I’m not a cord cutter, but I play one with my TV

The Problem: Here’s the scenario. We have DirecTV with five boxes that includes DVR services. But only three boxes can be active at the same time. The fourth and fifth boxes can remain in the cold while three TV’s are occupied. And only so much recording can happen at one time with similar limitations.

We have a household with three adults and a 10 year old. The 10 year old believes the best way for something to happen is repeated random button smashing, because a half second delay is too much delay. He never lived in the days where dad’s used kids as remotes. “Go change it to channel 3”.

So, what’s that mean? It means that sometimes, I’m unable to watch or record what I want due to the competition of resources or the errors of button smashing that arbitrarily records or deletes things.

Continue reading “I’m not a cord cutter, but I play one with my TV”

My Raspberry Pi as a Media Center

I had one justification for buying the Raspberry Pi (as a Google Print Server) and when it arrived I decided to try the media center options before putting it into play as a Google Print Server.

The nice thing about the Raspberry PI is you can easily grab an SD card, load up NOOB boot loader with a number of different OS’s and you are good to go.

I tried RASPBMC and OPENELEC. My experience is that OPENELEC was more responsive.

After loading it up, I liked the idea that I could use an old android cell phone I had laying around as a remote. This works in both RASPBMC and OPENELEC.

Also, let me give a laymans view. OPENELEC provides the same Media Center views and options as RASPBMC, but seems to have a difference in the underlying workings. So anything you can do with RASPBMC you can do with OPENELEC.

The scope and depth of channels available was very impressive. The ability to stream music (like from SKY.FM). It might be a little slow in some of the transitions, but so long as it has an ethernet connection, it streamed pretty well.

My absolute favorite part of the OpenElec on the Raspberry Pi is the simple ability for it to access all the media on my NAS where I have a LOT of movies, series, tv shows and music. They streamed up to 720P quality with no hiccups. I didn’t have to deal with special codecs or software loading. It worked.

And OpenElec includes “scrapers” which performs a data gather with thumbnails against your files. If you look at info on a file it will provide you with the thumbnail and a quick write up on what the file is about.

Of course, the functionality goes far beyond streaming NAS files. If you have time, searching against XBMC for the plethora of channels you can stream, whether internet content or normal broadcast content.

I really can’t go on enough about it. The OpenELEC distribution is pretty solid within the limitations of the hardware.