A media centre case and remote for your Raspberry Pi: is it a necessity for a TV-connected Pi, though?
The new MEDIAPI+ augmented case for Raspberry Pi 2
We all know at least one person who just has a Raspberry Pi for a media centre, running their TV on Kodi or even an ancient version of XBMC that does the job. One of the things that has been lacking from this equation for the longest time is a suitable case for a Pi hooked up to your television – a case that can slip in unnoticed under your TV, next to a Sky+ box and that Wii you haven’t touched in years.
The full review can be found in The MagPi 39
While the Media Pi Plus isn’t the first one, or even the first Media Pi product, they’re rare enough to highlight and discuss. In the Media Pi Plus’s case, it’s a re-release to fit the form factor of the Raspberry Pi B+ and the Pi 2. In aesthetic terms, it absolutely looks like something you’d put under your TV, specifically something like a Freeview box: it’s unassuming, black, and with very little branding.
There is some construction required with the case, as a Raspberry Pi is not included. Popping the case open, you can see exactly how it works: it extends out and relocates a number of the Raspberry Pi’s ports throughout a largely empty box. While this may seem slightly redundant, it does provide extra power to the USB ports, allowing for hubs to be connected. You can also connect an IR receiver directly to the GPIO ports, which works well with the media remote included, even if you have the ability to turn the Pi off but not on again with it.
It’s really designed to be used with Kodi, which is why our version came with OpenELEC on a pre-formatted SD card, although other Kodi versions and offshoots (we’re looking at you, OSMC) will work just fine. You may need to tweak some of the remote settings, but it will be fine nonetheless.
The best thing about the Media Pi Plus is that it’s very cheap. Even if you factor in a Pi 2, it’s just south of £70 for the whole thing, which is pretty great value for a media centre that will reliably serve you 1080p for a long time to come. Construction is a bit tricky and the case can feel a little flimsy, though if you aren’t planning on flinging it around or otherwise treating it roughly, it’s a perfectly serviceable way to make your Pi media centre just that bit easier to use.
The box is a bit bulky in relation to the Pi’s size, but it does a good job of making the small jump needed to get the Pi better suited for powering a TV.