Tips and tricks for OpenElec on Raspberry Pi connected to Samsung

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I just loaded the latest build (3.2.3) and it basically works which is amazing, to actually get it running right takes a few tips and tricks:

  • There is this funky thing called HDMI-CEC (what a name!) which let’s the Samsung remote control the XBMC on Raspberry Pi. This sort of works and XBMC says HDMI CEC connected and you can use the Samsung remote to move things. The interface is funky and I got stuck a couple of times, so it pays to have a USB mouse connected to the Raspberry Pi.
  • Connecting to the Internet sort of worked. Turns out that I used an el cheapo USB charger that says it can put out 1 amp. It was enough to power the Raspberry Pi, but not to run the Edimax. I am now using a Monoprice integrated charger, but power is always important. Not any USB charger works. I need to go find a good 2 amp charger to make sure there isn’t trouble.
  • The system overscans terribly on the Samsung. It is sad because HDMI is all digital, but it happens. There is a funky System/Settings/Video/Calibration section. But the problem is the controls to reduce scan are actually off the screen (?!!), so you have to take your mouse and go beyond the screen boundaries and hope to click on it to bring the scan it. There is also a funky thing about pixel aspect ratos. On most computer monitors a pixel is square 1:1 as do modern HDTVs, but the older CRTs and some video formats use non-square pixels. In any case, it was set to a 1.25 pixel ratio and I had to carefully get it back to 1:1
  • From iOS 7, I could do audio Airplay but not video and this is a well known problem having to do with Airplay being a proprietary protocol. XBMC tries to emulate an AppleTV 2 on old firmware 4.x in announcing itself via zeroconf/bonjour/avahi. Basically iOS 7 doesn’t seem to recognize XBMC as a video compatible client. They can’t use a more recent version because they don’t support FairPlay encryption and they don’t license Airplay from Apple.
  • XBMC can access a Synology server by uPNP, but then there is no scraping of content but cannot see the Synology server via SMB or AFS. This used to work but I think I tightened the permissions too high on the Synology server and there are quite a few problems with XBMC and Synology DSM 4.3. XBMC works against an Apple machine running SMB but not against the Synology DSM 4.4 box. After much playing around, it looks like it is the firewall settings on the Synology. I turned this on and allowed SMB file access, but this isn’t the same as browsing files obviously. I also turned off Synology as a browse master as well as this requires guest access to be turned on. To have browsing work, you need ports 135-139 and Netbios port 445 but Synology turns on just 137-139 and 445. It also requires guest account to be active, but you don’t need to give it any shares that it can use.

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