Double Head Project, Ideas And Advice Wanted!

Hi. I want to add a second head to my OSMC Rapsberry Pi setup. I wonder what the best way is to do this. (By second head, I mean second screen wirelessly).

Right now I have an OSMC pi plugged into a regular TV via HDMI. This OSMC pi is hooked up via a USB cable to a hard drive full of videos. It all works! I also have a projector that would be neat to set up with its own second OSMC box on which I can play the same library of videos.

So, how do I want to do this? Configure the main OSMC pi as a share server that shares files with the second OSMC box? If so what is the best way to do this? Or, can I just set up the second OSMC box to wirelessly mirror the screen of the first one? Or is there a better way to do this?

It probably depends somewhat on how far the two setups are. If they were in the same or adjoining rooms then you might be able to just use an hdmi splitter and a rf remote. There are also boxes that allow for much longer runs of hdmi using ethernet cabling but from what i’ve read to get something that works well you have to spend some money (and run a cable).

You can setup a second box and network them together, sharing the files from one of them. If you wanted them to share a database so they have the same watched status you could move to a MySQL database. If you wanted to keep things on the simple side you could use UPnP to share the video but this is not the same experience as having a library. The size of your files your playing, especially if using wifi, is going to factor in as you will have a lot less bandwidth than you have with a directly connected hard drive when a RPi is the server. If you don’t mind spending some money moving to a NAS might be preferable than using a RPi.

Interesting. I’m glad that you’re telling me these things.

I think as the plan was kinda to make use of the Raspberry Pi I just bought to diagnose problems with my old Raspberry Pi, I will not go the route of building an entire NAS. I mean, I could do that, but this would really only be useful to us for this one purpose of getting video onto the projector so NAS seems like a bit much.

I’m glad that you mentioned that video over wifi is not very fast. I never tried that before and will probably skip that too.

The RF/HDMI adapters I am looking at are way expensive. ($300 and up?) Maybe I’m not looking at the right thing, but that’s more than we’re willing to spend on a problem that we can just skirt our way around with a USB stick with a couple videos on it.

What we had before was a really long HDMI cable and an HDMI switch, so we might just do that again with an even longer cable, or…

I see that HDMI Bluetooth dongles are a thing. Hrm…

How long are you talking and what size video files are you planning on playing? It makes a difference as if you are only playing files that are like a gb per 20 min then that is less than a mb/s and that is pretty easy even over crappy wifi. If you try playing full rips then your connection speed becomes a lot more important. If you wanted to dip your toes in quick and easy just clone your SD from your working install, change the name of the machine, then turn UPnP on in both RPi’s. You can then add a UPnP source from the first RPi to the second and experiment on how it works in your existing network. If you want to go farther later adding a library or MySQL later then you always have the option of doing that once you know your network is quick enough to do the stream.

Ah. Good question. Mostly 720p compressed files of movies and shows. Two hours or so at the longest. Some of the larger ones might be 4gb, but about a gb per 20 min might be about right for most of it. I can verify more details when I’m there tomorrow, but a gb per 20 min might be about right…

I think this whole topic got slightly off on the wrong foot.
Installing Samba Server and MySql Server on the Raspberry should be all you need to have a common shared Media library shared from one OSMC device to the other.

Can you have the second Pi connected to the network via an Ethernet cable? If you can then I’d think the best solution would be to have the current Pi acting as a NAS (sharing the files with NFS) and a shared MySQL database (hosted on the current Pi). That way, new content would be available to both systems. It’s not that difficult to setup if you are willing to do a little command line work.

That would also allow you to have one system playing one movie, and the other playing a different movie.

Believe it or not, we have no home network whatsoever. We just use hotspots to surf the web and that’s it. So there are zero ethernet cables anywhere around here and we like it that way. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

The sweet end product would allow us to have the small projector in the living room, but also just pick it up and carry it to the bedroom and have it still Just Work, and all without no unruly cables hanging around.

If we install samba/mysql does this solve the wireless problem? Will that Just work over wifi/bluetooth with zero cables?

Technically this will work over Wifi. But for good throughput you ideally have a good 5GHz Wifi with low interference.
Also if you just have the 2 OSMC devices you could use NFS server as suggested by @bmillham instead of Samba as it is more performant

Okay. And can I get one Raspberry Pi to be the router and have all this still work? (I don’t really want to get a third device involved here…)

Well you could do that but what would be the advantage? In a LAN the devices talk to each other without a Router.

Ah, well having never used Samba before I didn’t know that! So Samba will wirelessly transfer and share files and no extra device is needed?

Well you still get us a bit confused here.
So basically what you mean is that you don’t have any Wifi Access Point in your home at all (means no LAN)?
If that is the case you would need to enable a Hotspot on your Main OSMC device to which your second OSMC can connect. But to be honest:

  1. You would need to find a wireless adapter for the Pi that supports HotSpot functionality
  2. Performance would not be outstanding.

Yes, correct. We have no LAN whatsoever, and we like it that way!

So I guess that’s why I asked if one Pi would have to be the router for this to work, which I guess it would be, and so I’m glad you’re telling me that performance would not be outstanding if we were to go this route. So… we won’t!

It is beginning to seem to me that this is not a problem that two Pis alone can solve.

One solution might be to just go back to what we’ve been doing which is just put some videos on a USB stick. Sneakernet ftw.

Now I am thinking about getting a Bluetooth HDMI dongle but I am not sure if one would work with a Raspberry Pi. Has anyone tried this?

Bluetooth and HDMI are two very different things. I assume you mean just a wireless hdmi adapter and for that you would probably be best served by searching out reviews for different devices on the interwebs. That type of device doesn’t care what it is plugged into so a RPi would be no different than a game console or a cable box.

Well I’m thinking about something like this.

It looks like I can plug that into my projector, and then bluetooth link it to another device. I’m sure it works with plenty of Legit media devices, but will it work with a DIY Raspberry Pi? Does OSMC/Raspberry Pi have some sort of bluetooth video output setting?

That is a Miracast reciever. It has absolutely nothing to do with bluetooth and it is not something that can be used with a RPi.

Huh. It was like the first search result for Bluetooth HDMI on Amazon. I figured it… had bluetooth. I guess not. Hrm…

It is sounding like what I am trying to do does not have much of a solution.

Sneakernet it is.