Suggested upgrade from Raspberry Pi 'original' model B?

Hi all,

I am using a model B Raspberry Pi - the original one with the 256 MB of RAM as far as I remember.

I use OSMC happily running off a USB stick, with NAS storage and a MYSQL database running on the server.

All is good, but it’s not as fast as it could be, and I think I am due an upgrade to make menus and cover art much more responsive.

Can anybody suggest what the best thing is to upgrade to, based on cost/performance? I’m not looking at spending a lot for a fully fledged HTPC. And I want to keep the same setup I currently have (all media being on the NAS)

Should I just get a Raspberry Pi 2, or is there better out there. Bonus if there is anything out there that doesn’t just limit me to KODI, but also gives me the ability to use Netflix. I don’t have Netflix, but I reckon if I had the ability to have it I may end up getting it.

How about Fire TV ‘stick’? how does that perform?

The Raspberry Pi 2 is much faster than a Pi 1, especially than the 256MB variant. So if you want to keep the same basic setup, hardware accessories etc, stay with OSMC, and just have it be a lot faster, a Pi 2 is a good option. (You will still need to reinstall though as a Pi 2 won’t run a Pi 1 install of OSMC)

I have a Fire TV stick (as well as a Pi 1, Pi 2, vero, Mac…) - user interface/GUI performance wise the Pi 2 and Fire TV stick are very similar and the Bluetooth remote is nice, however being Android instead of OSMC (which is based on Linux) there are a number of limitations:

  1. No direct easy access to a Linux command line, you must use a utility called adbfire to get anything on and off the device.

  2. HDMI and wifi only - no other interfaces including no Ethernet or USB so no possibility to plug in any other devices.

  3. Limited to the 8GB internal flash, of which about 3GB is free, meaning you must have your media elsewhere on the network.

  4. Android limitations of Kodi - no Airplay, no 24Hz output and no adjust display refresh rate to match video, less than ideal audio/video sync (I have to set mine to -0.175s to get them roughly in sync but it’s never quite right) and a little bit of stutter on some videos due to the lack of 24Hz support.

  5. No hardware decode for WMV9/VC-1.

  6. No OSMC app store, (or indeed no OSMC since OSMC is a whole operating system) no possibility to set up Samba and other similar background apps.

That’s off the top of my head. As far as video/audio decoding goes the Pi 2 is definitely superior to the Fire TV stick, handling more codecs in hardware with better picture and sound quality, largely due to Linux vs Android.

On the plus side you do have the Amazon app store which means netflix and some other useful apps and even a few games.

I think the Fire TV stick makes a great device for a bedroom TV, which is where I use it. Small and unobtrusive and the remote is non-line of sight. However I would not use it as my main device on a home theatre system, and that includes any Android device for that matter.

Of course Sam is also launching the Vero 2 soon but I have no information on what the price will be and don’t know the exact specs either…

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Thanks for the detailed reply. Interesting that Pi2 and Fire TV Stick seem to perform just as well as each other with KODI menus… thats a plus.

  1. no direct access — I think thats ok, I don’t see any reason why I’d need direct access, I seldom SSH into my current PI, everything is on my Linux NAS so I SSH into that far more than the Pi.

  2. HDMI and wifi only — so tell me this, how is the WIFI for streaming? My router and TV are right beside each other which is a plus, but there is a lot of wireless interference in my apartment block, at least on the 2.4 Ghz range. The 5 Ghz range is much better, so I guess I would use that on the FireTV stick assuming it supports it. How is overall streaming and video quality then over wifi - right now I use Ethernet, does it ever stutter, or pause and buffer?

  3. Limited to 8 GB/3GB usable… this is fine as all my media is external, main question would be does it support NFS? I prefer NFS over SMB as it performs better - I assume it does support it.

  4. Android limitations — can you elaborate more on this? I don’t use Airplay, but what do you mean about 24 Hz output. Also you mention audio sync issues… that sounds like a big deal. I don’t think I presently have KODI set to adjust display refresh rate to match the video (unless this is default behaviour), i’d have to check.

edit I understand now what you mean about 24hz. One clarification, I am in Ireland and I believe our TV’s are 50hz not 60hz. Not sure if that is a bit less of an issue since its closer to being a multiple of 24hz (i’m guessing maybe now). Can you clarify tho, Raspberry Pi supports this, but the FireTV stick doesn’t? Seems odd, aren’t streamed movies going to be an issue with that also. How bad is it likely to be with it not being 24hz?

  1. No hardware decode for WMV9/VC-1 ---- I think thats ok, I don’t have any of that presently… in fact I don’t even have the license currently on Raspberry Pi for those formats, and all my media plays fine – so unless there is any other formats that might not work on Fire TV i think I should be ok. Pretty sure most of the stuff I have is MKV, X264, 720P content.

  2. No OSMC app store. — never really used this so don’t know what it is, probably not a big loss since I’ve never used it. I just did an upgrade from Raspbmc to OSMC, so I just use bog standard KODI pretty much. I assume standard KODI plugins should work fine. Don’t need/want anything running on background like SAMBA (server)

Does 1080p stream well? And can you elaborate more on the 24Hz and audio sync issue you mentioned, and how it may differ from how I use Raspberry Pi today (I hate it when audio goes out of sync).


I’d choose the RPi2 over a Firestick every time.

Performance is better.
You have more control over the device.
Easier to bug-hunt
Better connectivity options
It’s near impossible to “brick” a RPi2

ah I just bought a firestick now, sure its on sale with the cyber monday thing and its cheap enough that if its rubbish I’ll get a Pi2

I don’t use my Pi for anything else, so it will be a nice change trying something new on the TV with a Netflix app too - last I checked there was no Netflix for RPi unless installing Android.