How To: Install XBian on Raspberry Pi (XBMC)


I started playing with the XBMC builds made specifically for the Raspberry Pi recently. The entire installation process is fairly simple. Be aware most of this software is beta so you should expect some issues now and then. Since the software is free you really cant complain.

Don’t want to do it yourself? I’ll build you one.

I’ve previously covered the traditional Windows PC installation of XBMC here. There are three main XBMC variations that the community seems to prefer for the Raspberry Pi; XBian, Raspbmc, and OpenELEC. This time I will be covering a method to install XBian onto the Raspberry Pi for the purposes of creating a simple media center appliance. XBian is just one variation of many pre-built 3rd party distributions of XBMC available and I’ll be covering the other two main branches in later posts.

What you will need:

  1. Raspberry Pi model B (motherboard, case is optional but recommended)
  2. MicroUSB to USB cable or compatible power supply
  3. High speed SD card
  4. HDMI cable
  5. Network cable or compatible Wi-Fi dongle
  6. XBian Software

There are several pre-compiled builds of XBMC to choose from here, I’ve personally grown to like XBian for its simplicity. I tried Raspbmc and also OpenELEC for the Pi but XBian gave me the least headaches of the three when I first built one. I still prefer OpenELEC for the ION type mini PC’s though.

So go the XBian website and download the software and extract to a folder if needed. On a PC with an SD card slot insert the SD card to be formatted and loaded with XBian that will be used later to run the Raspberry Pi.


Run the XBian-installer file and you will see this screen:


Select the SD card and the version of XBian you want to install. The latest version as of this writing is 1.0 Beta 1.1. Click “Install” . Most likely the installer will need to locate and download the software automatically. Choose “Yes”.


The installer will begin downloading the selected software.


Once completed you will be asked one last time to confirm formatting and installing to the SD card. Choose “Yes”.


The installer will spend some time doing it’s thing and shortly complete.


After you see the screen indicating a successful installation, take the SD card out of the PC and put it into your Raspberry Pi.

Connect the Raspberry Pi to the TV/Monitor with the HDMI, to the network with the respective cable, and then plug in the power. Instead of a keyboard I’ll prefer one of the many mobile device apps over LAN for input. The official XBMC apps work well.

For most people this should do it and after a long first boot up you’ll have a working media center appliance. I like to restart and then configure settings after the first reboot.

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