Free FRENCH Tv from your sofa... REally?

Maybe you noticed over the last few weeks, that French television is back at the Alliance. Indeed, for months as our dish was broken after numerous storms in Auckland and we couldn't receive any signal at all.

But we have recently discovered, thanks to the magic of the Internet that it was possible to have access to a considerable number of French speaking channels on your TV… for free ! You can have access to live channels (France 24, Euronews,...) or to video on demand (TV5 Monde, Canal+, France 2, Arte,...) and virtually many others in different languages.

How is this possible? With a very simple and handy device called Raspberry Pi (not-for-profit foundation). The Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer (the size of a credit card) than can be used for many different projects from a normal computer to a robot. In this case we are using it as a media center in combination with an open-source software named Kodi (previously XBMC). If you are familiar with media centers like the Apple TV you will find it really easy to use.

So once installed you can simply connect it to your TV and Internet and enjoy your favourite programms without any subscription or hidden cost. The only investment you will have to make is to buy the Raspberry Pi and take some time to configure it. Also beware that this is streaming TV so make sure your internet data package is sufficient.

So what do you need ?

1 Raspberry Pi
1 8GB Micro Sd card
1 micro USB charger or cable
1 hdmi cable
1 screen (or TV) with hdmi connexion
1 Ethernet cable
1 keyboard + mouse for the configuration

Optional :

Case for the Raspberry Pi
Wi-Fi dongle

How does it work exactly?

First you need to buy the Raspberry Pi and install the software on a SD card. It is possible to find it with a preinstalled version of the OS for only $52 which make things easier. In our case we installed the Raspbmc version on the card. For more information about how install it properly follow this link. You can also find a really good tutorial here.

You might have most of the accesories needed in your home already as they are very common or you can buy them cheaply on Trade me, Ebay or in any electronic store around the corner.

Once Raspbmc is installed, you will have to configure the add-ons that you want to have in order to watch your French programmes. Some of them are already available (TV5 Monde,...) in Kodi. To configure any add-ons simply follow these instructions. You can also find more French TV add-ons (Canal+,...) on this website.

If you have a recent TV you can use Raspberry Pi directly with your remote control and plug it on a USB port for power. It only uses 3W when it is in use. So you are all set and ready to enjoy Le Petit Journal de canal +, a documentary on France 2 or the news on France24.

If you don't own a TV don't worry as Kodi can be used on any computer as well (Mac, Windows or Linux). You simply need to download it.