The Raspberry Pi is a great device which you can use in infinite ways. It’s a cheap, small computer that is energy friendly. A couple of applications:
- Home Automation
- It’s controlling and monitoring things like your lighting, heating and your power consumption at home from all over the world. Raspberry Pi acts as a central hub with the software on it and communicates with the hardware and sensors.
- This software can be Openhab, Home-Assistent or Domoticz (my favorite, read more about my setup here).
- Home-Assistant is growing fast and the reason is that they have a strong community and the platform uses the popular language Python. So new components are released often. If I once decide to leave Domoticz I will switch to Home-Assistant.
- Media Center
- Which plays all your media (movies, series, music) which is usually stored on a different place (on a NAS or in the cloud).
- Currently the best choice software for a media center on your Raspberry Pi is Kodi. It is open-source, has great cross platform compatibility and there even are special builds for the Raspberry Pi. Until recently OpenElec was the best choice for a long time, but most of the contributors left the development group and started a new initiative: LibreElec. They are faster with releases, work together better with the Kodi development team and deliver stable software.
But there a lots of other nice projects:
- Download Station (sabnzb, spotweb, sonarr, radarr nzbget etc.)
- MotionEyeOS surveillance station
- Emulator Gaming station (retroPie)
and many more…
The Raspberry Pi 3 is a very good product and is more stable and faster then the first edition of the Raspberry Pi. But now they come with the Model B upgrade. Is it worth upgrading? lets find out.
Form factor and pin layout remains the same. Highlights of the new Pi hardware changes:
- A 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU
- Dual-band 802.11ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2
- Faster Ethernet (Gigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0)
- Power-over-Ethernet support (with separate PoE HAT)
- Improved PXE network and USB mass-storage booting
- Improved thermal management
Offcource there a lots of alternatives: Odroid, Pine64 and orangePi
But the strongest thing about the Raspberry Pi is the community. The community is really important and is the reason there are so many Linux distros available that are compatible. Also there are also lots of DIY project on GitHub that are focuses on the PI. So if you don’t need android and want to use any Linux distro and be sure that all the hardware component are working fine. Get yourself a Pi if you want to start with Domotica or using a Media Center.
If you want to run Kodi on your Pi and are also watching H265 on your 4K Television, it’s definitely worth upgrading. decoding media files is a heavier job for those computers, so the extra power is welcome. The team of LibreElec made an statement that the improvement of H265 is significant.
But if you only steam 1080 video from your NAS over Ethernet or run Domoticz on a Pi3, and don’t need the POE of 5Ghz WiFi, you can better wait for the Raspberry Pi 4.