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.

Here’s how:

1. Get a command line
While using XBMC press ‘s’ then select ‘Exit’.

2. Install the Cifs (samba) client mount utilities

apt-get install cifs-utils

3. Create a mount point

mkdir /mnt/your-share

4. Mount your Share to the mount point

mount -t cifs -o username=share_username,password=share_password //server/share_name /mnt/your-share

5. Check your files are there

ls -la /mnt/your-share

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:

echo "//server/share_name /mnt/your-share username=share_username,password=share_password 0 0" >> /etc/fstab

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.

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This entry was posted by jc on Thursday, September 13th, 2012 at 8:50 pm and is filed under Gadgets, Linux, Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. saina says:

    Many many thanks for this awesome application, it’s just what I was looking for the hole week! Thanks for giving the love back!

  2. cifs-utils are already included in the latest version of xbian. It works like a charme with Buffalo NAS Storage via WI-FI. I couldn’t imagine that it’s so easy to mount the Share on the NAS that way. Thank you very much!

  3. maete says:

    I get permission denied when running step4 above, any ideas?
    Thanks!

  4. jc says:

    You should be logged in as `root` when mounting anything.

  5. Lizee says:

    Try loging as ROOT and you’r there!! Good Luck

  6. GG says:

    thanks for the useful info. trying to follow it I got ‘Unable to find suitable address’ after step 4, can someone help?

  7. ebswift says:

    Thanks for this, the only thing I had to change for the auto-mount to work is to add cifs before username. I also edited fstab to add quotes where I have spaces in my shared folder names.

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