XBMC on Raspberry Pi with OpenELEC pt.2


I’ve continued tinkering with my OpenELEC media player, and there’s too much stuff to do as just updates or comments to the original post.

Somebody gave me a nice laser cut Rasberry Pi logo at the last OSHUG meeting


I started out with a canned build[1], but discussion on the OpenELEC thread on the Raspberry Pi Forums suggested that I was missing out on some features and fixes. I therefore did another build (in the OpenELEC directory):

git pull

I’m presently running r10979, which seems to be behaving OK. I’ve uploaded some later builds to github, but not had the time to test them out myself. To get some of the later builds to compile properly I needed to delete the builds directory:

rm -rf build.OpenELEC-RPi.arm-devel/

To use these binaries simply copy the OpenELEC-RPi.arm-devel-datestamp-release.kernel file over kernel.img and OpenELEC-RPi.arm-devel-datestamp-release.system over system on a pre built SD card. As these files sit on the FAT partition this can easily be done on a Windows machine (even though it can’t see the ext4 Storage partition). The files can’t be copied in place on the Rasberry Pi because of locks.


This is the file that’s used to set up the Raspberry Pi as it boots. The canned build that I’m using didn’t have one, so I created my own:

mount /flash -o remount,rw
touch /flash/config.txt

I’ve set mine to to start at 720p 50Hz:

echo 'hdmi_mode=19' >> /flash/config.txt

There are loads of other options that can be explored such as overclocking the CPU.


The cheap MCE clone that I bought still isn’t working entirely to my satisfaction, but I’m less bothered about that as there are other good options. I already raved a little about XBMC Commander for the iPad in an update to my original post (it also works on the iPhone, and presumably recent iPod Touch). I’ve also tried out the Official XBMC Remote for Android, which is a little less shiny but pretty much as functional; best of all it’s free.


When I first set up CIFS to my Synology NAS I meant to try out NFS as well. At the time I didn’t as things weren’t working properly on my NAS, which turned out to be down to a full root partition stopping any writes to config changes. Having sorted that out I’m now using .config/autostart.sh to mount using NFS thus:

#! /bin/sh
(sleep 30; \
mount -t nfs nas_ip:/volume1/video /storage/videos -r; \
mount -t nfs nas_ip:/volume1/music /storage/music -r; \
mount -t nfs nas_ip:/volume1/photo /storage/pictures -r \
) &


That’s it for now. The dev build I’m on seems stable enough and functional enough for everyday use, so I’ll probably stick with that rather than annoying the kids with constant interruptions to their viewing. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long for an official stable release.


[1] The original  canned build is now ancient history, so I’m now linking to the latest official_images.


Update 1 (4 Jun 2012) – r11211 release bundle and image (900MB when unzipped so should fit onto 1GB and larger SD cards).
Update 2 (4 Jun 2012) I’ve put r11211 and will put subsequent bundles and images that I make into this Box.net folder.
Update 3 (5 Jun 2012) my Box.net bandwidth allowance went pretty quickly, so I’ve now put up the latest release bundles and image files on a VPS.
Update 4 (26 Jan 2013) release candidates should be used rather than dev builds in most cases, so links modified to point to those.

30 Responses to “XBMC on Raspberry Pi with OpenELEC pt.2”

  1. 1 Bill

    Hi Chris!
    I was wondering, did you leave anything out of the build? Because I only get audio out of .rmvb files without picture and on my HTPC (running XBMC) it runs without any problem.

    • I’ve not done anything to change the build. I must confess that I’d not previously heard of .rmvb, so it’s quite possible that it’s not included in the current RPi build.

      Personally I’ve only tried AVI and MKV containers with XViD, DivX and H.264 codecs for video and MP3 for audio.

  2. Ok, this is embarrassing but I can’t figure out how to download the binaries you mentioned from github

    • Embarrassing for me. I should have done more testing. I’m guessing that you’re running into the ‘Error: blob is too big’ issue. It seems that github isn’t a great place to plonk large binaries.

      You can get everything I’ve put up there with ‘git clone http://github.com/cpswan/RasPi‘ (assuming that you have a git client installed), but that is a big waste of time and bandwidth when you probably only want the latest build. I’ll try to find somewhere more appropriate to host builds.

    • If you don’t want to mess around with git then I’ve put the image onto dropbox and also a later build (from which the kernel and system files can be used to do an update the image).

      • 6 benjaminellison

        Many thanks! I’m excited about getting my Pi’s (they just shipped) and hooking them into my Synology diskstation as well.

    • Hej Chris, nice pictures and thx for some test-images, but I have a question regarding your version, I have also my Raspberry Pi running with OpenELEC and I compiled it by use of this documentation http://wiki.openelec.tv/index.php?title=Building_and_Installing_OpenELEC_for_Raspberry_Pi
      But the Problem, I’m currently having is that I only have sound, but no video at all for AVI/XVID. How did you compile your version or what do I have to activate/add/change to get missing codec information or what else to get it playing videos?
      Now I tried one of your last packages from your dropbox-account, updated my kernel and system successfully, but after the reboot I just get “can’t execute ‘/sbin/init’ : No such file or directory” …ending in kernel panic, I had this once in the past, it’s not always that easy, to just compile and change the kernel and system :-/.
      So which ist your currently successful running OpenELEC-Version, running stable for also XVID/DivX compressed AVI-containers and so on and with remote support? Do you have such a build?

      • I’m presently running the r11170 (image here). No problem at all with video using avi (divx or xvid) or mp4 (h264) files, and at no stage have I needed to mess around with build (or post build) options around codecs – that stuff should just work. What could be happening is that XBMC is switching your Raspberry Pi into a video mode that your TV/monitor doesn’t support (I do notice mine switching between 720p50 and 720p60).

        I’ve briefly tried r11206, but I haven’t tested updating an earlier build with the new kernel and system files.

        Since I’ve now come up with an easier way to make images I’ll try to upload release packages and images together going forward. Here’s r11206.img.gz.

      • I just upgraded my binaries to r11211 (image and bundle here), and noticed a similar issue with some avi and mp4 files – sound but no video. It looks like 50Hz original stuff was playing fine, but 60Hz wasn’t – at least on my TV. When I swapped to my monitor everything was showing up fine. The fix to get things working on the TV was to set ‘hdmi_mode=19’ in config.txt (although I’d done this previously it hadn’t been correctly done on the SD card I was using).

      • Hej Chris, this is a nice thought. I’m currently also using my computer monitor with HDMI, it usually supports high freq. and also sound, but it might have been an issue here, too. But where is the config.txt located you are talking about? Which one do I have to modify here? And are you also using the current Github files or which are your sources?
        I’m currently on a business travel, but I will check and try this at least at the weekend again. Thanks for your feedback, I’m keen on trying this out :)!

      • The config.txt stuff is covered in this post. You can edit it as described above, or it’s on the FAT partition that’s used to boot, so you can see/edit it with the SD card in a Windows machine.

  3. Hej Chris, r11211 works much better; now, I’m able to run some series and some of my films, but I can’t cassify them :-/. So that seems to be the way to success, but not perfect yet. I wanted to try it on my beamer, where I used the yellow Cinch-cable, but here are the borders cut, but HDMI on my TV works fine. So whenever you have a new build, I think, I will try it :).
    But back to the config.txt, I did not find it, I just have the following files on my FAT-partition: bootcode.bin, cmdline.txt, kernel.img, loader.bin, start.elf, SYSTEM

    • If you want to use config.txt then you hvae to create it in the FAT partition as it’s not there by default.

      The latest build that I have is r11264, but there should be another available in a few hours.

      • Ok, surprise me :). If you have another one successfully up, running and playing everything,I would like to try it out.
        Regarding the config.txt, this makes much more sense, that I have to create one, do you have an example-file somewhere? I did not find any inside your last builds/packages?

      • Ok, I think I got it, I can easily write…
        …inside a textfile, but is there somewhere a doc., where theses params are discussed/explained? I did not find anything yet – ok even just realized, that this file is possible. But where/what are the differences to “19”?

      • I should probably drop a sample config.txt into my images. It’s kind of a shame that this hasn’t already emerged as best practice for Raspberry Pi builds (e.g. the Debian Squeeze build should maybe have one that doesn’t actually do anthing, but comments all the options).

  4. 18 adssoc

    Chris excellent work your build fast , only issues for me are add ons

    • The latest builds are a bit larger, so something has changed. I’m presently thousands of miles from my Pi so no chance to test and see what.

  5. 20 Derek

    Hi, i’ve just installed r11329 and it works great. This build uses XBMC 12 Alpha 3, is there any way to get this to be the released 11 Eden build of XBMC. I’d like to connect my Pi to my existing mysql database and don’t want any issues with database versions being different. Cheers.

  6. 21 Jonathan Hinkle


    Thank you very much for working on this. I’ve been primarily a Win user for a while and I appreciated the .img files as I quickly learn more Linux.

    One comment/report: I’ve booted xbmc and gotten kvm, etc. working well now + sound, now on the latest r11504 image. I navigate to uPnP and find my ReadyNAS DLNA-compliant box. I can also add some appropriate folders with some media in them. However, as soon as I actually try to play a mp3 or movie file the screen scrambles to a few lines and never comes back. Any thoughts? Sound like a bug?

    I have a 2A power adapter and tried a few different SD’s that work just fine with Debian, so I don’t think it’s my hw setup. I was wondering if it may be getting too hot since only still air (convection cooling), but haven’t heard of issues yet with that for video.

    Thank you!

    • I’ve not tried r11504 myself, but some of the comments I’ve read in the forums suggest it might not be one of the best builds. Try giving some of the older builds a try.

      • 23 Jonathan Hinkle

        OK, thanks for the heads-up. I’ll try an older build and see if I get better results.


  7. Hi I’m currently using the a nightly build r11504 from 09/07/12. I’ve been having problems with mp4 files since I first set up openelec xbmc last week. Avi’s are working fine however if I add an pm4 to the library then the dashboard will start to become unresponsive / laggy as soon as I enter that source (which is windows network). If I then try to run an mp4 it will hang loading and then freeze / crash if I try to go back. Is this a known issue or am I doing something wrong? Thanks.

    • I’ve not tried r11504 myself, but there seem to be many reports of issues. I’ve had no trouble with mp4s on earlier builds, and later builds are now ready.

  8. 26 DGreenMan

    Hi Chris

    i am running r11535.img do you know if the librtmp is upto date and if not can you include it in a update or teach me how to do it as its over my head

  9. 28 Nick

    Chris, Just wondering if you could throw a driver into your build for the edimax ew-7811un wifi dongle. Its used by a lot of people and works with RASBMC, RASPBIAN, and pretty much every other build that works on RPI….I just can’t seem to find one for openelec. Any help would be greatly appreciated. The name of the driver is rtl8188cus.

    • So far I’ve not been messing around with the OpenELEC coming out of git (that’s about to change when I get my TV adaptor later this week[1]). It’s one thing to be a more frequently updated source of unofficial builds, it’s another entirely to start forking things.

      I think there’s probably a good case for popular WiFi drivers to be included in the mainstream build, so it’s probably worth asking in the OpenELEC Testbuilds thread at the Raspberry Pi forums (as I know some of the people involved in porting OpenELEC to the RPi are there and listening).

      [1] My plan is that I will make the USB TV stuff available for others, but I won’t fold it into the build bot that spews forth at openelec.thestateofme.com

      • 30 Nick

        Thanks, Your newest one works with the ew-7811un. I just had to manually enter the network name and password and upon restarting it connected right up and BAM! Im on and running at great speeds! Keep up the good work Chris!

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