Slice Media Player Starts Shipping!

Back in August 2014 we got very excited about one of the first Kickstarter projects to use the Raspberry Pi Compute Module. We’re pleased to announce that after much hard work, many late nights and far too much sugar and caffeine, the FiveNinjas team have started shipping actual real Slices to backers. Here’s a picture of Gordon and Jon working their ninja magic in a cold warehouse somewhere in deepest darkest Sheffield; the racking that can be seen in the picture contains parts for 1500 Kickstarter Slices.

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Slices are assembled at a secret location in Sheffield, UK

We believe Slice is the first Kickstarter project using the Compute Module to start shipping to backers, narrowly beating our other favourite project the OTTO Camera (which also seems to be very close to shipping!).

Slice comes in black, red and silver

Slice comes in black, red and silver

One of the things we wanted to see with the Compute Module was people using it to do just this type of thing – leverage the Raspberry Pi technology to create innovative and high-quality products with minimum resources, something that has historically been a difficult challenge.

The FiveNinjas team includes our very own James Adams and Gordon Hollingworth, who have been spending large amounts of their spare time working on the Slice hardware and software and, in doing so, discovering exactly what it’s like to build a product using the Compute Module and mass produce it. In the process a few wrinkles have been found, but mostly it has been a big success, and there’ll be another blog post soon from Gordon on the process used to test and program Slice in mass production (which is a very important and often overlooked part of creating a real product).

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Slices being automatically programmed before packing and shipping

We’ve been told that to get the cost of the Slice motherboard down to an affordable level the Ninjas had to make a minimum order of 3000 Slice PCBs, so there are 1500 more Slices that can be built relatively quickly once the Kickstarter units have all been shipped. If you missed the Kickstarter and want to grab one of these extra units, head over to the brand new FiveNinjas store!

53 comments

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looks nice but it seems like a very high price point? I took a look at amazon.com and they are around $50 US.. again without media.. the slice is close to $200 US..

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Heya Don – I think if you compare the specs you’ll see it’s not a like for like comparison. :-)

You can see everything we’ve stuffed into Slice on the graphic near the top of our Kickstarter campaign page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fiveninjas/slice-a-media-player-and-more

Not even to mention our unique stuff like a milled and anodised aluminium enclosure or the lighting ring!

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thanks for that .. I just went to the main page saw the different models and pictures and stopped there … so it was not apples to apples .. more like apples to raspberries! :-)

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You might get a Roku 2 for about $50 (it’s the same SoC as the Slice) but that’s just the SoC in a plastic box with a remote. The Slice has a 192 KHz DAC and realtime clock, more flash and RAM that a Roku and comes in a anodised aluminium case. There’s $100 in parts right there. The Slice is something that looks good next to a quality A/V system. Plus when the Compute Module 2 is available then it will be a drop in upgrade.

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$270 Aud for the basic free postage to Australia

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I got mine on Friday. Gunmetal grey (not silver). The build quality is amazing and there are so many extras in the kit like a HDMI cable and a WiFi dongle. There is even a hex key to undo the case screws. The skin for Kodi is very nice and clean and playback of local media is very responsive. The audio quality from the DAC is pretty good and will improve as the driver matures. There are a few wrinkles to sort out in the software but those will come in time. Overall I’m really impressed.

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Thanks for your kind words! :-)

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One thing to consider is that a future Compute Module 2 (with the RAM and processor of the Raspberry Pi 2) could be a quick and easy upgrade for any product using a Compute Module. You can’t do that with a cheap mass-produced box (you’d have to buy an entirely new box).

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Correct! An another plus is that it’s a Pi at heart so you can do as much or little customisation/configuration as you like with it! :-)

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That looks like a pi in a compute module plus some software. So why should I buy it for about $200 when a pi is six times cheaper?
Nice job BTW. By no means am I discouraging you. I’d gladly buy something from you.

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…and yes, please continue to invent new stuff.

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Heya solar3000 – I think if you compare the specs you’ll see it’s not a like for like comparison. :-)

You can see everything we’ve stuffed into Slice on the graphic near the top of our Kickstarter campaign page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fiveninjas/slice-a-media-player-and-more

Not even to mention our unique stuff like a milled and anodised aluminium enclosure or the lighting ring!

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The additional hardware in the case plus the professional case itself are a step above a generic Pi plus case. The fact that the Kickstarter was successfully funded is an indication that there are, indeed, people who will pay good money for a piece of it that is a step above.

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Cool. Keep up the good work. Invent more stuff.

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I’m seriously interested as I sold my first gen Apple TV 160 GB with XMBC a few weeks ago.

The Pi2 was just released; I would love to have that as an option (or allow me to provide my own).

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Hey Dimitrios! Slice uses the Compute Module (not a full sized Pi) which isn’t available in “2” flavor yet! If/when it does come out it will be a user-upgrade-able option. :-)

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How does the remote work? I like its simplicity. Any plans to offer it separately?

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Hi John-Paul. It’s an RF remote that acts like a keyboard to the host (Slice). We did offer it separately during the Kickstarter and may do again – not sure on the timings though!

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I love seeing knew media players!

Now the questions. How is it truly different from the Popcorn Hour or HDX-1000 from ten years ago? Or more current offerings from Western Digital and the like? It seems pretty huge, and the price is kind of high for being based on the Pi. Would it be less expensive without the aluminum case, maybe plastic? How about no LEDs? The internal drive doesn’t help too much as the size is not to much smaller than a 4TB external drive (which I currently use connected to an old Mac Mini as my media player)

As far as a truly portable player, I’m able to watch HD movies off my iPad plugged in by HDMI to an HDTV. Great for hotels.

One of the things I like about this player is the ability to change the color of the LEDs. All of these types of machines use that generic PC gamer blue LED which is just horrible to look at and especially intrusive when trying to watch a movie. Can the LED also be turned off during playback?

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Pigumon, hello!

Slice is basically as small as we could make it for all the features we wanted to have. :-) It’s pretty portable and easy to pick up and tuck into a bag.

The LEDs don’t run during playback (that would be annoying!) and are completely customisable for other actions if you’re prepared to dig around and create new effects. We’re working on an app that lets you create effects more easily too…

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Congratulation to the FiveNinjas team on getting to the shipping a product stage.

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Thanks! It’s never easy :-)

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Seems very over priced when you compare it to other media systems out on the market, don’t get me wrong it looks great and i’m sure its for some people but not me personally i’ll stick to my Roku box. It would be great to link the LEDs to IFTTT :)

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Heya Chris – I think if you compare the specs you’ll see it’s not a like for like comparison. :-)

You can see everything we’ve stuffed into Slice on the graphic near the top of our Kickstarter campaign page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fiveninjas/slice-a-media-player-and-more

Not even to mention our unique stuff like a milled and anodised aluminium enclosure or the lighting ring!

That said it really depends what’s important to *you* – it’s basically impossible to design a product that’s perfect for everyone. :-)

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Very nice, looks clean and well developed with a simple interface with great packaging. Looks like Five Ninjas got it right. On a side note, you might want to edit posts like solar3000s comment about ‘American garbage’ Not cool at all to let someone post their bigotry on a tech site. I come these sites to learn about new tech, not to see some idiots simple minded prejudices.

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If it handled pdf and epub files… say, had something like FBReader on board… I’d buy it in a second! But as long as I have to carry a tablet around anyway… Text is also media!

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will there be a version using the new R Pi 2 module? Or did I miss seeing that info reading thru the kickstart site?

Thanks

wh

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Open, upgradable software and quality components: this device will remain useful for many years. It is not expensive, just compare the price with any Hi-Fi component with stylish case, good specifications and support. I’m glad I backed it, and I am already making place near the TV. The Five Ninjas team also mastered the Kickstarter experience. I received 30 update emails, most of them with pictures. It was a bit like being part of the team while the product took shape, a far better experience than walking in a store and picking up a product on the shelf. It is Kickstarter at its best.
I am seriously considering ordering another one to give it to a friend.

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Hey PCan! Thank you for the kind words, we’ve worked really hard to get this far. :-)

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Hi Pcan,

can I be that friend :D?

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Are there any plans to make a compute module with the pi2 hardware?

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We said when we launched the Pi 2 that we expected there would be a BCM2836-based Compute Module “in the medium term” – that’s still the expectation.

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Thanks, looking forward to it!

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I’ve got one of the early Slices, red, it’s great, worth every penny. Buy one :-)
Regards, Kevin.

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Thank Kevin, glad you love it! :-)

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Excellent looking piece of kit.
Are you open sourcing the hardware design and the software?

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We’re discussing what we can and can’t release at the moment. More info to follow!

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Sadly way out of budget for me :( That’s the problem with being “in-between jobs”

Guess its time to save… or make my own with the pi2… (if I can)

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It is a thing of beauty ! looking at the kickstarter page it appears to be a collaboration between pimoroni and the raspberry pi,s engineers what a good combination !

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if it is a simply verson of XMBC can it run plugins for streaming movies like Genesis the plugin. if it can run plugins i will buy it

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I’m interested in customizing with Plugins too.
Is there a possibility to integrate kodi Plugins such as Genesis, Flixanity or Plugins Form Custom Repos overall?

Is there a way to go “back” to an original kodi or raspbmc without mich effort and loss of functionality?

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hi, looks very nice! but please! it would be a lot more awesome if you added TOSLINK output… for the music lovers, for our own DAC :-)

would make the difference for me …

thx, great job!

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We don’t need to because it’s already got TOSLINK output (actually it’s mini-TOSLINK and is integrated into the standard 3.5mm audio jack)

How’s that for awesome!

Gordon

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Gordon: 3.5mm output in my Atmos theater???

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Hi,

I am looking at purchasing a new raspberry Pi and have come across your Slice. I am very interested and wanted to know if they are available in Dubai?

Thanks

Darrell

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We ship them worldwide from the UK

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I dismissed the Slice as expensive hype – until I read the specs.

To be specific, the 3.5mm jack combining analog stereo out, with 5.1 optical output. As the owner of a HDMI-driven projector in a home theatre, the need to “split off” the audio from HDMI and send it to a seperate amp is a fundamental need – that many designers forget or outright ignore.

I don’t care for the LED bling, but as long as I can disable it that’s one less light source in a dark theatre room.

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Yes the audio output is great, James designed it with audio quality in mind, and if you knew James you’d know its unlikely anyone would be able to get a better sounding audio system!

Gordon

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100% agreed on that !!! BLINK BLINK

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It looks really cool but 200 quid for a media box that doesn’t have Netflix is a bit rich. You could get an Asus Chromebox and do a whole lot more with it for the same price.

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Can the Slice be bought without the HDD? or can you install your own at a later date if your library gets bigger?

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In my opinion you guys did a big mistake by not adding
unbalanced/ balanced audio outputs! This would be a game changer! Audio “freaks” don’t care about flashing lights…

best,
Tom

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I would like to connect my 6tb hard drive of media collection, does it support it. Thanks in advance.

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