The latest release of the KDE Plasma user interface for Linux-based operating systems brings a number of improvements including easier previewing of desktop wallpapers, support for animated wallpapers, and a number of UI, navigation, and settings tweaks.

But the biggest change in KDE Plasma 5.26 Beta? There’s a new Plasma Bigscreen option designed for TVs and other large displays.

The new view has a 10-foot user interface, meaning everything is easily visible from your couch. And it’s designed to be easy to navigate using a remote control.

There are also a few applications optimized for large-screen displays including the Aura Browser, which is a web browser Plasma Bigscreen and the Plank Player for audio and video files.

Plasma Bigscreen is built on top of Plasma Shell using the Qt toolkit, KWin window manager, and Wayland compositor. It also implements features from the Kirigami UI Framework, uses libCEC to handle remote control and HDMI functions, and comes with the open source Mycroft voice assistant pre-installed by default.

Folks who’d rather not use Mycroft can either choose to skip voice controls altogether or use an alternative speech-to-text system like Mozilla’s DeepSpeech, although the KDE team notes that you’ll need a fairly powerful computer to use Mozilla’s solution.

You don’t need a particularly powerful computer to get started with Plasma Bigscreen though. There are KDE Neon, postmarketOS, and Manjaro ARM images with the Bigscreen user interface available for a number of devices including low-power single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi 4, ODroid N2, Radxa Zero 2, RockPro64, and Khadas VIM line of devices.

Just keep in mind that Plasma 5.26 is still consider beta software, and the Bigscreen UI is still pretty new. So don’t be surprised to find some rough edges.

via KDE Announcements and invent.kde.org

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  1. I wonder if I can have the big screen view on one monitor and normal UI elements on another.