The Entertainment Game
I strongly feel this is one area where RPi can be a winner and a trendsetter.
Take the case of Kodi. Started as XBMC, Kodi runs on many platforms and is highly customizable. Kodi acts like a home-theatre PC (HTPC) and can also stream media from online services such as Amazon, Netflix, Pandora, etc. Though Kodi’s support for a web browser is still iffy, to play media files, it is a superb application. Kodi needs a very small version of an OS and starts with a simple and user-friendly screen. It boots in under 5 seconds. Much like Android, anyone can write add-on software and can install it on Kodi. Kodi can also become the standard for live TV offered through fibre to the home. I have been using Kodi on RPi for the last 2 years, and I am absolutely delighted with its performance. I don’t have to worry about heating and air conditioning. I can run RPi (and Kodi) in literally any environment. Media files can also be played via a Home Theater Receiver through the HDMI connectivity to get a full 7.1 theatre experience.
In the last two odd weeks, I experimented with RPi 4, and it played H.265 files and 4K files flawlessly. I am waiting for Kodi to release a version for RPi 4 and 4K. Once that is available, I may be tempted to sell the expensive HTPC that I had configured a few years ago. Using a USB based Blu-ray player, you can play any DVD or even Blu-ray discs that you have.
If only someone would put the RPi 4 and a 2TB HDD into a nice HTPC case with some server software installed!!