Using An SBC As A Media Server

What is an SBC?

Let’s start off by explaining what an SBC is. An SBC is a single-board computer — a powerful little computer in a package that’s slightly larger than a wallet.

These can be used as media servers, which can be hooked up to your TV or monitor of choice, to give you easy access to your music and video files in one central location. You could accomplish the same goal with a designated desktop/laptop, but this is a cheaper, simpler option. That also means these are compact and don’t have the limits that come with having apps or channels on a media device like an Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Plus, it’s especially fun for the tech folks that like to make their own devices.

Let’s take the Pine64, for instance. It is the most powerful SBC on the market right now.

The best SBC — the Pine64!

To get technical for a moment: the Pine64 has up to 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 64-bit quad core processor, up to 1 gigabit Ethernet connection, as well as 802.11 BGN wireless networking and Bluetooth 4.0. For the video output, it boasts an HDMI port that is capable of 4k output at 60 frames per second, which is the best for an SBC. It has 2 USB 2.0 ports and, if that’s not enough, it has a MicoSD slot for up to 256GB of extra storage space.

Now that that’s out of the way: the networking is where this thing shines.

You could have a network attached storage device that is loaded with all of your favorite movies and you can stream them through your Pine64 to your 4k television via the HDMI port.

Unlike some other media devices, like the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Chromecast, or Roku, you’ll have to have an operating system for the SBC. It’s fairly easy to install an operating system on your Pine64 and you have several options. You can install a Linux build, but don’t worry. You can install an Android build and it’ll essentially be a high-powered, huge mobile device.

How do I get started?

The answer here isn’t so simple. However, there are several guides to get you started. Follow them, and you’ll soon be watching your favorite movies, binging TV shows, or playing old video games via emulators. The possibilities are endless for your SBC, actually.

Personally, I prefer to use my SBC as a media server. That way, I don’t have to power on my Xbox One or run a 30-foot HDMI cable through my wall.

Which one should I choose?

Again, this answer isn’t so simple. You’ll have to consider your existing set-up and determine which SBC model would work best for you. Whatever you decide, there are many manufacturers and variations to choose from. Have fun and enjoy your new media server!

(Image Source: iCLIPART)