Raspberry Pi Owners, Check Your TV Supports CEC Before You Spend

Raspberry Pi Owners, Check Your TV Supports CEC Before You Spend

If you’re new to the world of compact media centres such as the Raspberry Pi, it’s easy to get caught up in all the bits and bobs you need to get it set up. Of course, having the required cables — power, HDMI, USB, etc — is mandatory, but before you splurge on a custom remote and infrared receiver, make sure your TV doesn’t provide this functionality already.

Earlier this year I picked up a Raspberry Pi 2 and have it currently configured to run Raspbian and OpenELEC. Until a few days ago, I was using a mouse and keyboard to control the latter, but selecting movies and TV shows this way isn’t as convenient as just picking up the remote.

More control, sure, but sometimes simpler is better… especially when it comes to relaxing in front of the box. To this end, I download a remote control app — Sybu for iOS. It’s perfectly serviceable, but again, I have a TV remote that could be doing so much more.

It’s then I discovered CEC. Essentially, it’s a protocol that runs over HDMI that allows enabled devices to communicate with one another. Any recent TV set should support it, and it’s built into the Raspberry Pi. This mean you can send commands from your basic TV remote to the Pi and support is already there if you’re running OpenELEC (or any media centre distro worth its salt).

The only problem is configuring more keys. At the moment, I can only navigate menus and select items — there’s no back or home button. I haven’t had much success with the Kodi Keymap Editor, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I figure it out.

So, if you just need basic control over your Raspberry Pi media centre, you don’t have to buy a new remote and IR module — you probably have everything you need right now!


  • and it would have been helpful if you included HOW to check is the TV supports CEC. Look at the Labels on the back, open it up, read the manual, what??

    • If you TV has got any of these features then u got cec on your TV.

      AOC: E-link
      Hitachi: HDMI-CEC (Thank you, Hitachi!)
      LG: SimpLink
      Mitsubishi: NetCommand for HDMI
      Onkyo: RIHD (Remote Interactive over HDMI)
      Panasonic: HDAVI Control, EZ-Sync, or VIERA Link
      Philips: EasyLink
      Pioneer: Kuro Link
      Runco International: RuncoLink
      Samsung: Anynet+
      Sharp: Aquos Link
      Sony: BRAVIA Sync
      Toshiba: CE-Link or Regza Link
      Vizio: CEC

  • For anyone using plex in their network setup. buy a pi and put RasPlex (http://www.rasplex.com/) on an microSD card. using Win32 disk imager (http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/) connect it to your network either via onboard ethernet or buy a cheap $6 nano Wireless N dongle. i use this one (http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Mini-150Mbps-USB-Wireless-N-WiFi-Lan-Adapter-Dongle-High-Signal-Gain-802-11n-g-b-/261495370521?hash=item3ce256b319&_uhb=1) You control everything with your TV’s remote (CEC compatible of course). So you essentially have a streamer for
    pi – $40 (from element14)
    8gb micro SD $8 (from ebay)
    150m wireless N nano dongle $6 (from ebay, you can get the 300m for about $10)
    So for $54 it’s a great little streamer! better than a chromecast IMO and without the hassles of jailbraking your ATV2 (what i used to use) plays anything even 1080p older models used to chug a bit but the B+’s and 2’s work great! hope other people find this useful.

    • Thanks Ompster, I’ve been running Plex on an old Mac Mini but looking to retire it.

      • Doesn’t have to be CEC compatible, you can use just about any mobile device iOS or Android to control it 🙂 that said my 50inch plasma with CEC cost me 600 a few years ago

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!