New Raspberry Pi Models

Today, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the Model B+ version of the Raspberry Pi. I thought I’d take a moment to explain the changes to users so they understand what’s new.

  • These new Pis still use the same system on chip (BCM2835) and have the same amount of memory, so there’s no need to upgrade for performance improvements.
  • The devices now feature four USB ports. This is potentially useful if you plug in a lot of devices
  • Improved quality sound out of the analog jack
  • Reduced power consumption (up to 1W), which is just under a third of the Pi’s total power consumption
  • Additional GPIO pins which promises more connectivity
  • micro-SD connectivity instead of a regular sized SD card.

It should be noted however that Raspbmc isn’t abandoning support for 256MB Pis (Model A or B), in the next update (which will arrive shortly), there will be some improvements to the way Gotham runs on the Pi, which is especially beneficial to the limited amount of memory on 256Mb Pis.

Raspbmc should run straight away on these new models, as changes needed to support the hardware were made well in advance.



Raspbmc’s July update

Update time! Here’s what’s new:

  • popcornmix has made significant changes to XBMC’s player on Raspberry Pi, as well as backport these. This brings and addresses the following features:
    • Issues with synchronisation when watching videos
    • Fixes for playback with HBO content
    • Fixes for issues with MKV files that had two audio tracks
    • Fast forward and rewind support
    • LiveTV improvements
    • Many more architectural changes
  • Boblight is now available as a dispmanx implementation, making it easier to maintain in the future. The client itself is faster too, as it uses the Boost library for handling strings. You’ll need to edit your boblight configuration to be compatible with the new daemon. Thanks to Speedy1985 and brooc
  • A VNC server is now included in Raspbmc and can be enabled in Raspbmc Settings. Do note that this can impact UI performance and should be considered experimental at the moment. Thanks Peter Hanzel for original dispmanx implementation.
  • Raspbmc has screenshot support like other versions of XBMC (just press Prt Screen)
  • There are also excellent improvements to DTS decoding from the RISC OS guys who have done a great job optimising decode pathways with ARMV6 assembly.
  • The new Raspbmc skin looked a tad blurry, and so visuals have been refreshed and updated. Many thanks to Brad Watson
  • Issues with scanning for wireless networks with spaces in the SSID have been fixed — thanks hmo
  • ARM accelerated functions from <string.h> — this means speed improvements!
  • Updated firmware and kernel provide:
    • MJPEG support
    • Fix for USB disconnect issues
  • The Raspbmc Cloud is in a private testing beta at the moment. While functional, to release it in its current state would be unscalable and I am of the opinion that it is better to release the service when it can truly cope with demand rather than have an intermittent and unreliable service.

Last month, I said I would make a special announcement. Raspbmc will become part of the linXBMC distribution, although it will retain it’s branding due to its success. LinXBMC will bring the quality of Raspbmc and Crystalbuntu to all devices, with excellent functionality such as streaming from your browser to XBMC. Find out more about what LinxBMC is here. This transition is still some way off however.

Previous shortfalls such as playback issues or a lack of true seeking support are now a thing of the past, making the Raspberry Pi a better candidate for a media center than ever! Just restart your Raspberry Pi to get the update.

If you enjoy Raspbmc, and this update, and would like to support continued development, you can make a donation here.

Update: Users who installed via NOOBS should backup their cmdline.txt before updating or they will get a rootfs mounting error. Future versions of NOOBS will fix this issue.

Raspbmc’s jam-packed June jollifications!

This one’s a big update and brings a lot of features to Raspbmc. Here’s what’s new this month:

  • Tweaks to the initialisation system speed up booting and remove some initial UI lag that occurs just after startup
  • There are some performance and stability enhancements, particularly when playing high bitrate content.
  • Updated firmware and kernel
  • Fix for TP-Link WN725N V2 devices
  • Fix Live TV stopping when selecting another channel
  • Fix for Live TV aspect ratio issues resulting in black screen
  • Backport of delegation of discontinuity in streams to GPU rather than OMXPlayer (resolves some streaming issues), thanks to popcornmix for the original fix!
  • Now available via Raspbmc Settings:
    • Boblight support provides an ambilight like implementation. Take a look at this user’s setup here
    • Raspberry Pi camera addon support allowing surveillance. This is useful for watching a bird feed or your kids. Images are taken at a desired interval and uploaded to /home/pi/camera.
    • Ability to scan for WiFi hotspots instead of having to type the SSID in.
  • Users now warned if power supply is detected to be inadequate
  • Simultaneous audio output (HDMI and Analog) is now supported
  • A new XBMC skin, made for Raspbmc by A Future Pilot and fuzzword. Many thanks to the wonderful contribution that these two have made. You can swap back to the default skin at any time via System -> Settings.
  • libCEC is updated for improved compatibility with TV sets.
  • 24 hour nightly builds of XBMC 13.x are now available again
  • Enable IPV6 connectivity for SSH
  • /tmp and /var/log no longer stored in ZRAM tmpfs
  • Support for NOOBS 1.2
  • Support for Stealth Nighthawk F117A
  • Another two mirrors have joined the Content Delivery Network which means faster updates and installs. The project is very weak for downloads in Asia and would very much appreciate a mirror to help offer users a good quality update and installation experience there.

To get the update, simply reboot your Raspberry Pi. Note that if you have disabled updates via Raspbmc Settings, you’ll need to enable them first, and if you’re running a nightly build, you’ll need to switch to ‘xbmc release’ in Raspbmc Settings to get back to the stable builds we ship as default.

Coming in July:

  • Linux kernel updates
  • Raspbmc ‘Cloud’ which will allow:
    • Backing up and restoring your settings from the cloud automatically when re-installing
    • The ability to copy settings from other Pis on the network.
  • The usual set of improvements, bug fixes
  • A special announcement

If you enjoy Raspbmc, and this update, and would like to support continued development, you can make a donation here.

Have fun!