Well, with all that popularity around the Rasberry Pi and the fact that I’m an electrical engineering student, I definitely needed to buy a Raspberry Pi. Yes the enhanced model with an Ethernet port and 512 MB RAM. And without anything more useful to do with it, I decided to put XBMC on it.
It’s all very straight forward, fortunately, and I decided to go with RaspBMC. The whole installation is automatic and as soon as it’s finished, you see the wonders of the Raspberry Pi and it’s media capabilities. The fact that it supports CEC is very useful since you don’t need an app or a keyboard to control XBMC.
So all is fine but of course, you might wonder how to actually watch stuff on it. There are a couple of ways to go about it:
- Use the SD card (not really recommended)
- Use an USB stick (it could work but not my preference)
- Use an external Hard Disk (could store more than an SD card and USB disk)
- Use the network
So yes, you might have guessed that I went for the network way. And indeed I did. Previously I would connect my laptop to our TV and download the TV-Show (and use a very complex way of getting TV-Shows into XBMC and download them when needed). Now I specifically changed to an ISP allowing me to stream all the TV-Shows and movies to the Raspberry PI from my server to my parents home (where the Raspberry Pi is currently active).
Well, I went about it a bit insecure. I simply used NFS over the big Internet (that works) but is not that safe. Yes, I only allow read only access, I protect myself with only allowing one IP to access my Videos but still you send your data unencrypted.
This all works… yes it does. Only your bandwith (up for the server and down for the Raspberry Pi) need to be capable of streaming your videos. And this in the end was not that great. The bandwidth that you get can vary and that’s not great for streaming. So I needed to get some other system as soon as possible.
Well, this was all before my new servers were available. And that’s why the next post handles how I went from NFS shares, to an specific system allowing the Raspberry Pi to play files from my server, but accessed from the safe local network, thus bypassing the bandwidth problem.
As a side note, I tried to get it into an VPN, but then you hit the obstruction that I already was hitting: the Raspberry Pi processing power. It’s not fast and you can barely run XBMC on it (if you tweak it enough you will be able to use it, but a dedicated media PC is still better) and if you are using a VPN you need more processing power to handle the encryption, which the Raspberry Pi doesn’t have.