Sunday, March 24, 2013


Well I've been after a cheap all-singing all dancing media centre platform for a while now that could act as a complement (say on a second TV) to a full-blown Windows 7/8 Media Centre (which I personally think is hands-down the best for compatibility and features).

After looking at Pivos running XBMC on Android and not quite wanting to splash $150 on something I wasn't 100% sold on just yet, I started looking at what else was available (I also have some reservations about the input control).

After a fair whack of research I found I kept coming back to this article over at smallnetbuilder:

Apart from the low cost, another major selling point of the Raspberry Pi Model B is that it has a somewhat decent GPU that Raspbmc takes full advantage of.

From what I've read, it will handle pretty much anything you can throw at it (in terms of decoding) except super-high (say 40mbps) h.264 content - but it only just gets choppy processing that.

There's also reports that with the bleeding-edge version of Raspbmc they've added support for live TV recording using a USB DVB-T adapter.

For the super low-cost of the unit I figured, oh well, if it sucks I haven't exactly wasted a lot of money.

As far as the shopping list goes, here's a quick break-down of costs:

Raspberry Pi Model 2 inc. delivery: $56
Case: $10 delivered from ebay
WiFi Adapter: $12 delivered from ebay
MC Remote: $19 delivered from ebay
SD Card:$16 from UMart
2A Micro USB Charger: $11 delivered from ebay

As far as getting Raspbmc on there goes, it looks quite painless.

All you need to do is download this handy utility which will make a boot SD card that the unit boots from and then downloads the setup files live.

The only remaining thing is to purchase licensed codecs (MPEG2 and VC-1) codecs from the Raspberry Pi store and you're good to go.

Very excited and will post mini review soon :)

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