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How to build a streaming media or home theater system with Raspberry Pi

This article will introduce how you can build streaming media or home theater system with Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi can turn ordinary flat-screen LCD or plasma TVs into smart TVs. Thanks to someone transplanting this popular software-XBMC, bringing us Raspbmc.

Prepare Raspbmc

Firstly you should follow the previous guide and installed Debian for the Raspberry Pi, ensuring that it is running normally.

In order to install Raspbmc properly, please follow the next steps. The first step is preparing a new SD card-the previous one needs to be used in a normal environment; the SD card is actually the hard disk of the Raspberry Pi, so if you overwrite it, you can only re-flash the img to repair it. Probably equivalent to reinstalling the system. It is not necessary to use a new SD card, but it is recommended. A microSD and an SD card holder works better.

No matter which solution you choose, the card must be formatted firstly, before proceeding to the next step, insert the card into the card reader and connect it to your PC.

Prepare Raspbmc



Then, download the Raspbmc installer. After the download is complete, unzip and run the installer.exe file.

Your SD card will display in the installation window, select the small square in front of the SD card item, click Install, the software will install Raspbmc on the SD card. When the "Congratulations" message appears, you can remove the card and plug it into your Raspberry Pi.

download the Raspbmc installer

Set up Raspbmc

Install the SD with Raspbmc into the Raspberry Pi, turn on the device, and make sure that the device is connected to the external network. During the installation process, there is still part of the data to be downloaded from the Internet, so it is necessary to connect to the Internet.

Set up Raspbmc


You don’t have to do anything during this process—unless the network is disconnected, or the network cable is incorrectly transmitted, or the SD card is broken—so you can sit down now and have a cup of coffee while you wait (the installation instructions for Raspbmc explains like it!).

What can you do with XBMC on the Raspberry Pi

Raspbmc comes from popular media center software XBMC ported to the Raspberry Pi. Therefore the user interface and functions are basically the same.

What can you do with XBMC on the Raspberry Pi


Pictures, videos, and music have their own menus, and there is a small software that can receive weather conditions in three places. Media sources need to be added manually. You can install plugins with the plugin manager. There are many plugins for you to choose.

home theater with raspberry pi


The best part of XBMC/Raspbmc is that it is easy to use, with a refreshing interface and good visual effects.

For more instructions on using Raspbmc, please go to XBMC wiki.

Improve Raspbmc

It is relatively simple to build this kind of media center on the Raspberry Pi. You can connect to a media without further tossing and enjoy the fruits of your (not so heavy) labor.

But this system is not perfect, it does not support some file encoding formats. Decoders for MPEG-2 and VC-1 must be purchased. Fortunately, these decoders are relatively inexpensive and can be found on the Raspberry Pi website.

Even without these improvements, your Raspberry Pi is already a portable home theater.

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