Raspberry Pi's new TV add-on is out: But there's a catch for US users

Raspberry Pi Foundation launches a Pi Zero-shaped TV add-on for the popular single-board computer.

If you've got a Raspberry Pi, you can now attach a new Raspberry Pi TV add-on to the single-board computer and then plug it into your home antenna to receive and decode digital TV streams.

Users can then watch TV using a Raspberry Pi or set it up so that the Pi streams TV content to any computer or mobile device on the same network as the TV-equipped Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi TV HAT has the same design as the Raspberry Zero, with the addition of an aerial adapter to plug into a TV antenna.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation, which launched the TV HAT today, thinks the add-on could be useful for people who want to embed a TV receiver into their networks.

The TV HAT costs about $20 and can be attached to any Raspberry Pi board with a 40-pin GPIO. It's available from Raspberry Pi resellers in the UK for £20.

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While the HAT is compatible with the Pi Zero, the Raspberry Pi Foundation recommends using a Pi 2, 3, or 3B+ for watching TV from the Pi itself, due to processing needs.

One major drawback is that TV HAT isn't useful to Raspberry Pi owners in the US because of the HAT's built in DVB-T2, or Digital Video Broadcasting -- Second Generation Terrestrial, tuner to receive broadcasts.

Nonetheless, DVB-T2 has been widely deployed in Europe, Russia and the Asia Pacific.

Due to this issue and for compliance reasons, at the moment the TV HAT is only being offered in Europe. However, the Raspberry Pi Foundation says that compliance work is under way to open other DVB-T2 regions.

For people where DVB-T2 has been deployed, the TV HAT could be an easy way to add TV and streaming functionality to a Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi has published instructions for setting up the TV HAT.

The new TV HAT follows last week's release of new distribution images for Raspbian OS, which adds support for the recently released Power over Ethernet (PoE) HAT.

The PoE HAT should allow the Pi board to be powered via an Ethernet cable that's connected to a power source, such as a network switch. But some users are reporting the HAT is failing.

raspberrypitvhat.jpg

While the HAT is compatible with the Pi Zero, the Raspberry Pi Foundation recommends using a Pi 2, 3, or 3B for watching TV from the Pi itself, due to processing needs.

Image: Raspberry Pi Foundation

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