Raspberry Media Center

How to turn the Raspberry Pi 3 into a full-fledged media center

RPi3 is often used as a media center. it is able to cope with most multimedia tasks, costs significantly less than ready-made solutions, and most importantly - gives greater freedom.

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Step 1: Raspberry Pi 3

The Raspberry Pi 3 is a small device that has great features. In particular, it is quite powerful and it contains full-fledged operating systems for which many applications are written.

In view of this, RPi3 is often used as a media center. He is able to cope with most multimedia tasks, costs significantly less than ready-made solutions, and most importantly - gives greater freedom.

What can Raspberry Pi 3 do if you make a media center out of it
If you build a media center based on the Raspberry Pi 3 , you can primarily count on seamless playback of media files of any format. In particular, RPi3 can handle:

video playback in 720p and 1080p; playing audio files; downloading multimedia content from the web.

The only serious limitation of this platform is the difficult or completely impossible use of a web browser to receive multimedia in a stream. That is, for example, it’s comfortable to watch movies and TV shows directly from some sites on “Raspberry” in most cases it will not work.
But this problem is relatively easy to solve. To do this, you must use special players that support downloading multimedia over the network.

Step 2: Specialized RPi Distributions for Creating a Media Center

The easiest way to make a media center out of Raspberry is to use a special distribution kit for these purposes. The most popular of these for the Raspberry Pi 3 is OpenELEC. It can be downloaded from the official website of the project: https://openelec.tv/.

A distinctive feature of this distribution is that it is specially adapted for multimedia. Moreover, it not only has the necessary software installed, but also optimized the operation of the system. It consumes relatively few computer resources.

This system is installed in much the same way as all other Linux distributions on RPi3 - by burning the image to a microSD card.

Another option is LibreELEC for Raspberry Pi 3. This is a fork of OpenELEC already mentioned above. Therefore, these two systems are very similar to each other. But LibreELEC is updated more often and has more features. However, she has a problem. As of the end of summer 2018, LibreELEC for Raspberry is still in Alpha status. Therefore, she has problems with stability. You can download this OS from its official website: libreelec.tv.

Step 3: Installing LibreELEC on Raspberry

Installing LibreELEC on the Raspberry Pi 3 is almost the same as installing other distributions. To make it easier for users, the developers made a proprietary utility LibreELEC USB-SD Creator. You can download it from the Download section of the project’s official website. There are versions for both Windows, Linux and Mac.

After installing MicroSD in the card reader and starting the specified program, you need to do the following:

  • choose a platform (in this case - Raspberry)
  • specify the location where the archive is located (for this, click on Select file)
  • select the "disk" on which you want to record (Select Your ... item)
  • Click on Write.

Then the process of writing the contents of the archive to the memory card will begin. Depending on the class of the flash drive, this may take 5 to 15 minutes. When the process is complete, the program will report this. You can remove the card from the card reader and put it in the "Raspberry".

After starting the system will be almost completely ready for use. If you need to configure LibreELEC on the Raspberry Pi 3, you can refer to the documentation. It is located in the Wiki section of the project’s official website.

Media Applications on the Raspberry Pi 3
If "Raspberry" will be used not only as a multimedia center, then the option of installing a specialized distribution kit is not suitable. In this case, you can just do the installation of a special application.

A good media player on the Raspberry Pi 3 is KODI . Out of the box, it supports many features. And if the basic features are not enough, they can be expanded through plugins. But what’s more important - this player can be controlled remotely from a smartphone.

KODI is for all distributions. It is easy to find, for example, in their repositories. Just enter the apt-get install kodi command (from under the superuser) in the console and the application will install. There are a lot of manuals for its use and configuration, in turn, on the Web.

The Raspberry Pi 3 once revolutionized the world of consumer electronics. This single-payer gave people the opportunity to do interesting and useful things on their own with minimal financial costs. And one of them is the easy creation of a media center with the broadest functionality.

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