Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Raspberry Pi - play videos on your TV over home network

XBian is free software to turn your Raspberry Pi into a full function media center. This is my experience of installing XBian Media Center (XBMC) described in simple steps to follow yourself. I have updated this post as XBian becomes a more polished product. Once setup there's no faffing around or technical stuff to do. The major steps are
1) Install the XBMC Software
2) Configure Xbian/XBMC

1) Download the XBMC Installer
The Raspberry Pi uses an SD Card as a hard-drive and you need a dedicated card to install XBMC. Plug this card into your laptop, using a card read/writer if necessary and download the installer for your operating system from the Xbian download page. Upon opening the installer you are presented with a friendly interface that makes the process of making your Raspberry Pi XBMC hard-drive very easy.

Next, plug the SD Card into your Raspberry Pi and power it up. If you can't see anything plug it into a screen. You will need a mouse but a keyboard is not required. Your Pi should now boot up straight into your new good looking media centre.

2) Configuring XBMC
Before you can use XBMC without the faff you need to check the configuration. This is possible via the GUI, but I used the command line. Hit the power button at the bottom left of the screen and click on Exit to go to the command line.

User: xbian
Password: raspberry

Xbian-config starts automatically and through a series of menus lets you configure your RPi XBMC.  Some key items I changed are:
Settings: System: Timezone
Settings: XBMC: GUI Resolution
Updates: Download new versions of software

I also wanted to set a static ip address so I always know my Raspi XBMC will be on a particular network address on my wifi LAN, this is a nice to have and not necessary for everyone:
Settings: Network: eth0: [Edit: you can change this through the GUI too]

A reboot was required, taking me back to XBMC GUI.  This time I used the mouse to navigate to Settings which allowed me to configure network media sources and set overscan on to fit picture to screen.

You can now add your media and enjoy watching it via your Raspberry Pi.

Still to do: