Raspbmc versus OpenELEC

Since I bought a Raspberry PI from http://12geeks.com/ in Singapore, I was impressed when Michael Cheng showed me at http://hackerspace.sg/ you can play back videos with it.

Yes! A way to easily watch my downloads on a big screen, which was basically impossible to do on an Apple TV.

First I tried Raspbmc when Michael was using. IIUC it's a port of XMBC 12.2 "Frodo" to the PI. I quickly found a few issues:

Later I found http://openelec.tv/ prompted by a tweet.

Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center (OpenELEC) at least has a decent github powered issue tracker. Nonetheless both raspbmc and OpenELEC rely on XBMC. Nonetheless OpenELEC's support / IRC channel seems much healthier than the Raspbmc project.

Anyway, both projects stem from XBMC which has a ton of usability issues, however I really like their potential. I wish Chromecast was better supported, but after looking at it briefly, you get the same functionality by just pointing XBMC to the content as suggested in this JSONRPC post.

I can't help but think though, if it was easier to connect my laptop or desktop to my big screen TV, it would probably be a better solution overall. Basically I like to flick through my photo collection at lightning speed. You need SSD, fast CPU, a suckless image viewer and the latest codec support like that for WebP. Nonethless I still think the PI presents a pretty good low cost dedicated media solution. It's better than the Apple TV, if you can live without Airplay Mirroring (which is so damn nice tbh).

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