XBMC on your Raspberry Pi
Here’s another easy guide to put XBMC on your Raspberry Pi using Xbian. I’m recommending Xbian because, in my opinion, it’s currently the best performing installation for the Raspberry Pi. I’ve tried RaspBMC and OpenElec as well, but they just don’t have as much performance as I wanted from my Raspberry.
I’ll also go over some tweaks I had to do to get my setup performing best.
Install Xbian 0.6.3
At the time of writing, 0.6.3 is the latest stable release, but I went ahead and upgraded to the 0.7 Beta 1 and I haven’t had an issue with it so far.
Head on over to the Xbian website and download the 0.6.3 package. Extract this package to find a img file and a windows program called Win23DiskImager.
Use this program to write the img file to your SD Card. On other OS’s there should be equivalent programs that allow you to write directly to the SD Card. After the image has been written, plug it into your Pi and boot it up!
Upgrade Xbian 0.7 Beta 1
As I mentioned, this step is not required. If you like to live on the edge, follow the instructions to upgrade. Note: To get to a command line after booting, you have to exit XBMC. You can do this by pressing ‘s’ then selecting ‘Exit’.
Using media on Network Shares
I use Samba for my file sharing due to the mix of Windows an Linux machines on my network. Within XBMC there is the ability to add files from a ‘Windows Share’ (which is Samba) – however I don’t recommend using XBMC to do this as it’s just another protocol that XBMC has to handle and I don’t think it handles it effectively enough for the throughput that a 1080 video needs to play properly.
To improve this shortfall I prefer to mount any required shares directly in the OS, then use XBMC to look for media on the mounted filesystems. This means that Linux is handling the Samba protocol, not XBMC.
1. Get a command line
While using XBMC press ‘s’ then select ‘Exit’.
2. Install the Cifs (samba) client mount utilities
3. Create a mount point
4. Mount your Share to the mount point
5. Check your files are there
You can also do this with NFS if that’s your thing.
Now that you’ve got your share mounted, you might want to make it auto mount everytime the system boots:
Help! My video isn’t playing properly!
You might be playing a video and it goes black for a few seconds then continues to play properly. This is due to the refresh rate on your HDMI output not matching the refresh rate of the video file.
To fix this you’ll have to play with the settings in your System -> Video Output section within XBMC. I’ve changed everything to be 50hz and I’m having no more problems. I’m not an expert on why this is the case, you might have to do more searching if you’re curious.