The transformation in technology started in the 1970s. Ability for accessing data at the click of a mouse or at the touch of a button was introduced during this period.
Progress in technology has transformed computers from stored in large warehouses to devices that can be carried in your pocket or on your wrist. With technology evolving everyday, there is a lot to learn about technology. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is attempting to bridge the gap by creating a chance to learn programming languages.
5 Things You Need To Know About Raspberry Pi
1. What Is Raspberry Pi?
A small single-board computer named raspberry pi appeared on the market about nine years ago, in 2012. This device is considered a low-cost computer with the size of a credit card. It plugs into a TV or a computer monitor and utilizes a mouse and a standard keyboard.
It is a small device that allows people of any age to explore computing and learn programming languages such as Python, and Scratch. This device can perform tasks equivalent to a desktop computer. These tasks include, creating spreadsheets, browsing the internet, playing games, playing HD videos, word processing, etc.
Raspberry pi has a chip system, that integrates the GPU and CPU into an integrated circuit. RAM, USB ports, other components are included in the circuit board. It has no onboard storage. But it contains a slot for an SD card to store your files and operating system. This device doesn’t need much power. Raspberry pi on average cost around $35. So, it is considered a cheap computer.
This single-board computer can run Linux. It gives GPIO pins (general purpose input/output) that enable you to govern electronic components for physical computing. It also helps for exploring the Internet of Things (IoT). Currently, Raspberry Pi is considered a dream machine for home streaming, gaming consoles, VPN servers, and all types of projects. But if you want to make a project using this device, you need to learn the basics.
2. Raspberry Pi Computers
Around 12.5 million raspberry pi computers are sold worldwide by the Raspberry Pi foundation in the last 5 years. Over time the demand for this device is increasing. The latest model of this device can do most of the tasks that computers can do. However, the truth is that there are some basic differences between a normal computer and a raspberry pi device that cannot be ignored.
Since the Raspberry Pi devices launched in the market, this technology revolutionized people’s thoughts. There are several generations of this device, including raspberry pi 1 to 4, and raspberry pi 400. We can see Models A and B common in most variants. The Model A is a cheaper variant with limited ports (such as Ethernet and USB) and less RAM. Pi Zero is considered as a spinoff of the Pi 1 generation and it is cheaper and smaller. The list of generations is given below.
- Pi 1 Model B (2012)
- Pi 1 Model A (2013)
- Pi 1 Model B+ (2014)
- Pi 1 Model A+ (2014)
- Pi 2 Model B (2015)
- Pi Zero (2015)
- Pi 3 Model B (2016)
- Pi Zero W (2017)
- Pi 3 Model B+ (2018)
- Pi 3 Model A+ (2019)
- Pi 4 Model A (2019)
- Pi 4 Model B (2020)
- Pi 400 (2021)
- Pi Pico (2021)
Raspberry Pi 1
The first generation of this device (Model B) was launched in February 2012. After that, they released Model A. It has 256 MB of RAM and a smaller single-core 700MHz CPU. The GPIO of this version is too small. The Raspberry Pi foundation released a board by improving the design in the name of Model B + in 2014.
These first-generation boards contain ARM11 processors. They are nearly the size of a credit card. After that, the improved model A + was launched. A+ and B+ models have a RAM of 512 MB. In April 2014, a computer module was launched for embedded applications.
Raspberry Pi 2
It was launched in February 2015. It had a 900 MHz 32-bit ARM Cortex-A7 quad-core processor. The RAM of the device was 1 GB. It is a small PC that can be utilized for several things that desktop PCs do. The design of this device was based on the Broadcom BCM2837 system. A 5V adapter with Micro USB connectivity is used to power the board. This device can run on operating systems such as RaspBMC, Rasbian, RISC OS, Arch Linux, OpenELEC, Windows 10, and Pidora.
Raspberry Pi 3
In February 2016, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B was launched. It has a 1.2 GHz 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor. Also, it had features such as USB boot, onboard 802.11n wifi, and Bluetooth. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ was released in 2018. It includes features such as gigabit Ethernet, a 2.4 / 5 GHz dual-band 802.11ac wifi, network boot, Power over Ethernet (PoE), HDMI & composite video output, USB boot, and 40-pin GPIO connector.
It had a RAM of 1 GB and a 1.4 GHz processor. This Raspberry Pi can run operating systems such as Ubuntu Mate, official Raspbian OS, Snappy Ubuntu Core, the non-Linux based Risc OS, the Kodi-based media centres LibreElec, and OSMC.
Raspberry Pi 4
In June 2019, the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B was launched. It has a 1.5 GHz 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 quad-core processor. It includes features such as Bluetooth 5, onboard 802.11ac Wi-Fi, full gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and dual-monitor support through micro HDMI ports. It is up to 4K resolution. The Pi 4 variants have a RAM of 2 to 8 GB.
The Raspberry Pi 4 also operates through a USB-C port. It allows providing extra power to the downstream peripherals when utilized in the appropriate PSU. There was a design flaw in the initial Raspberry Pi 4 board. There were third-party e-marked USB cables, as utilized on MacBooks, that is incorrectly identified and denied to supply power.
This design flaw was resolved in the board’s revision 1.2 and released at the end of 2019. In November 2020, the Raspberry Pi 400 was released. Pi 400 has a custom board. It was originated from the existing Raspberry Pi 4. Mainly, it was developed by attaching a keyboard. There was a robust cooling solution in this version.
It is similar to the one that we can see in Commodore 64. It enables the Broadcom BCM2711C0 processor of Raspberry Pi 400 to be clocked at 1.8 GHz. It is a little higher than the Raspberry Pi 4. This keyboard-computer has a RAM of 4 GB.
Raspberry Pi Zero
The Raspberry Pi Zero was released in November 2015. It was smaller in size. Also, it had features such as GPIO (general-purpose input/output) and reduced input/output (I/O). The cost of this device was US $5. The Raspberry Pi Zero W was released on 28 February 2017. This version was similar to Pi Zero.
But, it had additional capabilities such as Bluetooth and wifi. The cost of this device was US$10. The Raspberry Pi Zero WH was released on 12 January 2018. This device was similar to Zero W. But, it had pre-soldered general-purpose input/output (GPIO) headers.
Raspberry Pi Pico
In January 2021, the Raspberry Pi Pico was launched. The retail price of this device was $4. It was the first board, that is based on a single microcontroller chip. The RAM of this device was 264 KB. Also, the flash memory of this device was 2 MB. It was programmable in programming languages such as MicroPython, C, and CircuitPython.
They have partnered with Adafruit, Vilros, Arduino, SparkFun, and Pimoroni to create Accessories for this device. Also, they had an aim to create different types of other boards utilizing the RP2040 Silicon Platform. The Pico was mainly designed for physical computing rather than performing the role of a normal computer.
3. How The Raspberry Pi 4 Differs From Its Antecedents
The Raspberry Pi 4 is the latest generation of the Raspberry Pi computers. The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is more capable and faster than its antecedent, the Pi 3 Model B +. The main processor of the board offers three times the performance of the processor of Pi 3 at some benchmarks. Unlike its antecedents, the new board can play 4K video at 60 frames per second, which improves the media centre credentials of Pi.
However, this does not mean that all videos will play smoothly. Support for hardware acceleration for H.265-encoded video is in progress across the different operating systems of the Pi. So this will be a valuable feature in the future. The built-in Bluetooth and wifi help the Raspberry Pi 4 to support wireless internet. The board can boot directly from a pen drive or USB-attached hard drive.
Also, it will support boot from a network-attached file system by utilizing PXE after future firmware updates. The usage of a network-attached drive will be beneficial for updating a Pi remotely. Also, it will help to share OS images between machines. Raspberry Pi 4 can run as a budget desktop.
With the transition to online services from software, the browser became the most used application. Pi 4 gives a good performance in that. In the weeks following the release of the Raspberry Pi 4, areas that are not performing well on the Raspbian desktop were associated with video playback. However, this will need to be addressed through future software updates, and work to improve 4K playback on media centre OS like LibreELEC.
Although, the Pi 4 performs well as a thin client. While working as a thin client for Windows 10, the performance is almost identical to operating a modern Windows 10 PC. Based on the experiments, the maximum power consumption of the Raspberry Pi 4 is approximately 7.6 Watts when it is under load. The power consumption is 3.4 Watts when it is idle.
The official OS of the Raspberry Pi 4 includes the Chromium browser. It is an open-source browser based on Chrome. As noted, the performance of the browser on the Raspberry Pi 4 is good. But, there is a little delay on heavy sites. However, this will be fixed with an update. With the help of emulators such as Retropie, the Raspberry Pi 4 can run a wide range of games.
The Raspberry Pi 4 can operate a wide range of systems. It includes the official Raspbian OS, Snappy Ubuntu Core, Ubuntu Mate, non-Linux-based Risk OS, Kodi-based media centres LibreElec, and OSMC. It can also operate Windows 10 IoT core. It will be good if you are keeping Raspberry Pi 4 in a case to protect it from damage. Raspberry Pi 4 is not fit for previous Pi’s cases due to the change in layout.
4. About Raspberry Pi Foundation
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is considered a charitable organization. It is registered with the Charity Commission for Wales and England. In 2008, the board of trustees was formed. In May 2009, the Raspberry Pi Foundation was launched as a charity that is registered in England. The Raspberry pi foundation is working to bring the power of digital making and computing to people around the world.
The headquarters of Raspberry Pi Foundation was moved to Station Road, Cambridge in 2016. The University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and Broadcom supports this organization. CoderDojo and Code Club are considered as a part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. However, both clubs are platform-independent. They are not affiliated with Raspberry Pi hardware.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is promoting these clubs and helping to grow their worldwide network to assure that all children have a chance for studying computing. Also, they are conducting raspberry pi focused events such as raspberry Jams. It is conducted as a gathering place for people of all ages to learn about the raspberry pi and share projects and ideas.
The project co-founder of the raspberry pi foundation, named Eben Upton is a former academic. He is presently working as an associate technical director and system-on-chip architect at Broadcom. Philip Colligan is the current CEO of the foundation. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is working as a nonprofitable organization. It receives 99 per cent of its chips and SoCs from Broadcom at cost.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is depending on the revenue from the sale of raspberry pi devices to run charitable activities in the field of education. They are doing this so that more people can utilize the power of digital technologies and computing for their work, solve problems, and show themselves creatively.
They educate millions of young people in digital making and computing skills via a network of events and clubs and creating partnerships with organizations. They help to enable any school to provide a chance for students to learn computer science and computing by giving teachers the best training, resources, and curriculum.
They work to exacerbate their awareness of how people learn about digital making and computing and to utilize that information to maximize the effectiveness of their work, and to improve the area of computing education. They are helping to make digital making and computing attainable to all people by giving single-board computers with high performance and low cost.
5. Is It Possible To Utilize The Raspberry Pi as a Media Centre?
One of the best usages of Raspberry Pi is as a media centre. All models can provide a low-power, affordable, compact, media centre solution. There are several raspberry pi media server options. It can handle almost all types of media, ranging from audio-only solutions to video servers. Some of them are given below. Let’s discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and features of each.
- Plex Media Server
- Pi Music Box
ReadyMedia (formerly MiniDLNA) is server software that aims to be compliant with UPnP / DLNA clients. It delivers files such as images, music, and video to clients on a network. ReadyMedia needs to be installed on a standard Raspberry Pi OS. The installation begins by mounting a disk drive that includes media data.
After that, you should utilize the standard installation command. Unlike the other examples here, it needs some manual configuration. Once installed, your Pi device can detect any DLNA-compatible device on the same network. The media can be streamed to the device via the Pi DLNA media server. Ready Media is easily configurable, fast, and lightweight.
Kodi is an open-source and free media player software application. It is created by the XBMC Foundation. They are known as a non-profit technology group. Kodi is accessible for multiple hardware platforms, and operating systems. There are numerous Kodi media server raspberry pi builds available. It includes full distros like OSMC and LibreElec.
You can access LibreElec for Raspberry Pi 4, but OSMC is not presently available beyond Pi 3. You can install Kodi on the existing Pi operating system manually. If you have a Kodi-based distro, you do not require a media server as already have. You can enable music libraries and share videos via UPnP.
Mopidy is an extensible music server. It is written in Python. Mopidy can play music from Spotify, local disc, TuneIn, and SoundCloud. Also, you can edit the playlist from any tablet, phone or computer utilizing a variety of web clients. You can install Mopidy on a Pi device, that is embedded in a retro cassette player.
The audio playback is through a custom Mopidy extension with the volume and buttons hooked up to the GPIO of the Pi device. The NFC tags included in the cassettes will prompt playback of particular Spotify playlists. This is an example of how the extension support of Mopidy can improve audio enjoyment.
It is a Debian based Linux Distribution to create a NAS ( Network Attached Storage) System. It gives Multi-language support, a web-based interface, Bittorrent, Volume Management, iSCSI capabilities. OpenMediaVault contains a set of third-party and official plugins that you can install and utilize depending on your requirements. Also, OpenMediaVault will be a good choice for Pi.
Because it will allow you to access the media files from any device on the same network. It supports an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). It also supports file systems such as EXT3/EXT4/XFS/JFS. FTP, SSH, SMB, RSync and TFTP are all will support direct connection to the OpenMediaVault device.
Plex Media Server
It is a digital media player. This tool will allow you to access the pictures, videos, and music stored on your computer with a compatible mobile device or another computer. The free version of Plex covers most of the features that most users required. If you want to easily stream from a media server or a desktop to your Raspberry Pi, you should try Plex.
Plex can be utilized for streaming content to all types of devices. Plex requires that your files be named in a certain format. This allows the software to retrieve suitable metadata from the web. Doing so provides details about the media files such as DVD covers, albums, and tracklists in your library.
Pi Music Box
Pi MusicBox is known as the “Swiss Army Knife of streaming music” of Raspberry Pi. It is a music server. It can stream cloud audio to a connected speaker. By using Pi Musicbox, you can make a streaming music player cheaply for Google Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, podcasts, web radio, and other music from the cloud. This will not drain your phone’s battery while playing music.
Even if you are playing a game on your phone, the music will not stop. It has features such as wireless connectivity with Spotify Connect, USB audio support, DLNA streaming, and AirPlay/AirTunes. So, you can playback music that is served through your Raspberry Pi on any tablet, Smart TV, or mobile. Unfortunately, since 2019, it has not been updated.
It is a media server developed to play and stream video and audio to different devices. With Emby, you can set up parental controls. So, it is considered the best family-based media server that is suitable for Raspberry Pi. It can perform multiple roles such as audio server, video server, and photo server. Emby simplifies the streaming of content from and to your server by adding DLNA support to Raspberry Pi. There are many options available for installing Emby. The easiest way is to utilize the DietPi low-footprint Raspberry Pi distribution.
Raspberry Pi can make a world of possibilities. Raspberry Pi can bring out-of-reach things to you near you with user-friendly, and accessible technology. Programming and coding may not be suitable for all, but everyone can try them. Some people are buying a Pi for learning to code. The people who already know to code, utilize Pi for physical projects. Raspberry Pi can help you to create opportunities to build your home automation projects. There will be never a deficit of ideas due to the growth of the f community of enthusiasts. They will continue to discover imaginative and new ways for the working of their Pi.
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