How can I avoid problems streaming 1080p video with Raspberry Pi?

Brandon October 16, 2014
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Good day my fellow geeks. I have been thinking about using a Raspberry Pi as a media center and while doing some research before purchasing my Raspberry Pi I had a few questions. Based on an article I read they said that if I was streaming 720p videos from a computer on my network I will experience no issues however they did say if I stream 1080p I will experience issues so I was wondering if I attach a hard drive to my pi with all my 1080p videos if I will experience issues? I don’t think I should as long as I use the Raspberry Pi B and not A but its better to get the opinion from someone with experience in playing their 1080p videos. I have to get a XBMC remote and SD card also and I wanted to know what will I have to check to ensure they will be compatible.

  1. Jan F.
    October 16, 2014 at 6:49 am

    The best answer I can give you is that I can't give you a definite one.

    You see, not all 1080p videos are the same. The only thing they (should) have in common is the 1980x1080 resolution, progressive scan. The bit-rate however may vary anywhere from about 2Mbit/s (high x264 compression) up to ~200Mbit/s (uncompressed, rarely seen on a users end tho). And that is only one of the problems. Those files usually contain an audio track too which needs to be decoded -> more load to on the hardware.

    If really all your movies are in some 1080p format I personally would suggest to get something that is perfectly capable of handling those.
    Being able to play most of your videos smooth, but not all of them is usually the most frustrating situation. And with hardware getting faster and storage more and more inexpensive the future will likely bring more files the (current) Pi is not able to handle.

    • Brandon
      October 17, 2014 at 3:32 am

      Thank you a lot for that replay Jan F. you saved me a lot of time, money and effort. I was thinking about just removing all my 1080p movies from my HD and replacing them with 720p copies but thats just so much time and after collecting so many 1080p movies I really don't want to delete then and settle for 720p :( Thats when I decided to do some research on another device I was thinking about before and I think I will definitively chose this one somehow. Still gotta research.Its called a G-Box MX2. dont know if you ever heard or used it. Do let me know if you have any knowledge on it or experience using it. and Thanks again Jan F. your advice helped a lot.

    • Jan F.
      October 17, 2014 at 11:23 am

      Frankly, it's the first time I heard of it but I don't do much digging in the media center or HTPC area.

      I did a bit of search and the reviews on Amazon, XBMC forum etc. seem to be fine all together. From what I could gather it had a few hiccups initially which were fixed via updates.

      Their forum also looks solid with most issues being user caused and most of them resolved.

      I suggest you look into those yourself to make your final judgement.