Is Raspberry Pi Right for Me? Will it Do This . . .


11 posts
by CaptainBoosh » Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:08 pm
So I was mentioning to a friend about wanting to build a media server in my house to serve up Music/Movie/TV shows etc to all TVs (convert my DVD collection to a centralized server). He mentioned Raspberry Pi as the media center that could connect to the main sever using XBMC. I had heard of RPi but didn't realize it's full capabilities for something like that. But as I'm getting older, working full time, and having a 6-month old baby at home, my time to do research and learn has diminished (as has my mind trying to concentrate). So I figured I would just flat out ask if what I'm trying to do will work before pulling the trigger and starting this project.

1 - Put all video/music on a central Windows machine and install XBMC on it, I should be able to stream over a network to an RPi running XBMC. This would make it easier to watch movies etc without having to grab a disc, load, turn on the DVD player, load up etc etc etc. That wasn't a problem before, but I imagine it's much easier to do with all just a simple remote control without getting up. This means using a remote control with RPi (I read about MCE working with it? need an IR reciever plugged into the RPi?). Feasible?

2 - RPi can do emulators for games (also XBMC). I've seen mention of MAME, NES, Sega, SNES, etc. Can those be played over a network though? From that same Windows centralized server, will I be able to play games in all rooms over the network without storing the games locally on a hard drive next to the RPi unit? Wireless USB controller? Feasible?

3 - I've also been reading about replacing set top boxes for cable in the home by using a CableCard compatible TV Tuner (on FIOS here and it is an option to get a CableCard). Now I hear that XBMC can't do live TV recording, so Windows Media Center is used for that. But will RPi be able to interface with that? This will mean being able to record more shows at one time and using my own storage size options. Also need to be able to view live TV as if there was a set top box. I wouldn't mind a more hassle interface to save the money on not paying monthly for those boxes, but the wife probably wouldn't be happy unless things work pretty similar to how they are now. Feasible?

4 - What about things like Amazon Video, Netflix, Hulu, Youtube? Can those be done directly on the RPi, or through the Windows box streamed to RPi? Feasible?

I don't need to be able to do everything, but knowing what my limitations are before going in will help me prepare and accomplish this project. Knowing what should be easy and which parts are the more complicated ones will also help get me in the right mindset for separate parts of this ordeal.

I highly appreciate any help with this before I start. I loved being part of the PC DIY community when I was younger and had the time, but now I have the money but less time. I'm trying to kindle that spark again.
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by toxibunny » Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:59 pm
Afaik, most of that is doable. You may not be happy with some of the emulators though...

My advice: do it, but keep your expectations low. That way you'll be pleasantly surprised at what it can do, not raging mad when it turns out you can't do X, or Y has a lower framerate than you're used to...

Someone who actually knows about the media centre side should hopefully be along soon to explain the specifics :)
note: I may or may not know what I'm talking about...
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by ghans » Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:19 am
1. Perfectly possible . Do research on DVD Menus.
2. Possible
3. Hard to set-up , but possible (might not work with Windows MC though !)
4. Netflix is impossible on the Pi , and streaming sucks
(you might get 4 frames per second or something)
Youtube works , and Hulu to 60 % or so . If Amazon uses
Flash/Silverlight your chances to success are 5% , if it uses DRM
pretty much 0 %.

ghans
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by NeverSeparate » Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:27 pm
I'm new here, and this may not be the right place to ask, so run me off in necessary. I have been searching google looking for answers and either I'm not understanding some of what I find, or I am just not finding a good answer. It is completely my fault for not researching this ahead of time. My primary reason for getting this (though I won't ship it back if impossible), was to be able to stream video from sites like couchtuner. It is apparently not possible on the browser itself because of lack of flash support. But I'm not clear about the media software options, raspbmc, open-elec, ect. Can I set up a system to stream from my computer, or my android phone to the RPi? I am competely new to Linux, beyond Android. I did root my phone and have been able to follow instructions to accomplish most things there, so if this can be done and there is a good guide to getting it to work, I should be able to do it. Just point me in the right direction if you can. Thanks.
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by ghans » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:07 am
What do you want to stream ?
Files : possible.
Streams : possible , but may be cumbersome and may require
some processing power.
Flash /Silverlight content with DRM : Perhaps with low resolutions
or unusably slow screen updates.

ghans
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by NeverSeparate » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:59 am
Videos from couch tuner. its a website with a lot of TV shows. I don't want to download them, just stream them. They work fine on my PC and my phone.
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by ghans » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:33 pm
Does your Phone support Flash ?


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by NeverSeparate » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:36 am
Yes it does.
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by ghans » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:02 pm
Then you have two options:

1) Search a desktop/mobile app/Mediaplayer plugin which can acess/browse this page
2) Look around if they have a mobile /HTML5 version without Flash
3) Hack something together yourself


ghans
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by NeverSeparate » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:37 am
ghans wrote:Then you have two options:

1) Search a desktop/mobile app/Mediaplayer plugin which can acess/browse this page
2) Look around if they have a mobile /HTML5 version without Flash
3) Hack something together yourself


ghans


1) I can stream the videos on the desktop browser as well as on my phone's browser with no need for a separate app (I guess the phone uses a separate app, but the built in video player opens when viewing from the site).
2)The site does not have a mobile version, it just basically links to the video on other sites.
3) If I knew how to do that I would definitely do that. But, alas, I do not.

So is there no way to stream on the Pi? I have seen some say that Chromium will do html5, but most say it isn't great, or at least most that I have read. Can you use xbmc or similar programs to show on the Pi what you are streaming on the pc or phone? Or does that only work with actual files on the device?
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by ghans » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:24 am
Are there no plugins/scripts for VLC/XBMC ?
Pretty much looks like option 3) to me.

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