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My parents have been looking for a small/portable media center. They have a wireless router and an old problematic dell personal computer. I have a ton of movies that my parents would like to be able to watch.

I considered Getting them a Raspberry Pi with XBMC on it, since everyone seemed to say it would work well, plus I've wanted to tinker with one for a while now.

Their computer is pretty old and slow and probably couldn't handle streaming over wireless too well. Is there a way for me to hook up a large external TV to the Pi and run XBMC on it? Would the performance be "decent" for anything but the LARGEST / High-Bit-Rate Blu-Ray rips?

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You can learn about almost anything using the search. For example nas –  ppumkin Jan 16 '13 at 10:15
    
possible duplicate of What is the simplest way to setup and run XBMC? –  ppumkin Jan 16 '13 at 10:16
    
Your question is generic but you specifically talk about XMBC which is well covered. Plus connecting a Pi to the TV is the least of your problems. Very low quality question and answer! Please search / browse the Q&A before asking a question. Allot of information is already here! –  ppumkin Jan 16 '13 at 10:17
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I can play 1080p films and YouTube videos with no problems.

I also use a 2TB external HDD with it and there are no problems, although the drive has its own external power source.

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Some more details would make your answer really great. –  ppumkin Jan 16 '13 at 10:09
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I have my RPi running Raspbmc off a 4GB class-8 SD card I had spare. It's connected to a Western Digital Elements 1TB external hard drive via a powered 7-port USB hub. The same hub connects it to a Logitech Bluetooth receiver for a keyboard and mouse, but main control is by IR remote, using a DVD Playback Kit for the original XBox - I cracked open the receiver, removed the XBox controller port plug and soldered half a USB cable straight onto the board; LIRC comes pre-installed with Raspbmc and includes the necessary mappings to use the remote with no extra setup. If your TV is less cheap and basic than mine, you can add the RPi as a CEC device in your TV's menu and use the TV's remote to control the RPi via the HDMI connection. Alternatively, there are XBMC remote control apps available for iOS and Android. For that, you'll need an internet connection - my RPi happens to be sitting a handspan away from my router, so I have it connected by Ethernet, but the powered hub provides enough juice to run something like this Edimax WiFi stub antenna if your router is out of Ethernet reach (or you don't want the cable clutter).

With this setup, I can play pretty much anything you care to mention. One of the first things I tested it on was the full HD BluRay version of Avatar, and besides a slightly-longer-than-usual pause before it started playing, there was no trouble at all.

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