Media Center – (XBMC + polish VOD and subs)

Many people buy Raspberry Pi because it is capable of playing Full HD movies, while the price of it is very attractive and power consumption is close to none. Hence, I cannot imagine our website without at least a brief introduction to XBMC. Since there are hundreds of websites, where configuration of XBMC is described in very detailed way. Here you should find all basic stuff on how to turn your little RPi into cool media center.

There are few RPi Linux distributions that have pre-installed XBMC. I use Raspbmc. Installation of Raspbmc is so simple that when I did it for the first time I couldn’t believe it was that easy :)

So first you go to raspbmc.com, or directly to http://www.raspbmc.com/wiki/user/windows-installation/ if you are windows user. Download installer and unzip it. Insert SD card to your computer or connect USB card reader (I use 4GB) and run the installer. Installer will erase all data from your SD card and will install/copy start-up files for RaspBMC installation. Once it completes, insert SD card to RPi, make sure it is connected to the internet with Ethernet cable. If your router does not assign IP automatically or you would wish to use WiFi connection, make sure you configure your network settings in your RaspBMC installer that was just used to flash SD card.

When RPi is started with the SD card inserted, it will download and install RaspBMC. It will take around 30 minutes. After installation completes, XBMC will start automatically. You should see this screen and what is quite important, you can already use your TV remote to control RPi (assuming your tv is compatbile with CEC – HDMI standard that enables control of devices connected to TV using HDMI).

XBMC main screen

XBMC main screen

If you find the main screen not fitting your TV screen (it is too large in my case) go to: System->Settings->Appearance->Skin->Zoom and adjust it to have the screen fitted properly.
If you still find your screen not calibrated properly (in main screen or when video is played), go to System->Settings->System->Video output->Video calibration.
If you want to change language of XBMC go to System->Settings->International and adjust it according to your needs.

Subtitles

The next thing I always do is I install subtitles plugin: System->Add-ons->XBMC.org Add-ons->Subtitles->XBMC Subtitles->Install . Once installed, configure the plugin (Configure available at the same screen as Install).
1. Set preffered languages.
2. Set services which will be used to retrieve subtitles for your movies (you may need to enter username and password for your subtitles portal).
3. In “Advanced settings” you should set several things:

  • Default Movie and TV show subtitle service.
  • Check “Search next available service if no results are found” so that XBMC will continue to look up the subtitles.
  • I suggest to set “Auto download first ‘sync’ subtitle” – it works very well in 95% of the cases.

Now go to System-Settings->Video->Subtitles to configure subtitle font.

Polish VOD – TVN Player, IPLA and many more….

Fortunately there is group of people that took care of developing a plugin to xbmc that will allow us use most popular (mostly) Polish internet VOD like TVN Player, TVP, IPLA (Polsat) and many many more.
First, go to and download zipped plugin (at the time when this article was written in was repository.sd-xbmc.org-1.0.2.zip file). Upload this to your RPi (i.e. via FTP). Then go to System->Settings->Add-ons->Install from zip file and browse for the uploaded zip file. Now go to Video->Add-ons->Telewisja polska (kanaly, VOD, Filmy, Seriale) and choose install.

XBMC-SD Plugin

XBMC-SD Plugin

Now, you need to be patient while is is being downloaded.
Once it is done, you can start enjoying it :) You may want to configure your account settings for some VOD services – it is under Ustawienia.

We also encourage you to donate few zlotys to XBMC-SD project to keep them running :)

As always, ENJOY!

Here is your raspberry pi ampilight system!