I eventually got round to ordering a Raspberry Pi Model B (512MB RAM). As you probably know this is a £25 ($35) computer running a 700MHz ARM processor and capable of decoding displaying HiDef 1080p video.
I got one to experiment with as a media player for daughter #1 room, so she could watch the videos / DVDs I’ve ripped to the home server. It took around 30 minutes to realise exactly how easy this would be and how powerful these little babies are.
I wont go into detail, but to get XBMC running on it is a case of downloading the SD card image, writing to the card, plugging it all in and off you go. Testing it on my main TV, I found that I could even control XBMC from the TV remote (CEC over HDMI) – however on daughter #1 TV that didn’t work so I bought one of these remotes : GMYLE® Windows 7 Vista XP Media Center MCE PC Remote Control and Infrared Receiver for Home, Premium and Ultimate Edition : plugged in the IR Receiver and it all worked seamlessly – amazing ‘out of the box’ experience.
I also bought a pink (Raspberry) case with a VESA mount that allowed me to mount it on the back of the TV : Case for Raspberry Pi with adaptor to fit to VESA 100 Monitor – Raspberry Colour
Anyway, it was so easy to use and so well received it is now in constant use – so I needed another to play with… which I also bought. This one I shall be using for projects (robotics with son #1 and fun programming with son+daughter). I’ve already ordered powered USB hub, case, cables, USB sticks and SD cards, as well as a GPIO breakout cable for linking up to a breadboard. Watch this space…