MythTV, Kodi, Plex, OSMC, and DVBLink tested

Television

If you want to use OSMC as a TV, you first need to enable a PVR add-on – as in Kodi. The Tvheadend back end is a good choice; a preconfigured installation routine handles the OSMC integration, and you can easily launch the add-on from the media center's GUI and then configure the enabled Tvheadend server in a web browser from your remote computer. To integrate a TV card with your media center, just enter the OSMC system's IP address in the address bar, followed by port 9981 to proceed to a configuration GUI (Figure 11).

Figure 11: The TV card is easily configured in OSMC via the Tvheadend web interface.

After enabling the PVR front end that appears in the add-on list, all the TV reception functions and the digital TV recorder should be available.

Web Interface

Although you will probably want to manage OSMC with a remote control supported by the Raspberry Pi, you also have the option of managing the system from a computer on the local network. To do so, you access the Media Center in your web browser and enter port number 8080 along with the IP address of the OSMC system. OSMC outputs the selected content to the TV, not to the computer screen. A web interface with the most important media groups, such as Movies, TV Shows, and Music, as well as a virtual remote control, then appear. Unfortunately, you still cannot control live TV or IPTV with this option.

DVBLink

The Dutch company DVBLogic offers a commercial television solution for computers and NAS systems named DVBLink [5]; it supports all current TV standards and runs on standard platforms, including smartphones and tablet PCs. DVBLogic also provides TVButler, a DVBLink on a stick, which works with all major operating systems and NAS storage devices.

DVBLink server packages for 32- and 64-bit systems weigh in at around 32MB and are available for free download [17]; the provider cites only Ubuntu as a platform, but in our lab, the DVBLink server also ran on Linux Mint 17.3 without any trouble. Once you have installed the package, call the IP address of the target computer in your web browser, followed by port number 39876.

You end up in a simple but clear-cut interface with several horizontal rows. The package does not include an EPG scanner, so you need to use the DVBLink TVSource package as a trial version after the install. It is part of the DVBLink software that you can purchase for around EUR50 after the test phase. Then use the Sources tab to integrate your TV hardware with the system. After doing so, launch a channel scan; a dialog will prompt you to choose your regional location from a list. Depending on the location, the scan can take some time (Figure 12).

Figure 12: The channel scan can take a long time depending on your location.

After the scan, select the channels you want to view in the client. A routine then takes you to the web-based client, which you can use to view and record programs. This works on the local network without additionally installing a media center interface and can be used on remote computers and on mobile devices. You just need to call the IP address of the target computer with port number 8100. In the web client, you can also define certain settings, such as the transfer rate of the streaming service or the window size (Figure 13).

Figure 13: In the web-based viewer, the DVBLink server lets you watch programs, even without external client software.

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