Post Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:19 pm

My Raspberry Pi 3 Media Center & Emulator

I have a highly customized Raspberry Pi 3 which i use on my 32 inch Samsung HD LED TV. I live in an old cottage sat next to a canal and we get really bad TV here. Even in 2017 we have barely any Freeview channels here so I built this...

It's specs:

CPU: 1.2 GHZ quad-core ARM Cortex A53 (ARMv8 Instruction Set)
GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV @ 400 MHz
Memory: 1 GB LPDDR2-900 SDRAM
USB ports: 4
Network: 10/100 MBPS Ethernet, 802.11n Wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.0

It is used for all of my media needs on the TV including catch up TV, movies, Freeview, You Tube and MUCH much more. It also has the ability to run emulation so i can run any games from any era/console. From Atari 2600 to PlayStation it can do it all.

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Here it is disassembled, the PS3 wireless controller is used for the games and connects via a CSL Bluetooth 4.0 dongle (the onboard Bluetooth isn't compatible with the PS3 controller sadly). The mini keyboard is for Kodi, the media center side of things. The entire thing runs off a Sandisk 32GB micro SD card.

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It is mounted under my TV on the wall and has HDMI, power and a LAN cable connected. It does have wireless but i prefer wired networking wherever possible.

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Here is the media interface:

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Kodi also supports add ons which are little apps for running specific media such as YouTube or Twitch TV.

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On the emulation side of things, I've made a nice little UI with quick specs of each console and facts as a background and a nice front end for selecting your console and game of choice.

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All games run over HDMI and at 1080i as seen here:

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The up scaled image is simply stunning, games look amazing.

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I have set up hot keys on the controller so I can easily exit any game and go back to the main menu for seamless switching between games and emulators.

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Obviously with only 32GB of space on the Pi itself... space can become an issue so all of my movies and various other things are converted from Blu Ray and DVD now and live on my 1TB file server which is running Ubuntu Server 16.4 LTS, It is a 1.6Ghz single core Intel Atom based machine which uses next to no power (4w maximum on the CPU) and is fully passive cooled so no fan noise during movies.

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Everything is pulled from here via a Samba share so i can access anything on the box from Windows/Linux machines or my Raspberry Pi.

Lastly, linking everything up is my green D-Link gigabit switch.

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The machine can even emulate PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64 in games 1920x1080 resolution which is pretty awesome for a credit card sized PC. Ultimately, it is the ultimate media center/entertainment box and well and truly helped me cut the cord to traditional TV.

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