Raspbmc turns the Raspberry Pi into a media centre
The open source Raspbmc media centre distribution has been released in its first stable version. Version 1.0 of the XBMC 12 based distribution transforms the $35 Raspberry Pi mini computer into an HD capable entertainment centre. According to the development team, Raspbmc can be easily installed to a USB stick or an SD card, even without prior Linux experience.
A Raspberry Pi can be connected directly to a TV with an HDMI cable and can, in most cases, be powered by a USB port on the TV. Raspbmc automatically updates itself through the built-in Ethernet connection on the Raspberry Pi and can also use a Wi-Fi connection if the user attaches a supported wireless access dongle. Content can be accessed over the LAN from NFS and SMB shares and through AirPlay from iTunes and iOS devices. As this includes streaming it turns the Raspberry Pi into an alternative to Apple TV that is more open.
Raspbmc is able to decode content in 1080p resolution; for the decoding of MPEG-2 and VC-1 files, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is selling licences to enable the hardware decoding of these formats. Raspbmc also supports a number of remote controls and the developers also give instructions for a DIY solution using an IR receiver on the GPIO port of the Raspberry Pi.