As well as having a new build of Debian to try on your Raspberry Pi you can also test release candidate 3 of Raspbmc (XBMC for Raspberry Pi). The new build has a new Raspbmc addin, better 1080p playback, wireless support, CEC support (so you can control the Raspberry Pi over HDMI), firmware and kernal update and a 20 second boot time.

You can get the installer for Windows or Mac from the download page.

Details from

The UI installers are now available

Many people kept going to the Download page, imaging a card and then Tweeting / Emailing / Forum posting going “Huh? I installed it but it didn’t work, just left me at a blank screen”. The reason for this was that there are two branches of Raspbmc: testing and release. At the moment, everything is in testing, and when it is stable, it will migrate to release. What the UI installers do, is install release on your card, which at the time, left you with a blank screen saying it wasn’t ready yet.

So, to make it absolutely easy, I’ve enabled the UI installers, as we are after all stable enough. I haven’t populated the release branch, but instead, redirect calls to the release installer to the testing installer, and that will do the trick.

So, to summarise, Raspbmc now has a nice Python installer for OSX and Linux and a 1-click your done installer for Windows. Tell me how that can get any easier!

Raspbmc CDN is online

Raspbmc’s CDN is now online. This means the project has more mirrors than ever, and I don’t feel guilty for stealing all of the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s bandwidth, bless them for letting me use it! The CDN brings you high-speed mirrors to make Raspbmc installations and updates easy, simple and fast. Many thanks to those mirroring. More can join the party if you have a Linux box with rsync, just see this page here. You can find out who’s mirroring Raspbmc on the download page.

Thank you Ltd have provided me with a new server to compile XBMC nightly builds. This occurs after a certain host who shall not be mentioned decided to change their Terms of Service without any notification and suspend Raspbmc nightlies.  Neil at UKFast stepped in straight away over at the forum and furnished me with a new server. So when you’re installing a nightly (read more below about that), thank Neil. And if you’re in the mind for hosting, see what they offer here, it might just suit you.

New XBMC build with AudioEngine support

This new build brings us the new XBMC AudioEngine and some patches for fanart, SMB and some stability improvements.

New Raspbmc plugin

A new Raspbmc addon accessible from within XBMC allows you to configure your hostname, change the pi user’s password, turn updates off and on and disable nightly builds. What’s cool is not only can you download and install nightly builds from within it, but you can dynamically switch between any build of XBMC with no command line knowledge. Your settings, of course, are preserved across versions. I’m looking at adding some more features to this, but thanks go out to s7mx1 for the initial version.

New ‘exit’ behaviour

Now, if you exit XBMC or it crashes, you’ll find yourself given the choice of going to the command line or relaunching XBMC. Do nothing and XBMC relaunches, press Esc on a keyboard, and you’re straight into the command line.

Better 1080p playback

Some updates to the way the system configures the minimum amount of memory allocated to the kernel mean less buffering and smoother full HD playback. The screen ‘blanking’ issue, where the screen cuts out for a couple of seconds, is now eliminated.

OGG playback is fixed

A dependency was missing, and now it is included by default.

Wireless support

As requested, wireless support is now enabled in the kernel and I have bundled in the default modules for you. You’ll still need to configure everything, and probably need to install some firmware too, but with wireless modules, you won’t need to compile the kernel again. I didn’t include all the drivers people requested on the tracker, but for good reason, I included all WLAN modules not to be considered staging.

Firmware update

The firmware is updated again, fixing some PAL issues when watching over Composite. The resolution is now correctly set and should yield no further problems. Furthermore, the new firmware improves reliability, bringing significant speed improvements to the mmc controller. This means better IO throughput for SD cards. Rather brilliantly, I have seen some members of the forum report up to 19MB/s throughput with dd when they were testing the new kernel.

CEC support

This is extremely experimental, but Raspbmc now has CEC support allowing you to control Raspbmc with your TV remote. This won’t work with all devices, and will need you to be connected over HDMI.

New kernel

Our new kernel brings stability improvements, as well as support for more devices. I’ve now included:

  • IPV6 support
  • Webcam support
  • Bluetooth support
  • ALSA support (experimental, alpha-quality)
  • HFS and HFS+ support
  • LIRC GPIO support

Splash screen

This is undoubtedly a more welcoming way to begin your media center experience — the splash screen takes place in favour of the former console output that would litter your screen with unnecessary startup details.

Tighter root filesystem

The root filesystem has been précised so that unnecessary packages are not present on the target filesystem. This ensures that as much free space is available on your Pi’s SD card as possible.

LIRC changes

LIRC is now initiated from within XBMC when remotes are detected. This means that LIRC is stopped and started independently of its self. This improves reliability greatly and by configuring LIRC as an ondemand service it is more targetted.

It boots in 20 seconds now!

Obviously I am constantly striving to improve boot time. The most obvious way to do this, was to port the current SysVinit system to Upstart. Canonical’s Upstart allows the asynchronous loading of services during bootup. While the standard SysVinit init.d system will allow initialisation of a single process at a time, Upstart allows multiple services to load simultaneously, provided that they are not dependent on a service that is not yet loaded. Therefore, we can get from Off to On in a much shorter time as much of what we were loading was not dependent on anything else that we were loading, but was being synchronous, and thus had to wait on the previous service to start. Now, we load the bare minimum of what we need for XBMC to start, then XBMC will emit itself as started and the remaining servers will initialise. This is comparable to Microsoft’s new ‘delayed start’ available for Services.

3 thoughts on “Raspbmc Release Candidate 3”
  1. Ian, your website it terrible, this is the 3rd time i’ve typed this comment. keeps asking for a password, what password??? its actually worse once you’ve registered!!

    anyway, iplayer is a bit meh, i need the dvb client to be impressed although for the pi to be any use as a true extender we then need the proposed codec pack to deliver vc1 and mpeg2 support. i am not re-encoding all my blu-ray rips just to use a raspberry pi and equally although 90% of the tv we watch these days is HD and therefore h.264 there is still some in SD. BBC1 for the local news and then any number of the more rubbish satellite channels

    1. Not sure where your seeing the password box, I am using standard wordpress accounts.
      Anyway I know what you mean, it’s not easy to make it a true extender but maybe the device doing the recording could convert the SD stuff to h.264 so it will play

      1. dunno about the password, as i said it worked better before i joined the forum, just copied and pasted the password. now it just asks for name and email address but then goies on to another page and says “no password”. once i signed in to wordpress it was then ok again…

        maybe the android one i saw on BBC a few weeks ago will be bettter for full media play back

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