Raspberry Pi 3B+ Media Center Kit - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Raspberry Pi 3B+ Media Center Kit

Author: robogary

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?:

What were the biggest problems encountered?: I also had a problem connecting to Wifi during setup. The QWERTY PAD ,mini wireless keyboard, which is a very nice feature for a media centre, had a key that did not generate the letter it was marked with, which happened to be a letter in my wifi password. There was a work around, but it took a few times for me to figure out what was going wrong. Finding good explanations on ADD ONs, Kodi features , troubleshooting took some work Googling and asking advice. The favorites menu and playlists configuration took alot of googling and experimentation to kinda figure how to do.

Detailed Review:

The media Kit was safely delivered with all the parts needed to quickly assemble a media centre system, except the HDMI monitor. I love the wireless mini keyboard.

 

The instructions were clear enough to hookup and get running in a very short time. I’m not sure any 11 year old can put it together, but a little help would be all that’s needed. Playing movies and music from memory sticks was simple enough to get started with quickly.  The Raspberry Pi was a very tight fit interference into the case, be careful assembling.

 

I worried a bit about CPU temperature in the plastic case with no heat sinks or fans, so just in case, I drilled extra vent holes in the upper case above the main components for heat to escape.

 

The real power and differentiator for the media center is the ADD ONs feature. 

Altho it is needed for users to take time to play with the ADD ONs, research what each do, the ones that come up easily make it worthwhile. My favorite ADD ONs are You Tube and PopcornFlix. I spend alot of time here playing, it is a blast.

 

The biggest detriment to the media centre enjoyment is the difficulty of use for modifying favorites and playlists. EVERY other media player has a very easy way to create playlists, favorites, and favorite categories, and add and delete items to it.

 

I expect to spend a lot more time trying to effectively create and maintain playlists, even with the Super Favorites ADD ON. Deleting items from the Favorites requires to go back to the source ADD ON, and remove from there. I couldn’t seem to mix ADDON favorites with files from the memory stick. 

 

I also had a problem connecting to Wifi during setup. The QWERTY PAD ,mini wireless keyboard, which is a very nice feature for a media centre, had a key that did not generate the letter it was marked with, which happened to be a letter in my password. There was a work around, but it took a few times for me to figure out what was going wrong.

 

The Kodi never crashed , but occasionally had Popcorn Flix buffering and temporarily freezing audio or video.

All in all, the videos looked pretty good,  I even tried it out on a 50 inch 4K HD TV,  some videos looked pixelated, some videos looked fine.

(I did try a Raspberry Pi 4 running Raspian driving that size and rez TV with You Tube videos, and it wasnt pretty )

My preconceived expectation of the media centre was that of a basic easy to use media collector.

This Kodi Media Centre can so much more than that, it has a lot of configurable features, ADD ONs, and other options.

The Kodi needs a builder/tinkerer attitude, to spend time researching and collaborating with experienced users to create a powerful experience.    

Anonymous
  • Yes, the clock setup had a botched setting and was showing time in GMT. Thank you for the link. It required going into expert mode to see the setting that needed defined to set my correct local time zone. 

  • Nice review. Glad you had so much fun.

    Did you manage to fix the clock? Some of your screen shots look rather middle-of-the-night!

    I agree about the Tinkering. I do think KODI could provide a much better guide to the official repro to help new users get started quicker. So many add-ons are from external sources with no help at all.

    Very useful starter kit for those new to using a Pi.