Meet My Media Center: Sick Beard

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.

Then we went over how to quickly and easily install your very own SABnzbd instance. Now we’ll cover how to install Sick Beard to handle your TV show downloads.

Sick Beard is a PVR for newsgroup users (with limited torrent support). It watches for new episodes of your favorite shows and when they are posted it downloads them, sorts and renames them, and optionally generates metadata for them.

–quoted from

Let’s discuss installation. The Sick Beard 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.
  • Download the most current version of Sick Beard by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    wget -O sickbeard.tar.gz
    (wait for it to finish and to recieve a new command prompt)
  • Now we will extract this archive into a folder by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    tar xf sickbeard.tar.gz
  • Once it is extracted into its own folder, we’ll move the contents of that folder to a hidden folder in your home directory by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    mv midgetspy-Sick-Beard-XXXXX .sickbeard
    (make sure that the ‘XXXXX’ portion of the above command is replaced by the specific version as seen in the folder name)
  • Next, we’ll move the configuration file so that Ubuntu knows where to find it by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo mv .sickbeard/init.ubuntu /etc/init.d/sickbeard
    (if prompted for your password, enter it)
  • Now let’s edit the config file with your details by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo gedit /etc/init.d/sickbeard
    this will launch a text editor displaying a configuration file
    just look for a portion that reads:
    replace the existing path so that it reads:
    APP_PATH=/home/username/.sickbeard (where “username” is your Ubuntu user name)
    then find the portion that reads:
    RUN_AS=username (replace “username” with your Ubuntu user name)
    click “Save” and close the text editor
  • Let’s make sure that this file is executable by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/sickbeard
  • You have it installed, but let’s make it automatic by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo update-rc.d sickbeard defaults
  • Now let’s teach Sick Beard to play nice with SABnzbd by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    mv /home/username/.sickbeard/autoProcessTV/autoProcessTV.cfg.sample /home/username/.sickbeard/autoProcessTV/autoProcessTV.cfg
    (replace “username” with your Ubuntu user name)
  • If you setup a username/password or different port for your SABnzbd installation you will also need to modify those settings in this configuration file, by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    gedit /home/username/.sickbeard/autoProcessTV/autoProcessTV.cfg
    (replace “username” with your Ubuntu user name)
    click “Save” and close the text editor
  • At this point make sure that the script drop down menu on the ‘Categories‘ settings page in SABnzbd is set to ‘‘ as below:

    SABnzbd - 8 Categories

    SABnzbd - 8 Categories

  • Oh, and make sure that ‘TV Sorting‘ is disabled and that the ‘tv‘ category is not selected on the ‘Sorting‘ settings page in SABnzbd as below:

    SABnzbd - 9 Sorting

    SABnzbd - 9 Sorting

  • Reboot the machine
  • Once the system has rebooted, open a browser and go to
  • This will display the main screen of Sick Beard. You may want to bookmark this screen when it comes up.
  • At the top of the screen, you’ll probably be given an update message. Click on ‘Update Now‘ and wait for it to update and restart.
  • Once Sick Beard returns to its main screen, choose the ‘Config‘ from the menu bar, and then ‘General‘ from the sub-menu.
  • 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 Sick Beard setup. Now on to the others: 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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