Spare Parts TV Set
I don’t like watching videos sitting in front of a computer, I usually store them into a USB key to plug into my Samsung LE37 TV set. It’s not an easy task, though, as I have to fight with other components of my family who usually like watching something completely different than DebConf videos 😉 I could have invested 200 € to buy a new one, but I tried a different approach first.
Recycling a netbook
I received a Tweety device as Christmas gift, and I tried to connect it to my netbook to see how it worked. I was quite impressed by the good quality of the sound (if compared to the really poor quality of the netbook speakers), and I realized I could have recycled the netbook as a brand new TV set with some little adjustments. I plugged my SyncMaster 920n PC monitor into the netbook VGA port, switched Totem to fullscreen mode, and here it is my TV set!
OK, that was quite straightforward to accomplish. A real TV set has a remote control too, but my netbook is not equipped with an IrDA port, so I had to think about a different solution. My BlackBerry is equipped with a cool app called BBSSH, which allows you to connect to any SSH server, this could be a good starting point to implement a remote control device. Then, I had to write an interface to Totem using Python and DBus binding to allow my “SSH remote control” to issue commands to start and pause the player. I published a first working implementation: at the moment the only supported operations are play, pause, stop and volume adjustments, but there are a lot of opportunities by implementing full MPRIS specification. Just to avoid typing a long command each time, I finally created a set of bash aliases, one for each command, so I just have to type one letter to have the desired function, as much as a real remote control 🙂