Raspberry Pi XBMC Media Center

In this project I will let you know steps to make your own Raspberry Pi XBMC Media Center.

Parts Required
The parts you will you need for this project are listed below. You will probably only need a USB keyboard and mouse for the setup after this you can remotely control XBMC (Kodi) via a tablet and/or web browser.

  • Raspberry PI
  • 4 GB SD Card (8 GB+ Recommended) or Micro SD Card if you’re using a Raspberry Pi B+ or 2
  • USB Keyboard
  • USB Mouse
  • HDMI Cord

Optional Item: Ethernet Cord or Wifi dongle


Choose an operating system to install onto the Pi. Note: If you have a Raspberry Pi 2 please use OpenElec instead of Raspbmc. (You can follow the same steps but download the OpenELEC image instead of Raspbmc)




Raspbmc runs a full version of linux underneath XBMC but because of this it is slightly slower to boot up and the interface is somewhat slower when compared to a lighter weight version such as Xbian and OpenElec.

I found this the easiest to install and doesn’t require much work to have it working perfectly. You will need to tweak it a little to get the best out of it though. This is the most popular out of the three versions.

Find out more over at the Raspbmc website. Note: Raspbmc has now been discontinued please use OpenELEC instead.


OpenELEC is a very light weight simple media center for the Raspberry Pi. The pro and con for this one is that the Linux OS underneath is virtually nonexistent. This allows for much faster boot times and just faster performance overall.

The biggest drawback on this is there is little to no room to move in terms of adding new drivers etc. If you do need to this then it will require an entire rebuild of your Pi.

This is great if you have technical skills and don’t require anything else but the standard drivers for XBMC (Kodi)



Xbian much like OpenELEC is very light weight and fast but is much easier to install and configure than OpenELEC. This has everything Raspbmc has and is virtually identical. Xbian tends to get a lot of updates which means you get some minor features before the other two variations of XBMC.

This is perfect for anyone who wants faster updates but apart from that it is basically the same as Raspbmc.

Step 2

Installing Kodi (XBMC) Onto the SD Card

There are two ways to install Raspbian unto the SD Card the first two methods require a network connection to the Raspberry Pi. If you don’t have this luxury then simply follow my guide using the offline image.

Install via NOOBS (Network Connection Required)

Follow my earlier post How to install NOBS for Raspberry Pi for this.

 Install via OpenELEC Image

  1. Download the OpenELEC Project SD Card Image from the Raspberry Pi website.
  2. You will need a formatting tool. Download SD Formatter 4.0 for either Windows or Mac.
  3. Follow the instructions to install the formatting software.
  4. Insert your SD card into the computer or laptop’s SD card reader and check the drive letter allocated to it, e.g. G:/
  5. In SD Formatter, select the drive letter for your SD card (eg. G:/) and format

Install the OpenElec Image onto the SD Card

  1. Download and install the Win32DiskImager.
  2. Unzip the OpenElec image file so it will be .img and not img.gz (7zip is useful for this)
  3. Launch the Win32DiskImager and select the OpenElec ISO file and also the drive letter your SD card is assigned (Eg. G:/)
  4. Confirm you have the correct details and click on Write.


The Boot up

  1. Plug in all your necessary equipment into the Pi. (Keyboard, mouse,power supply and WiFi adapter(optional))
  2. Turn the Pi on by plugging in the micro USB cord from the power supply. It will now boot and spend about 5-10 minutes getting everything set up.
  3. Now it is all done and ready to go but if you would like to setup network and access files then go onto the next the section.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.