The nice thing about SD cards and R-Pi is that once you’ve prepped your SD card with a given OS, you can just swap it out for another one. If you want to try a different OS, just swap out one for the other and if one sucks, just swap the better OS back in. Yay.
So we’re trying out OpenELEC because we’ve read so many positive reviews about it. OpenELEC = Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center and it’s not based on any particular Linux distro. It’s based on itself, i.e., it’s been built from the ground up to specifically run as a media center.
Installing OpenELEC is super easy too. Their documentation is kick ass, from installation to setup (adding media etc) to troubleshooting. Check out the awesome OpenELEC wiki.
Anyway, making this a pretty quick review because there’s not much to say other than that OpenELEC’s performance kills Raspbmc, at least in my experience. Menu switching is much much faster, and I haven’t experienced the same menu lag that I had with Raspbmc. Most of the slowness and high CPU activity that I’m experiencing right now is due to the fact that I’m busy importing Movies and TV Shows for the first time. Call them “Growing Pains” I guess.
Same CEC support too, so using my TV remote to navigate. You can also use a mouse if you want.
Added bonus: OpenELEC does automatic updates. You can enable that from Programs/OpenELEC Settings.
Issues with OpenELEC (or maybe just my collection): The only issue I’ve found so far is that some AVI files play only the audio, but no video playback. And again, only some videos are affected and very few in my collection. Anyway, that issue is discussed at github here (for non Raspberry Pi hardware) and was resolved back in April 2012 or something, but it seems to be back with the latest release. I can confirm that it’s an issue on my R-Pi. Not a big deal for me since it’s only affecting a couple of files.
And that’s it for now. Later!
Update: Openelec crashes randomly. It’s never crashed in the middle of watching media, but I’ll find that it had crashed after periods of inactivity. So far, Raspbmc has had very solid and very good uptime.