Raspberry Pi as XBMC Media PC

So… wanted to try out the Raspberry Pi to run XBMC. Already run XBMC on a Revo 3700 under Windows7 but wanted to set up another TV a cheaper way. Step up the Raspberry Pi. First the shopping list. As well as the Pi bought the extra bits needed as listed below (price in GB £ at Jan 2013 – click on links to go to products on Amazon and CPC-Farnell):

  • Raspberry Pi (Model B) 512Mb version (£28.07) CPC-Farnell
  • Cyntech IceBerry Case for Raspberry Pi with adaptor to fit to VESA 100 Monitor (£8.99) Amazon
  • High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet (v1.4a) 0.50m (£2.95) Amazon
  • USB 2.0 A to Micro B 0.30m (£4.99) Amazon
  • SanDisk 8GB 30MB/s Extreme HD Video SDHC Card Class 10 (£8.64) Amazon
  • Super Talent UFD 8GB ST Pico Mini-A USB stick (£3.99) Amazon

All these bits are available from Amazon if you want to do a one-stop shop, else shop around. The Pi is cheapest from CPC/Farnell. Total cost £57.63. So for under £60 you have all you need. You can miss out on the USB stick depending on install options selected.

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Assembly a reasonably simple job – the Pi is a tight squeeze into the case – just have to watch be careful pushing the USB connector into its cut-out. The case can be used with the model A Pi, but for the model B need to remove the tabs that cover up couple of the ports not found on the A (Ethernet and 2nd USB port). The ‘IceBerry’ case loks quite nice – can still see the circuitry and get the nice ‘light tubes’.

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Bought the case with a 100mm VESA plate, but then discovered the TV only has 75mm VESA mounting – doh! The screws that hold the box together go through the plate first. The plate comes with the stand-off posts for mounting away from the back of the TV. However, such is the width of the PI box, you wont get all four screws in, so just using two extra holes drilled in the plate and using top two screws only. This isn’t really an issue as the PI weighs very little. if you have a wall mount TV, then you can just use sticky pads to fix the box or just wedge it behind.

The picture below shows PI mounted on the back of the 22” TV. You can see the short micro USB power cable going to the USB socket on the TV for power and the short HDMI lead.

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Before you power it all on though, you need to prepare the SD card and USB stick fro XBMC!

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