Already in October 2011 I became aware of the RaspberryPi. I waited eagerly (like many others) for it, to become available before the end of 2011. But that didn’t happen. And when it was available, it was immediately sold out due to pre-orders. I hate to pre order.
Finally I was able to buy the latest Model B with 512 MB of RAM at RS-Online. So waiting payed out here, the increase from 256 MB to 512 MB was just recently. Delivery was within two weeks time from UK to Malaysia. I took the opportunity to order it with a clear casing. Including shipment I payed about $49, a lot less compared to other “partners”, like Element4 where you had to order it from a Malaysian Company to a higher price and unclear delivery time (at least 4 Weeks).
The purpose the RaspberryPi should serve, is to replace my good old XBOX with XBMC on it. It has been our Media Center for so many years (almost 10) but it will be retired due to HD content. The Pi is able to play HD content and there are three XBMC ports/distributions available. I chose RaspBMC (www.raspbmc.com) as I read some good reports about it.
Its not an easy thing to replace something you are using in your every day routine so frequently. You will apply at least the same standards to it, but most likely would expect improvements. On the first sight, the Raspbmc solution looked convincing, but it turned out to be a bit slow. So I started a thread in the Raspbmc forum, comparing Raspbmc with XBMC and looking for a solution.
With some tweaking I managed to get close to the XBOX performance (thanks to some forum members), but I am not yet there. We have to keep in mind, that Raspbmc is still beta and how many years is the XBOX port already out there? But for me its good enough and I enjoy the additional features like YouTube or the well working media library functions.
As I didn’t want to break old habits, I wanted to continue to use my XBOX DVD remote. The problem was the lack of an IR receiver for the Pi. Well there is a good tutorial out there, to convert that XBOX IR receiver to usb:
The way I did it, I am still able to use it on my XBOX as well. The remote worked out of the box. Also the remote of my TV, as Raspbmc got CEC capabilities. But with the XBOX remote it’s more logical to operate it.
So far I am happy with it, but there is still room for improvements. Time to order the next RaspberryPi