XBMC running on Ubuntu 11.04

Updated on June 8th, 2011. Found out that the support for the Lenovo M55 wasn’t that good with the kernel delivered as part of Ubuntu 11.04. Unable to shut down properly, among other things. YMMV, and I’m certain hardware support is better for 99% of the machines out there. Quite sure my problem would be easy to solve, but at this time, I just don’t have the time, so I downgraded to Ubuntu 10.10. Works just lovely. 😉

We’ve got a Lenovo M55 8810-A31 (old desktop computer) by the TV. It’s hooked up to the TV via HDMI and to the surround sound system via a normal stereo cable (no 5:1 sound, so far).

Tried running a few movies on it, from the NFS share downstairs. Using the built in movie player, the movie playback stuttered and sometimes even stopped entirely for half a second. At first, I thought it may be the network. The media machine is hooked up in the DMZ, between the Telia router watching our entrance and the pfSense router watching over the house network.

I thought that may slow things down a bit, but even when I copied a movie locally (which took forever), things were slow and movies were unwatchable. And this is with a new graphics card that manages full HDMI output and all.

So! Back to looking at software! I quickly tried installing vlc, but… that didn’t improve anything. Installing my favourite mediaplayer, the mplayer, which I’ve never seen beaten by any media format, showed 100% improvement. No more stuttering, no more pauses.

OK, one step done, a few more to go. Since I’d installed Ubuntu 11.04 on the machine earlier, and XBMC doesn’t officially exist on 11.04, I did a little “fix” (found on the net) to get it installed.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc

Since that adds a repository supposed to work for Natty, which isn’t available just yet, I then proceeded to do the following:

Go to the Package Manager. Click Settings -> Repositories. Under “Other Software”, highlight the XBMC PPA and click Edit. For the distribution, change it to maverick.

Then, I did;

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install xbmc

And… things were cooking.

I looked at the settings for XBMC, and made sure that VDPAU was enabled (hardware acceleration), but otherwise didn’t have to change anything. I added our movie repository, and pointed out where our photos are located, but other than that I didn’t do any changes at first.

Things… just… worked.

Then, I found two plugins! SVT Play and Grooveshark, and things were just wonderful.

Now all I’ve got to do is enable the web administration GUI, and we can remote control the media center from anywhere in the house. Will make playing music loud a lot easier. 😉


About magvar

Technical guy, worked with computers since I was twelve, complete nerd, but managed to get married and am now the happy father of three kids.
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19 Responses to XBMC running on Ubuntu 11.04

  1. Red Roni says:

    Thanks a lot! This worked great with a fresh install of Ubuntu 11.04 on a system I built for a friend.

  2. prageeth says:

    thanks a lot.

  3. PaulS says:

    I’ve tried this work-around several times. I run “sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc”, and it seems to work, but I cannot find the xbmc repository in the package manager. Can anyone help?

  4. James says:

    so is there a way to get surround sound yet for ubuntu 11.04 with xbmc?

  5. Pelle Chevelle says:

    Worked like a charm! 🙂
    But I’ve discovered diffrences in what goodie I get depending on what OS I install. If i use the Kubuntu install I’ll only get XBMC without the bells and whistles. But if I choose Xubuntu I get it all (I assume). Does anyone know why? Or is it me that’s doing something wrong with the Kubuntu install? The Kubuntu install was way too heavy anyway so I’m glad i switched to Xubuntu.

    • magvar says:

      Must be a packaging-thing done by the administrators. Good that you brought Xubuntu back to my attention, though… since I’m already running XFCE on my main desktop, might as well switch to Xubuntu. 😛

  6. Julio Gonzalez says:

    Magvar, you are awesome. We need people like you in this world. I tried the steps you have posted and it all worked flawlessly. Keep up the great work..

  7. NeoRagod says:

    Thanx pal worketd like a charm

  8. Scirocco says:

    You have to set the normal audio to analog or pulse audio will block alsas digital audio. After that you can use spdif or hdmi surround sound. As long as you set the program to use alsa, it wont work with pulse audio, XBMC uses alsa by default now.

  9. timo says:

    Scirocco I hope they would keep up thou things like these keep linux from moving forward, were as MS forces them to keep up and it works

  10. archie marsh says:

    Thanks for this! I would have struggled otherwise (running 11.04)

  11. Pingback: MillerNET » Blog Archive » X-box Media Center (XBMC)

  12. Pingback: X-box Media Center (XBMC) - MillerNET

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