There are many projects using sensors and motors that can be done with the Raspberry Pi, but if you just want a nice media center, a few comparisons come to mind. The Apple TV is now selling for about $70. While the Raspberry Pi 2 sells for $35, it’s actual cost is going to be over $100. If you compare the feature set of the Apple TV to the most popular media center available on the Pi, it looks like an easy win for the Apple TV, however what really sets the Raspberry Pi apart is how you can customize and add features.
There are several distributions available that are customized for individual tasks, however lets put together a single install so we don’t have to swap SD cards and reboot every time we want a different function.
Install Raspbian Image using a Mac.
Use disk utility to unmount (not eject) the SD card you will be writing the image to.
sudo dd if=/path/of/raspbian/image.img of=/dev/sdaN bs=1M
It’s very important to enter this correctly. The N in sdaN should match your SD card as listed in the system report. Do this wrong and you could erase the wrong drive.
On first launch, run rasps-config and set options:
- Boot into desktop.
- At least 160 for memory split.
This will also be a good time to change your password, hostname, and change internationalization options.
See the guide for installing Grsync to get better performance with a USB flash drive. Grsync is also great for doing bootable back-ups of your install that are easy to restore from.
For the desktop environment, I currently prefer xfce
sudo apt-get install xfce4
Option extras for xfce:
sudo apt-get install xfce4-goodies
sudo apt-get install network manager network-manager-gnome
Bonus! GUI OpenVPN
sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn network-manager-openvpn-gnome
Edit the /etc/network/interfaces file and comment out everything except:
auto lo iface lo inet loopback
This will allow NetworkManager to control the ethernet and wireless interfaces.
Add Michael Gorven’s repository.
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mene.list
enter the following and save it with <control x>:
deb http://archive.mene.za.net/raspbian wheezy contrib
Add key to Michael’s repository.
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-key 5243CDED
We have to create the group “input” if it doesn’t exist.
sudo addgroup --system input
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install kodi
Create & edit the following file:
sudo nano /etc/udev/rules.d/99-input.rules
enter the following text and save it:
SUBSYSTEM==input, GROUP=input, MODE=0660 KERNEL==tty[0-9]*, GROUP=tty, MODE=0660
Create & edit the following file:
sudo nano /etc/udev/rules.d/10-permissions.rules
enter this text and save it:
# input KERNEL=="mouse*|mice|event*", MODE="0660", GROUP="input" KERNEL=="ts[0-9]*|uinput", MODE="0660", GROUP="input" KERNEL==js[0-9]*, MODE=0660, GROUP=input # tty KERNEL==tty[0-9]*, MODE=0666 # vchiq SUBSYSTEM==vchiq, GROUP=video, MODE=0660
run the following commands for your user:
sudo usermod -a -G audio username sudo usermod -a -G video username sudo usermod -a -G input username sudo usermod -a -G dialout username sudo usermod -a -G plugdev username sudo usermod -a -G tty username
See my guide for AirPrint over OpenVPN. Don’t worry about the VPN related parts of the install unless you want to be able to print remotely.
Install Forked-DAAPD for AirPlay music to multiple Speakers
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
Add this line to file:
deb http://www.gyfgafguf.dk/raspbian wheezy-backports/armhf/
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install forked-daapd
Edit configuration and restart
sudo nano /etc/forked-daapd.conf sudo service forked-daapd restart
My Preferred Hardware
- Flirc case
- Belkin Ultra Slim Aluminium Series 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub
- Panda 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter
- Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400
The Flirt case looks nice and keeps the processor running a little cooler as it acts as a heat sink.
This Belkin hub model matches the Flirc’s aluminum casing well and I’ve had good luck powering the Pi from it so another power supply is not necessary. A second power supply for the Pi might be needed.
The Panda wireless adaptor has good range and streams video well.
For controlling a TV media center, a keyboard with built in trackpad is a good option. The Logitech K400 was about the least expensive wireless option I’ve found.Tags: Computers, debian, linux, Raspberry Pi, Technology
This post was written by Tom