If you’ve dreamed of being able to KDE Plasma on your TV you’ll want to tune in to the work going into KDE Plasma 5.26, which just hit beta.
Why? Because the next major update to the ‘cool’ desktop environment includes a new mode designed to be used on TVs, monitor, and other large display setups. It’s called Plasma Bigscreen and is pitched as a ‘privacy-respecting, open source and secure TV ecosystem’.
And we’re not talking the regular Plasma desktop stretched out to a squintfinity. No; Plasma Bigscreen is has a specially designed 10 foot UI, ensuring everything shown on screen is visible from afar (i.e. a couch) with ease, as well as being navigable using remote controls.
A set of specially created applications designed to run on Plasma Bigscreen are also available. These includes the Aura Browser (a web browser) and Plank Player (for playing back audio and video files).
Naturally KDE developers use KDE technologies, and technologies related therein to buildout this large-screen experience, include Plasma, Qt, KWin, Wayland, Pulseaudio, and the (very promising) Kirigami UI framework. There’s even built-in support for voice control using the MyCroft AI assistant — just don’t ask it to play Mr Bean!
Want to try it out? You can! An array of Linux ARM images with Plasma Bigscreen are available to download. These images be used on single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi 4, ODroid N2, and similar — nice to see this big screen experience won’t require ‘big’ performance hardware to run.
Do keep in mind that Plasma’s promising full-screen UI is under active development (so spoiler: it won’t rival your Roku — not yet, anyway). For more details see the project website, download the ARM builds, or get involved at the code level.