Setting Up On Raspberry Pi (Raspbian)

Parsec has a Raspberry Pi Application. We recommend using the RPi 3, but users have gotten it to work on the RPi 2 and RPi Zero with varying rates of success.

We do not yet have information on if the RPi 4 works with Parsec.

There are step-by-step directions below, but ETA Prime made an incredible, unsolicited tutorial about using Parsec. So if you'd rather watch a tutorial, check out this video.

If you're trying to use a non Debian-based version of the Pi, check out this article.

RASPBIAN INSTALLATION

The installation of Parsec is very simple. Start with a fresh distribution of Raspbian Lite or Jessie. You can get the latest Raspbian Lite image here.

The Raspberry Pi Organization provides detailed installation instructions here.

GPU MEMORY SPLIT

Once the installation and set up of Raspbian is complete, verify that the GPU memory split is 128mb or higher. Please run this command sudo raspi-config. Navigate down to:

7 Advanced Options

then:

A3 Memory Split

Enter 128, accept the option, and exit choosing to reboot.

INSTALL AND RUN PARSEC

After the Pi has rebooted, download Parsec from here wget https://s3.amazonaws.com/parsec-build/package/parsec-rpi.deb

Please move into the directory in which you downloaded Parsec and extract the file with  sudo dpkg -i parsec-rpi.deb. You may need to change the file name before doing this by changing.

Run the Parsec Client with parsec from any directory.

If you're having trouble logging to Parsec, please note that the default keyboard is UK QWERTY, so you may need to change this to US QWERTY to make sure your keyboard works correctly.

If you prefer to run the Parsec Application headless, type parsec server_id=YOUR_SERVER_ID from any directory. 

RASPBERRY PI WIFI

The native Wifi adapter on the Pi is not good. We recommend using ethernet or buying one of these. Make sure the one you choose supports 5 Ghz Wifi.

SETTING UP XBOX CONTROLLERS ON PI

For the Raspberry Pi, you can sudo apt-get install xboxdrv for Xbox controller support. 

If you're using the Raspberry Pi version of Parsec, you'll need to install drivers for the controllers. The best Xbox driver we've found is xboxdrv. For the Raspberry Pi, you can sudo apt-get install xboxdrv.

Unfortunately, however, if you have an Xbox One S and want to use the bluetooth connection, you'll need this driver

 

SETTING UP OTHER BLUETOOTH CONTROLLERS

This article gives a great explanation of setting up bluetooth controllers on the Pi.

MOUSE POLLING RATE ON PI

The speed at which the computer checks on its peripherals is referred to as “polling speed”. This happens very fast and usually without interaction. In the case of the Raspberry Pi, the polling speed for mice has been set by default to 62.5hz, or 62.5 times-per-second. This helps out the Pi by making it easier on the CPU, but it leads to poor performance in games and often very slow-feeling tracking speeds. What most users prefer is 125hz, that is a polling speed of 1000ms/125hz or 8ms. To set this on the Pi, perform the following commands:

sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt

You should see something like:

dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=serial0,115200 console=tty1 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext4 etc…

You need to add the parameter usbhid.mousepoll=8 so you end up with something like this:

dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=serial0,115200 console=tty1 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext4 usbhid.mousepoll=8 etc…

Then hit ctrl + x to exit, and say “Y” to save. After a reboot the mouse should feel much more responsive. The number 8 can be lowered to 1ms or even 0 to respect the USB devices internal poll rate, but be warned doing so can take a very steep toll on the Pi’s modest CPU and is not recommended.

RPI CONFIGURATION SETTINGS

After installing Parsec for the first time on your Pi or reinstalling it, run the app one time by typing parsec. Once you run Parsec once, the configuration file is located in home/pi/.parsec. If you don't see the config file there, it might be hidden. Run this command - ls -al. If you're using an older version of Parsec for the Pi, the config file is in the client-rpi directory, which is saved in whatever directory you unpackaged it. From this file, you can manage all of your connection settings, such as choosing your network adapter (if you are running a VPN on your local network), or the bitrate of your video file. For all settings and an example of those values, please check out this site. Adding a line like this encoder_bitrate=15; will make your default bitrate 15 Mbps. We recommend something higher than 15 Mbps for 1080p video. Please be careful, however, as the Raspberry Pi 3 probably maxes out at around 30-40 Mbps.

WINDOWS AND APPS OPENING BEHIND PARSEC WHEN YOU'RE STREAMING

If you're using the desktop version of Raspbian and having an issue where windows and apps will open behind the Parsec app while you stream, you need to disconnect and press CTRL + ALT + F1 to open terminal full screen, then run Parsec - this will prevent things opening in the background.  You can close this full screen terminal window by pressing CTRL + ALT + F7.