TheSilverBeacon wrote:Ok, I have a brand-new raspberry pi 2, and i want to repurpose my old one by turning it into a media centre. The question is this: I have no clue what OS is best for a media centre!!! I want to know what your thoughts are, then i can choose. If possible, please present pros and cons, as i am stuck.
I currently only use Raspbian with kodi installed. It used to be more difficult to set up, but I think it's in the repositories now. I think there might still be some permission issues and issues with getting keyboards to always work correctly, however this allows me to switch between desktop and media center without swapping the SD card all the time, or even rebooting. This is what I currently recommend, unless all you ever want to have installed is media center software.
If all you want is the media center software, then OpenElec is the easiest to set up and configure. The disadvantage to OpenElec is that it's really difficult if not impossible to install additional software. With just the media center software installed, it makes me draw the comparison to other media center hardware, the Apple TV, for example. You can get an Apple TV for less money than a Raspberry Pi and everything you need to set it up. The Apple TV is a little bit more capable with OpenElec. Airplay works more reliably, Airplay mirroring works... A Raspbian install doesn't solve those issues, however it does potentially provide other valuable services. I have one that works as an AirPrint compatible print server, has web services for things like WOL for other computers on my network, and it also runs motion to function as a security camera.
RaspBMC, now OSMC, was at one point my favorite install choice. It was as stable for me as Raspbian except when doing an update. I've had more updates fail requiring me to tinker with things to fix the install than I've had successful updates. This was extremely annoying for the RPi's that I had set up for family members who live at different locations. It made administering them remotely impossible.
XBIAN, was less stable than RaspBMC.
Originally, there were performance issues between all the different options. That is not so much the case anymore, especially if you are using an RPi 2. I can still see the benefit of running OpenElec if all you want is a media center and you want the setup to be as simple as possible, but the other options don't seem to be necessary to me anymore. Sure RaspBMC/OSMC is as easy to set up as OpenElec, but the reliability of the update system is a deal breaker. If I'm going to have that much trouble whenever it updates (automatically by default) then I might as well put that extra effort in during the install and have a full desktop environment available.