Raspberry Pi FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions XBMC running on the Raspberry Pi.


1 General FAQ

See also: XBMC all platforms FAQ for FAQs that apply to all versions of XBMC.

1.1 Installing XBMC on the Raspberry Pi


The easiest way to install XBMC on an R-Pi is to use one of these pre-made OS/XBMC packages:

You can also install XBMC on Raspbian:

1.2 Is XBMC for Raspberry Pi different from normal XBMC?

  • The current stable version of XBMC for Raspberry Pi is v12.3 Frodo. This is the same code that all of the other platforms (Linux, iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, etc) are using.

1.3 How do I find out what version of XBMC am I running?

  • XBMC main menu > System > Lower submenu > System info. Note the alpha version and/or build date.

1.4 Video and audio formats the Raspberry Pi can playback

  • H.264 (up to High Profile) encoded videos are supported up to 1080P using hardware video decoding. Note: Hi10P will not work.
  • MPEG-4 encoded videos are supported up to 1080P using hardware video decoding. This includes XviD and recent versions on DivX (but not the older 3.xx DivX).
  • The Raspberry Pi Foundation offers additional video codec licenses for a few dollars. At the moment you can purchase MPEG-2 and VC1, both with support up to 1080P. Read below on how to enable these.
  • MJPEG, VP6, VP8 and OGG Theora are supported as GPU accelerated software decoders. These are limited to SD resolutions.
  • The ARM is not powerful enough for useful software decode of video.
  • DVD ISOs and DVD menu navigation is early in development and might not always work.
  • Software DTS audio decode was initially problematic, but works quite well in recent builds. TrueHD audio is too CPU intensive and will not play.

1.5 Video and audio output on the Raspberry Pi

  • Video output via HDMI up to 1080P (the GUI will be rendered at 720P, but video will play up to 1080P).
  • Video output via the analog component video (RCA) jack will be in SD.
  • Analog audio output via the mini phone jack is supported.
  • USB audio is currently not supported.
  • DTS and AC3 audio passthrough audio is supported (and recommended, as it will reduce CPU load on the R-Pi)

1.6 How about multichannel audio support?

  • By default audio is downmixed to stereo.
  • If your receiver/TV supports DTS or AC3 passthrough then enable these in audio settings and you will get 6 channel audio.
  • Latest builds support multichannel PCM audio over HDMI. Note: not all receivers support this and toslink/optical will not.
  • Enable by setting the speaker configuration to suitable value (e.g. 5.1).
  • If your recevier does not support multichannel PCM, then leave this at 2.0. You will still get multichannel audio through passthrough.

1.7 Enabling additional video codecs


You can buy additional video codecs (VC-1 - used in some bluray discs, and MPEG-2) from the Raspberry Pi Foundation online shop. After purchase the keys are emailed to you, looking like this (invalid keys used for example):


In order to enable additional video codecs you should modify /boot/config.txt and add these lines literally. The method may vary per distribution:

  • Manual: Open /boot/config.txt with a text editor like nano or vi, and add the keys.
  • XBian: You can add/remote your keys using XBian-config. After reboot your keys will be entered and ready to use.
  • Raspbmc: Navigate to Programs -> Raspbmc Settings -> System Configuration -> MPEG2 codec license/VC1 codec key. Enter your keys with the onscreen keyboard then XBMC will prompt you to reboot. After reboot your keys will be entered and ready to use.
  • OpenELEC: Type mount /flash -o remount,rw to remount the boot partition in read/write mode. The file to edit is located in /flash/config.txt, and contains stubs for the license keys. Add the keys using nano or vi. There is also an unofficial add-on which can be used to enter the codec information.

1.8 Accessing media

  • You can connect to media that's being shared from a computer, HTPC, or NAS device on your local network.
  • You can access media on the main SD card or from the USB ports (hard drives, USB stick drives, hubs, all supported).

1.9 Add-ons and skins

  • XBMC for Raspberry Pi is a full version of XBMC and will be able to use all non-platform specific add-ons and skins. More feature rich (CPU demanding) skins like AEON Nox might not run smoothly, so keep to "lighter" skins.
  • Recommended lite skins include: Confluence (default skin), Amber, Metropolis, Quartz, Quartz Reloaded, Slik, xTV-SAF.

1.10 How to properly shutdown/disconnect

  • It is not possible to use traditional "shutdown" on the Raspberry Pi. The only way to power it off is to disconnect the power.
  • ALWAYS select the shutdown command in XBMC before powering off the Raspberry Pi. Failure to do so can corrupt the XBMC library databases, other databases, or even other OS files.
  • Most users leave the Raspberry Pi on all the time, as it uses very little power (the cost of electricity for a year is about the price of a hamburger).

1.11 Remotes for Raspberry Pi

  • Any Keyboard such as wired, wireless, bluetooth. This includes "keymotes" such as a Rii or Boxee remote.
  • Web interfaces, including add-on interfaces.
  • XBMC smartphone and tablet remote apps.
  • Other IR remotes can be used with USB IR receivers such as the Flirc.
  • CEC - Includes information about controlling your Raspberry Pi via compatible HDMI CEC products.
  • GPIO IR receiver - A simple bare IR receiver can be connected to the R-Pi's GPIO pins using these instructions.

1.12 MySQL library sharing

  • If you are using MySQL library sharing features, please note that your library will only sync with the Raspberry Pi if all your other XBMC instances are running the same version (how to check your version).

2 Troubleshooting

2.1 Getting more help with XBMC for Raspberry Pi


2.2 Userdata folder and logs

See How-to:Submit a proper bug report for bug reporting details and Debug log for how to post the debug log.
  • Userdata folder:
    • OpenELEC: /storage/.xbmc/userdata/
    • Raspbmc: /home/pi/.xbmc/userdata/
    • XBian: /home/xbian/.xbmc/userdata/
  • Debug log:
    • OpenELEC: /storage/.xbmc/temp/xbmc.log
    • Raspbmc: /home/pi/.xbmc/temp/xbmc.log
    • XBian: /home/xbian/.xbmc/temp/xbmc.log

2.3 Wrong language displayed in XBMC


2.4 Raspberry Pi known issues

  • DVD ISO playback is not expected to work well (there is experimental support with the hardware decoder in test builds).
  • FIXED in future v13 Navigation sounds (clicks and such when you move around in the GUI) are not supported. Sound from music and videos are unaffected by this.
  • FIXED in future v13 Playback of music from a USB CD drive might not work.
  • FIXED in future v13 Fast forward/rewind do not, but "stepping" back/forward does work. In other words, the FF/RW buttons don't work on the On Screen Display, but you can go back and forward using left/right arrows (or whatever you map to stepping back/forward).

2.5 Performance: video buffering, stuttering, choppiness

  • Switch to a different network protocol (especially if you are using SMB), i.e. NFS, FTP, WebDAV, etc.
  • Try sharing the media on another device to rule out a device-specific (or network) issue. Note: The Raspberry Pi can sometimes have a problem supplying enough power to a USB WiFi dongle. Try a wired ethernet cable to rule out this problem.
  • If RSS feed is enabled, disable it in settings. This makes the main menu a bit faster.
  • Disable "Extract thumbnail and video information" from file lists for faster menus
  • For smoother video playback enable "Adjust display refresh rate to match video" from playback
  • Make sure the video is using H.264 (up to High Profile. Hi10P will not work) or MPEG-4, or, if a codec was purchased and enabled, MPEG-2 or VC-1.
  • Passthrough is recommended as it lowers CPU usage for DTS and AC3. Use audio passthrough if your TV/receiver supports it.
  • To determine which audio passthrough formats your HDMI-connected TV supports, you can log in to your chosen distribution, via SSH, and run this command: /opt/vc/bin/tvservice -a (on OpenELEC: tvservice -a).
  • To speed up the GUI by making images smaller, or to save space on your SD card, see HOW-TO:Reduce XBMC disk space.

2.6 TV is not detected unless powered on first

  • Some TVs/receivers only report their capabilities (EDID) through HDMI when powered on before the Pi.
  • If TV doesn't get the right resolution or CEC doesn't work when Pi is powered before the TV/receiver then you can:
  • Run: sudo tvservice -d edid.dat (after booting with TV/receiver powered on first)
  • copy the edid.dat to the FAT partition (/boot on raspbmc and /flash on openelec)
  • and add to config.txt: hdmi_edid_file=1 and hdmi_force_hotplug=1
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