Meet My Media Center: SABnzbd

So you’ve got a decent machine and you’re wanting to try out this crazy Linux thing to build a home media center. I previously posted a quick cheat sheet for installing the Ubuntu Desktop 64-bit Edition 12.04, and will be using that as my base OS for this post, however most is very comparable if not identical to the other linux variations.

SABnzbd is an Open Source Binary Newsreader written in Python. SABnzbd makes Usenet as simple and streamlined as possible by automating everything we can. All you have to do is add an .nzb. SABnzbd takes over from there, where it will be automatically downloaded, verified, repaired, extracted and filed away with zero human interaction.

–quoted from

SABnzbd is basically, a Usenet client. Meaning that it is to the Usenet (an old school pre-www BBS-like worldwide distributed Internet discussion system), what Chromium/Chrome/Firefox are to the web.

Let’s discuss installation. The SABnzbd installation is a piece of cake (or pie if you prefer) and we’ll take it one step at a time.

  • Make sure that you have installed Ubuntu Desktop 64-bit Edition 12.04 for an exact duplication of my media center setup. That said, older versions of Ubuntu (both 32-bit and 64-bit) and its derivatives will most likely work as well.
  • Add the PPA for jcfp by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jcfp/ppa
    (if prompted for your password, enter it)
  • Now you need to update your repos by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Now let’s install SABnzbd+ by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo apt-get install sabnzbdplus
  • You have it installed, but let’s make it automatic by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo gedit /etc/default/sabnzbdplus
    this will launch a text editor displaying a configuration file
    just look for a portion that reads:
    USER=username (replace “username” with your Ubuntu user name)
    click “Save” and close the text editor
  • Reboot the machine
  • Once the system has rebooted, open a browser and go to
  • This will display the SABnzbd Quick-Start Wizard. This should be self explanatory, pick your language, etc.
  • You will come to “Server Details” which will be specific to your Usenet service provider. If you don’t have one, just Google “Usenet Provider” and pick the one that fits your situation best. In general “Host” should be something like “,” the “Port” should be “563” (this will allow you to use 256-bit encryption for your connection). The “Connections” will be specific to your provider. Make sure you check the SSL box to enable it.
    Make sure to use the “Test Connection” button to test your connection to your provider and make sure that it’s kosher.
  • Next will be a question about whether or not you want it to be accessible from just your machine or all the devices on your network. This is personal preference. Pick one. Move on. Oh, un-check the thing about launching the browser, otherwise you’ll hate yourself every time your machine boots.
  • Now a page to add your details for Newzbin and NZBMatrix. You can fill these out if you subscribe to them, or skip it if you haven’t yet.
  • You may want to bookmark the “Home” screen when it comes up.
  • The rest of the setup is quite specific and tedious so rather than make you read 18 pages of commentary, I’ll just list images of the configuration pages.

There you have it! This should give you a fully functional SABnzbd setup, and the groundwork for other fine products like Sick Beard (TV), CouchPotato (Movies), Headphones (Music), and finally XBMC (Media Center) to rule them all.


…and if you don’t, please write me to tell me how horrible it is and what parts you merely dislike as well as the parts that you utterly despise.

~ matt

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