Raspberry Pi for XBMC, some myths and truths

  Thread Rating:
  • 4 Votes - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Post Reply
Vertigo Offline
Senior Member
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009
Reputation: 7
Post: #16
(2013-01-17 01:45)voochi Wrote:  Software decoding on the CPU is done using open-source decoders.

Are you suggesting the code they use to leverage the GPU is not? I cant imagine DTS (company) has a proprietary software library to accelerate decode of their codecs on a broadcom VideoCore IV of all things. Also, its not because something is opensource software that it doesnt require licensing. I just wonder what the license is for, and why it applies on one implementation and not the other (assuming both to be opensource). Anyway, I guess its a bit OT here, Ill google around and perhaps start a new thread on that.
find quote
Vertigo Offline
Senior Member
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009
Reputation: 7
Post: #17
(2013-01-17 01:00)PobjoySpecial Wrote:  Take note that the GUI in that video is at 1080p, whereas OpenELEC renders at 720p and uses lower fanart resolution. It's not fluid, but good enough... IMO. Smile

I specifically sought out a card (SDSDU-008G-U46) known to have high 4K read/write speeds on the Pi. The Class rating doesn't really tell much about a card's real-world performance. It's best to look at benchmarks people have performed in Raspian. Flash drives seem to average higher 4K read/write speeds for some reason. Another option is NFS boot.

Allright, I quickly installed openelec on a external USB drive, and its noticeably faster than from the SDcard, especially loading fanart while browsing the library. Boot up times is not much of an improvement.

Then I installed Raspmc on the only spare sdcard I had, very old non name 1GB card. And wow, definitely smoother than openelec. I have to test a bit more with a fully populated library, but Im rather surprised so far.
find quote
MacUsers Offline
Fan
Posts: 407
Joined: Jun 2009
Reputation: 0
Location: London, UK
Post: #18
(2013-01-17 00:22)PobjoySpecial Wrote:  
(2013-01-16 23:33)MacUsers Wrote:  ...but navigation is extremely slow.

This video matches my experience. Plenty fast, IMO.
I don't know when you tried RPi + XBMC for the first time but I've to agree the speed (in the video) is way lot faster then time when I tried last time. But I believe that's because of using USB drive directly attached to the RPi. Mine was on SD card and NFS mounted content. Have you really noticed how many time the guy mention: It's so much quicker now? What you think that really means?

Anyway, I gotta give another try. Cheers!!

MONEUAL 320B | ASUS P5Q-VM | Core2Duo E6320 | GeForce GT220 | Kingston KVR 800Mz HyperX DDR2 4GB (2 x 2GB) | UJ-120 BD-ROM | Pioneer VSX-920-K | KEF KHT3005SE-W | Panasonic TH-37PV500B | Ubuntu 10.04 | XBMCbuntu [ v10.0, r35648 ]
find quote
Ned Scott Offline
Team-XBMC Wiki Guy
Posts: 19,961
Joined: Jan 2011
Reputation: 247
Location: Arizona, USA
Post: #19
DTS can be hardware decoded on the Pi, but as mentioned before, this is not enabled yet due to licensing issues.

While it is true that a lot of Android powered devices will be very attractive alternatives to the Pi, remember that any of them that even come close to the Pi's price point often lack in certain key features and quality. When the Model A comes out then there will be a $25 Pi, making it even more attractive. There's also something to be said about a device made in this bulk, with this high of quality, with such an aim in the hacking community. The things that will be developed for the Pi will often be a nicer trade off than raw specs. For example, being able to connect a raw $2 IR sensor to the Pi's GPIO pins and be able to use an IR remote.

Good write up, though.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
find quote
Vertigo Offline
Senior Member
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009
Reputation: 7
Post: #20
After some more testing RaspBMC, Im going back to Openelec.
Yes, RaspBMC is a bit smoother and faster, and it does look better with fullsize fanart, but that doesnt excuse its reboots and various minor issues. I kept bumping in to; its just not stable enough for me. Openelec has been rocksolid so far, and once installed on a external drive, fast enough for me. I trust they will fix the fanart resolution before coming out of beta, and I can live with the upscaled 720p GUI which does look blurry on my PC monitor, but for some reason, it looks pretty good on my TV.
(This post was last modified: 2013-01-18 19:13 by Vertigo.)
find quote
Beer40oz Offline
Donor
Posts: 2,225
Joined: Dec 2010
Reputation: 54
Location: The Moon
Post: #21
Thanx for that write up... it was a good read.
find quote
Mick1152 Offline
Senior Member
Posts: 258
Joined: Apr 2012
Reputation: 7
Post: #22
(2013-01-17 01:49)Dougie Fresh Wrote:  Nice writeup. I can't believe I am the first to rep you for it.

I was shocked to see he only had three reps for this when I saw it now. I love the Raspberry Pi, I have 4 of them now. 2 are setup with XBMC for each of the kids' TV's, one is an XBMC for the master bedroom in my RV and the 4th is currently a tinkering device for my kid but may soon become a full, battery powered XBMC with 2.5" HD for use on my dad's sailboat. Or maybe I'll get a 5th one for that, not sure yet.

HTPC 1 - AMD A8-3870K, ASRock A75M, Silverstone ML03B, Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3 1866, Crucial M4 64GB SSD
HTPC 2 - AMD A6-3500, ASRock A75M-ITX, Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3 1866, Patriot Torqx 2 32GB SSD
HTPC 3 - Intel Celeron 847, OpenELEC
RV HTPC - Intel i3-2120 Mini-ITX, 12TB Storage
3 Raspberry Pis
unRAID 5 Server - AMD Sempron 145, 4TB Parity, 16TB Storage

find quote
legolator Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Nov 2008
Reputation: 0
Location: Sweden
Post: #23
So how does the RPi work with the new PVR feature? I have a MythTV backend and have so far been running xbmc and mythfrontend and alternating depending on what i wanted to watch, now with the new PVR functionality i have a combined solution that works great but before i would go spending money on a RPi no matter how cheap it is it would be nice to know how well the PVR addons work with this thing, because the stuff coming from MythTV unlike recoded stuff is basicly "raw" from what i understand so the 1080i streams are much heavier than the x264 stuff you normaly would watch with XBMC.

can anyone shed some light on this? am i making a poor assumption when i think streaming HDTV is much heavier than streaming a Bluray rip?
find quote
skewba98z28 Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Aug 2010
Reputation: 1
Post: #24
Good write up.
My experience with the PI:
I've only had my PI 5 days now and it is serving what I bought it for well!! I wanted a XBMC setup for my bedroom and with the PI price point it for sure fits the bill! I'm running Xbian on mine and have it OC'd to 900 mhz. Navigation is smooth considering the hardware and I can playback 1080p Bluray's perfect via NFS from a DNS-320 NAS and SMB share from my main Win 7 PC. Paired with xbmcremote app on my iphone and audio and video airplay its pretty much perfect. True DTS will fail everytime, but I found a solution for that since several of my Bluray's only have DTS tracks. Download a program called "Popcorn MKV Audioconverter" It will extract the DTS audio track from a MKV container, convert it to AC3 Dolby Digital, and reinsert the track to the MKV container. This was perfect because I didn't want to get rid of the DTS track since my main XBMC box is DTS capable. You can also set it to get rid of the DTS track and just reinsert the AC3 Dolby Digital track if you want. I've watched 3 full 1080p Blurays on it now with the AC3 track and it was flawless!
find quote
scOOtt Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Jan 2013
Reputation: 0
Post: #25
Raspberry Pi is a very nice hardware to choose for running XBMC. The only lack is that the hardware do not have an optical audio output. If it does it will be perfect choice for me.
OFF Topic: How you can add a reputation point here - I do not see this option anywhere.
find quote
Vertigo Offline
Senior Member
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009
Reputation: 7
Post: #26
(2013-01-19 13:11)legolator Wrote:  So how does the RPi work with the new PVR feature? I have a MythTV backend and have so far been running xbmc and mythfrontend and alternating depending on what i wanted to watch, now with the new PVR functionality i have a combined solution that works great but before i would go spending money on a RPi no matter how cheap it is it would be nice to know how well the PVR addons work with this thing, because the stuff coming from MythTV unlike recoded stuff is basicly "raw" from what i understand so the 1080i streams are much heavier than the x264 stuff you normaly would watch with XBMC.

can anyone shed some light on this? am i making a poor assumption when i think streaming HDTV is much heavier than streaming a Bluray rip?

disclaimer: I have no experience with PVR (my cable provider forces a proprietary decoder on me Sad ), but from what I read, MythTV streams will be mpeg2 and might be AC3 or even DTS. The first is no problem, but you will have to buy the mpeg2 licence key. The latter might be an issue if you dont have a DTS capable HDMI receiver.
find quote
Vertigo Offline
Senior Member
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009
Reputation: 7
Post: #27
(2013-01-19 13:58)skewba98z28 Wrote:  Download a program called "Popcorn MKV Audioconverter" It will extract the DTS audio track from a MKV container, convert it to AC3 Dolby Digital, and reinsert the track to the MKV container. This was perfect because I didn't want to get rid of the DTS track since my main XBMC box is DTS capable. You can also set it to get rid of the DTS track and just reinsert the AC3 Dolby Digital track if you want. I've watched 3 full 1080p Blurays on it now with the AC3 track and it was flawless!

Thats a good tip. The program also seems to work fine on ubuntu under wine.
Since I have a DTS capable HDMI receiver, I dont need to convert DTS files, but its quite useful to convert AAC5.1 files which almost no AVR can handle (and that XBMC only downmixes to stereo).
find quote
Vertigo Offline
Senior Member
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009
Reputation: 7
Post: #28
Popcorn MKV converter is painfully slow, at least running under wine.
For linux users, I found this works just as well, and like 50x faster:

avconv -i inputfile.mkv -vcodec copy -acodec ac3 -ab 640k outpufile.mkv

Feel free to change the bitrate to whatever suits you.
find quote
mayoman Offline
Fan
Posts: 456
Joined: Dec 2012
Reputation: 14
Post: #29
(2013-01-16 22:27)Vertigo Wrote:  If none of the above issues are show stoppers for you, the Pi will offer you a ridiculously small, cheap ($35-$50 if you count codecs, case, etc) , power efficient (~3,5W!) and surprisingly capable media center.
A great write up and cpuldn't agree more. I have my Pi on my dumb cheap as chips TV & it offers far more features and flexibility than any of the ridiculously overpriced "Smart" TVs that I have seen. Once we have a truely stable platform that is... Smile
find quote
Vertigo Offline
Senior Member
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009
Reputation: 7
Post: #30
(2013-01-20 13:01)Vertigo Wrote:  Popcorn MKV converter is painfully slow, at least running under wine.
For linux users, I found this works just as well, and like 50x faster:

avconv -i inputfile.mkv -vcodec copy -acodec ac3 -ab 640k outpufile.mkv

Feel free to change the bitrate to whatever suits you.

I stumbled upon one MP4 file where the above didnt work. The audio track was AAC 5.1 track with a separate SBR track, and the resulting AC3 file was just noise. Anyone know how to use avconv to convert AAC +SBR in to AC3?
find quote
Post Reply