmitter he ordered 2 months ago from Hilly, which means he could finally test out if two different TV channels could be broadcast at once without too much interference.
As you can see from the Vine above, it worked. We have channels 7 and 9 running of two completely independent Raspberry Pi setups that are being picked up off two different analog broadcasters on two channels. The discerning amongst you might have recognized The Prisoner marathon on channel 7 in honor of Prisoner106 🙂 What’s cool is that we could potentially have even more channels broadcasting to the TV, which could means ABC, CBS, NBC, a local independent channel, and PBS. Five channels broadcasting at once in the 80s living room? Now that would be sick.