First up, I’d like to wish a Happy New Year to everyone. This has been a good year for me personally and I hope it has been for everyone involved with the Raspbmc project from those that work on it to those that use it.
In this post I’d like to look back at some achievements this year, thank some people and briefly outline what we can look forward to in the future.
Raspbmc was released as stable in February 2013 and since then the user base has increased dramatically. Checking today, we’re now standing at around 63,000 daily users. That’s calculated by unique IP addresses synchronising with the update system, meaning the number of actual users is likely greater considering many people have multiple Pis and perhaps don’t reboot daily to check for updates.
I’d like to thank our mirrors for making this possible. We’ve served around 850TB of binaries now which is rather astounding. There’s no way this could have been possible without the entities and organisations listed on our Downloads page volunteering resources. A thank you is also deserved for UKFAST who have provisioned us with a web server and build server. I’m glad Raspbmc got a lot of media attention this year. Namely Raspbmc was featured on Engadget, Ars Technica, New York Times and various magazines and I was even able to talk about it at Campus Party Europe in London at the O2 and Joomla Day Spain in Albacete, Spain
I’d like to thank our moderators and testers for helping users on the forum and trying new features. This has allowed me to focus on development more and still manage to keep up with bug fixes and new features despite the project only having a single developer (that’s me) for the time being. Our forums are really an excellent and friendly place to get help, and so if you’re not part of them I strongly encourage you join! I’d like to thank upstream developers, such as those that work on Raspbian and XBMC and in particular the Raspberry Pi foundation and its volunteers such as Dom (popcornmix) who’s made great progress this year with XBMC and its playback as well as fixing issues in firmware.
This has been a good year for Raspbmc: I’ve put out an update each month and provided users with new features every time. At the close of this year we now have a web browser, USB sound card support again and various speed improvements that make Raspbmc a lot snappier. Rather than simply recite Raspbmc’s features and achievements this year — I’d like to focus a bit on what’s coming up.
First of all, as people keep asking about it. Netflix. This will indeed come to Raspbmc soon. As some of you have been curious as to how this is achieved I’ll briefly explain here. Another PC will unfortunately be needed to stream it. This PC will play the stream and capture the Netflix window, which will then be streamed over the network to the Pi. Although this sounds a little clumsy, it’s not that bad. You’re still able to browse all the Netflix content from your Pi, and when you select a video, your PCs browser will be opened, but playback will appear on your TV instead of your desktop. The issue that I am currently having is that I have no way of pausing, fast forwarding or rewinding the stream, so I need to think about how that can be made possible.
There are various other features I have pipelined, such as Chromecast-like implementation which will work similarly to how Netflix does. But the most important change will be how Raspbmc transitions into linXBMC. If you haven’t read about linXBMC yet, it’s a Linux distribution I’m working on that will run XBMC on many different devices instead of just the Pi. Supporting 1st generation Apple TV and Raspberry Pi as separate projects has led to a lot of duplication of effort. By maintaining the distribution as a single codebase, I’ll be able to target more platforms: namely the CuBox-i which is newly released, ION and AMD fusion platforms, Macs and hopefully in time even Android based appliances. You can read more about linXBMC here. This project will be more than just another XBMC distribution with features such as being able to order food from your TV, deep NFC and Bluetooth integration for control of house-hold appliances etc. I’m hoping to have a beta of it out by early (Q1) 2014. Although I will be supporting more platforms, I won’t be neglecting the Raspberry Pi and you’ll still have a fast and stable experience as you do with Raspbmc.
I hope you’re enjoying Raspbmc and continue to do so. I wish you a Happy New Year! I’m going to be quiet for the next couple of weeks as I have exams ahead of me.
(yes, I know my signature is ridiculous)