Ask LH: Will A Raspberry Pi Media Centre Cut My Electricity Bill?

Hey Lifehacker, I use XBMC to watch TV at home on a fairly old PC. I’ve been told I can migrate this over to a Raspberry Pi and save on electricity, but will this actually be worth it? Thanks, Pi-Eyed

Title image: Denise Kappa (Shutterstock), maymak (Shutterstock), Pakhnyushcha (Shutterstock), Anan Kaewkhammul (Shutterstock), and Elena Terletskaya (Shutterstock)

Dear Pi-Eyed,

It is indeed possible to set up a media centre running XBMC on the Raspberry Pi — we have detailed instructions on how to do that. Such a media centre will certainly consume less power than your current box. That won’t necessarily make a massive dent in your power bill (home heating and cooling remain the major offenders here), but every little bit helps.

That said, it’s worth recognising that a Raspberry Pi media centre has some limitations: it won’t play back 1080p content reliably, and it won’t offer access to streaming media. If those features matter to you, consider buying (or building) a new media centre machine. A newer PC should consume less power (and be less noisy) than your old one. Whatever you choose to build, good luck!


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