Raspberry Pi or HPTC For Livestream Player [5]

Last time I wrote on this subject I took a look at whether to continue using a Raspberry Pi to play livestreams and video clips, or to take a look at a more conventional HPTC setup with a normal computer. Original attempts to use a normal computer were with the Mini-ITX board and chassis I have, which had similar challenges to the Pi from being underpowered, and also failing to support the latest codecs, resulting in playback performance problems.

I then looked at building a HTPC using a Silverstone ML03 chassis. For a variety of reasons this has not progressed, one of those reasons being that chassis seems to be unavailable any longer. I then took at look at using a computer attached to my desk, which is a Gigabyte H110M-D3H board. This has been used for these same purposes from my desk, and I have felt it can be dual purposed, as it is doing the same things as I require from a bedside accessible PC for. This meant shifting the main playback screen from above the desk, to a location where it is readily visible from the bedside, with the computer controlled using a Logitech multimedia wireless keyboard with a trackpad.

Initial trials used only this one screen, but I eventually realised it was desirable to keep a second screen to enable the computer to double up for other work. So it now has the same screen configuration it always had, with a 1440×900 Dell screen above the desk and the 1360×768 Sony 32″ monitor for playback which is visible from both desk and bed. The speakers for now have been left in the same location above the desk.

Meanwhile the front room is now fitted with an old Bravia LCD TV that I was fortunate to pick up on Trademe for $80. Since it does not have Freeview, it is set up to play from a NUC, satellite or Chromecast.

Another possible option previously considered for the Pi is to fit it into a chassis that is designed with much better heat dissipation characteristics. As discussed previously, PB Tech have these for about $20. I plan on getting one of these for the Pi as soon as possible, but even if it makes the Pi work properly, I won’t be changing the bedside setup, as it is a good use of existing resources to have the computer on the desk set up for both roles. I would however have the possibility open of being ble to find another use for the Pi that means it isn’t sitting round here gathering dust.