Meet My Media Center: XBMC

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.

XBMC Media Center is an award-winning free and open source cross-platform entertainment hub software for HTPCs (Home theater PCs). It uses a 10-foot user interface designed to be a media player for the living-room TV using a remote control as the primary input device. Its graphical user interface (GUI) allows the user to easily browse and view videos, photos, podcasts, and music from a harddrive, optical disc, local network, and the internet using only a few buttons.

–quoted from

Let’s discuss installation. The XBMC 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 Team XBMC by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc
    (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 XBMC by typing this (minus the quotes) into a terminal prompt:
    sudo apt-get install xbmc

Now you have it installed, and you can run this from your local machine without doing one thing more. From here on, it’s all about customization, which is completely specific to your own personal taste. There are so many things to customize within XBMC that I could never cover them all here, however I will leave you with a link to some of the options you’ll have going forward. Whether you want to play video games, watch live TV, setup remote controls, sync any of this media across your house, or just customize the look with skins, this Wiki page has it all.

Team XBMC Wiki

There you have it! This should give you a fully functional XBMC 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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