Preface - BeagleBone Media Center (2015)

BeagleBone Media Center (2015)


The still young market of embedded boards is growing each day, owing to the Raspberry Pi effect. These single-board computers help you solve common problems, such as analyzing a network, programming without a PC, and others. The BeagleBone Black has all of these features, but at the same time, you can broaden your horizons to perform interesting tasks using the expansion capability of the board. Whether you use the basic version of the board or improve it with different accessories available in the market, this board will come in handy to help you decide and create the various tasks you want to perform with it. This book is designed to provide you with the knowledge to explore the world of BeagleBone Black.

Welcome aboard!

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Transforming Your BeagleBone Black into a Media Server, begins with an introduction to help you better understand why it is in your interest to have your own personal server. This chapter then describes the steps required for the installation of an improved multimedia server on steroids.

Chapter 2, Media Management, Shares, and Social Activities, gives indications to use your new server in a connected world. It begins with an explanation of the workflow that needs to be followed; there are also indications to understand what an administrator should do. The chapter ends with social sharing to let you share your contents with your friends or members of your family.

Chapter 3, Examples of Real-world Situations, deals with security because a connected server also needs to safely manage your publications. This chapter introduces you to the security role followed by two scenarios based on real-life experiences: one for a house, and another for professional activities.

Chapter 4, Getting Your Own Video and Feeds, discusses how to improve the existing server by giving you the opportunity to provide your own personal video streams. This chapter gives you the keys for hardware detection. It also presents a different topic that is still based on multimedia: configuring the server for RSS feeds.

Chapter 5, Building Your Media Player, describes the real USP of the BeagleBone Black: capes. Thus, it gives you a way to extend your board in order to create funnier and useful projects. In addition, with this exciting chapter, you will be able to build a device that can display movies and play music without making your imagination compromise because you can also extend this extension board through connectors and additional networks.

Chapter 6, Illuminate Your Imagination with Your Own Projects, lets you enter into the software part of the book using "Matrix Revolution," a fun project with funny tools: you'll use the 8 x 8 bicolor LEDs matrix from Adafruit connected to the BeagleBone Black. After a good introduction to the hardware of the board, the remaining part of this chapter is then split into three examples, starting with a simple example that allows beginners to start smoothly in Python and understand the main programming concepts related to a server and a client. This is followed by an improved version of the first example with a GUI as a laboratory for your experiments. It finally ends with a totally different example written in C++, which is a pattern generator, so you'll be able to display every disco pattern you like.

Appendix A, Troubleshooting and Tricks to Improve Your Server, covers the topics that will help you resolve issues that you might face while working with your servers, including some useful tools and troubleshooting steps.

Appendix B, Ideas to Improve Your Server, introduces some ideas to improve your server functionality.

What you need for this book

To run the book's examples, you will need a running Python environment, including the virtualenv package. The source code will be available from the dedicated GitHub repository and website as well. In all cases, Chapter 5, Building Your Media Player, andChapter 6, Illuminate Your Imagination with Your Own Projects, will discuss how to install, compile, and run the examples.

Who this book is for

This book is intended for those who want to overcome the limitations of standard projects by learning electronics and programming and by using their imagination, knowledge, and passion.


In this book, you will find a number of styles of text that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "We can include other contexts through the use of the include directive."

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grid = ColorEightByEight(address=0x70)

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debian@arm:~$ Install v4l-utils

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, in menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in the text like this: "Clicking the Next button moves you to the next screen."


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