Raspbmc – Turning The Raspberry Pi Into The Perfect Media Centre

Raspbmc logo

The Raspberry Pi is probably one of the most innovative devices released in the last 5 years, it really does bring computing to pretty much anyone. If you have £30 spare then you can have one of these great little computers yourself.

The Raspberry Pi itself is a self contained computer that is only the size of a credit card, bash an SD card inside and you have the makings of the perfect little computer. The small size of this device makes it perfect for media centres and that’s why I bought one.

raspberry_pi_on_hand

There are many operating systems available for the Raspberry Pi, some officially supported and others community driven like Raspbmc. As you have probably guessed by the name, Raspbmc is a version of XBMC that is specifically designed for the Raspberry Pi.

Raspbmc Home Screen

Raspbmc Home Screen

Raspbmc is very easy to install, all you need to do is plugin your SD card to a machine and install Raspbmc to the card. There are official guides available for both Windows and Mac/Linux users. Once installed you simply connect your Ethernet and HDMI up and away you go.

Does it work well as a media centre?

In short, absolutely yes! I have an Xbox 360 in my living room that I use to stream media from my NAS drive. But I’m using my Raspberry Pi in the bedroom. Raspbmc can easily be connected to pick up all the media on my NAS and stream it to the bedroom. Music, video and pictures – it’s all there. You can even install addons that let you stream content directly from the internet.

A Raspberry Pi running Raspbmc really is the perfect media centre for anyone needing a small device that can stream content over a network or over the internet.

Do I need a keyboard & mouse?

Nope. All you need is an Android or iOS device and the official XBMC remote app. Install this app, connect your device to your Wi-Fi and configure it to connect to the IP address of your Raspbmc media centre and away you go! You can control everything on your media centre from anywhere using your mobile phone or tablet.

XBMC Remote on Android

XBMC Remote on Android

Conclusion

There are other operating systems out there for the Raspberry Pi that claim to turn the device into an all singing, all dancing media centre and I have tried many of them. However, Raspbmc is by far the most polished and well put together media centre solution for the Raspberry Pi. Running the XBMC core give Raspbmc a fantastic basis to work on.

If you’re after a media centre for your bedroom, or anywhere in your home for that matter, you really can’t go wrong with a Raspberry Pi running Rasbmc.

Do you have a Raspberry Pi running as a media centre? Tell us about your setup in the comments section…

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Raspbmc – Turning The Raspberry Pi Into The Perfect Media Centre
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  • françois kevin Bile Ebelle

    I don’t really know and understand what is the interest of buying this small computer, and turn it into Media Center, when most of the TVs sold today come with integrated Media Center… And they can also read word and excell… documents !

    • http://www.refugeeks.com/ Kev Quirk

      I don’t know of any TV that can compose documents. I’d love to see some examples…

      Most TVs don’t come with the ability to stream media. Smart TVs do, but they are still rare and very expensive… It’s much cheaper to buy a Raspberry Pi.

      • françois kevin Bile Ebelle

        Have you thought about the different possibilities of hacks? Because many geeks have consoles. And xBox already offers streaming service online, and can perform other multimedia features. And for the PS3, there are many hacks opportunities that teem on google.

      • http://www.refugeeks.com/ Kev Quirk

        I know, like it says in the article, I use and xbox in my living room for media streaming. But if you don’t have a games console then this is the perfect cheap little media centre.

      • David

        Dumbass. Let me think. $300 PS3 or $35 PI. Geez, tough call there. Yes, other hardware types can do this, but at a cost. It’s not like everyone just has smart TV’s and PS3′s laying around. Moron. Think before you type.

        To OP, GREAT article! I love the PI, it’s better than any android box or media streaming device.

  • Brian Kanto

    great info Kev! May use try this. Using Xbmc and media center now, (different rooms). This is a cheap alternative and fun to try

    • http://www.refugeeks.com/ Kev Quirk

      Thanks Kanto! Let me know how you get on if you do decide to go for Raspbmc, it’s a great system.

      If you get stuck, head over to our forums and we’ll be able to help :)

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  • callmeabc

    I love my pi! I have mine set up as both a media center and a media server then with a quick swap of the sd card it’s a computer/media server. I have to say I prefer the yates remote app over the official xbmc remote. I have a second pi on the way that I plan to start getting into robotics with :-)