Mele vs Raspbmc and a TV

Initial Impressions

After seeing the Mele in operation, yesterday I installed Raspbmc on the Raspberry Pi (R-Pi) to see how it compared.

No problems during install but it won’t work with the hdmi on our TV. I could probably edit a file to force it to use hdmi; but this is too much for now. One problem is that the TV times out on no-signal and switches off faster than the R-Pi boots Raspbmc.

Like most of these products, the Melle “almost works”. It’s likely that it could be tweaked into shape with settings and different apps. It’s a nice piece of hardware that is limited by the OS and apps.

After using a full PC (Kubuntu) for years for everything, the Melle user interface is “too cellphone and not enough PC” to be easy to use with a mouse and keyboard. The web browser (the one supplied and Firefox on Android) is limited and my be delivering less than full pages, ie. the cellphone edition. It’s also missing some important codecs.

Raspbmc has a much better user interface but no web browser; which completely kills it for me. The mouse and keyboard work pretty much as they do on the PC except that the mouse-wheel doesn’t work; and the wheel is probably my most used control on the PC.

Both are slower than the PC but for 5-10 watts vs 100+ watts power use, it’s a fair trade.

What do I really want?

Not a media centre so much, but a web browser that also plays media.

A small, low-power box that has mouse, keyboard, internet and TV connected, that can handle the full version of Firefox with plugins etc. and play any media file thrown at it.

Without wasting hundreds of hours to achieve this, the only current solution is probably a small dual-core atom board running a minimal Linux install with Thunderbird, Firefox and VLC.

With Google etc, on-line apps and storage, this is probably all most people need for a minimal home PC now. A Mele that really works 🙂


I’m not interested in spending days attempting to get something working. Like Raspbmc, if I plug it into the hdmi port on my TV and it doesn’t work, it’s faulty.

If it is supposed to do a job, then it should do it. The Mele is a great low-cost piece of hardware but until “they” (whoever they are) improves the OS and apps so that they work and are easily configurable, it’s faulty.

Feel free to disagree.

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