yaggi
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:47 pm

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:12 pm

RPi not suitable as a Netflix and Hulu Player, this should be your title. Maybe even, RPi not suitable as MY media player.

I am running OpenElec and use the Pi as a media center for my Bedroom, Livingroom and Kitchen. I have had zero issues with using it. The Video is clear and streams well with no glitches. I use Navi-X for streaming Movies, Tv Shows and More. I don't use Netflix or Hulu so I don't have a problem with that.

bugman72
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:36 pm

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:45 pm

I agree with a lot of posters...don't fault the Pi for not having the proper audio outputs to allow connection to your AV receiver. HDMI lossless audio is at least equal, if not superior to, SPDIF/Toslink, etc. In fact, in most cases, there is no way to obtain the latest multi-channel audio information from Bluray movies (DTS-HD Master audio or TrueTheater) unless you have the ability to decode audio via HDMI. I would recommend going out and buying a proper multi-channel AV receiver that has the ability to accept and decode HDMI-A signals and let the Pi and XBMC shine.

Now, am I disappointed that I can't view Netflix from my Pi? In some ways, yes. I have two WDTV SMP units in my house and if I could play Netflix on my Pi, my WDs would be finding new homes somewhere else. Unless there's an absolute hardware incompatibility between the Pi and Netflix, I have faith that the Pi community will at some point be able to port Netflix to it.

And for the user being let down when he realized that his $35 investment was actually more in the end, that's more of an issue in not doing one's homework and research before committing to the purchase of a Pi. When I bought mine, I knew EXACTLY what I needed to buy and what I had on hand in order to get mine to operate. And spending $10-15 on Legos to build a cool case wasn't an issue for me either, as I have a pretty cool looking home for my Pi now.

In a nutshell, don't fault the Pi for any shortcomings that the end-user may have by not doing proper research prior to purchase. The Pi is a revolutionary piece of hardware that is one of the most versatile units on the market today. It was never MEANT to be a PNP (plug-n-play) device for media streaming. Does it do a darn fine job of doing just that? HECK YES! I couldn't be happier. I went from a Popcorn Hour A100 to a WDTV SMP and now to the Pi running OpenELEC and the differences are night and day.

jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 23912
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:49 pm

mediakill wrote:I gotta agree with op on this one. Alot of the articles and hype surrounding this imply greatly that this raspberry pi is perfect as a media center. Anyone who's read more into what raspberry pi really can do and is limited in will probably not be surprised by the limitations. Pretty much every article has been OMG a cheap 35 buck aio media center bile downplaying or omitting its shortcomings . IT can be disappointing if you bought this expecting things other media centers do natively and to be honest I think op has a valid point. Even knowing full well the limitations I was still a tiny bit dismayed that it does less than was hyped in the tech media but at the same time thinking well for 35 bucks you get what you paid for.

Also bit let down when realizing that my 35 bucks creeped up a lot more after factoring I power supply, wireless mouse, kb, sd cards, case,etc and realizing a more powerful cheap netbook might have been a more sensible way to go and the price difference really not that worth it. Still enjoy my little toy though
So, if your argument is about article elsewhere why post here? Surely you should be commenting on those articles to point out any shortcomings?

Although, many people use it fine as a media centre tbh.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
“I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.” – Steven Wright

toprobin
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:34 pm

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:33 pm

Ragarding audio: I am talking about a suitable playback device for 2-channel lossless audio, which will be degraded by running them through the onboard DAC of a typical AV receiver. I currently run JRiver on a PC through a HiFace USB 2.0 -> S/PDIF converter, then to the S/PDIF input of my DAC. I don't know of any outboard DACs with HDMI input. NAD used to make one, of mediocre quality, but I don't see it offered any more (I may be wrong). There may be some out there, but HDMI is a closed protocol, whereas USB 2.0 is not, so I don't expect many options out there. HDMI to USB or to S/PDIF or TOSLINK would be great, but I don't see a good conversion option, unless I build one.

Regarding video: No Netflix, Amazon Prime. There is Hulu. I can stream my video library pretty well. I am satisfied with that. That is my primary use now. But I compiled my library on a laptop, so that is a better playback device. Raspberry Pi has more coolness factor, especially mounted on the back of the TV, or out of sight somewhere.

So as a media center it is, let's say, disappointing. I just want to warn those who may purchase one for use as a media center - these are the specific limitations.

User avatar
aTao
Posts: 1087
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:41 am
Location: Howlin Eigg

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:54 pm

toprobin wrote:but HDMI is a closed protocol,
Whats brown and steams and comes out of Cowes? The Isle of Wight Ferry

https://engineering.purdue.edu/ece477/W ... cation.pdf
>)))'><'(((<

gragib
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:09 pm
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:50 pm

The Raspberry Pi is good for playing media stored locally or on a NAS (i.e., offline media, stuff not streaming from the net). It's not so good for streaming web video because most of it tends to be wrapped in Flash (and some in Silverlight).

So if you want to play DVD or BD rips or video distributed as podcasts, the Raspberry Pi does a fairly decent job. For Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Video on Demand, spare yourself the headache and just get a Roku box. It's not $35 or hackable, but it comes in a nice case/packaging with a power supply and a remote control.

The TL/DR version: the Raspberry Pi (with the current batch of software we have) is good for playing files; not so good for playing streaming media.

User avatar
Jim Manley
Posts: 1600
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:41 pm
Location: SillyCon Valley, California, and Powell, Wyoming, USA, plus The Universe
Contact: Website

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:31 pm

mediakill wrote:I gotta agree with op on this one. Alot of the articles and hype surrounding this imply greatly that this raspberry pi is perfect as a media center. Anyone who's read more into what raspberry pi really can do and is limited in will probably not be surprised by the limitations. Pretty much every article has been OMG a cheap 35 buck aio media center bile downplaying or omitting its shortcomings . IT can be disappointing if you bought this expecting things other media centers do natively and to be honest I think op has a valid point. Even knowing full well the limitations I was still a tiny bit dismayed that it does less than was hyped in the tech media but at the same time thinking well for 35 bucks you get what you paid for.
Also bit let down when realizing that my 35 bucks creeped up a lot more after factoring I power supply, wireless mouse, kb, sd cards, case,etc and realizing a more powerful cheap netbook might have been a more sensible way to go and the price difference really not that worth it. Still enjoy my little toy though
The complainers do realize that the role of "the media" (tech or otherwise) is to make money first, and provide objective, non-sensationalized, informative, and perhaps sometimes even true reporting last, if at all, right? In a world measured by paid-by-advertising web page hits, hyper-produced and selectively-edited "reality" TV, and extremely-polished corporate and government "press" releases that go directly to the public via the "the media" without a single character being molested, how can anyone rely on "the media" for any reliable info? The vast majority of "tech" journalists have no real technical chops - they're just chasing a different kind of vehicle than an ambulance with similar shiny attributes (aka the tech market full of baubles that most of the public doesn't really understand, either).

Even public institutions such as the BBC have multiple omelettes' worth of egg on their face after decades of covering up horrific crimes perpetrated by "celebrities" such as Savile. You even rightly identified the tech media reporting as "hype" - surely this isn't your first encounter with this concept?

As for having to spend money on peripherals and accessories to get the Pi to an operable state, you really need to look into recycling the millions of tons of perfectly-suitable equipment (some still in its original, factory-sealed packaging) that passes through the loading docks of every company with more than dozens of employees every year. Go find your local version of Freecycle.org or just ask your local recycling agency for what you need, free for the taking. I'm really getting tired of people complaining about this non-issue - use some imagination and make the world a little better at the same time by keeping serviceable items out of landfills.

16th Century English farmer and poet Thomas Tusser first said, "A fool and his money are soon parted.", and Mark Felt, the late retired associate director of the FBI (Deep Throat of Watergate fame) said, "Follow the money." Excellent advice all around, I'd say.
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close! :D
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -- W.B. Yeats
In theory, theory & practice are the same - in practice, they aren't!!!

gritz
Posts: 449
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:33 am

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:57 am

What's worse than the hype is that all the people who know that it isn't true don't pipe up at the time. It's only when the Emperor's new clothes are revealed that those risible "experts" crawl out of the woodwork with the "I knew all along" lne.

Still, it's in our hands - the next time that Slashdot (or whoever) run one of their regular "Zomg!!!! This is a gamechanger!" pifflefests tell them they're talking ass. And tell their advertisers too. And stop buying garbage! As Jim says, there's already more than enough landfill to go around.


dextrus
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:10 pm
Location: Eastleigh, Hampshire
Contact: Website

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:56 am

Netflix roll their own codecs and players, so all you need to do is convince them to write one for the Pi. With nearly a million sold, they might (but I doubt it). I'm going to GDC and if I see them, I'll ask. The audio problems will get fixed in time (I'm an optimist btw).

/Dextrus
Have more FUN with your Pi. Visit www.pi-fun.com

PenguinSA
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:56 am

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:33 am

Yes, the Pi is supposed to be a "Learning device". In trying to set one up to play media, I've learned a lot! One thing I've learned: it can play media, but not awfully well.
I started with openelec, and had the educational experience of configuring Samba, just to get to my (PC hosted) media. Then there was the revelation that half of them play - with no picture. Oh dear - MPEG encoded? That will be extra.

And thus I was introduced to the thin edge of the wedge between me and my money. For every fault, there's a solution: but it will cost you. Sometimes the cost is your time, researching answers - and you can write it off as "educational" - but it's still a cost

The next problem (for me) was the quality of the sound, coming out the 3.5mm audio jack. The HDMI goes to a projector, for a screen of about 2.5 metres diagonal. Projectors don't do audio, hence the 3.5mm connector. You want better sound...?

Throw away thousands invested in a projector, spend more thousands on a huge screen TV. No!
Throw away a few hundreds worth of working receiver, spend more on one that takes HDMI. No.
Discard the Pi, write off the loss, and start all over. Hmmm.
Upgrade the Pi - it almost works correctly. There's that wedge between me and my money again.

You want a HDMI splitter, with a S/PDIF or Toslink output. Cost: about $80 Australian (if you can find one in stock). Alternative: External USB DAC. Cost: about $20 (Ebay). Research shows plenty of forum talk about USB audio, best bet seems to be with Raspbmc...

New build. Review my education on Samba. Oh dear, the "Add media" button is missing from the GUI... learn about hand-coding XML files, just to access my media. Can't import my music library, have to drill down manually to find a song... but it plays! YEEE-HAAAAR !

Then I try to play a video. And the audio is out of sync.

So, while playing a video, I adjust the audio sync. 2.1 seconds seems about right: I'll now rewind and watch the whole movie in sync... where has my audio gone? AAARGGGG... [reboot]

SO - yes the Pi is educational. At the moment, it's teaching me finance - and not letting my heart rule over my head. My heart is saying: try the media splitter. Or buy a new receiver. My head is saying: cut your losses, find a proper, dedicated media player.

User avatar
abishur
Posts: 4477
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:10 am
Location: USA
Contact: Website

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:43 am

Darn, I had been using my pi as a media center for HD content streamed to it via smb for half a year, but after I read this thread I learned it's not suitable for such an application. Ho-hum. ;-)
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

kaspencer
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:37 pm
Location: UK, England, Wiltshire

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:43 am

A bit aggressive in the wording of the title and the content too.

I have run a Media Centre (Sam Nazarko's RaspBMC) for about 6 months or so now. I had a PC which, although I build all my PCs myself, cost a few hundred pounds, and worse still consumed a few hundred watt. And of course you really have to leave a Media Centre switched on permanently, as a you can't be expected to wait while Windows counts its marbles and sorts itself out if you decide you want that video or music track NOW! But you can leave your Raspberry Pi switched on all day and night, as it consumes only the power of a nightlight!

So it may not be able to handle those bits & pieces mentioned in the initial post of this thread, but it does 1080p video, 1080p YouTube (given an adequate Internet connection, which I have), provides catchup TV including HD where available, plays my music, accepts and plays my converted DVDs, plays Dolby & DTS audio via my 5.1 system, etc etc.
I call that a Music Centre PC!

All the best

Ken
(I have four Raspberrys Pi - one is a full time webserver, one is a Media Centre, one is a full time fileserver & domain controller and one is a plaything).
2xRPi 1, 2xRPi 2, 2xRPi4.
KODI: on RPi 2.
Webserver: on RPi 2.
PDC & fileserver: 4TB disc +RiscOS Pi on RPi 2 + 4.
Book: All about your computer - http://goo.gl/ZQf7c7

jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 23912
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:33 am

PenguinSA wrote:Yes, the Pi is supposed to be a "Learning device". In trying to set one up to play media, I've learned a lot! One thing I've learned: it can play media, but not awfully well.
I started with openelec, and had the educational experience of configuring Samba, just to get to my (PC hosted) media. Then there was the revelation that half of them play - with no picture. Oh dear - MPEG encoded? That will be extra.

And thus I was introduced to the thin edge of the wedge between me and my money. For every fault, there's a solution: but it will cost you. Sometimes the cost is your time, researching answers - and you can write it off as "educational" - but it's still a cost

The next problem (for me) was the quality of the sound, coming out the 3.5mm audio jack. The HDMI goes to a projector, for a screen of about 2.5 metres diagonal. Projectors don't do audio, hence the 3.5mm connector. You want better sound...?

Throw away thousands invested in a projector, spend more thousands on a huge screen TV. No!
Throw away a few hundreds worth of working receiver, spend more on one that takes HDMI. No.
Discard the Pi, write off the loss, and start all over. Hmmm.
Upgrade the Pi - it almost works correctly. There's that wedge between me and my money again.

You want a HDMI splitter, with a S/PDIF or Toslink output. Cost: about $80 Australian (if you can find one in stock). Alternative: External USB DAC. Cost: about $20 (Ebay). Research shows plenty of forum talk about USB audio, best bet seems to be with Raspbmc...

New build. Review my education on Samba. Oh dear, the "Add media" button is missing from the GUI... learn about hand-coding XML files, just to access my media. Can't import my music library, have to drill down manually to find a song... but it plays! YEEE-HAAAAR !

Then I try to play a video. And the audio is out of sync.

So, while playing a video, I adjust the audio sync. 2.1 seconds seems about right: I'll now rewind and watch the whole movie in sync... where has my audio gone? AAARGGGG... [reboot]

SO - yes the Pi is educational. At the moment, it's teaching me finance - and not letting my heart rule over my head. My heart is saying: try the media splitter. Or buy a new receiver. My head is saying: cut your losses, find a proper, dedicated media player.
What a daft post. Many many people are using the Raspi as a media centre with no problems. Just because someone has had problems doesn't mean the Raspi is good enough for the majority. Most haven't had to buy new TV's, new splitter, new amps. They may have had to buy codecs for the princely sun of £2.40 (that's the ONLY Raspi specific cost in the above list)

I think what I comes down to - the poster has an expensive (and rare to the majority) projector and an expensive AV amp, and expects a $35 device to drive them out of the box. If you want an out of the box experience with unusual equipment, get a dedicated media centre. You yourself suggested it!
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
“I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.” – Steven Wright

eedeep
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:30 pm

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:37 pm

Well we just bought this "Smart TV" ( http://www.kogan.com/au/buy/32-agora-smart-led-tv/) and abandoned it's "smart" mode because a) there is no way to easily watch ABC iView on it (no iView app for Android and flash version either doesn't work properly or site doesn't display usably depending on the browser) and b) it is generally horrible to use and video playback on youtube freezes constantly.

The pi on the other hand works beautifully with raspbmc and there is an iView add on which works well as well as a bunch of other add ons AND youtube videos play back without freezing, to boot.

So I'd say for the average punter, it's a great choice and way preferable to a "Smart TV".

noob
Posts: 218
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:58 pm

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:14 pm

toprobin wrote:Regarding XBMC on RPI, there are a few gaps:

Video: No Netflix support, Amazon Prime free content only, Hulu, the rest are more or less stable addons from user community.

Audio: Non-starter - no ability to bypass internal jellybean DAC, so only viable output is 1/4" analog phone jack, which I can do with many other devices. HDMI audio is digital output, but for true hi-fi systems (S/PDIF, TOSLINK or USB DAC inputs, in order of quality) there is no option.

If I have a bunch of VOB video content on an external drive, I guess I can use RPi for playback (fixing intermittent audio synch problems), but not for audio, or content services.

What am I missing? The many articles that tout RPi as a viable media center or even Smart TV are off-base, imho.
those articles aren't off base,
just because you don't like it, doesnt mean its a terrible thing. it runs 1080 p very well and it has a lot of features that do work, like support from a nas to play from. it wasn't even designed for mediaplayer, is is only 35 bucks, and who needs hifi when learning to code! if you dont like it, why would you complain about it, just buy something else that you do like and go to a forum about that thing to throw compliments instead of complaining, i dont think there will come out a new model with beter sound and stuff so you can have your stereo!

toprobin
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:34 pm

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:33 am

Ok. so an update of sorts on the audio side.

+ The Raspyfi distro (raspyfi.com) solves precisely the problem I was complaining about - it allows for digital USB 2.0, for me to handle in any way I please, thank you, without tainting it with an on board jellybean DAC.

+ I had a chance to hear the NAD M51 DAC, the one with HDMI digital audio in, and it sounds great.

So the humble RPi is starting to live up to the media center hype. In addition, for remote web access to my audio (playback with mpd web client + Icecast2) it is great.

User avatar
abishur
Posts: 4477
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:10 am
Location: USA
Contact: Website

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center

Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:00 pm

toprobin wrote:So the humble RPi is starting to live up to the media center hype.
:roll:

So glad to know that the pi is finally starting to live up to what I've been doing with it the whole time.
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

gritz
Posts: 449
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:33 am

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center [Solved]

Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:14 am

Bit snarky for a mod.

jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 23912
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center [Solved]

Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:51 am

gritz wrote:Bit snarky for a mod.
Not compared to the OP.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
“I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.” – Steven Wright

User avatar
abishur
Posts: 4477
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:10 am
Location: USA
Contact: Website

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center [Solved]

Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:17 am

gritz wrote:Bit snarky for a mod.
Fair enough, even I have my snarky days. But I also admit that the general premise the OP is trying to make needs to be more specified. The pi didn't work as a media center for his extremely limited definition of a media center. Especially in the context that it failed the audio test because it only did HDMI quality audio.

If he had made a post that the pi wasn't the ultimate media center solution I'd freely agree with him, I'd also state that unless you want to be spending a ton of money you're not going to have the sort of all in one media center he's describing (let's say that price starts at $300 to take an old laptop (but not so old it can't run the content he wants) and turn it into a media center). However, to say that the pi fails as a media center *completely* is asinine and disingenuous.
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

norm5
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:46 am

Re: RPi not suitable as a media center [Solved]

Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:03 am

works well when you use a HDMI to fiber optic converter

Return to “General discussion”