Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Thinking about getting a Raspberry Pi 3 to use as Living Room Computer

Well, I have a laptop for home use. But it's got kind of cramped feeling when using it for media consumption - because mainly that's what we use it for. Basically I have an external HDD to which I dump whatever media I get my hands on. This is then used on the laptop. So I'm looking at a setup which is cost effective and at the same time let us do the TV thing with external HDD and also lets us do bit of browsing for news etc. 
Recently I purchased a Logitech MK215 wireless Keyboard Mouse combo and it's made this setup much better. So now I'm thinking of shifting to bigger display - at least a 18.5 - 24" monitor. The problem is connecting laptop to this will just make the laptop work as desktop and it's not good for battery. Also it gives us a tangle of cables plus the space used. Then there's the screen switching between external and internal display. So it's not just the ideal setup. What I want is a low power one box solution that will let me play all the media I have and also let me do basic computing tasks. 
Now the Raspberry Pi 3 fits the bill. The board with a case and power adapter costs about INR 3500/-. To this I connect the HDMI monitor and I get the display, my existing 2.1 speakers, and voila I have a media center of my choosing with minimum cost. I'm assuming the monitor to go for about INR 8000/-. That's INR 11.5K but I get a good and big monitor plus a separate system from my laptop which is self contained. So that my wife could use this or the laptop while I'm using the other. The main reason for this being that my other laptop went kaput. And getting a D-SUB monitor is waste of time. Of course if I could get a D-SUB to HDMI converter box then that might work too. In that case I'll have to shell out INR 8000/- for monitor and the box for approx INR 800/- which is INR 8800/-. But in this case I'll be dependent upon a 5Yr old hardware which might fail at any time. 
Hmm. The RPi route looks better. But the cost if of course more. Maybe if I experimented with the Pi Zero the cost would come down. On the other hand my existing kaput laptop is sitting there in the closet gathering dust, it might get some usage with the second route, also better since four months back I spent about INR 700/- on a power brick for that thing. Grrr!
Well lets see. Mostly I would just postpone this due to my temporary living arrangements. Maybe next year when I move to a bigger and permanent place I'll get the things. 

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