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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Final XBMC10 on Shuttle and ASRock systems

With the final release of Dharma, I experiemented with the three 'appliance-type' builds - XBMCLive 10, XBMCFreak, and OpenElec (which will become an official build inthe future).

To cut a very long story very short - OpenElec is the way to go. It gives you most of the flexibility of Live but it's a far less fiddly thing and a very very tidy little distribution.

I am running this on both my ASRock and Shuttle machines with very good results - install is very easy (make a USB key, boot from it, install, the whole thing takes maybe 5 minutes when you know what you're doing). This install supports sound over HDMI, latest NVidia graphics drivers and power management (suspend by remote) straight out of the box with my hardware. I have found suspend by remote on the Shuttle to be slightly inconsistent but to be honest I mostly leave the Shuttle on and hard power down the ASRock because of how we use them so that doesn't bother me.

All the system config stuff is done using a WinSCP connection (you must explicitly tell WinSCP to use SCP and not SFTP to get this to work). All the system type files are in a .config folder.

On the Shuttle, there is a sample asound.conf file you can use to get sounds for both the UI and over HDMI to work at the same time. See link here.

I use netmount.conf to mount my network shares from my server (now via NFS, see next post!).

This is simple, and means the shares are all mounted to the machines in the same local place (/storage/mount/share). This ties in nicely to using MySQL for the database, as the paths are all seen as local and the same on multiple machines.

My remotes and receivers (all MCE types or a Harmony emulating such) worked straight out of the box. I have further tweaked them using a kepmap.xml in the .xbmc directory.

And that's basically that - almost all the plugins seem to work just fine once installed (including ABC iview and other encrytped flash based video stream plugins). All local streaming works very well indeed (although see Dharma w. SMB proviso above). No video config was required - my TV was auto-detected, switches to 24p/50p/60p as required, and using 'sync playback to display' with Video Clock and 'resample' (I think, might be 'drop/dupe') - playback is buttery smooth with everything I have thrown at it, the little jumps and glitches seem to be gone, or so infrequent that I haven't noticed them.

It's all good - I thoroughly suggest if you have ION based hardware, that you check out openelec as it's easily the best/easiest out of the box XBMC experience if you're looking for an applicance like feel from your system.

Oh - and Openelec even has an automatic, easy to use update system - so no more whopping re-installs for upgrades - it's fan bloody tastic.

The Shuttle is now totally awesome - glitch free, and silent - totally silent. It's a great machine.

6 comments:

  1. Do you have a link on playing with the keymap.xml? I am experiencing some small issues with my Harmony One. Stuff like single press sometimes = double press. Shuttle not powering on from Stand By when the Activity is started (sound like you might have that issue too). It'll take 2 or 3 power toggle presses for me to wake the thing up. Any advice?

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  2. I think this has been improved and in B6 it seems that suspend/wakeup is actually working well for me, I haven't tripped it up yet (but msotly I just leave it on anyway).

    I don't have any double press issues (in the harmony software I have set the repeats to 0) - but I do find XBMC is wicked fast when scrolling longer lists - too fast, I would like to slow it down a bit.

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  3. Oh and re: a link, I just looked in remote.conf to work out what specified buttones are and then use the xbmc wiki guide to keymap.xml and available functions. I will post mine soon.

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  4. I just bought the Shuttle XS35GTv2, which is basically the same as XS35GT, but with a better processer. I tried to install xbmc live , open elec and finally xbmc over windons seven, and each time i ended with no wifi or very slow, do you know if somehting is wrong with the wifi on this machine, or if i have to install a specific dirver?

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  5. I don't really know anything about the v2 or wireless, I use ethernet. I don't rate wireless for media streaming.

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  6. In general, i prefer wired connections, but in my old house, i can't use them everywhere :(

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