Raspberry Pi: AirPlay and Digital Display
When we started this project, the goal was to be able to play music in multiple zones at our office independently or simultaneously while using various sources (Pandora, TuneIn, iTunes, etc.). We also wanted to setup TV’s around the office and display information with an easy to use management system. The design is able to scale and cost effective. If you need another digital display, add another Pi. If you need another audio zone, add another PI. We currently have 4 audio zones and 3 digital displays. The PI can run both the display and the audio without any noticeable performance hit.
This document will show you how to use a Raspberry Pi device as an Airplay destination and a digital display controller.
At the core we are running Raspbian “wheezy” with a shairport script for Airplay and using Rise Vision for the digital display technology that is displayed in chrome. Rise Vision is a free service that works well. Since their agent will not run on the Pi, we start up Chrome in kiosk mode and point to a URL that is specific to our display that we setup in Rise Vision.
The preconfigured Raspberry Pi build is about 1.1GB. Once you download the file, unzip it and use Win32 Disk Imager to a 4GB (or larger) SD card.
You can find the download HERE
Once your image is installed and booted, edit the following file: /etc/init.d/shairport
Change the the line:
This name will show up on your iPad device in the Airplay list after you reboot the Pi.
Streaming is done from an iPad and Mac Air. The Mac Air has AirFoil installed which allows us to stream to multiple devices simultaneously.
Configure Digital Display
Rise Vision is a free service to sign up for and use. We won’t go into how to setup and use (they have great tutorials for that). When you do have it setup and your display(s) created in Rise Vision, you will need write down the Display ID. You will use this ID in the following file:
Edit the following line:
@/usr/bin/chromium-browser -incognito –kiosk https://rvashow.appspot.com/Viewer.html?type=display&id=999999999999
Replace all of the 999’s with your Display ID and save the file.
Other Configuration Items
The hostname can be modified in the /etc/hostname file.
The Pi is setup for DHCP.
This configuration is has only been tested with the Sound Blaster USB audio and Rise Vision below. Anything outside of this and your mileage may vary.
For the Airplay setup we used the following components:
- Raspberry Pi Model B
- SoundBlaster USB Stereo Adapter. The build in audio output quality is far from great. If you want good sound, you will need to use an USB adapter.
- The audio amplifier we chose was a Class-D 2x100W from Parts Express
- The power supply to drive it at full output also comes from Parts Express
- We chose Definitive Technology’s 5500 and 6500 series speakers primarily because they were in stock and we had a short timeframe to setup the system. They do a good job overall.