Originally Posted by DavidT99
So what is the point of these devices? I get that small is cool but if they don't play media very well why do people keep promoting them?
The Raspberry Pi is really aimed at being a cheap computer that kids can learn to program on - kind of like the 8/16 bit computers (TRS 80 / Apple II / ZX 81 / Commodore 64 / Atari ST / Amiga etc.) lots of us grew up with. These days although most homes have computers, they are often quite important and kids are less able to play around with them at lower levels for fear of causing major problems with them.
The Pi (and other similar boards like the Pandaboard ES and Solid-run Cubox) are great for learning about computers without wrecking your main workhorse!
The Pi is actually getting pretty close to being quite a neat solution - particularly if you use a less-CPU intensive protocol than CIFS/SMB, and if you can bitstream audio, and use the official overclocking. I haven't got mine running both TV Headend and XBMC simultaneously with full performance, but now the Pi has been upgraded to 512MB of RAM this might help (or I could just run two - one running the TV server, the other XBMC)
I've been surprised how well the Pi does - though it is enthusiast territory - and nowhere near a replacement for a full HTPC. They don't do HD audio, and high bitrate content (and last time I checked 1080i native interlaced - though I think a BOB de-interlace is now available) is an issue (the USB implementation used for local drives AND Ethernet is still an issue)
It might be close to a PVR soon though. (They're also pretty good for all sorts of other applications - like Asterisk VOIP servers etc.)
If you're interesting in XBMC - then some of the XBMC-supported Android boxes (like the Pivos) are probably worth keeping an eye on?