Jun 28 2013

Raspberry Pi and OpenElec

Got myself a Raspberry Pi this week to replace our current media player.

Our previous media player could not connect to the home network and I had to keep copying media to an external hard drive which as you could expect an irritation to say the least. The technology world has changed quite a lot with the introduction of the Raspberry Pi. The Pi is a credit card sized computer that has HDMI, Audio, RCA, USB and LAN connections built-in to it.

Do a google search to see some of the amazing things people have done with the Raspberry Pi.

My goal was to replace the media player with the Pi and stream media from our Home Server to the CRT TV. I installed OpenElec on the SD card which is a great Linux distro if all you want is a media player with some extra functionality.

The Raspberry Pi boots straight into OpenElec XBMC without any of the normal desktop login screens etc.

I then use Yatse which is available from the Google Play Store to remotely control the media center from my Android phone and tablet.

Let’s have a look at some Pro’s and Cons before we get to the video of my OpenElec journey.

Pro’s:
1. The Raspberry Pi with the needed accessories (power supply, SD card and case) cost me less than the media player did.
2. It connects flawlessly to my home network and server. (I had to create a user account on the server for the Pi to connect and authenticate)
3. It’s small and can be hidden out of sight.
4. Boots straight into the Media Player interface.
5. It has HDMI, RCA, RJ45, 1x audio out and 2x USB connectors.
6. Anyone can set this up using the links at the end of the article and searching the net if they get stuck.

Cons:
1. WiFi worked but kept losing my network for some reason.
2. I noticed a definite speed reduction when using WiFi.
3. The Pi had some issues with DNS but after some “googling” it was actually quite an easy fix.

Links to get you up and running quickly:

OpenElec Official Website:
http://openelec.tv/
Images:
http://resources.pichimney.com/OpenELEC/official_images/?C=M;O=D
OpenElec Wiki:
http://wiki.openelec.tv/index.php?title=Installation
Win32DiskImager:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/?source=dlp