There’s a really fantastic piece in Techradar and Linux Format, going into considerable depth to compare, contrast and review five Raspberry Pi operating systems. If you’ve been thinking about trying out a new distro on your Pi, it’s a great place to start. (And well done, Raspbian!)
Just before the New Year, we saw a lot of links in the tech press to a very neat hack using a Raspberry Pi as an Apple AirPlay receiver. The project had so many news stories written about it before I’d spotted it that I didn’t put it on this blog at the time because I thought most of you would have seen it – but do go and have a look if you’re a iTunes person (and have managed to get your head around the new layout of the library in iTunes 11 – my own failure to have got accustomed to it so far makes me worry about brain softening).
If you’re not an iTunes person, and you’re looking for an open alternative, you could do a lot worse than use Stephen Phillips’ UPnP/DLNA streaming method, which uses Android phones as remote controls. Your music lives on a server, and streams to your home speakers via the Pi. You can also play your music by streaming it to any of those phones, whether you’re at home or out gallivanting.
If you already have at least one Android device and some speakers, Stephen reckons that your outlay, including the Pi, should be about £45 – contrast this with the cost of a similar (closed) setup using Sonos hardware (today’s price on Amazon, with a sale on, was £230). Audio quality should be as good as – or even better than, depending on what your home hi-fi setup is like – an off-the-shelf solution using AirPlay, Sonos or Squeezebox, despite coming in at a fifth the price.
This is something I’ve been meaning to set a Pi up at home to do for ages (a little thing called work has got in the way). If you want to make your own streaming setup, Stephen has easy-to-follow instructions on his blog.
Update: those of you looking to play with Android on Pi in advance of our source code release might want to check out the community Razdroid project, which last month produced its first non-accelerated port of Gingerbread on top of the publicly released VideoCore binary.
Naren has been working on a port of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) to Raspberry Pi, and as you can see from the screenshots and video below, he’s been making great progress. Hardware-accelerated graphics and video have been up and running smoothly for some time; AudioFlinger support is the only major missing piece at the moment.
This implementation uses a different kernel and VideoCore binary image from the one available on GitHub, which is why we’ve been keeping quiet about it so far. We’re investigating the feasibility of converging the two code lines to produce a single common platform as soon as we can, at which point we hope to release the sources for you to play with.
Here’s some good news for those of you with Android devices. Daniel from ESR labs mailed us to share a video showing the Android Transporter streaming content to remote screens in real time using a Raspberry Pi. This means that armed with an Android phone or tablet, a wireless dongle and a Raspberry Pi, you’ve got an instant media hub. This is a gorgeous demo. Enjoy!
The guys at ESR say that they’re working on even better latency (at the moment it’s running at about 150ms – they’re aiming at getting it below 100ms), and dual-screen mode. There’s more on their website.