I found out RaspBMC more interesting piece of software, mainly because greater community support and libspotify appeared to be a showstopper without support for hard float point. However nowadays it's ridiculously easy for a customer to change music service subscription, if someone else gives better support, thanks to a good competitor Grooveshark. After a short testing with Grooveshark Anywhere in mobile and RaspBMC, I decided to go with that at least for while until Spotify reacts in Idea Exchange, the place where they pointed us desperate Raspberry Pi hobbyists to go yelling ;) Grooveshark has some serious problems with the user interface and especially the search, it seems that their song data is more loosely categorized than in Spotify which makes the search more inefficient than in Spotify. Anyway the web client approach that they have is very interesting and really worth for testing as a web developer.
RaspBMC worked for my surprise very nicely out of the box and installation with python script installer couldn't been easier. I decided use RaspBMC mainly as a web service/stream box.
- For photos I have Picasa addon to enjoy photos on a TV screen. Some stability issues in the plugin though, maybe memory usage, because didn't happen in Ubuntu XBMC installation on laptop.
- For music I use now Grooveshark with own playlists and Listenlive.eu for internet radio. Both work very well.
- For video services I have Youtube, 1Channel and Project Free TV addons. Buffering is a bit annoying issue with some videos in 1Channel and Project Free TV because of video services they use and also connection and speed may be issue here. Mostly works nicely though :)
Talking about the Pi setup, I have the Pi in ModMyPi black box. Cable connections needed are HDMI to TV for UI and audio, power adapter. Then for two USB inputs I have WiFi nano dongle and wireless desktop receiver for keyboard/mouse.
As for the price, I am pretty sure there are not this cheap solutions on the market if one wants a home media center. For future improvements some ideas:
- Attaching storage for TV recordings and enabling TV recording with PVR addons.
- Remote controlling, server style usage without need for screen for music playing
- Learn to write XBMC addons, for example Picasa/Google Photos would need improving.
- Making the box more portable and wireless for possible party use elsewhere :)