This Thursday I was asked by Element14 to test and review their new XBMC Solution and here it is!
The XBMC Solution is a kit that is designed to go with the Raspberry Pi to have a quick media center out of the box solution, it includes the following:
4GB Class 4 SD card with Raspbmc already on it.
An Enthernet / Network Cable
A HDMI Cable
And an awesome wireless keyboard with built in touchpad!
Instructions on how to set it up.
You will also require:
Raspberry Pi Model B (I used a Rev 1 256MB, while it works fine sometimes it can take time to load some parts)
Power Supply (I'm powering it off of my TV).
I plugged it into our main TV using the HDMI and Enthernet cables provided, I am running the power via the TVs built in USB port (As the TV is a "Smart TV", this will be my comparison.)
The first boot takes a while as Raspbmc will update, I think it took around 10 Mins to fully update then it loaded!
The system has two configuration tools, one being the Raspbmc configurator that allowed me to bump up the overclock a little and the other being the XBMC setup.
I setup the time and turned on the HTTP / Web Server (Allowing me to control it via my phone).
Next I installed the youtube addon via the Addon section in videos. After installing I was able to play youtube videos! (The picture below is me playing my Raspberry Pi Bigtrak Jr Video via the Youtube Plugin).
The quality ran in 720p and can even run some videos in 1080p if configured to use it. You can also set it so it can only play up to 720P or Standard for if you have slower internet or a lower resolution TV.
And that is pretty much it, its a great kit and is just plug and play with little configuration needed. I did find quite a few benefits:
From where the remote is a full QWERTY keyboard it makes it quick and easy to search youtube compared to my TV which requires me to type it in slowly a char at a time.
Not all youtube videos are fully available via the TV's youtube app. This is from where youtube allows publishers to disable it (Mainly music videos). Raspbmc is therotetically a media center program for a computer allowing it to play most youtube videos.
Lots of applications and adddons can be installed.
Currently I am watching my favorite chiptune videos and demos via the Youtube app. I can even use my phone as the remote!
Thanks to Element 14 / Farnell / CPC/ Newark to let me review it! Also check out http://raspbmc.com the site of Raspbmc by Sam Nazarko!