I just got my new Raspberry Pi for a little one afternoon project I wanted to do for some time now and wanted to share it with you. I bought the new Raspberry Pi 3 B from GalagoMarket. It’s based in Slovenia but I’m sure there is someone who sells it wherever you are from.
Raspberry Pi 3 is a single board computer which is actually very powerful for this kind of money. It fatures an HDMI output, 4 USB ports an integrated WIFI/Bluetooth (Also 4.0-BLE support) antenna, audio output, camra input and some other things. It has a quad core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A53 processor, 1GB of Ram and a socket for micro sd storage, which is used to hold the OS. Because of the power it holds on a so small board it can run linux or similar OS systems without a hussle.
When you buy it you get only the board so you’ll also need to suply an HDMI cable to connect to a monitor or TV, a micro SD card to hold the OS itself, a USB keyboard and mouse and a power supply cable. The power supply needs to have a micro usb type B connector, throuht which you need to suply at least 2A of current at 5V. It can actually run on lower currents (I beleive the manufacturer sais on his website around 1.5A) but if you plan to connect more demanding devices on usb (or a camera) like an external HDD you risk to damage the board if too much current is pulled through the system. I had a 5V 2A power suply lying at home so I used that but idealy you would use a 2.5A just to be sure.
People use the Pi for all kind of projects because it’s so versatile, but I bought it for a specific reason: to hold XBMC. XBMC, now called KODI is in my opinion the best open source media center platform there is. You can use it to watch tv programs, listen to music, watch movies; from the internet, from an external hdd, over samba,… It has such a massive comunity that there exist hundreds of add-ons, so you can extend its functionalities far beyond the originals. Fo example, when I set it up I played a streamed movie from one of those shady sites with bunch of adds and popups. Here you could not see any of that. With a couple of clicks it got me the right subtitles for my language from Podnapisi.net, it got all the movie info from IMDb, I could use my phone to directly interact with the ui over LAN. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
It is also nice that there is actualy a linux based XBMC operating system called OSMC (before it was called RaspBMC) so that if you install that on the Pi, you automaticaly get KODI whenever you boot it up. No linux, no terminal, no driver installation, no nothing. Just a nice wizard and it’s done.
I won’t go in to the detailes of setting it up because there are tons of sites and youtube video on how to do that, just some basics. First of all you need to format the sd card for the right file system (some kind of FAT I beleive). The easiest way to do it is to use the SD Card Formatter. You will need to get the NOOBS system and extract it to the MicroSD card. You boot the board up and an install wizard will soon come on the screen. You need to set the basics like language and keyboard and select the OSMC from the list. If you don’t see it on the list you need to get the board online because in the new distribution it is not included in the NOOBS files. If you have the latest Raspberry Pi 3 you can connect over wifi (set it up on top of the screen) or connect a LAN cable to get it online. As soon as it connects you will get some more options from the list, including OSMC. Install it and then follow the wizard. When everything is set up, you can change in the settings the skin of the media center so it shows up like the KODI you see everywhere. Then it’s just a matter to set up the things you like (android/ios remote, media libraries, tv channels, etc.) Again, there are lots of resources out there if you get stuck.
In the end, when everything is set up, you have a powerful media center to connect to your tv or monitor with so many fatures, you could stay up all night just to list them all. If you have any questions or if you are stuck just write in the comments. Again, be nice. Peace.