Wall Computer Project – overview

What is it?

The Wall Computer project is a multi-purpose computer that you can plug into a TV. It can be:

  • TV box to watch streaming content from Netflix or YouTube, and listen to music from Spotify – or your own saved content from a HDD
  • Network wide ad blocker (Pi-Hole) for all of your devices
  • WiFi file sharing device (NAS)
  • E-book sharing device (Calibre-web)
  • Full computer to browse the web, send emails, do programming
  • A retro gaming station

History of the Wall Computer project

My first Wall Computer (and the reason for the name) was an old Dell laptop which I wanted to turn into a virtual picture frame. I soon found that this was useful for more than just pictures – using XBMC (now Kodi) to watch media from our hard drive.

Current version

Right now I’m running this on an Orange Pi PC. The main use is as a media center (using LibreElec) but in the background it doubles as a Samba server for our HDD, Pi-Hole DNS ad blocker, as well as torrent downloader and Calibre-web ebook service.

By changing out the SD card I can quickly switch over to Retro Gaming console mode, or PC mode if needed.

Components needed:

  1. Orange Pi PC
  2. USB mouse, keyboard
  3. 16GB+ class 10 SD cards (x3)
  4. (optional) Cheap USB PlayStation game controllers (x2)
  5. (optional) External HDD

    And of course you need a TV with HDMI input, WiFi router with ethernet input, and external speakers with jack input.

Steps

  1. The multi-media center:
    – Netflix, YouTube setup
    – Video, Picture and Music library setup
    – Control with your own TV remote or Android phone, keyboard or mouse
    – Set up WiFi file sharing
    – Pi-Hole (save up to 50% bandwidth by blocking all ads everywhere)
    – Transmission torrents (downloads files to your HDD in the background, control from Android)
    – Calibre-web for ebook converting and sorting
  2. The PC:
    – Learn to code
    – Latest Firefox browser for security
    – Document editing etc, really anything you can do on a normal PC
  3. The gaming center (using RetroOrangePi)
    – Nintendo, SEGA, NES, GameBoy emulator
    – Connect cheap USB controllers and play
  4. Advanced options
    – Home security hub with old Android phone cameras and sensors
    – Home automation, voice control
    – Auto backup files from Android, PC to HDD over network