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XBMC Running On Raspberry Pi 177

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the i'll-take-ten dept.
jones_supa writes "The Raspberry Pi Foundation has a news release about Raspberry Pi running XBMC smoothly, turning the board into a media center the size of deck of cards. Looking at Pi's low price, small size and hardware 1080p support, this could make an interesting HTPC project. Included is a video demonstration of the setup. For this to be possible, the XBMC team created a customized version that targets the beefier Raspberry Pi model."

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XBMC Running On Raspberry Pi

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  • Impressive hardware (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @11:55AM (#38819425)

    The big news is that the GPU on the Raspberry Pi doubles the performance the iPhone 4S -- on a board that costs a fraction of the iPhone. Now that's impressive.

    • by Rakishi (759894) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:35PM (#38819853)

      And probably sucks up five times the power that the iphone GPU does. Amazing what you can do when you don't have to deal with trying to get 7 hours of run time out of a 5watt-hour battery.

      • I wish my phone last 7 hours!.

        On a serious note the raspberry pi would last 3 hours on a 5 watthour battery at full power consumption. It was not optimised for low power, low cost was the bigger issue so it uses cheaper linear voltage regulators to drop the 5v input to the internal 3.3, 2.5 and 1.8v rails.
      • by c++0xFF (1758032) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @01:37PM (#38820607)

        Back of the envelope calculations:

        The iPhone 4 battery is 5.25 Whr at 3.7V. The Raspberry Pi draws 300mA peak. Let's be pessimistic and assume that's the constant draw for XBMC video decoding. At 5V, that's 1.5W, which will give about 3.5 hrs of battery life. I'd bet you'd actually see closer to 4 hours in real-life tests. SD or 720p video would probably see even lower power consumption.

        So, how does the iPhone do? Real-world examinations of Apple's claim of "up to 10 hours" for playing video are hard to find. Apple's tests were done with a video from iTunes: 640×480 resolution, so this is hardly a fair comparison. PCWorld [pcworld.com] found the life to be about 6 hours for 720p video, but that includes the power from the display (at full brightness) and wifi. (The iPhone has had battery life issues because of an OS problem, just to complicate things a bit).

        So, the Raspberry Pi compares pretty well. I would love to see someone make a fair test here: play an HD video over HDMI for both devices and measure the power consumption. The Raspberry Pi will draw more current, probably, but not nearly as much as you might think.

    • by wagnerrp (1305589)
      The big news is that the CPU on the iPhone 4S is a good 6-7x faster than that on this Raspberry Pi, so it comes down to optimizing the device for the tasks you intend for it to perform.
  • by zAPPzAPP (1207370) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:06PM (#38819525)

    That is pretty cool.
    I have a HTPC that does that for 10x the price. But even my box needs to use gpu hardware (an Ion2) to play back 720p h264 files fluently (those come in .mkv containers usually).
    This demo shows .mov files and I don't know how much decoding is required for playing back those files. All I know is, .mov files tend to be really big.
    So will the Raspberry be able to play common file formats, or will you have to encode everything in .mov beforehand?

    • by slim (1652)

      The Raspberry Pi's GPU has h264 decoding in it.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        Can the hardware really only manage 8-10 frames/sec. or is that their software?

        • by Vairon (17314)

          As I understand it that is the speed of the UI updating. The video, as you can clearly see, is running at full speed.

        • This isn't the framerate of the video playback. It's the framerate of the UI refreshing. it's perfectly "normal" considering the OpenGL performance of the GPU. And it's also very smooth for any navigation inside the UI. You don't need 30fps on UI.
  • by afex (693734) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:06PM (#38819527)
    while the specs for decoding video are AWESOME (especially for the price point), what I continually point out to people is that the low CPU can still kill you on some things. I have an NVIDIA ION / Atom D330 HTPC that can destroy the 40Mbps x264 killasample absolutely no problem, yet has trouble on some of the even medium-flashy skins for XBMC.

    like i said, performance/dollar this thing is still awesome, but you do still have to think of the whole package.
    • by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:14PM (#38819617) Homepage Journal

      while the specs for decoding video are AWESOME (especially for the price point), what I continually point out to people is that the low CPU can still kill you on some things. I have an NVIDIA ION / Atom D330 HTPC that can destroy the 40Mbps x264 killasample absolutely no problem, yet has trouble on some of the even medium-flashy skins for XBMC.

      like i said, performance/dollar this thing is still awesome, but you do still have to think of the whole package.

      It's mouthwatering .. waiting is the hard part.. I want one in my car, at my desk, at work, everywhere. Do you think they'll sell these as a six pack? :)

    • by tdelaney (458893)

      Have you tried it with XBMC Eden and dirty regions enabled? In advancedsettings.xml:

      <advancedsettings>
      <gui>
      <algorithmdirtyregions>3</algorithmdirtyregions>
      <nofliptimeout>0</nofliptimeout>
      </gui>
      </advancedsettings>

      Another combination to try is:

      <advancedsettings>
      <gui>
      <algorithmdirtyregions>1</algorithmdirtyregions>
      <nofliptimeout>1000</nofliptime

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:12PM (#38819585)

    I know that the Raspberry Pi is specifically advertised as supporting hardware decoding of H.264 up to 1080p30 at up to 40 Mbps. What I want to know is if it also supports VC-1 and MPEG-2 decoding at the same resolutions and data rates. I know that the underlying SoC has this capability, but will it be blocked or omitted from the SDK for licensing/patent reasons? Any of these three codecs can be found on Blu-Rays, and transcoding the rips to H.264 would reduce the quality.

    Also, what about bitstreaming the HD audio codecs (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA) over HDMI 1.3? I know Raspberry Pi didn't want to pay for audio decoding licenses, but simply sending the raw bitstream to a receiver over the HDMI link shouldn't present any licensing issues (and is the best quality method to use anyway).

    For the Raspberry Pi to be a good media streamer, it needs to be able to do these things.

    • by euxneks (516538)
      The best way to find an answer to this is to ask in the raspi forums here: http://www.raspberrypi.org/forum [raspberrypi.org]
    • by chrb (1083577)
      My understanding is that the GPU supports hardware decoding of xvid/mpeg2/h264 etc. The issue is licensing the patents from MPEG-LA. The cost of licensing a codec is too high to license them all for every Pi sold: the cost of licensing AAC alone is 4% of the total price of the board. So, either there will be a hardware version that comes with all the codecs (and costs a lot more), or there will a software codec pack that you can pay to download. Either way, the codecs are going to be leaked eventually, so I
      • by JDG1980 (2438906)

        The issue is licensing the patents from MPEG-LA. The cost of licensing a codec is too high to license them all for every Pi sold: the cost of licensing AAC alone is 4% of the total price of the board. So, either there will be a hardware version that comes with all the codecs (and costs a lot more), or there will a software codec pack that you can pay to download.

        The problem is that the Raspberry Pi's relatively weak ARM-based CPU is almost certainly not powerful enough to decode high-bitrate 1080p VC-1 or

  • It stutters a bit when he plays the muppets. My linux box has trouble with 1080p video and IIRC it's quite a bit more powerful than a R-Pi. I'll be waiting to see some serious reviews before I look to use this as an HTPC.

  • There are lots of little single-board computers at low price points. It's not just Arduno and Basic Stamp machines any more. The BeagleBone [beagleboard.org], at $89, is available now. Runs Linux on an ARM chip.

    The Raspberry PI $25 price is vaporware until they ship in quantity. Remember OLPC. They never made their $100 price point.

    • BeagleBone doesn't even come with any video-out connector as standard so probably not the best solution in this instance. More likely Beagleboard or Pandaboard for higher $.

      Chinese New Year celebrations likely delaying Raspberry Pi ETA by a week or 2 I guess, but not long now....

      • True but it's easy to interface a touch screen LCD to the Beagle Bone.
        https://plus.google.com/u/0/104712705716996155416/posts
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ps47MOHF9x8

        • by Svartalf (2997)

          Yeah...what size? And it needs a special adapter to hook to an HDMI monitor... Sorry...you're grasping at straws. Don't get me wrong, the BeagleBone's a GREAT device. So's the BeagleBoard and PandaBoard. All of them are way more expensive...and they're overkill for what's being done here and for that purpose.

          They might work out for YOU, but they don't provide the stated purposes (Providing an inexpensive computer specifically intended to do comp-sci education with what's a very usable but almost utterl

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      BeagleBone's how much more? Besides...the OLPC's problem was they aimed high. This beastie's down to roughly the pricepoint in question. Not for profit, remember. And...the devices are very much a first cousin to a device that retails for $99 or less for the mid-range and basic models- that plays back things like Hulu, Netflix, etc. BoM costs place the Roku2 series devices right down into the price-point of the R-Pi...and the only real differences are possibly a bit of POP RAM profile and a few diffe

  • I love the Raspberry Pi project, and have my CC ready to order. However, this isn't that spectacular of a use for it :)
    There are a ton of specialized boxes that already do it in a neat package with a proper remote. (personally I use a WD TV Live both 1st and 2nd gen).

    To all those criticizing the performance, or codec support etc etc, remember this is just ONE of the many things this thing can do and it's just to show you the potential of what a $25/$35 general computing device can be made to do. The coolnes

  • Well, it is impressive and very much an accomplishment, even if you consider other limitations already pointed out. But all I see is an implementation that might provide playback support. One very important thing for me in a media center is tuner support. So until there is support for a tuner for the Raspberry Pi, I'll still need to use a PC as a media center.

    XBMC uses many tuners, but depends on their drivers being installed in the OS. I don't see that happening any time soon for the R Pi. I hope I'm wron

    • by Lev13than (581686)

      XBMC uses many tuners, but depends on their drivers being installed in the OS. I don't see that happening any time soon for the R Pi. I hope I'm wrong about that, but until then this will not really serve as a media center.

      It's not supposed to be a full media centre - it's a potential front end. I like the idea because I'm already running MythTv, and if this works it's $50 plus an extra screen I have lying around to put another TV in my kitchen.

    • Try a network tuner like the hd homeruns. Make a lot more sense than a tuner in every device and is thus cheaper. A single mcard cable card can do 6 streams (the HD homeruns only do 3 per card for some reason).

  • I'm assuming XBMC is running on Linux here, so streaming channels like Netflix and Hulu are out of the question. I think this is great, and lots of cool new HTPC's will come out of this, but for now it's not going to replace my ROKU.
    • by chill (34294)

      I run OpenELEC, which is a very stripped version of XBMC based off of Linux.

      Hulu (mostly) works for me. Every once in a while something will pop up and say there is an error with a stream, but not very often. It also works on Amazon Prime for me.

      I don't have Netflix, but I'm assuming unless Netflix decides to release a generic Linux client the answer is "no".

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Yeah, you'd have to nab binaries off of a Roku2 somehow to accomplish the same thing...at which point, just use the Roku2...

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