Being a hi-fi enthusiast, I always had fascination for media player or HTPCs. Some two years back, I had bought WD TV Live, but the itch doesn’t stop there. So I looked for other coolest options, like HTPCs with media player applications like XBMC, Windows Media Center (WMC), Myth TV, BOXEE and many more. But this post is for a HTPC not for media player applications, which can be taken up later.
Buy Raspberry Pi – Smallest HTPC
There are many options available; either you could buy branded HTPCs or build one, it could be based out on Linux, Windows or Mac. I recently came across a sweet little thing Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer developed by Raspberry Pi Foundation, UK with the intention to teach computer science in schools. The board is based on a Broadcom BCM2835 system on a chip, which includes an ARM1176JZF-S 700 MHz processor, VideoCore IV GPU, and 256 megabytes of RAM.
The board does not include a built-in hard disk or solid-state drive; instead rely on an SD card for booting and long-term storage. You could install Fedora, Debian or Arch Linux, and it cost only 35$.
There are two models available, Model A has one USB port and no Ethernet controller, and Model B with two USB ports and a 10/100 Ethernet controller. You can use generic USB keyboards and mice.
But my point of interest is OpenELEC, a free open source small Linux distribution could be installed on Raspberry Pi, which would convert it to XBMC media center. So visualize of a HTPC “about the size of credit card”, which could fit (or hidden) anywhere near your LCD/LED TV and play your favourite movies at a stunning 1080p. 🙂