Pi In The Sky

I’ve accidentally stumbled upon a platform for my experiments, I’ve landed on the Raspberry Pi. Partially because I’ve already been using it to play with raspi-teletext, and partially because I suck at graphical programming using languages I’m used to in the Windows world. Having wanted to get stuck into programming on Linux, I set about trying to work out whether I could bodge together some sort of project using .net and Mono, but in my searching I came across openFrameworks. It’s a set of C++ libraries for “creative programming”, so it contains code for things like graphics, video playback, audio, input, etc, so it’s pretty well suited to this task. I’m actually using ofxOMXPlayer for video playback, which has GPU accelerated playback on the Pi, but the built-in video player stuff seems adequate if you don’t want to use an add-on for whatever reason.

Anyhow, enough with the talking, what am I doing with this framework? My initial experiments were simply playing a video and rendering some UI elements over the top, like so:

analogue-nick analogue-skynews analogue-vh1-crypted

Do excuse the poor pictures, I’ve now set up a capture card to grab proper screens, but whilst I was working on this early code I only had photos.

This proved to me that the concept worked, i was able to render text and graphics above a video, it’s very much in the style of analogue receivers and without getting into setup menus and the like (which I’ll get to eventually, I hope) I’d hit something of a wall. What to do next? Well, something more modern, something more graphical, like so:

bbc2 BBC2-2

This is an early effort at a recreation of Sky Digital’s now and next interface, in which you can browse channels without leaving the thing you’re watching. It’s roughly modeled on the most recent iteration of the UI before it was updated for HD receivers, it also doesn’t include any Sky+ DVR UI elements. Success, modern graphical elements.


For comparison, the above image is how the real thing looks, I think I got reasonably close.

But this is about history, right? So what did the UI look like in 1998? Quite similar, but not quite the same:


Same sort of design, but fewer controls, it lacks Messages and Favourites, the colours are slightly different and the clock is formatted a little differently. Did I mention it’s difficult to find good examples of this stuff? Never mind, my turn:


Close enough, methinks. But the font’s different, whyso? Find out next time, in another exciting episode of “being an enthusiast of things nobody cares about”!


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