Carputer!

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One of the features in the Honda Odyssey that I've been looking forward to making use of is the auxiliary audio/video inputs located in the third row on the driver's side.  There's also a standard AC power outlet back there next to them.  This combination allows me to wire up a Raspberry Pi as an in-car entertainment system which is infinitely more useful than trying to swap DVDs up at the front console. This is especially true if one parent is sitting in the back with the kids because they won't be able to reach the DVD slot to switch discs and having the driver do so is not a great plan.

Also, it allows us to avoid the awfulness of DVDs: menus, previews, ads, FBI warnings--blurgh what a terrible experience.  Boot this up, select a show, and you're watching it instantly.

We've got some road trips coming up so I wanted to get this set up beforehand.  First I imaged an SD card with OSMC, an OS built around Kodi with the goal of making setup trivial.  And it really was trivial: Install the OSMC installer on your computer, run it, insert your SD card, click some options and you're good to go.  Pop out the SD card and plug it into the RPi.

Then I copied a bunch of movies and TV shows to a 64GB USB flash drive and plugged it into the Raspberry Pi (version 1 model B).  To get things started I hooked the RPi up to the network and the TV in the house so it could download updates and the appropriate metadata for the videos.  After initial setup I took it out to the van for a trial run.

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The Raspberry Pi and associated cords fit nicely in the cup-holder.

I plugged everything in and turned on the car electronics.  The RPi booted up and was ready to roll in just a couple of minutes.  To control it I'm using this wireless keyboard/mouse combo by Lenovo which works great in this application.

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Heather helped me out by watching a few minutes of Finding Nemo.  She declared it the best thing ever.

IMG_20150815_123557asThe 4 purplish lights you can see above the screen are the infrared LEDs that transmit the audio to the wireless headphones.  This allows the rear passengers to listen to the movie through the headphones while other passengers do something else--a sanity-saving feature for the adults in the vehicle.

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