From the About section of Raspbmc's website:
Raspbmc is a minimal Linux distribution based on Debian that brings XBMC to your Raspberry Pi. This device has an excellent form factor and enough power to handle media playback, making it an ideal component in a low HTPC setup, yet delivering the same XBMC experience that can be enjoyed on much more costly platforms. Raspbmc is brought to you by the developer of the Crystalbuntu Linux Distribution, which brings XBMC and 1080p decoding to the 1st generation Apple TV.
Here’s why you might like Raspbmc:
Free and open source.
Supports both wired and WiFi out of the box!
Multiple languages supported
No knowledge of Linux is needed. If you want to use the Raspberry Pi as an XBMC frontend you can do exactly that with no knowledge of how anything works.
It can be installed with a few simple clicks from a Mac or a PC running Windows or Linux.
It’s auto updating, meaning you constantly get new features, performance and driver updates. You can however turn updates off at any time.
It supports 1080p playback.
Share your content from your PC over NFS, SMB, FTP and HTTP and a USB drive in almost any format.
AirPlay and AirTunes support allow you to send music and video from your iDevice to the TV.
Full GPIO support!
As it is a Debian system, it is completely expansive and you can install any packages from Debian’s massive repository!
… and much more!
Here’s some more ‘advanced’ features:
1080p DTS decoding in software.
Can be installed to SD card, USB drive, or run off an NFS share.
Has the following services embedded:
Secure out of the box – iptables restricts network to LAN only by default.
Raspbmc is created and maintained by Sam Nazarko, a 19 year old student from London.
Step 1: Materials
- SD memory card (4GB or larger)
- Power adapter compatible with the MicroB connector on the Raspberry pi
- Ethernet patch cable
- HDMI compatible monitor and cable
- USB Keyboard (no mouse is necessary, you can navigate the entire interface via keyboard. Arrow keys, Enter, ESC, etc.)
Step 2: Installing the Raspbmc on Your SD Card
First, open a terminal window (navigate to the apple spotlight in the upper right hand corner of your screen and start typing "terminal". it should be listed as the "top hit". Click it to open the terminal application.)
When you are in the terminal window, type the following command:
curl -O http://svn.stmlabs.com/svn/raspbmc/release/installers/python/install.py
now type the following command:
chmod +x install.py
Next we will be running the installation script with root privileges as well as writing to our SD card by using the following command:
sudo python install.py
After those commands have run, your terminal window should resemble the photo at the top of this current step. Type in your password (keep in mind, you will not be able to see the characters as they are being typed, the cursor will not move. Don't be alarmed, just type your user password as you would to install any other application on your computer) after your password has been typed, hit enter.
Step 3: Installing the Software on the SD Card
Step 4: Installing the Software on the SD Card (cont.)
For the "Enter your choice here" prompt, type the proper identifier and hit enter. Upon hitting enter, Raspbmc will be installed onto the SD card. It will automatically eject the disk. Upon disk ejection, remove the SD card from your computer, place it in the SD slot on your Raspberry Pi and power on the device. Raspbmc should boot and you should be ready to personalize the user interface and install any add-ons your heart desires!
Step 5: HDMI Issue - Fix
in my case it would be: ssh firstname.lastname@example.org
you will be prompted for the user password, the default password for your Raspberry Pi is "raspberry" (without the quotation marks).
upon connecting to Pi, navigate to /boot by using the following command:
then open up the config.txt file within that directory using the following command:
sudo nano config.txt
(before hitting enter your screen should look like the image above. The extra ls command just lists all the files within the /boot directory.)
Step 6: HDMI Issue - Fix (cont.)
use control+X to exit, type y and hit enter to save, and hit enter one more time to confirm the destination of the file.
your file should appear as the image at the beginning of this step after adding the additional lines.
upon saving the file, shutdown the raspberry pi with the following command:
sudo shutdown -h now
upon powering the device back on (unplug the power cord and plug it back in) your TV should recognize the HDMI input.
Now, enjoy using your new HTPC!