Introducing the Raspberry Pi TV HAT

Alasdair Allan
3 min readOct 18, 2018

It’s not every day a new Raspberry Pi product arrives, but today is one of those days. First thing this morning, the Raspberry Pi Foundation unveiled their latest board: the Raspberry Pi TV HAT. An add-on board lets you receive, view, and stream DVB-T2 television broadcasts with your Raspberry Pi.

The new Raspberry Pi TV HAT (📷: Raspberry Pi)

The new HAT has been designed to fit comfortably on top of a Raspberry Pi Zero board, and has a single tuner, although viewing and recording multiple channels from the same mux is supported. The HAT supports both DVB-T2 and DVB-T video broadcast standards, with reception in VHF III, VHF IV, and VHF V bands. DVB-T2 standard supported by the HAT is widely adopted across Europe and Asia, however it is not used in North America where the ATSC standards have been adopted. Unfortunately, there’s no news today as to whether an ATSC version of the HAT will be made available at a later date.

Everything that comes with the Raspberry Pi TV HAT. (📷: Raspberry Pi)

One really rather intriguing question is whether the new TV HAT can be used for other things. A lot of people use the low-end DVB modules built around the Realtek RTL2832 chip for Software Defined Radio (SDR), yet as the new TV HAT is is built around the Sony CXD2880 it might not be possible to use the new board for SDR out of the box. However it’s likely that a lot of SDR folks will now be looking really rather closely at the CXD2880 to see if it’s possible to use it for SDR. This will essentially come down to whether the CXD2880 can provide raw signals in a similar fashion to the RTL2832.

The Raspberry Pi TV HAT on top of a Raspberry Zero W. (📷: Raspberry Pi)

Another rather interesting snippet from today’s launch is the formalisation of the Raspberry Pi pHAT standard—more commonly known as a “bonnet” thanks to Adafruit.

Mechanical specifications of the the Raspberry Pi uHAT. (📷: Raspberry Pi)

Now officially known as a uHAT — perhaps for “µ” meaning “micro,” rather than a pHAT, which stood for “partial” — the new standard is a purely mechanical change. There are no electrical changes from the existing HAT standard.

So, although it has been designed to fit neatly on top of a a Raspberry Pi Zero, the new Raspberry Pi TV HAT should also work comfortably with a Raspberry Pi 2, 3, or 3B+, and if you want to watch television directly on the Pi itself—rather than have it act as a server—you may need the extra processing power the larger boards provide.

The Raspberry Pi TV HAT on top of a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. (📷: Raspberry Pi)

Documentation on getting started with the new TV HAT, and streaming TV across your network has been made accessible, and resellers are also starting to provide full walkthroughs in setting up your Raspberry Pi as a streaming media server.

The new Raspberry Pi TV uHAT is now on sale for £20 plus shipping from your local reseller. At the moment, there is no news as to whether the new uHAT will be made available outside Europe, or whether versions supporting other DVB standards are going to be forthcoming.