XBMC (formerly "Xbox Media Center") is a free, open source (GPL) multimedia player that originally ran on the first-generation XBox, (not the newer Xbox 360), and now runs on computers running Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, and iOS. XBMC can be used to play/view the most popular video, audio, and picture formats, and many more lesser-known formats, including:
- Video - DVD-Video, VCD/SVCD, MPEG-1/2/4, DivX, XviD, Matroska
- Audio - MP3, AAC.
- Picture - JPG, GIF, PNG.
These can all be played directly from a CD/DVD, or from the hard-drive. XBMC can also play multimedia from a computer over a local network (LAN), or play media streams directly from the Internet. For more information, see the XBMC FAQ.
- 1 Installation
- 2 Configuration
- 3 Troubleshooting
- 4 Resources
The stable version of XBMC is available in the community repo:
# pacman -Syu xbmc
# yaourt -Syua xbmc-git
Autostarting at Boot
To use XBMC on HTPC you may want to start XBMC automatically on boot. There are a different ways to accomplish this.
Setting up a service user for XBMC
To add a new user named xbmc and set a login password for it:
# useradd -m -U -G audio,video,storage,optical,power -s /bin/bash xbmc # passwd xbmc
To use an existing user make sure you add your user (or whatever user will run xmbc on your system) to at least groups audio, video, and storage.
# for x in audio video storage; do sudo gpasswd -a $USER $x; done
Starting XBMC through initscripts
(... dbus ...)
Next, you'll probably want to get ConsoleKit up and running, if you have not already, and add the following line to your
exec ck-launch-session xbmc-standalone
Using the above method, xbmc should run every time you start your X server, so auto-starting at boot can be configured just like a Display Manager, with one important difference. If you choose to use the
/etc/inittab method, you can skip loading a display manager altogether and autologin XBMC by default. To do this, change your default runlevel to 5 in
/etc/inittab as usual:
## Only one of the following two lines can be uncommented! # Boot to console #id:3:initdefault: # Boot to X11 id:5:initdefault:
Note the comment (#) in front of
id:3:initdefault: and not
id:5:initdefault. Then, comment out all the default display manager lines at the end of the file:
# Example lines for starting a login manager #x:5:respawn:/usr/bin/xdm -nodaemon #x:5:respawn:/usr/sbin/gdm -nodaemon #x:5:respawn:/usr/bin/kdm -nodaemon #x:5:respawn:/usr/bin/slim >/dev/null 2>&1
Finally, add this line (toward the end of the file, near where the lines you just commented are):
x:5:wait:login -f <YOUR_XBMC_USERNAME> </dev/tty7 &>/dev/tty7
Starting XBMC through systemd
If your system is setup for systemd you can also start XBMC outside any session using xinit. To install xinit:
# pacman -S xinit
Now you have to create a new service file.
[Unit] Description = Starts instance of XBMC using xinit After = remote-fs.target [Service] User = xbmc Type = simple ExecStart = /usr/bin/xinit /usr/bin/xbmc-standalone -- :0 [Install] WantedBy = multi-user.target
To activate this service at boot:
# systemctl enable xbmc.service
If you want to use the power functions through XBMC make sure to set up a polkit rule like described here.
Using a Remote
As XBMC is geared toward being a remote-controlled media center, if your computer has an IR receiver, you will probably want to set up a remote using LIRC. Once you are sure your remote is working properly (tested with
$ irw), add lircd to your DAEMONS Array and you'll be ready to create an Lircmap.xml file for it.
Using your favorite text editor, you'll need to go in and create an XML file at
~/.xbmc/userdata/Lircmap.xml (note the capital 'L'). Lircmap.xml format is as follows:
<lircmap> <remote device="devicename"> <XBMC_button>LIRC_button</XBMC_button> ... </remote> </lircmap>
- Device Name is whatever LIRC calls your remote. This is set using the Name directive in lircd.conf and can be viewed by running
$ irwand pressing a few buttons on the remote. IRW will report the name of the button pressed and the name of the remote will appear on the end of the line.
- XBMC_button is the name of the button as defined in keymap.xml.
- LIRC_button is the name as defined in
lircd.conf. If you automatically generated your lircd.conf using
# irrecord, these are the names you selected for your button then. Refer back to LIRC for more information.
- You may want to check out the very thorough Lircmap.xml page over at the XBMC Wiki for more help and information on this subject.
Fullscreen mode stretches XBMC accross multiple displays
If you have got a multi-monitor setup and don't want XBMC to stretch accross all screens, you can restrict the fullscreen mode to one display, by setting the environment variable SDL_VIDEO_FULLSCREEN_HEAD to the number of the desired target display. For example if you want XBMC to show up on display 0 you can add the following line to your Bashrc:
Shutdown-Suspend-Hibernate does not work
If you have problems with shutdown, suspend or hibernate within XBMC make sure your user is in the wheel group and also that the upower package is installed.
In case XBMC was configured to be started outside any session, you need to explicitely give the appropriate rights by creating a polkit rule. Create a new policy rule with the following contents (assuming xbmc as user running xbmc):
[Actions for xbmc user] Identity=unix-user:xbmc Action=org.freedesktop.upower.*;org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.* ResultAny=yes ResultInactive=yes ResultActive=yes
ConsoleKit Issues with Automatic Login via /etc/inittab
ConsoleKit is known to have problems registering a session as both local and active when logging in directly via the
/etc/inittab method described above. If you would like to be able to shutdown and reboot your machine directly from XBMC while logging in via
/etc/inittab, perform the autologin via mingetty (note: this method requires mingetty and upower to be installed). There are two steps involved:
- 1. Comment out the line
x:5:wait:login -f <YOUR_XBMC_USERNAME> </dev/tty7 &>/dev/tty7from above and, in the consoles section of
/etc/inittab, append the following:
c7:2345:wait:/sbin/mingetty --autologin <YOUR_XBMC_USERNAME> tty7 linux
- 2. Then, in your XBMC user's
~/.bash_profile, include the following (in place of the
.bash_profileline indicated above) (source: Arch forums):
[[ $(tty) = "/dev/tty7" ]] && exec xinit ~/.xinitrc -- /usr/bin/X -nolisten tcp vt08 &>/dev/null
- XBMC Wiki: An excellent resource with much information about Arch Linux specifically (upon which the original version of this article was largely based).