We want to thank everyone who has commented, asked questions and provided feedback so far. All of your input is much appreciated and has given us lots to think about and work on over the past few days. We have made some updates to the MediaBox based on this and more will be coming over the next few months. These will be pushed out via our automatic update system.
Here are some screenshots of the latest build:
We have also been working on a new video to show off more of the features and things you can do with MediaBox.
What is it?
The Picotec MediaBox is alive and kicking. An amazing device that will stream videos, films, tv, music and photos from any device to your TV over wifi. It goes the other way too! Stream your videos, music and photos to any device in your home over wifi.
Note that DRM content cannot be streamed as this would be naughty!
Stream video, music and photos to your HD TV in 1080p
Watch your videos, play music or browse your photos on any tablet or smartphone
Pull from everywhere! We can access the content on your PC, MAC, NAS or just about any device and present it as a master catalog to all your devices
No more hooking up your laptop or games console to the TV to access online streams. The MediaBox brings all the internet streams you love to the TV hassle free.
Under the hood it is a Raspberry Pi running a custom debian linux image and a specially compiled version of XBMC designed to get the most out of the hardware. It is all preconfigured to Just Work. So plug it in and start watching straight away.
Who are we?
We are Picotec. And Picotec are Dave and Jonty. Dave has a long and boring background starting in engineering and moving into construction. But at heart he loves his gadgets which is why he jointly formed Picotec with Jonty so that they could make great gadgets for themselves and to bring to the world.
Jonty is a geek in the truest sense. He started building his own computers and media centres at a young age and managed to make an IT career out of it. Having spent many years looking after hundreds of thousands of PCs for customers he has returned to his roots. Taking all of the best features he wanted to have in a Media Center and combining them into a box the size of 2 decks of cards his geek nirvana was achieved. To date no good photos have ever been taken of Jonty but he introduced the video above.
Tell me more about what is does...
There are all the Internet channels you could wish for such as iPlayer, ITV Player, Khan Academy, TED Talks, DailyMotion, Break.com, The Onion and many many more. You can use your iPhone, iPad or Android devices to control the unit using DLNA, CEC or HTTP and push content through the box to your television or stream from the MediaBox to any device. It even has a web interface so you can control it through a browser. Its simple to use and gives you control of all your media.
For the technical people out there it supports the following protocols:
UPnP DLNA Renderer
UPnP DLNA Server
Windows Networking (SMB, Samba, CIFS)
ZeroConf (AirPlay browser)
You can also store media on your device and take it with you so you can view your content where ever you are. Best of all its great value, not ring fenced and no subscriptions. We will even provide updates online to further enhance the MediaBox as time goes on.
All of the components that make up the MediaBox are under active development and the software that provides these great features will add more features over time. Unlike other media devices which aim to encourage you to upgrade to a new device every year we will continue to bring you the latest features and technology as they become available and are proven to be stable and user friendly.
All the funds will be used to manufacture and further develop, market and distribute the device to everyone that wants freedom to control their media.
Give me the technical stuff...
The MediaBox is built on top of the Raspberry Pi hardware platform. We use a Rev B board with 512 Mb of onboard memory. The full technical specs of the hardware can be found at http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs.
The first prototype was built in March. Here it is:
With the case on:
The Wifi adapter uses the Realtek RTL8192CU Chipset. This runs at a maximum of 150Mbps on the Raspberry Pi platform. The full technical specifications are:
Complies with IEEE 801.11n IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11b standards 1x1/1x2 modes STBC Support for Extended Range Legacy and High Throughput Modes 20MHz/40MHz bandwidth Reverse Direction Data Flow and Frame Aggregation WEP 64/128, WPA, WPA2 Support Multiple BSSID Support Provides USB 2.0 Hi-Speed interface Cisco CCX V1.0 V2.0 V3.0 Compliance Low Power with Advanced Power Management Works with Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 2000, Raspberry Pi Internal Antenna Standard: IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11b, CSMA/CA with ACK Interface: USB2.0 Frequency Range:2.4GHz-2.4835GHz Radio Data Rate: 11N:150/54/28/14/7/3(adaptive) 11G: 54/28/14/7/3 (adaptive) 11b: 11/5.5/2/1M (adaptive) Channel: 1~11 (US, Canada); 1~13 (Europe) ; 1~14 (Japan) Spread Spectrum: DSSS Modulation: BPSK, QPSK, CCK and OFDM (BPSK/QPSK/16-QAM/ 64-QAM) Transmission Distance: Indoor up to 100m, outdoor up to 300m Transmit Power: 15dBm Antenna plus: 2X2dBi LED Indicator: Status Data Security: WPA; 64/128-bit WEP; TKIP/AES Environment: Operating Temperature: 0°C~40(32~104) Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
First boot of the prototype Picotec MediaBox:
We have partnered with a UK electronics manufacturer and supplier to source the best volume discounts for our components. To achieve the best discount for each item we need to do an initial production run of 1,000 devices. The components for each MediaBox include:
1 x Raspberry Pi 1 x Realtek Wifi Network Adapter 1 x Picotec Case 1 x SD Card pre-loaded and tested with the Picotec MediaBox software image 1 x HDMI cable 1 x Power Cable
All assembly and distribution occurs in Milton Keynes. Our supplier assembles and tests each complete MediaBox prior distribution to ensure each box is fully functional.
Risks and challenges
The software development is complete and the hardware ready to go. Its a small step to a fully functional model ready for distribution. Our challenges are to initiate the first production run of 1,000 units and to distribute the device. Funding will also support the ongoing development of the product and all updates will be released to the community through the automatic update system built into the box.
Yes, there is a USB port available on the box and you can connect an external disk to this. It will automatically appear on the MediaBox and is also shared on your network as \\picotecmediabox\devices. We recommend using a powered USB hub for external drives as we do not deliver very much power through the USB port.
That is a complicated question with a lot of answers. In short, almost all of the devices we have tested with the MediaBox worked well. We have tested Media Center IR remote controls, wired and wireless keyboards and mice, CEC television remotes, external hard disks, any network attached storage device and much more. So far we have not encountered any device that the MediaBox could not talk to although some IR remotes are better than others. A good rule of thumb is if it works with XBMC then it will work happily with the MediaBox.
Yes, up to 8 USB disks can be connected to the MediaBox and will appear under \\picotecmediabox\devices. They can then be seen and used by any network connected device that can see Windows shares. In addition they can be indexed by the MediaBox to identify videos, music and pictures.
Every pound counts. To thank you for backing the project we will list you as a Bronze backer on the honours roll of backers on our website and keep you posted on developments as the project progresses.
A Picotec pen as well as a thank you for backing the project as a Silver backer on the honours roll of backers on our website and we will of course keep you posted on developments as the project progresses.
A limited edition hand made French Polished Mahogany MediaBox Pro with 32Gb (Wifi up to 150Mbps). Made by one of the top antique furniture and restoration workshops in the UK. This will look amazing in any home and will fit perfectly with antique furniture as a real show piece. Not only that but you will receive a thank you on the website as a Platinum backer!
Not only will you receive a 32Gb MediaBox with Wifi up to 150Mbps, you will also receive an exclusive invite to our London launch party! Here you will be wined and dined, get to meet the team and see a live demo of some of the exciting features of the MediaBox you may not have discovered yet.
We are not sure if anyone has this much money to burn, but if they do then we have a very special reward. In exchange for your generous support we will add your photo, logo or name to the boot screen of the MediaBox for all to see everytime they start up the system. Forever after you will be recognised as the Diamond backer of the project. Oh, and we'll throw in a MediaBox 32Gb with Wifi as well. :-)