The Raspberry Pi can be used as a media center. The Raspberry Pi media center can serve up media such as music, videos and pictures. There are a number of distribution options based on XBMC the "Open Source Home Theatre Software". The two most popular are RaspBMC and OpenELEC. The following is a quick guide for installing RaspBMC.
First, download latest RaspBMC image and write to SD card:
# wget http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/raspbmc_latest # gzip -d raspbmc-2013-10-02.img.gz # sudo dd if=raspbmc-2013-10-02.img of=/dev/sdh bs=1M
I used Linux to write the image to the SD card. If you are using windows, you can use the "Win32DiskImager" tool (See Connecting to the Pi). The raspbmc-2013-10-02.img.gz was the available version at the time of this post, adjust the file name as needed. The /dev/sdh is the device node my USB SD card reader appeared as. I used dmesg, after connecting the USB device, to determine this.
First BootConnect an HDMI cable to both the Raspberry Pi and a TV. If you are planning to serve media files up from another server (across NFS / CIFS), connect a network cable. Although it is possible to use wireless, it is recommended to use at least a Fast Ethernet wired cable, otherwise the video performance may suffer. Connect power, and watch the Raspberry Pi boot.
On the first boot, you will be asked to configure a few of options, such as locale and time, within a text based dialog wizard. The configuration options are minimal compared to Raspbian's raspi-config. The Raspberry Pi will reboot again, this time into RaspBMC windows manager (pictured above).
You are now ready to start using the RaspBMC Media Center.
Serving Media from USBThe quickest way to play media is to copy the media files to a USB drive, and connect this to the Raspberry PI. From here, it is just a matter of browsing to the files you wish to play.
Service Network Media over NFSIf you are like me, you have a massive file server in the basement housing your collection of music, videos and photos. To remotely gain access to these files, we can mount an NFS (or CIFS) share.
The NFS tools are already available, but to mount an NFS share we need to first enable the RPC Binding service.
sudo service rpcbind restart sudo update-rc.d rpcbind defaults
Next we can mount our NFS share:
sudo mkdir /pub sudo mount myserver:/pub /pub
Adjust "myserver" and "/pub" to match your server name and NFS share.
To make this available on boot, add the following to /etc/fstab:
myserver:/pub /pub nfs defaults 0 0
Now you will have full access to your media from your Raspberry Pi.