Raspberry Pi Media Center

So this happens to be the first post on this blog, so allow me to give a little introduction:

I’m Zach Dupont, I’m (almost) 13 years old, and I really enjoy computers and geeky things. Currently, my main computer is a 6 year old Gateway M-1624 laptop running a Debian Wheezy/Windows 7 multi boot. The Dell Inspiron 3520 laptop which is *usually* my main actually fell on a hardwood floor (that happens to be the one in my bedroom) and the hard drive came off loose. I tried disassembling the laptop, but to no avail because 2 of the screws in the back were stripped, and I didn’t have the proper tools to get those off. You can follow me on Twitter @zach_linuxuser.


After having a lot of fun at Linuxcon 2014 North America in Chicago, all that fun turned into unpacking a bunch of vendor stickers, SUSE Linux Enterprise Evaluation DVDs, and other free stuff. I also won a Raspberry Pi at the FoxT Booth. They let me choose between the Model B, or the Model B+. I was a total Raspberry Pi newbie, so my newbie instincts told me to choose the B+, and those instincts were right. According to http://www.raspberrypi.org/product/model-b-plus/, it is superior to the Model B in SD (because it now uses Micro SD), USB (More USB ports), GPIO (More GPIO pins), etc. It ditched composite and HDMI for only HDMI, which I don’t mind because I have plenty of spare HDMI cables in my house, and I don’t have many composite cables that are actually useful, because most, if not all of the devices in my house have HDMI support as well as all of the TVs being HD 1080p (except an old 2003 CRT TV/VCR combo from Toshiba in the basement). It’s overall superior to the Model B. Anyways, the first time I hooked up that Pi was when I got home from Chicago. Sure, it required a lot of hassle, especially when hooking it up in my room, but it was all worth it in the end. I put NOOBS in the Micro SD card and installed Raspbian, just to see what the Raspberry Pi was like when using it. After that I decided to install Raspbmc so I could use it as a media center. I planned to just install Raspbmc on the SD card and use all the flash drives I already have and have gotten as freebies from the convention as storage for all the movies and music I plan to put on there. And that’s exactly what I did. The Raspberry Pi plays DVD-quality movies very smoothly, although I’ve never tried playing 1080p video (mainly because the only movies I have on the Pi are Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and National Treasure, both ripped from DVDs and stored on the same 4GB flash drive). I plan on using one flash drive for music, and some for movies and TV shows.


Also, I thanks to the CEC feature on my Vizio TV, I can switch the HDMI inputs without having to press the buttons on my HDMI input selector, because I change the inputs right from my TV’s input screen. I really love what hooking up the Raspberry Pi has made me do with my TV. It’s great that I can control my Playstation 3 and my XBMC box, aka the Raspberry Pi ;), with the remote that came with my TV. And switch inputs with no hassle. And now I don’t need a separate Blu Ray remote accessory for the PS3 so I can play my DVD and Blu Ray discs with ease!


17 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi Media Center

  1. Hi Zach, greetings from Costa Rica. I just want to encourage you to follow the steps you are following. I start with linux about your age 5 years ago. I want to give you some tips. First take advantage of the great opportunity that you have not only have to have known of this great world of free software, Linux and its community but also you’ve been in contact with the community so directly. I envy you, where I am is very difficult to find people who share this passion in specific. On the other hand do not make the same mistake I made, do not thinking you need to know programming to make your part in the world of free software. Report bugs, join communities, make a comment when you can and make this blog is an big step. I would give more advice but surely soon appear more comments from people with more experience than me and I do nnot want to extend my comment to much. Just go ahead and remember that there is a large community supporting you back. (Sorry for the errors, I am not a native english speaker XD)(And I come from the post about you in themukt.com).


  2. Aaron Willis says:

    Hey Zach, I’ve been thinking about getting a Raspberry Pi to use as a vintage console emulator. About how long did it take you to get up and running, and did you hit any snags?


  3. Ben Mahon says:

    In your next post, can you tell us how you became interested in computers, any programming you know, or anything you would like to learn about?


  4. socket2012 says:

    Hi Zack. I read about your meeting with your (mine too) hero Linus. I’d have liked have been there to meet him as well. Congrat to have got your chance!!!!


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