Tag Archives: raspberry-pi

Raspberry Pi 3 with WiFi and Bluetooth

Raspberry Pi 3Raspberry Pi 3 has arrived with the important additions of integrated WiFi and Bluetooth which makes it an even greater multi-room media renderer than the Pi 2. The CPU power has increased 65%. The idle power consumption has dropped to only 2.5W and stays at 3.8W under load. The price stays at 35$.

if you want easy setup of AirPlay, DLNA, digital output of audio, map to network shares, equalizer and more, Max to play has an beta image that supports the Pi 3. You can read more on Max to play on the previous Pi 2 here.

The Raspbian OS and the NOOBS image are updated to support the Pi 3. You can then install Shairport for AirPlay functionality.

Full specs:

  • A 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU
  • 802.11n Wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  • 4 USB ports
  • 40 GPIO pins
  • Full HDMI port
  • Ethernet port
  • Combined 3.5mm audio jack and composite video
  • Camera interface (CSI)
  • Display interface (DSI)
  • Micro SD card slot (now push-pull rather than push-push)
  • VideoCore IV 3D graphics core

AirPlay with Raspberry PI Zero

Pi_ZeroThe new Raspberry Pi Zero is a smaller and stripped version that only costs 5$ (in their own store at least), has 40% more power than the original Pi but lacks an ethernet port and analog audio output. The sound can be outputted through HDMI from the start.

So what do you need to get started?


Raspberry Pi Zero Adaptor Kit most importantly include an USB adapter. Connect it to an USB Hub for more peripherals or just the Raspberry Pi WiFi dongle to get network access. You can buy other adapters or maybe already have some in a drawer.

You now got what you need if you are going to use it as a stand alone player connected to a receiver through HDMI. Otherwise you will need a USB powered sound card or a HDMI to 3.5 mm converter.

Apart from the fact that the Raspberry Pi Zero is sold out in most stores, the total sum including the needed peripherals likely exceeds the cost of buying the original Raspberry Pi.

You can follow the instructions to install squeezeplug in this post or use Kodi. They both have AirPlay support.

AirPlay and more with the Raspberry Pi 2 and Squeezeplug

Read about the new Raspberry Pi 3 with Wifi and Bluetooth.

Squeezeplug has partnered with Max2Play and delivers a powerful system that can manage and play music in many ways and is configured through the Max2Play web interface. The system supports the new Raspberry Pi 2 B and previous models.raspberry-pi-2
Raspberry Pi 2 B
The new high powered Pi has a 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU and 1GB ram. It is considered to be 6x faster than the previous model but has the same price as it had. This makes it a great option for a small footprint media renderer.

airplayAirPlay works
Many features are activated out of the box, like Shairport, so you can AirPlay to it from the start.

The raspberry pi shows up as an AirPlay unit directly after the first bootup with squeezeplug and it works fine to AirPlay to it from Spotify. I have connected the Pi to my Onkyo receiver through HDMI. The sound quality is good.


You reach all Squeezeplug setting in the web interface, where you can map to samba shares, install additional plug-ins and activate things like DLNA, Squeezebox server and Kodi server. You can even activate an Equalizer if you want.

DLNA works
The DLNA client renderer is activated in the web interface. I use the BubbleUPnP app for playing music from a local DLNA server through the Pi and it works fine.

Audio output
Raspberry Pi 2 has HDMI for digital output and 3.5mm for analog output. Squeezeplug supports both outputs and the default is HDMI, if connected. You can also choose one of them.

Be sure to follow the steps described in detail on their web http://www.squeezeplug.eu/. The steps basically are:

  • Download image file from their homepage and write it to a micro sd card.
  • Insert it into the Raspberry Pi.
  • Attach a LAN cable.
  • The system will boot when you insert the power cable.
  • Access the web interface from another computer through http://max2play so no need for an attached monitor or keyboard/mouse.

Sometimes the Pi loses HDMI connection with the receiver which leads to tiny drops in the playback. It is irritating when it happens and needs to be fixed before the setup can be considered perfect.

Software alternatives
You can install Shairport on an existing Raspbian installation. The OSMC distro, that replaces the Raspbmc distro, is based on Kodi which also have AirPlay capability. Volumino is another linux distro for Raspberry Pi 2 that turns it into a music player with support for AirPlay and a bunch of other features.

AirPlay with Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi can be used as a powerful zone player for AirPlay. It has a low pricetag of 49.95$ (or £39.35), both digital and analog audio output and the power consumption is only 3.5 Watts.

Even though it is a computer, it only requires a screen during installation. Then simply place it where you want an audio zone, connect the audio out to a receiver or directly to compatible speakers.

So lets go through some basic info about the Raspberry Pi and then the Raspbmc image.

Raspberry Pi, the basics

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer running an ARM11 700mhz processor and a powerfull GPU capable of BluRay quality playback and digital audio through HDMI (or analog audio through 3.5mm). It has a ethernet port and USB 2.0. It can use various Linux distros for OS including the Raspbmc distro with AirPlay.
RaspberryPi chip


Raspbmc is a minimal Linux distribution based on Debian that basically turns Raspberry Pi into a XBMC frontend. No knowledge of Linux is needed and the XBMC GUI is lauched at system startup. It is installed with a few clicks from a Mac or a PC.

Raspbmc auto updates so you will constantly get new features, performance and driver updates (can be turned off). Access audio or video sources over NFS, SMB, FTP and HTTP. And most importantly, AirPlay and AirTunes support that allows you to send music and video from an iPhone/iPad to the system. XBMC itself has many additional plug-ins, for instance the virtual Squeezebox player XSqueeze. XBMC can be remoted from various apps, like XBMC Constellation and XBMC Commander.

Raspbmc also lets you overclock the processor up to 1.5Ghz.

Check out the installation instructions.


You can get seven Raspberry Pi for the price of one Sonos Connect. You would then also have the ability to play 1080p movies and the XBMC extendability. The price/performance ratio is great. Raspberry Pi is definitely worth considering when planing a multi-room solution.