About this project
We're funded !! Thanks so much for all your support. We managed to smash our goal in less than a week!. To keep things moving we going to be revealing some awesome stretch goals over the coming weeks.
We will reveal a new goal every time the current one is reached!
Goal 1 - Free WIFI - £100,000 (Reached!)
Every Slice will be shipped with a USB nano dongle (150mbps / 802.11bgn). These are perfect for light streaming duties and to keep you connected on the road!
Goal 2 - LED App - £110,000 (Reached!)
We'll make a cool web app that will give everyone an easy way to create their own patterns for Slice's LEDs! Customise Slice's default patterns and colours, then save your creations and share them with friends.
Goal 3 - 2TB Hard Drive option! - £130,000 (Reached!)
Many of you have been asking for a version of Slice with more storage - here it is! Even though our slim case only accommodates 9.5mm hard drives, we have sourced and tested a high performance 2TB model. When we reach our goal we will add this larger version as a pledge level.
Goal 4 - Improved Slice! - £150,000 (Reached!)
At £150k we will reveal a new improved Slice! This will be around 25% slimmer (proportionally). We have also been listening very carefully to requests and even though the new case is smaller and lighter we managed to fit a third USB port on there! So 3x USB ports and an awesome new case. Remember this is not an upgrade option everyone will be getting it free of charge!!
Goal 5 - Colour Options! - £170,000 (Reached!)
When we reach Goal 5 we will reveal a range of colour options for Slice. We'll then take a vote and the winning two colours will be available as a free upgrade... You can still choose black, effectively giving you three colours of anodised aluminium to choose from!
Slice is an innovative new media player.
- Connects to your TV via HDMI and will store and play back all of your videos, music and pictures in full HD.
- Has a carefully designed user interface and custom remote control that makes it effortless and fun to use.
- Has an anodised case machined from solid aluminium.
- Features a unique, customisable LED light ring for visual feedback and wow factor!
- Has on-board storage – simply drag and drop your media onto Slice’s hard disk using a single USB connection from any Mac or Windows PC.
- Small and portable – take your media with you to enjoy with friends, family or on trips away.
- Can access media over a network, and has 2 USB ports for connecting extra devices, such as external hard drives.
- Built on open technologies and can be reprogrammed to run alternative open source software.
Created by an expert team passionate about product design, Slice is a media player unlike all others!
Like many products, Slice was conceived to solve a real world problem.
Mo, one of the founders of the project and avid XBMC user, wanted an easy to use, self contained media player that he could take with him on the road and that stored the data on-board rather than needing an internet connection. Not finding anything suitable off the shelf, the idea for Slice was born.
A team of five, including four further founders – people excited by the concept and able to put in the required development effort – came together to form a new company, FiveNinjas Ltd. Design work on Slice then started in earnest.
The vision for Slice was to create something not only aesthetically appealing but also easy to use and with a sense of fun.
The aluminium case and LED lighting system make Slice something you’ll want on display rather than hidden away with all the other generic boxes of electronics under the TV, and adds that all important fun-factor.
A key design goal for Slice was ease of use and we’ve worked hard to build simplicity into both the software and hardware without compromising on features.
Slice runs the popular open source media player software XBMC. XBMC is stable, full-featured and under constant development and improvement within the community. XBMC can also automatically add information and box art to your media files if connected to the internet.
Although XBMC is a superb package its default user interface has many options and is complicated for those who aren’t familiar with it. We have created a new, simple and elegant user interface (or skin) for Slice that runs on top of the core XBMC software.
Different themes can be chosen within our skin to vary the colour scheme and backgrounds. Whichever theme you use the basic layout of the software will never change making navigation simple and intuitive.
It is super easy to load Slice with media – just like a USB hard disk, plug it in to your PC using a single USB cable (no other power cables required!) then simply drag and drop your media files onto Slice and you’re good to go.
We have also designed a remote control that works in harmony with the new Slice interface but also works very well with standard XBMC too. We will ship our remote with every version of Slice giving you total control of the system.
Slice is built on open technologies. The new drivers developed for Slice will be released to the community. Leveraging Open Source software has allowed us to produce Slice and therefore we want to give something back.
Based on the newly released Raspberry Pi Compute Module, Slice can also run many of the other operating systems that also work on the Raspberry Pi. So if you don’t like the supplied software you can load your own and do whatever you like!
Slice will ship with software installed and set up ready to use out of the box – just load your media on to Slice and go.
Why have we created Slice? Because it is something we want to own – we hope that makes it something you want to own and will take pleasure in using.
Most media players are actually streaming devices that feature a number of ‘services’ that supply you with subscription based content or pay per view movies. All of these devices require a constant internet connection to be used as they do not directly store media themselves. We feel that there is a still a need for devices that store and playback your own media files and that can do so without always needing internet connectivity.
With Slice, any newly added media files are scanned once and extended info is then added to the system. You no longer have to be constantly tethered to the internet. Your files are stored locally on Slice’s internal hard drive and his freedom means you can take Slice with you anywhere to enjoy your content.
Because Slice uses a Raspberry Pi Compute Module as its ‘brain’ it uses very little power and needs no active cooling. The end result of this is that Slice is cool when in operation and very quiet. This is ideal for use in home theatre environments and in this way Slice differs from media PCs that use a lot of electricity and need loud fans to keep them cool.
Because Slice is based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module it can run other Operating Systems designed for Raspberry Pi and not just the supplied Slice software. Connect a mouse and keyboard via USB and you have a capable Linux based computer, how you use it is completely up to you!
- Plays HD video files of just about any format
- Supports 3D video files
- Displays photos in full HD
- Plays all your music files (compressed and uncompressed)
- Drag and drop files directly onto Slice by plugging it into your home PC with a single USB cable – it looks just like a USB hard disk!
- Can read media files from its on board hard disk or over a network
- Comes with a custom remote control that uses radio technology, meaning it works from anywhere in a room, no need to point it at the box all the time!
- Can act as an Airplay receiver. Display video and play music wirelessly from your iOS device.
- Can be controlled via iOS and Android devices using the free 'XBMC Remote' app.
- Supports CEC
- Supports third party IR remote controls
- Has a unique LED lighting ring which is synchronised to media player actions (FFW, REW etc.) also user customisable / programmable.
- 2 USB ports for connecting extra devices or media (such as a USB stick, external hard drive or WiFi Dongle).
- Supports high resolution audio output (stereo analogue up to 192kHz/24 bit or optical for 5.1 passthrough).
- Low power (uses under 15W of power during use, less than 1W during standby).
- Open and hackable!
- BCM2835 SoC (700MHz ARM11 CPU + Powerful GPU for media decoding & graphics)
- 512MByte RAM
- 4GByte eMMC Flash for the OS
- 2.5 inch SATA hard disk for media files (1 Terabyte included)
- Full size HDMI port with 5.1 audio pass through
- 3 USB2 ports
- 10/100 Ethernet port
- 3.5mm jack for either stereo analogue (up to 192KHz 24 bit) or optical output for 5.1 surround pass-through.
- Micro USB port for using Slice in disk mode (to load media) or can be used to re-program the Flash (eMMC)
- IR Sensor
- Real time clock with backup battery
- 25 programmable RGB LEDs
- Power input jack (barrel type, 5V 3A)
With every Slice shipped (except 'Preview' version) you will receive the following in full FiveNinjas retail packaging :
We've tried to keep our pledge levels simple and have avoided padding things out with cheap gimmicks. We do have a few lower priced tiers for those of you that want to show your support. We then have as many options as possible for buying Slice in it's fully loaded form and some luxury bespoke levels for the ultimate Slice experience.
Slice has been created by FiveNinjas Ltd. Five passionate professionals with decades of relevant industry experience in media, electronics, product design and manufacturing between them.
FiveNinjas Ltd. are:
Mo Volans - Music Producer and Trainer
Mo has been a pro music producer and tech trainer for over 15 years. He is also a movie fanatic and an XBMC power user. This obsession has resulted in him working on high budget media builds and creating his own bespoke systems. This all ultimately led to Mo creating the original concept for Slice and steering it to where it is today.
Jon Williamson - Director, Pimoroni
Jon has been a ninja-coder for most of his life, and since starting Pimoroni has brought his precision-junkie skills to bear on manufacturing, product design and supply-chain management. He's taken the lead of making sure Slice looks right and works right.
Paul Beech - Director, Pimoroni
Paul is a co-founder of Pimoroni and designed the Raspberry Pi logo, and continues to support the charitable project. He also had a hand in developing interactive DVD technology. He watches a lot of films and plays a lot of music. He wants Slice to be his one true media player and wishes his internet connection didn't suck so much.
James Adams - Director of Hardware Engineering, Raspberry Pi
James has spent more than 10 years doing electronic product design and chip design for both startups and tech gaints. James's current day job is Director of Hardware Engineering at Raspberry Pi. James has more recently spent most of his spare time designing Slice's electronics.
Gordon Hollingworth - Director of Software Engineering, Raspberry Pi
Gordon is director of software engineering at Raspberry Pi and was previously involved with the low level firmware software running on BCM2835. He also developed Amino's first high definition IPTV set top box so knows a great deal about multimedia streaming as well as mobile multimedia systems.
Slice has come a long way since the original vision for the product. A lot of time and effort has gone into making sure it looks good, performs well and has its own unique identity. We have working prototypes that require only a few small changes to be ready for mass production, and software that is almost ready to go.
We are talking to potential manufacturing partners right now, and are very close to finding one who will be able to build Slice for the masses.
To make Slice a reality we need enough orders (and money) to make the last minor hardware modifications, start production, and to continue to put the finishing touches on the software ready for release.
We believe Slice is ready for your living room; we need your help to make it happen!
Although we know you’ll love Slice we see it as the start of a larger journey. We want to keep improving Slice’s software and expand on the tech we’ve already developed to create future add-ons for Slice as well as future products.
Wherever this adventure takes us we will need your help to get things started. We hope you are as excited as we are about making Slice a reality.
Risks and challenges
We have proven working Slice hardware (both internal electronics and aluminium case) which only require a few simple modifications before being ready for mass production. The next step is to make these minor changes and do a final quick run of prototypes before pressing the “go button” for volume manufacturing. We also have to make sure the hardware is compliant to the relevant standards for sale (CE for Europe, FCC for America and others).
The risks and challenges for hardware revolve around final prototyping, manufacturing and compliance.
If the final ‘production’ prototypes have any issues this may cause a delay while we figure out the problem and fix it. The risk of this being a problem is very small as we’re only changing minor things such as how the how far the ports extend off the back of the PCB and correspondingly locate with the back of the case; adding a ‘standby’ LED and moving the location of the IR sensor.
Our custom remote is complete and just requires us to place a purchase order with the manufacturer for a production run.
If we hit lead time issues for components or other unforeseen manufacturing issues that may delay our ship date. These kinds of issues are difficult to control but signing with an experienced manufacturing partner will reduce this risk.
If we have compliance problems this could also cause delays to the schedule while we change the design to fix the problem. However within the team we have a lot of experience with compliance, and Slice has been designed with this in mind from the beginning so we do not see this as a large risk.
We have working software which is mostly complete. Challenges remaining are:
1. Adding final polish to the custom Slice skin
2. Finishing the driver work for the audio output
3. Add ability for user to easily customise LED patterns to use for the different software actions (FFW, REW etc.)
The majority of the core software is complete and working well. The risk that the software will delay Slice is minimal, especially as it will be very easy for users to upgrade Slice to the latest software at the click of a button.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
No. The basic patterns we are working on will react to actions such as startup, rewind, pause and mode switching. During playback the LEDs will deactivate to ensure you are not distracted whilst viewing your media.
We also plan to include options that will allow you to deactivate the LED system all together or simply alter the brightness to ensure the perfect lighting effect for your environment.
Yes. We plan to ship Slice with a number of cool patterns triggered by basic functions but using customised .png files the more technically minded will be able to edit (and replace) existing patterns and create their own.
Yes. Not only can you install your own XBMC skin but you can even install a different distribution of XBMC. In addition to this you can run any Linux software that a Raspberry Pi can so if you fancy using Slice as a fully featured Debian desktop system go for it!
The RF remote we supply has been specially designed to work with Slice (and any XBMC skin) but we have also included infrared support so you can use your favourite programmable multi function remotes. On top of this you can use USB keyboards, your existing TV remote via CEC and any version of XBMC remote for iOS or Android.
Slice comes with a high quality 1TB hard drive which should allow you to store up to 200 full length movies at average bit rates. If you need even more storage then you can always stream media over ethernet from a NAS or attach a USB drive to one of Slice’s USB ports. These ports will supply enough power to run most external USB drives.
Slice will work with any TV with an HDMI input. Even if your TV is a bit older and is not ‘Full HD’ Slice can be configured to output a format your TV will display.
Yes. Slice will ‘pass through’ DTS and Dolby 5.1 sound through both HDMI and it’s optical port. All you’ll need is an audio receiver that can decode these formats. If you haven’t got this equipment don’t worry as Slice can mix this audio down to a stereo stream.
Both Wifi and Bluetooth can be enabled by the use of simple USB dongles. These are readily available and Slice will support just about any manufacturer. Even without these in place Slice can be connected to any network via Ethernet.
Most definitely! We’ll be constantly working on making Slice’s software better. You don’t have to use our software but if you do, you can rely on regular updates and these will all be thoroughly tested to ensure everything is watertight.
We plan to supply a one year limited warranty for all models of Slice supplied. This will cover failure of any of the hardware supplied. If however Slice is damaged when opening the unit (installing your own HDD for example) we will not be able to cover this. Please also note that we wont be able to supply customer support for anything other than our own shipped configuration.
Every aspect of Slice’s hardware and software has been optimised to playback your media perfectly. The operating system is fast and responsive. Switching between pages is lighting quick and even the largest, highest bit depth video files start almost instantly when played from the internal hard drive.
It is likely that we will supply Slice mildly overclocked to ensure you get the snappiest performance. Our settings will be applied by the experts on our team. You are welcome to take things further but this will void any warranty we can supply.
We plan to release all of the driver software for Slice, including the LED and audio drivers. Currently we have no plans to release the schematics but will provide plenty of hardware information (which GPIOs on the Compute Module are used for what) so that there are no obstacles to running any alternative software on Slice.
Pretty much anything you throw at it! But if you want to get technical Slice will support the following file types:
• Container formats: AVI, MPEG, WMV, ASF, FLV, MKV/MKA (Matroska), QuickTime, MP4, M4A, AAC, NUT, Ogg, OGM, RealMedia RAM/RM/RV/RA/RMVB, 3gp, VIVO, PVA, NUV, NSV, NSA, FLI, FLC, DVR-MS and WTV
• Video formats: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, H.263, MPEG-4 SP and ASP, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), HuffYUV, Indeo, MJPEG, RealVideo, RMVB, Sorenson, WMV, Cinepak.
• Audio formats: MIDI, AIFF, WAV/WAVE, AIFF, MP2, MP3, AAC, AACplus (AAC+), Vorbis, AC3, DTS, ALAC, AMR, FLAC, Monkey's Audio (APE), RealAudio, SHN, WavPack, MPC/Musepack/Mpeg+, Shorten, Speex, WMA, IT, S3M, MOD (Amiga Module), XM, NSF (NES Sound Format), SPC (SNES), GYM (Genesis), SID (Commodore 64), Adlib, YM (Atari ST), ADPCM (Nintendo GameCube), and CDDA.
• Digital picture/image formats: RAW image formats, BMP, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, MNG, ICO, PCX and Targa/TGA
• Subtitle formats: AQTitle, ASS/SSA, CC, JACOsub, MicroDVD, MPsub, OGM, PJS, RT, SMI, SRT, SUB, VOBsub, VPlayer
Yes! We plan to ship Slice with an external supply that has connectors for UK/EU/US/AU
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