13 April 2014

Raspberry Pi as a Media Center

In 2013, I bought a Raspberry Pi with the goal of using it as a media center. I also bought other accessories, the full list is the following:

The USB HUB I have is also used as power source for the RP. You can see in the image below how things are connected:

My Raspberry Pi Raspberry Pi Setup: USB Hub, Hidden Raspberry Pi and HD

For software I am using the distro Raspbmc. It is based on Raspibian, a debian distro for Raspberry Pi. So it comes with apt and you can download packages from debian repositories. Raspbmc includes XBMC, which is a cool interface for using it as a media center. Also there are some nice services such as samba, FTP, SSH and SFTP.


I have struggle a bit to configure the wifi. So, I am providing below the links I've used as a resource:

Also here it is my /etc/network/interfaces configuration file. Note that I am using static IP address.

iface lo inet loopback #localhost config

auto eth0 #ethernet config
iface eth0 inet static
    gateway #use this IP in the PC when connecting

allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet static #wi-fi config
    wpa-ssid wirelessname #place your wifi ssid
    wpa-psk wirelesspassword #place your password

iface default inet dhcp


It is possible to backup the entire SD card. Plug the SD card in your Linux or OSX and run the following command:

dd if=/dev/sdx of=/path/to/image bs=1M

Where /dev/sdx is the SD card device point.

Other tips

Some other details of my configuration:

  • I have a 16 GB SD card, but 8 GB would also be fine.
  • Media files are stored in the external hard drive.
  • XBMC has a subtitles plugin, so you can easily download subtiles for the video you are watching.
  • Use the app Yatse in android to control XBMC. It is not just a remote control, you can navigate through your library in it.
  • Use ramlog to make SD card last longer.
  • Stream from XBMC, trough Android, to a Chromecast, by using Yatse or BubbleUPnP.
  • The hard drive I use stops spinning if it is not used for a while.

Other ideas

Here are some ideas that I have, but did not tried yet:

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