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Using the Raspberry Pi's for streaming on Home network

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Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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February 27, 2013 7:47:17 PM

Hey Everyone,

So, I've been looking around trying to find the cheapest route of streaming Movies and music to the TVs in my house. I am building up a Linux server running Debian Squeeze that will be the central point for all of my media (my music, movies, photos, web site files, etc.). Also, I want to put the streaming devices on my 5ghz band of my dual band N600 router.

Here is the plan I'm considering:

I am thinking I can purchase these Raspberry Pi PCs to hook up to my TVs. Then, with the use of a USB wireless adapter, I can connect them to my home network.

Now, I need the Pi's to connect to my server to access the media it contains to play through to the TV, but I'm a bit unsure on how I can do this... I've found a few things like the VLC Player program to do the streaming (because it accepts all types of video playback) but how would I access the media on the server? Or, there is this Raspbmc OS software that basically turns the Pi into a little Media Center using a version of XBMC.

The problem with this is on the FAQ page for Raspbmc, someone asks "why is XBMC fuzzy?" which the reply is "XBMC runs the UI at 720p by default on the Raspberry Pi, and uses the GPU to output it at a 1080p resolution. Raspbmc is the only distribution to allow you to disable this. This can be done from Raspbmc Settings" and it leads me to believe that this setup is only good for 720p...? and I'd LIKE 1080p capabilities...

So, my question is... is there another method or setup I can/should use to be able to stream movies from my server to the TV through the Pi? I've been referred to the SAMBA setup several times for the actual server, and was wondering if I can install it on the Pi and access the movies and media on the network? Or, if there is anything else out there or a work around for this streaming setup? Can I just install a Linux distro and the VLC player and be good to go?

Also, is there anyway to stream my Netflix and Amazon Instant Video movies through the Pi? I know they do not support the applications, but I wondered if it were installed on the server or a laptop if the Pi can access it over the network?

Hopefully you guys can lend a hand or point me in the right direction... Thanks to you all for looking!


February 27, 2013 10:33:04 PM

1.) You cannot use VLC on the rasberrypi because there is no hardware acceleration built for vlc+raspi yet.

2.) instead of VLC you should use just be using openelec, xbian, or raspbmc.

3.) Use Samba to serve/access files from your network. This is the same kind of 'file server' that windows uses, and can even be accessed from a windows machine. It is installed by default on openelec.

4.) No you cannot stream movies from netflix or amazon instant, they are not available on linux.
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March 2, 2013 2:10:09 AM

Aunnix said:
Hey Everyone,

So, I've been looking around trying to find the cheapest route of streaming Movies and music to the TVs in my house. I am building up a Linux server running Debian Squeeze that will be the central point for all of my media (my music, movies, photos, web site files, etc.). Also, I want to put the streaming devices on my 5ghz band of my dual band N600 router.

Here is the plan I'm considering:

I am thinking I can purchase these Raspberry Pi PCs to hook up to my TVs. Then, with the use of a USB wireless adapter, I can connect them to my home network.

Now, I need the Pi's to connect to my server to access the media it contains to play through to the TV, but I'm a bit unsure on how I can do this... I've found a few things like the VLC Player program to do the streaming (because it accepts all types of video playback) but how would I access the media on the server? Or, there is this Raspbmc OS software that basically turns the Pi into a little Media Center using a version of XBMC.

The problem with this is on the FAQ page for Raspbmc, someone asks "why is XBMC fuzzy?" which the reply is "XBMC runs the UI at 720p by default on the Raspberry Pi, and uses the GPU to output it at a 1080p resolution. Raspbmc is the only distribution to allow you to disable this. This can be done from Raspbmc Settings" and it leads me to believe that this setup is only good for 720p...? and I'd LIKE 1080p capabilities...

So, my question is... is there another method or setup I can/should use to be able to stream movies from my server to the TV through the Pi? I've been referred to the SAMBA setup several times for the actual server, and was wondering if I can install it on the Pi and access the movies and media on the network? Or, if there is anything else out there or a work around for this streaming setup? Can I just install a Linux distro and the VLC player and be good to go?

Also, is there anyway to stream my Netflix and Amazon Instant Video movies through the Pi? I know they do not support the applications, but I wondered if it were installed on the server or a laptop if the Pi can access it over the network?

Hopefully you guys can lend a hand or point me in the right direction... Thanks to you all for looking!


Rasbmc only does the UI in 720p, video playback is upscaled to 1080p only if necessary, i.e 1080p doesn't require scaling.

The reason the UI is upscaled is that GLES at 1080p slows down the user interface, so a much better user experience with 720p in the user interface, meaning more FPS and snappier response.

The pi is an amazing xbmc player considering it's very modest hardware specs and price-tag. If you're looking to replace full blown intel/amd media systems, no it won't be as good. I have pi's in the bedrooms and a amd/nvidia box in the living room attached to my surround sound system.

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March 4, 2013 4:18:12 PM

cbxbiker61 said:
Rasbmc only does the UI in 720p, video playback is upscaled to 1080p only if necessary, i.e 1080p doesn't require scaling.

The reason the UI is upscaled is that GLES at 1080p slows down the user interface, so a much better user experience with 720p in the user interface, meaning more FPS and snappier response.

The pi is an amazing xbmc player considering it's very modest hardware specs and price-tag. If you're looking to replace full blown intel/amd media systems, no it won't be as good. I have pi's in the bedrooms and a amd/nvidia box in the living room attached to my surround sound system.


Thanks for the reply. I've actually decided to go a similar route. I don't think I'm going to worry too much about Netflix and such in the bedrooms, so I may use the Pi's in secondary rooms (bedrooms, office, etc.) and I will run a Blu Ray player that is DLNA capable in the living room so the one device can connect to both Netflix like apps and my server.
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