The perfect media center at the TV!

The perfect media center at the TV!

Starter Set: Raspberry Pi Model B 2 and 2000mA power adapter 2A and black housing

Customer Review

Also I would like to share my experience with the Raspberry PI 2 with you.
Especially interesting for those who like so I want a Media Center running on TV ...

For some time I have been dealing with the small but powerful computers, possess both the B model, and 2 B + models and now also a broad PI-2 model. I use my "PI's" only as a media center to my TVs. This grab all my QNAP NAS, which also is in operation 24/7. Thus, I have found the perfect solution for me, and really durable 24/7 a complete network cost to create - and access of each of my devices to my media. When you consider what those things to consume power, which is already almost ridiculous. Compared to so many other manufacturers, such as Apple & Co. And even there one has so many limitations, I can be absolutely happy with my solution. And I really have tested quite a lot in the past and left behind me ...

Raspberry Pi, one of the most ingenious inventions since the iPhone! ;-) Honestly, who would have thought of something even a few years ago? For scarce ~ 30 euros a full-fledged computer. Sure, the new model is now once more expensive and currently just under 50 euros it costs almost double than the old B + model, but he has therefore also significantly more power! And you may not believe it, this has a noticeable effect. This is for example the reason for me, all my old models also to be replaced by the new PI 2.

+++ +++ My history
Can also like to be skipped ... ;-)

I am passionate film and Serienjunkie. My QNAP NAS includes 12 TB of data, including of course a lot of photos, videos, movies, series and music. This I have bought some time ago, because it bugged me in the long run to grab new files repeatedly on an external hard drive and connect the TV. And you have several devices in operation, you always have to terminals. The really annoying but very, everyone knows that certainly. So it was for me after much back and forth only the solution of the NAS. This depends on me now in operation 24/7, via the network in the whole house accessible. Part by cable and Power-LAN. On wireless I renounce this fundamentally. Due to several devices such as 3 TV's from living and sleep study I use that time to the latest generation SONY. This in my opinion sometimes have one of the best solutions for smart TV. There also everything went smoothly as far as to call music, movies or photos. Actually, by then all right, I was quite satisfied. But after a while there were occasional problems with codecs for movies that could not be played. Even the stream with MKV files as Bluray's often do not work or jerky massively. The available bandwidth was okay, because it could not be. Again, I was after a while rather from annoyed, so had to be another solution. A buddy (complete nerd like me) then took me to the Raspberry Pi. And when I got to know this, we were just best friends.

+++ My commitment with the Raspberry Pi +++

With me OpenELEC (Kodi) is important for use. With Kodi (then still known as XMBC) offers me the PI a complete media center at the terminal. And not just any way - in my opinion this is the perfect solution at all. How So? Simply because there are so almost nothing, what does not. Not to mention that I can look them all my films, series, videos and photos, access to my music have etc - I can extend it arbitrarily. By Addons for Youtube, Amazon Prime, RTL Now etc. I could write thousands of lines about it, I want to spare you, however, so I will focus now only once on the essentials. If you want to know more about it, should ask Google. I can put any close it only.

I have so 3 of PI's so completely furnished, these all run "in sync", one at each terminal (3 TV's). My media library while I synchronize externally on a MySQL database on my QNAP NAS so that all PI's are the same. Has the advantage that when I look, for example, from series X the sequence X of Season X, me which is also displayed on the other PI's so. How cool is please ?! But thanks IMDB and Movie / TV Database it gets even better. So I get displayed for each film to each series or TV recording a cover, the details and even the IMDB rating. Can call up information or watch the movie trailer soon. Can you imagine it as an online video store a la Amazon Prime Instant Video or max cathedrals. Only with the difference that this is a video library on my network - the PI only ensures that they will be organized, represented and managed - and ultimately can be played. Otherwise, I use with it quite clear the possibilities of Youtube or media libraries as some private stations such as 7TV. But my music library lies so really manage well and represent. I would never want to miss.

+++ Compared to Apple TV, fireTV & Co +++

Many of you might ask how I did what you should buy now because. Granted, the PI is initially certainly not something you just so connects and gets going directly to the TV, to advance a few more things to be purchased, prepared and furnished. (More on that later ...) but when the then running times, one has the best solution for all! And I'm talking about from experience with various Media Center models, it was Apple TV, Chromecast or fireTV. With Apple TV you are enormously limited because it does nothing. The old models, which could be "flashing" Any cost a fortune on eBay. The Cromecast is quite nice, but he has no LAN connection, for example, what the stream of Blu-ray's making almost impossible. And fireTV is indeed a good hardware, but not by far mature solution for continuous use, alone is what concerns the power consumption. Without now going into every single model, because that would take too long, I can only recommend this to sit down first of all with a Raspberry Pi apart and at least try. If one has once read and gathered in the matter, everything is more a breeze.

+++ The perfect All-Incl. Package of Raspberry Pi's +++
(Who wants to know what you need everything, here is a short and concise list)

1. Micro SD card
I swear on SD cards from Samsung, Transcend and SanDisk. I recommend this strongly to Class 10 UHS-1 cards. Because with so many older cards may lead to various problems. The PI is what the SD card relates very picky! So, do not just use an old, who had been times in the cell phone a few years ago. Dear purchase a new one. Personally I use a SanDisk Ultra Extreme Class 10 UHS-1 card with 8 GB. More you do not need even actually if we (or I with a NAS) working with another external media. The SD card is used exclusively for the operating system OpenELEC. Even a 4 GB card would be sufficient for it, but today there are virtually no more.
-> My recommendation with link to Amazon products can be found in my blog.

2. An external power supply
Here I recommend at least 2,000 mA. There's a lot offered.
The more the better. Before it comes to shortages of electricity supply.
According to the motto: Better too much than too little.
-> My recommendation with link to Amazon products can be found in my blog.

3. Heatsink
One should equip the CPU by a passive cooler.
This ensures that the CPU is not unnecessarily hot and comes highly recommended.
Especially if you want to use in continuous operation as a media PC to PI.
Matching has been around from 4 euros here on Amazon.
-> My recommendation with link to Amazon products can be found in my blog.

4. The right housing
Personally, I have decided on the solid black.
However, this is a matter of taste, everyone just as he likes it.
-> My recommendation with link to Amazon products can be found in my blog.

5. The Software
We need the right OpenELEC image.
-> Just google for it or look also in my blog.

6. HDMI cable
Of course, we also need an appropriate HDMI cable to connect the PI with the TV.
When the terminal, so the TV, also supports CEC would be fine.
Because then you can steer the Raspberry PI comfortably with the remote control.
-> My recommendation with link to Amazon products can be found in my blog.

7. Optional accessories
Now everyone has to decide for themselves what else would you like?
LAN cable, PowerLAN adapter, USB Bluetooth Adapter + Bluetooth keyboard, wireless stick etc.
There are many possibilities, clear. For now, it does but also a normal keyboard and mouse with cord.

+++ +++ The Set up & installation

If we have everything, we mount the heatsink and install the board in the housing. That's it, takes less than 2 minutes. Now we devote ourselves to the SD card on which we install the Image of OpenELEC. Just unzip the downloaded file and the IMG file simply write with Win32DiskImager on the map ready. There are an enormous number of instructions on the subject, open questions I will answer. After that, it can already begin. Insert card, connect everything and once the Raspberry gets power, he is already boot. Then the extensive facility, which I now do not want to go into detail starts. There are already a lot of the Internet.

+++ Facts +++

If you consider that you incl. All with just under 60 euros a full Media Center PC receives that this also is damn cheap in continuous operation, it really comes but to smile. So it went at least for me. With a power consumption of just 2.0 watts, when playing movies about ~ 2.5 watts. That's ridiculous, if one compares these figures with other models. Otherwise, let me say that the use is really fun and joy! Films are loaded quickly, played smoothly and without problems. Thanks hardware codec there is no problem with formats, whether DivX, XviD, MOV, MP4 or MKV. With me playing all file formats works without problems, at last.

In direct comparison to the old PI B + model I can only say that there is this really a much faster hardware. Personally, I would have still wished Gigabit LAN on the new model. Even with 100 Mbit / s to get in so many Bitrate a Bluray its limits when it used in SMB / Samba Windows share. However, NFS managed here quickly remedy because it can better exhaust the 100Mbit - and then comes even with video at higher bitrates over 30 MB / s without problems clearly.

Certainly I could write more and talk more on certain topics.
I wish you a lot of fun, but yourself to get an idea and get to know the "PI".

In short again quickly pros and cons at a glance:

+ Affordable to purchase and power consumption
+ Individually be set up, different ways to use (on OS-related)
+ Perfect interaction with NAS, DLNA server or external hard drive
+ Controllable at newer TV sets thanks to CEC with the TV remote control
+ Strong case OpenELEC / KODI by many addons, programs, etc. Skins extensible
+ Very large community, which can be very useful now and then

- Must be together even "tinkered"
- Delivered without any additional accessories and without software
Must be self-appointed and installed -

Personally, I have thus, as already mentioned my perfect media solution for found at home.
Everything considered cost me in 24/7 operation a total of ~ 30 watts. QNAP NAS + 3x PI.

What more do you want? I can recommend it to anyone! :-)

In my blog there are so many so just look purely times more instructions.
I blog about various Raspberry PI issues of OpenELEC to RETROPIE.

-

I hope I was able to help the one or the other.
If you have questions just comment, I will reply you like.
Forgive me that I could not respond fundamentally on individual things.
But this is beyond the scope of a review clearly ...

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