I've connected a PC running Ubuntu 12.04 with XBMC installed. I am looking to get it replaced with a Raspberry Pi for the power-usage benefits and smaller footprint. I would like to have a single media center that I can use to not only manage my media (XBMC does a great job of that), but that I can also use to stream video to other Android devices in the house, over wifi. Does anybody have a How-To doc on this for a solution I could follow? Thanks.
I have a Raspberry Pi loaded with Raspbmc as a lightweight HTPC, at which it does an okay job. I would not recommend attempting to use it as media server: it doesn't have enough CPU horsepower to handle serving media to multiple channels. Adding media storage capacity to a Pi means going through an external USB2 hard drive which will become another bottleneck trying to serve multiple HD video streams. The wifi support on the Pi's is also not robust as you will have to use some type of USB wifi dongle. Read through the questions here on AU and see how many issues people have with those devices on standard i386 and amd64 kernels; the situation is worse with the ARM kernel.
I already had a server running Ubuntu that I installed MythTV on to act as a PVR in conjunction with a SiliconDust HomeRun cable box. The side benefit is that MythTV can also serve other media via DLNA. Adding MythTV as a media source in XBMC is relatively easy.
If you have other hardware that you wish to repurpose to act as a media server, I would look at Plex Media Server. Good Linux, Mac and Windows support. It does have a fairly high hardware requirement for running on, but one that should work on a box built within the past four years. The same would apply for running Mythbuntu, an Ubuntu-based distro for MythTV.
If you're starting from scratch, I'd suggest looking at NAS units that also have DLNA servers built in to them and pair that with a Atom-based HTPC box on which you can install a Linux/XBMC combo. Even modest NAS units like the WD MyCloud have DLNA servers built-in that are capable of serving out to multiple devices including iOS and Android. (I have a 2TB WD unit joined to my system.) An Atom-based HTPC box has a small footprint, modest power requirements and enough CPU power to run a fronted like XBMC very well.
Explore your options. Google is your friend. Look at what you're trying to achieve, what you have to work with, how much you're willing to spend and how much time you want to invest getting things running.
DISCLAIMER: I HAVE NO EXPERIENCE IN RASPBERRY PI, SO I CAN'T GUARANTEE THAT THIS WILL WORK.
I can highly recommend using this guide from the xbmc wiki: http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=HOW-TO:Share_libraries_using_MySQL
I use this myself at home at it works really well. I installed the xbmc android app on my phone and tablet and I have no complaints with using it over wifi. The best part is that I can start a film in the lounge and then resume it on my phone somewhere else.
The only thing that you will have to do is find a pc to run a mysql server.