Watch YouTube Live Streams, Cat Videos, and Much, Much More on PocketC.H.I.P.

Recently Pocketeer Jet Jaguar posted an image on Twitter showing a PocketC.H.I.P. playing a video segment from a professional sports-ball halftime show (known to sports fans as the TNT NBA halftime show – Go Dubs!). Since the image was just a still people, including me, wanted to know what the video performance was like and how Jet Jaguar managed to get it working.

After a bit of tinkering with PocketC.H.I.P., I was able to get YouTube streaming working too. Video playback is smooth, and the audio is in sync with the frame rate. Of course, to hear this you’ll have to add a speaker to PocketC.H.I.P. (here’s how) or use headphones. Anyway, here’s how to get your PocketC.H.I.P. setup for binge watching cat videos.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to include installation instructions for playing YouTube live streams in addition to regular YouTube videos. See Step 4. for details.

1. Install SMTube

Use the Terminal to install SMTube

First make sure your PocketC.H.I.P. is connected to WiFi (here’s a refresher), then tap on the Terminal icon on the Home Screen.

Once the application loads, type the following apt commands, then press enter. These commands will update the list of packages available to PocketC.H.I.P. and then install SMTube to your system.
sudo apt update && sudo apt install smtube

Note: If it’s been a long time since you’ve upgraded you PocketC.H.I.P., run sudo apt upgrade to make sure you’re using the latest software and follow the onscreen instructions.


2. Configure SMTube

SMTube configuration with the proper settings for PocketC.H.I.P.

In order for SMTube to work correctly, you’ll need to change the default video player it uses to MPlayer. You can do this in the SMTube GUI, but it’s a bit tricky.

An easier option is to launch SMTube and then quit. This creates a configuration file that you can edit by hand with Nano. At the Terminal command prompt, type in the following command and pressing enter.

Launch SMTube to create the configuration file.
smtube

Then quit by holding CTRL and pressing q.

Now edit the configuration file.
nano ~/.config/smtube/smtube2.ini

Scroll down in the file until you see the the section [players] and change all the lines that start with player_0 to what’s below.

Once you’re done with the edits, hold CTRL and press x, then press y and then press enter. This flurry of keystrokes will save your changes and quit Nano.


3. How to Find Cat Videos

The best type of videos on the internet

Let’s be honest, you’re setting this up to watch cat videos. Me too!

Launch SMTube by typing smtube in the Terminal, then pressing enter. This launches a YouTube browser that lets you search for content–just tap on the hamburger menu in the top right of the screen. When you find a good video, either tap the video preview icon or tap on the video name to start it.

Note: Linux is case sensitive. Even though the name of the program is SMTube, the Linux application uses all lowercase letters in its name.


4. Watching YouTube Live

Watching YouTube live broadcasts isn’t possible with SMTube. For that type of stream, I found a Python program called Livestreamer. Here’s how to install it from the Terminal.

Livestream doesn’t have a fancy GUI, so you’ll need to know the URL of the stream you want to watch. The command below instructs livestreamer to use MPlayer and set the resolution at 240p. If you run the command without specifying the resolution, livestreamer will output the available resolutions for the stream you’re trying to play.

Note: The command above assumes you have MPLayer install on your PocketC.H.I.P. from Step 1. But, if you skipped steps, run sudo apt install mplayer.


Now that you can stream videos to your PocketC.H.I.P., what do you plan to watch? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or tweet at us, and don’t forget to join the conversation in the forum.

And thanks again to Pocketeer Jet Jaguar for inspiring this post!

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