Raspbmc’s July update

Raspbmc’s July update brings the following:

  • Fix an issue with the installer on new Model B+ Pis
  • Improve performance for Raspberry Pis with 256MB RAM
    • Default to 720p resolution by default
    • Better buffer handling for these Pis
    • Reserve less memory for kernel
    • Use larger swap file
    • Reserve less memory for GPU
  • Fix a race condition which can occur when loading HiFiBerry and iqAudio sound card modules
  • Improvements to buffer handling
  • Fix for an issue where playing audio can cause the device to reboot
  • Add option for Model B+ devices to boost USB current in Raspbmc Settings (this is useful if you wish to power an external hard drive).
  • Performance improvements by reducing XBMC binary size

OSMC, (Raspbmc’s successor) is well under way. You may have seen that the first test builds are now available here, and the new logo and website are up in an early form. I’ll be taking the success of Raspbmc and bringing it to other platforms, such as CuBox-i, Intel NUC, Hummingboard and various other platforms.

XBMC 13.2 is just around the corner and when that goes final, I’ll have it ready.

To get the update, all you need to do is reboot your Raspberry Pi. If you’re running an XBMC nightly, be sure to switch to ‘xbmc release’ in Raspbmc Settings to get back on the stable build

If you enjoy Raspbmc, and this update, and would like to support continued development (there’s a lot of costs to cover with the OSMC project), you can make a donation here.


New Raspberry Pi Models

Today, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the Model B+ version of the Raspberry Pi. I thought I’d take a moment to explain the changes to users so they understand what’s new.

  • These new Pis still use the same system on chip (BCM2835) and have the same amount of memory, so there’s no need to upgrade for performance improvements.
  • The devices now feature four USB ports. This is potentially useful if you plug in a lot of devices
  • Improved quality sound out of the analog jack
  • Reduced power consumption (up to 1W), which is just under a third of the Pi’s total power consumption
  • Additional GPIO pins which promises more connectivity
  • micro-SD connectivity instead of a regular sized SD card.

It should be noted however that Raspbmc isn’t abandoning support for 256MB Pis (Model A or B), in the next update (which will arrive shortly), there will be some improvements to the way Gotham runs on the Pi, which is especially beneficial to the limited amount of memory on 256Mb Pis.

Raspbmc should run straight away on these new models, as changes needed to support the hardware were made well in advance.



Raspbmc’s June update


Raspbmc’s June update is small, but sweet. Here’s what’s new:

  • XBMC 13.1 final with a ton of fixes for some of the bugs introduced in Gotham:
    • Fix resume point of certain PVR items
    • Fix issues with UPNP
    • Fix crash after AirPlay finishes
    • Fixes for FLAC tracks with embedded images
    • Fixes for M4A and MP4 playback
    • Fix a minor memory leak
    • Use a unique client broadcast ID in the PVR API
  • Some fixes for improving support using external soundcards (HifiBerry and iqAudio), see this thread here
  • Reverted to ext4 as the default filesystem for Raspbmc. ext4 provides better data redundancy and is more compatible with Linux systems for those wishing to backup or transfer data.
  • Fix issue where XBMC will keep telling user a new version is available.
  • Fixes for some issues with 3D content

This update is smaller because the focus has moved on to Raspbmc 2.0 (which will support other platforms too). Named OSMC, you can read more here. Raspbmc will still be regularly updated and maintained to fix issues until OSMC reaches a final and stable version.

To get the update, all you need to do is reboot your Raspberry Pi. If you’re running an XBMC nightly, be sure to switch to ‘xbmc release’ in Raspbmc Settings to get back on the stable build

If you enjoy Raspbmc, and this update, and would like to support continued development, you can make a donation here.


Raspbmc’s May update

Hey everyone,

I hope you’re enjoying the XBMC 13.0 “Gotham” which comes with Raspbmc. I have been a little busy lately, although I have finally had time to address some of the issues that arose with this new version, as well as take care of some other things. Here’s what’s new and improved:

XBMC 13.1

  • Fixed an issue with AirPlay crashing at the end of a stream
  • Fix an issue with PVR items becoming stale on playback
  • Fix issues with UPNP running addons
  • Fix for FLAC tracks with large embedded artwork
  • Fix for broken playback of m4a files
  • Fix for a minor memory leak
  • Fix for issue where video calibration settings would not save

I’ve also made the following changes to Raspbmc

  • Upgraded the kernel to Linux 3.12 (for new installations only)
  • Improvements to the F2FS filesystem
  • Improved wireless support
  • Add new firmware which resolves issues with 3D scaling and refresh rate switching
  • FIQ improvements result in better playback (less jitter) when using a USB sound card
  • Improve ease of enabling an external sound card in Raspbmc (Programs -> Raspbmc Settings -> System Configuration -> Enable External Soundcard)
  • Remove deprecated ‘Disable resolution limit’ option in Raspbmc Settings
  • Fixed issues with Wolfson DAC
  • Fix an issue where XBMC will repeatedly inform the user that an update is available, when it is not
  • Fix an issue where TVHeadend on new installations was not running; and upgraded TVHeadend to version 3.6
  • Fixed issues that Gotham caused with remotes
  • Updated the standalone image to include the Gotham release; as well as the NOOBS image.

To get the update, all you need to do is reboot your Raspberry Pi. If you’re running an XBMC nightly, be sure to switch to ‘xbmc release’ in Raspbmc Settings to get back on the stable build

If you enjoy Raspbmc, and this update, and would like to support continued development, you can make a donation here.


XBMC 13 ‘Gotham’ is here!


Thanks to Team-XBMC, the latest version 13.0, codename ‘Gotham’ has hit its final release! I know you’ve all been eager to try the new version in its final form, so I’ve done my best to get you a release out. Here’s some noticeable improvements from Team-XBMC:

  • Speed improvements: navigating menus, starting playback and browsing through libraries
  • Settings are made easier and are now broken down in to different levels. Most people won’t need to go beyond the standard settings level. If you’re looking for a setting you think has disappeared, it’s probably on a more advanced level.
  • Improved subtitle searching
  • Improved UPNP capabilities: including the ability to stream to other XBMC devices
  • Numerous PVR improvements

You can read more on the XBMC website here

The release took a little longer to reach Raspbmc (almost 24 hours after XBMC’s release). This is because I’m in exam mode at the moment, and because I’ve added the following features downstream:

  • External sound card support (experimental): I’ve tried (but not thoroughly tested) to make the process for external sound card support simpler. Now you should just need to head in to Programs -> Raspbmc Settings -> System Configuration and select ‘Enable external soundcard’. You need to then play content by selecting the context menu, selecting ‘Play using’, and choosing ‘dvdplayer’. dvdplayer is not as good at handling high bitrate content as omxplayer, which is why it is not the default player.
  • JPEG texture improvements — thanks Ben Avison
  • Support for DVD menus with DVDPlayback
  • Support for playing back encrypted DVDs
  • CEC improvements: don’t suspend the Pi on TV turn off
  • (and much more)

In the next update, I’ll be improving the web browser, adding Hyperion to Raspbmc Settings and updating TvHeadend. I wanted to do that today, but I felt users wanted XBMC Gotham first, and with exams looming over my head, I’m strapped for time. So until I finish near the end of the month, this is it for now. A couple of warnings:

  • Skins may not be compatible with XBMC Gotham, check first
  • Your database version will be upgraded. Take care if you are using shared libraries. If you don’t want Gotham, you can unplug your network connection, boot Raspbmc and disable updates via Raspbmc Settings. Reboot, and you’ll be OK to connect to the Internet again.

To get this update, make sure updates are enabled in Raspbmc Settings. If you’ve installed a nightly build, you’ll want to switch to ‘xbmc-release’ in Raspbmc Settings -> Nightly Builds. Then, simply reboot your Raspberry Pi to get the update. The old Frodo build will remain installable via Raspbmc Settings indefinitely under ‘Raspbmc-12.3-Final’.

If you enjoy Raspbmc, and this update, and would like to support continued development, you can make a donation here.


New Raspbmc update!


There’s a lot that’s new — after all, it has been three months since the last update. The update before the New Year put the project in solid standing and I felt that the project was maturing. Rather than release small incremental updates each month, I decided to let things rest a while. There wasn’t that much to fix or push — so I took a step back.

In the past couple of months, I’ve been working on a few things, including working with two hardware developers to establish a reference platform for the upcoming linXBMC project, speaking to a prominent Internet streaming company about adding their service in a less ‘hacky’ way and trying to get more resources for the upcoming project. More will be revealed on that soon.

As we get increasingly near to the release of XBMC 13 (Gotham), I’ve done the following:

  • I’ve cleaned up the nightly builds list. Although there were plenty of builds available, it was quite messy, and users were not sure why they should try one build over another.
  • I’m producing 24 hour nightly builds of XBMC 14.0
  • I’ve published all XBMC 13.x Betas — which are installable via Raspbmc Settings
  • I have now prepared all the patches for XBMC 13 (Gotham), meaning that upon its announcement by Team-XBMC as final, I will release a build for Raspbmc a few hours later as an update.
  • Those wishing to stay with Frodo will not be left in the dark however. If you’d like to stay with Frodo, perhaps because it’s tried and tested, or perhaps because you have a shared library and you need to stay on the 12.x series, then not to worry. I have made a stable 12.3 build and that’s pushed as an update today. Even when Raspbmc moves to Gotham, this Frodo build will be kept available to install via Raspbmc Settings.

Here’s what’s new to Raspbmc as a whole:

  • Updated build filesystem to satisfy new XBMC build dependencies and fix a locales issue
  • Fix an overclock setting for ‘Fast’ mode that would force a high (and potentially incompatible) PLL divisor
  • Allow XBMC to adjust task priority for improved playback performance
  • Fix for the Heartbleed vulnerability. Note that this affects both clients as well as public facing servers, so fixing this issue was important.
  • Fix a bug where playback fails when accessing files from WebDAV or HTTPS shares
  • Firmware is updated to resolve issues with CEC on Panasonic sets and bring improvements to playback
  • Updated the standalone image to the latest version of XBMC, kernel and firmware

Here’s what’s new, thanks to XBMC Gotham will bring the following features and improvements:

  • Issues streaming with iOS 7 using AirPlay are now fixed completely
  • In the past couple of months, some new sound cards for Raspberry Pi have come out, so I’m adding support for the following sound cards:
    • Wolfson Microelectronics Raspberry Pi Module – Wolfson’s patches for this had issues, so I’ve done my best to manually resolve these myself. I have reached out to a developer at Wolfson who tells me patches will be released in the future.
    • HiFiBerry sound cards
    • IqAudio sound card
  • Add ALSA support to XBMC Frodo without need for manually enabling in Raspbmc Settings. This approach is done with ‘dvdplayer’ rather than an OpenMAX ALSA component.
  • Improved JPEG to texture decoding (thanks Ben Avison)
  • Hardware accelerated resampling and downmixing (thanks Dom)
  • dvdplayer with OMXPlayer acceleration:
    • this provides full DVD menu support and is suitable for playing back most content. To use ‘dvdplayer’ instead of the standard omxplayer, you need to select ‘Play with’ which can be done by invoking the context menu on the file that you would like to play. This is necessary for sound output with ALSA. omxplayer is being kept as the default player as it is more capable of playing back HD content; dvdplayer with OMX acceleration falls down with Blu-ray playback.
  • I have added support for encrypted DVDs — and in turn, the ability to play straight from DVDs with an external drive
  • ALSA sequencer support added for external sound cards
  • Adjust read buffer factor for better buffering of content and less pausing during playback
  • Ensure the web server is on by default with no username necessary for XBMC Gotham — allowing the user to use their smartphone to control Raspbmc out of the box without additional input devices

To accelerate development on the new project, linXBMC, I’ll be holding a competition soon, stay tuned for an announcement! I think I’ll be changing the name soon, so that may give you a hint as to what the competition might involve! The new content delivery network is coming along soon, and I hope to make the switchover to the new system later this month. The Raspbmc Shop will offer international shipping by the end of the week and more competitive pricing too!

To get the update, all you need to do is reboot your Raspberry Pi. If you’re running an XBMC nightly, be sure to switch to ‘xbmc release’ in Raspbmc Settings to get back on the stable Frodo build. If you’d like to try the vanilla Gotham builds: they are installable via Raspbmc Settings; however I’d recommend the custom Raspbmc build ‘Gotham-Raspbmc-Release’ which has support for sound cards, DvdPlayer support and the JPEG texture handling improvements. The process for playing back with an external sound card is not yet streamlined (it will soon simply involve a Raspbmc Settings based checkbox to enable), so for now you should see this thread for information.

If you enjoy Raspbmc, and this update, and would like to support continued development, you can make a donation here.

As always, enjoy!

Heartbleed vulnerability


I’m posting this to reassure users about the Heartbleed bug and Raspbmc. This vulnerability is now patched — to get the update, you need to just reboot your device (make sure you have updates enabled in Raspbmc Settings). If you weren’t running a front-facing service, i.e. an HTTPs enabled web server on your device (which is unlikely), that’s all you need to do to stay safe.

I’ve posted a bit more on my personal blog about the vulnerability and how to check that you are up to date.


(And yes, an update is coming soon. Very soon.)