Hardware Movies Unix

Ubuntu and XBMC

Xbox Media Center be praised!

I just installed this on a linux Ubuntu box, and I used the “Live” version which I put onto a USB drive. So, the steps:

  1. Download the ISO file from
  2. Burn the ISO onto a thumb drive (or CD)
  3. Boot your host off the USB/CD, you may need to hit F11 during bootup to get to your BIOS and choose boot media.
  4. When booting you can either install or boot off the media to see how it works on your setup. Once you verify your setup, you should install.
  5. Hook up to your TV and stereo and go!

Now, I actually have a file server in my home that stores all my movies in AVI format. So, my XBMC is a very shrunk down system, you could even put it on a small solid state flash drive which would be nice and fast. Then the question is, how to access the files from another server?

I use NFS on my server and mount them on the XBMC host. However, I had to do a few steps to get this going:

  1. You need to install nfs-common to be able to mount. But, the Live install does not have that by default. So, you need to SSH into your XBMC. This is a little tricky, since XBMC will use DHCP to get an IP address and you may not know what IP it has!
  2. Find the IP. One way is to use a “pinger” program that will try and ping every IP in your home network range, and once you do that you can try SSH’ing into each IP that turns up. I use PUTTY if on a windows box to do SSH.
  3. Once logged in, then do “sudo apt-get update”
  4. Then do “sudo apt-get install nfs-common”
  5. Edit your fstab file, i.e. “sudo vi /etc/fstab”
  6. You’ll want to add your file server, usually something like “                /movies         nfs     defaults        0       0”
  7. Make sure you mkdir your mount point (/movies in this example) on the xbmc host, then do “sudo mount -a” and your xbmc host should mount the movies
  8. In XBMC, go to Video and add “root file system” to point to your new mount point!
  9. Enjoy!