A lot of (IT)people have heard of the raspberry pi. It is a tiny cheap computer. There are two models, model A and B. The difference between model A and B is the network (lan) connection.
Order a Raspberry pi
I have bought a model B at http://export.farnell.com/rp/order/
The raspberry pi was ordered at 23th of August and it arrived in the Netherlands at 11th of September. So that’s less then the 3 weeks that element14 mentions on the website. A fast SD card is recommended. So I have bought an 8GB Transcend class 10 card (for only 8 euro’s).
As programmer you should have an HDMI cable available and network connection and micro-usb power supply.
Make a HTPC from your Raspberry
In 2003 there was a project started to make an Xbox act as HTPC. This project was named XBMC (X-Box Media Center). The software is still available for the X-Box, but also for various number of other platforms.
As you might know, you can install various Linux distributions on your raspberry. A lot of them are listed on the official raspberry pi website. There is even a special distro for XBMC on your Raspberry pi called RaspBmc. It is super easy to install (when you run windows). Insert your (fast) SD card and download the Windows RaspBmc installer. Unzip and hit install. When you are done, put the SD in your pi and connect the LAN, HDMI and power up! It might take a while, so grab some coffee. If if fails downloading the updates, remove the power and try again after a few seconds. It should look like this after 30 minutes:
To work with it without usb keyboards or mice, you need a remote. Of course you can get a real remote. Some are supported out of the box. But it is now 2012 and everybody has a tablet and/or smartphone! So I downloaded the official XBMC remote for Android devices.
When you have your remote, you can enable Airplay support, so that you can send pictures and videos from your iPad/iPhone to the RaspBmc. You can enable it under
System –> Network –> “Allow XBMC to receive Airplay content”
To make the user interface of XBMC more responsive, you can switch the skin to a more lightweight skin. The default skin is confluence
But for a system with limited resources like the raspberry pi, it’s better to move to Quartz.
So now you have a cheap good solution to add Airplay to your TV and play all kinds of files stored on the LAN.
The next step is to add DVR/PVR support and live TV. I can now use airplay from my iPad, so that’s great! Get yourself a Raspberry pi now!
Have fun with your Raspberry Pi!
p.s. the url for the official iOs XBMC remote.