Multimedia demo at the Transfer Summit

Some more video for you today, this time not filmed by us (the camera announced that the only SD card I’d brought was corrupted 1.10 mins into Eben’s talk), but by Andy Piper, one of the conference attendees, whom I had a very enjoyable time talking to. Andy filmed this on his phone while I was busy pressing the open-source flesh – thanks very much for putting the video on YouTube, Andy!

What you’re seeing in the video is the Raspberry Pi running h.264 video at 1080p. (We didn’t have the audio hooked up so we could talk to people while it was running.) At the point this video was taken, this demo had been running for about 8 hours. I was busily getting attendees to feel the SoC, to emphasise the fact that it only draws 1W, staying surprisingly cool.

A couple of other notes for today. First of all, we’re aware we’re having sign-up problems with the message board and mailing list. This is because of a shonky MailPress update, which we’re trying to fix at the moment. And secondly, this week’s Slashdot Q&A is with our very own Eben Upton, so if there’s a burning question you’d like to ask him, head over to Slashdot and leave a post.


eggn1n3 avatar

Looking really great! How did most people react on it seeing it live?

liz avatar

There was a total scrum. It was awesome. :)

Andy Piper avatar

It was – very busy stand at Transfer Summit (I was an attendee!)

rickyjames avatar

Too bad he didn’t focus on your QR code for 5 or 10 seconds – but otherwise awesome. The size comparison with the biz card was impressive – a trick you should try to get in all future videos of the Alpha board, perhaps?

liz avatar

At the mo, it’s about x2 the size of a business card, but the perspective in the vid made it look rather more impressively small than that!

Andy Piper avatar

Yeah sorry about that. All a bit of a rush with a mobile. Basically it looks like it could get to the size of an business card, the perspective in the video wasn’t clear.

Jez avatar

The best thing to compare with is a credit card (upside down of course) since they’re the same size internationally.

Or some dimensions in centimetres of course! ;)

liz avatar

We don’t have exact dimensions yet (which is why you’re not seeing them) – final artwork won’t be completed until we’ve finished the round of work we’re on with the hardware at the moment, which involves sending versions of the schematics back and forth between several people a vast number of times, taking things out, rerouting stuff and generally fiddling, to try to optimise for performance and cost. The artwork should be back in a couple of weeks, at which point I can give you the final dimensions in actual, real-life, internationally recognised measurement units!

NimbyDagda avatar

I am so annoyed I missed this. So I might try and push my luck, since you are already in the Oxford area we have a BarCamp this weekend, and I am sure people would really love to have some sessions with the R-Pi. Admittedly I realise you are very busy and will already be back in Cambridge, but thought I would ask.

liz avatar

I’m sorry! It’d have been really nice to come, but we’re already back in Cambridge, and Eben and I are in Cornwall this weekend.

Laurence avatar

Is the R Pi using hardware h264 decoding? Can it play other similar formats (such as XviD or Matroska) at a similar speed and resolution?

liz avatar

Yes, and yes. Good, innit? :)

Laurence avatar

It’s very impressive, I was really asking because I’ve seen hardware before that’s been able to play h264 very quickly and easily, and yet struggles with all the formats I actually use myself because the hardware decoder is essentially only compatible with h264.

Still, I have enough other planned uses for these things that I’ll buy a couple and see how they do!

Andrew avatar

What was the bit rate of the file?

rebel avatar

For various reasons I am very interested in whether WebM could be hardware assisted/accelerated by the hardware on the Raspberry Pi?

If not right now, what’s missing?

liz avatar

A video codec block that’s WebM aware is what’d be needed – it would have needed to go in when we were designing the hardware. We did some studies about how much we could accelerate WebM, but pushing it past VGA looks challenging.

Matthew CONSTERDINE avatar

The raspberry pi is looking really great and I cannot wait for it to be released.

Michael avatar

_drool_ I can’t wait to get my hands on one and to start coding :-)

Jonb avatar

Good stuff!!!
How fully implemented is the HDMI? Does it support HDMI audio out? CEC?

liz avatar

It’s a full implementation.

Jonb avatar


Will there be educational packs made available to help people get started with school/college clubs?

Dred avatar

It`s Ubuntu ? Gnome 2 ? Mplayer ?

Michael avatar

From the video, it didn’t look like there was a window manager at all for that particular demo. It definitely looked like a command line video player. My hopes are that was mplayer running, as it is my favorite media player :-)

Ubuntu won’t be great for Raspberrypi because 9.04 (I think) was the last one that will support ARMv6. Debian, which Ubuntu was based off of, should be a great choice though. As far as I know, there armel version should continue to work on ARMv6.

Gnome is a pretty memory hungry windowing environment. With a low memory embedded device like this, I’d suspect you’d want something much more light weight. I’d guess you can still run your favorite gtk and gnome applications though with the proper libraries from the repos.

jamesh avatar

Correct on Ubuntu. Also on the video player which is a custom one. We have tried LXDE desktop and that seems to work nicely.

Dred avatar

you can try use OpenBox and Awesome and use Arch like native OS.

I asked my question becouse I wanna know how did you start HD video. What software did you use

Andy Piper avatar

I believe they stated elsewhere that it is a custom video player. What I *saw*, was Eben putting an SD card in the board, booting it, the console starting, and the movie playing. What I previously saw was it running what looked more like a Linux distro with desktop environment.

Andy Piper avatar

Before I saw the video demo (which did run over a console) I had seen it running a desktop, which I thought was GNOME 2, but it sound like might be LXDE from other comments from the RPI team.

liz avatar

Yup – LXDE. :)

Nolan avatar

Wish I could have been there. Glad to see how well the alpha boards handle various roles.

Considering how MailPress is kind of buggy at the moment, what might the problem be with the forums (which I believe are using bbPress)? I’ve tried registering using three different browsers across three different connections to no avail.

Sander avatar

Liz, with all the publicity on the geek sites (slashdot, geek, etc), you have an extra problem: determine how many raspi boards you need to manufacture. Do you a plan how to estimate that number?

Sander avatar

Ah: “our initial batch has to be 10k for reasons we’ve discussed elsewhere”

Thank you.

Peter avatar

Even so I know and liked the Movie and do know the backgrond …. whose idea was it to show nazi symbols on something which is more or less a promotion video?

For real now, wtf?

Daniel avatar

Probably some hindu/buddhist guy… ?

Andy Piper avatar

It was just a film – Liz did offer to put something else on, I said leave it – I really didn’t think people would obsess on anything so unrelated. So if you want to “blame” someone, blame the guy who waved his phone in front of it… but seriously.

Ralph Corderoy avatar

Unfortunately, RPi is getting international attention and attitudes differ so next time it’s probably worth picking a non-animation HD trailer that’s less likely to irk someone, somewhere. Clearly, Brad Pitt must remain. His career can only benefit from RPi’s endorsement and perhaps one day he can return the favour.

Peter avatar

Nope … no hindu or whatsoever.

Maybe it was kind of unnecessary to post my opinion about this topic. But honestly, that’s what I thought.

Anyway, I’m still exited and will certainly buy one … or two :-) Keep up the good work!

[…] Оригинал This entry was posted in Videos. Bookmark the permalink. © 2011 Columbia University Contact Us […]

Shimshon avatar

I’ve read a little about the r-pi. It seems like it would be an ideal board for robotics applications, if the GPU were available for more than just 3D and video. Do you know of any plans to develop an API for these kinds of uses?

aesptux avatar

Absolutely amazing!

I would buy one, and I will talk about this to my friends.

Keep going! :)

Dan avatar

Is the video running from the sd card or the lan?

Is it possible to run a video from an sd card?

liz avatar

It’s coming straight off the SD card.

jeremywho avatar

Take my money please!

Take it already!!!

RISC avatar


What about shipping and payment from other countries? (Ukraine, Russia, USA, etc…)
What cost of shipping? And how we will pay for Raspberry Pi? (Paypal, MoneyBookers, Google Checkout)

liz avatar

We don’t have charges yet because we’re still not set on a carrier, but you can get a flavour for the sort of charges you’ll be seeing from You’ll be able to use a card, PayPal or various offline methods (useful if you want to avoid transaction fees).

Demetris avatar

Will it be able to stream Full HD 1080P from server through samba+nfs?
Can openelec be ported on it? <-would be great!@!
Can it handle a touch screen for android port? Ice cream sandwich on it would be greater!

jamesh avatar

ICS requires a more powerful Arm than Armv6 I’m afraid.

It should be able to stream full HD1080P30 over the network, although I’m not sure its been tried yet although it’s the same SoC as the Roku2 which already does that sort of think.

waiter avatar

To see it run video is nice, but not enough. Question: how much speed in I/O transfer over ethernet? For example, to join an usb hard disk and to transfer through ehernet using a “scp” command, How much to move an iso DVD image? In other words, how much is the transfer rate?
To be clear:
I ask because i think to a possible use of raspberry as cheap/silent NAS.
(please, don’t answer “we dont know” but provide a simple test, i think it will not eat to much time…)

jamesh avatar

Sorry, but you are going to get a ‘Don’t know’ answer. They are all valid questions, but we don’t have time to test any of that at the moment- it’s not core to the basic reasons behind the device. There is higher priority stuff that needs doing.

That said I do intend on trying a USB HDat some point, but it will be tested over a wireless network as I don’t have a hard link (or crossed network cable) I can use at the moment.

waiter avatar

“We have not time” and “is not this the main reason behaind the divice” make me unhappy, but i can understand (the pressure of deploy, deadline is aproaching etc).
To know there is not a cheap crosscable avayable in your hardware toolkit make me shocked. :S
I hope a large community will soon grow around this device as soon as it will get ready, so we – the customers – can at least test by ourself (and share) info because they lacks from developers. I/O bandwidth is a parameter that *MUST* be knew… Anyway, thanks to you when I/O wireless bandwith will be public.

jamesh avatar

Haven t used a cross over cable in 10 years. Might be one in the drawer somewhere I suppose.

I plan to do a speed test copying from the raspi SD card to USB drive over the weekend – wont be trying over a wired network though.

Last night I was occasionally getting over 1MB second doing scp from desktop to Raspi vcia wireless G. However, I’m using staging drivers for the wireless so its a bit erratic – would stall occasionally. Always recovered and was still connected via SSH this morning.

liz avatar

I should point out that although James is visible to you guys because he and Gert are the only devs posting here, we do have a lot of other people working on the device, and many of those are working on the sort of project you’re talking about. It’s just not James’ job to be dealing with I/O bandwidth; I don’t necessarily talk to the other devs on more than a fortnightly basis, so it’s not like we’re receiving daily updates I can point you at. If you wait until release, a lot of these questions will be answered for you.

I hope you can tamp down the unhappiness until then!

DP avatar

No offense to anyone here, but I just got a major CYBERWOODIE watching that video :-)…huzzah! For the Linuxheads out there…is there a way to do parallel processing stuff across ARM? That would be AWESOME if so; kind of like a Redundant Array of Inexpensive Compute Nodes.

Also – is the ethernet still stuck at a max of 100Mbps?

Awesome stuff, guys!

waiter avatar

The matter is: what kind of calculatiuon you have to do? In this case (numbercrunching) the cutting edge are elaboration on GPU (big power) or FPGA (little size, few electrical power needed).
Unfortunately, you have to find by yourself the best device in function of some parameter as:
– hardware costs
– electrical power needed
– size
– time-to-results
– only-you-know-else.

jamesh avatar

Would a Cyberwoodie be similar to a full on robo chubby?

As to parallel processing, multiple boards could be networked in a cluster fairly easily we think.

In a way the board itself is already parallel (SIMD and MIMD!) – the GPU has multiple vector and other cores, that are all used whilst doing video ops. However, you cannot get programmable access to that stuff.

waiter avatar

my previous question mysteriously disappeared :(

jamesh avatar

It was waiting approval – answers above.

Yld avatar

Yeah, Thank You for sharing this video :)

it’s astonishing !

argus avatar

Has JoeMonco weighed in on this at all? I can’t form an opinion without help from JoeMonco.

James avatar

How many units will go for sale in Novemeber?

liz avatar

Our first batch will be 10k units.

MmmPi avatar

Does anyone have an idea of what the demand for the first batch will be like? More to the point any idea how long it will last? Interest seems quite high & there may be large orders by some. Will there be a limit on order quantity if needed?

Daniel avatar

Stop teasing me :(

Emmanouel Kapernaros avatar

Hello! How is it possible to cost only 25$ ? Is this only the cost of manufacturing?
I cant wait to be released! Congratulations!

jamesh avatar

The Model A is $25, that the price to the end user. It’s sold close to cost, with just enough to keep the charity running.

And thanks!

[…] that it has received nearly 50k hits on YouTube in just 4 days, probably helped by an appearance on the Raspberry Pi blog and also in a feature on […]

[…] et je pense qu’on est tous très impatients de voir ce petit joujou arriver chez nous hein ?[source] Share Tweet Publié par Lorris le 12 septembre, 2011 avec 0 commentaire dans la catégorie […]

Waldemar avatar

Wow. This device sounds awsome!
I allready toled all my friends about it xD . I whould like to use it as a media center as well. For a pice of 35$ (for the LAN model) I’m going to buy it anyway just to get testing what can be done with it.

Great work!
I can’t wait.

Is there any announcement regarding the release date?

jamesh avatar

Still planned for end of November.

smithh avatar

Amazing achievement. Cannot wait for one. Howard Smith.

emb3dd3d avatar

bad a$$! just what I need to take over the world!

eivl avatar

From where will you ship it when it is ready? some place in UK?

Patrick Oberdorf avatar

hey cool,
i can use it for XBMC then?

liz avatar

The XBMC guys are hacking furiously on an alpha – keep your fingers crossed, but at the moment things are looking good.

cnxsoft avatar

Are you using OpenMAX IL to play the 1080p video or another interface ?

I understand you used a custom player, is the source code available ?

I can see XBMC team is currently working on OpenMAX implementation, so I suppose I probably should look at this…

liz avatar

It’s OpenMAX IL. The source code isn’t available, but we’ll be making something available at launch.

Zerg Zergin avatar

Yes, seriously…. I’d like to be able to play video like this from CLI without having to framebuffer from mplayer. Or is this similar in concept? I hope source comes out soon :D

[…] mouse will be required as well as a TV with coaxial or HMDI input; the Raspberry Pi is capable of full 1080p video output. A power adaptor or batteries will also be required; a standard phone charger will work with the […]

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