After I woke up this morning and checked the Twittersphere (yes I do that after waking up!) I noticed a large commotion in the Raspberry Pi community. Upon investigation I discovered the source of this excited unrest: the Slice, a new Raspberry Pi Compute Module based media player that has just launched on Kickstarter. The tag line of a ‘user friendly media player with internal storage and a Raspberry Pi heart’ is full of promise but what makes this so special? Raspberry Pis have been used as media centres since the product launch over 2 ½ years ago!
First off: take a look at it. Made of an aluminium anodised body and with a strip of pulsing LEDs the Slice is one handsome piece of kit. It is slick-looking and I would love to have one underneath my TV. The idea behind Slice was the desire for an ‘easy to use, self-contained media player that… stored the data on-board rather than needing an internet connection’. In my opinion this is a great aim as I have discovered, from personal experience, that the current generation of media players are becoming more and more internet dependant – featuring fancy streaming options that demand lots of bandwidth, a problem for people like myself who live in villages that have poor internet connections. It runs a custom version of XBMC that looks rather polished as well.
But… Why am I interested in it? I am rather intrigued by the use of the new compute module – its only the second commercial device to use it and the team behind Slice (take a look at the Kickstarter page to see some familiar faces) have made a very neat custom PCB that houses the hard drive and other bits and bobs – I’d love to have a look at that in the flesh!
What does all of this come to in terms of price then? Sadly the Slice is not cheap… The model that includes the 1TB hard drive comes in at a steep £164 (early bird option). When you can run a Raspberry Pi as a media device for little under £50 is this premium worth it? Only time will tell however you have to take into account the fact that it is obviously aimed at the user who wants a polished package… By the looks of things the Slice is going to have no trouble making its Kickstarter target. I wish them the best of luck!