I’ve been an enthusiast of XBMC and HTPCs now for a couple years now and I’m almost always looking for a more efficient way to stream/watch my media across different devices in my apartment (my current project is finding a cheap NAS setup to be somewhat expandable). Since I love messing around with hardware and software, I got a Raspberry Pi. The perfect little linux computer that is insanely cheap, and easy to get up and running.

Putting XBMC and RPi together, The Raspberry Pi showcased that you can run 1080p video from the Raspberry Pi through HDMI. Before this I used a Zotac ZBox ID41, but for the price of it and the amount of times I actually used it, I decided to switch to the Raspberry Pi approach.

After months of messing with Raspbmc (and other XBMC oriented versions of Raspbian) and having a bit of trouble, I finally tried the new build of OpenELEC made for Raspberry Pis running XBMC 12.1.

– Wifi works out of the box once you enable it in the OpenELEC settings, at least for the dongle I use. I set up a static IP so I can use the Android Remote to control it without a keyboard.

– I run a MySQL server for my XBMC library on another computer and getting the other XBMC machines to connect to it via some adavancedsettings.xml parameters. OpenELEC reads the database successfully and my movies/television shows gets filled up as normal. I should note that I don’t have to add a source for the videos anymore too, just the database. I think this is a new feature of Frodo?

– The menus are a tad laggy (which might be because of all the content I have) but they work exactly as they should.

– The actual playback of content (through Wifi from a SMB share) works great, at least for SD video. Haven’t tried HD content yet.

– I had to calibrate my display a bit due to overscan, but this was easily done in the XBMC settings.

It works fantasticly. With the exception of not having a case yet (it’s in the mail as we speak) it works as the perfect media center machine.

That said, I would recommend OpenELEC for any RPi owners

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