Media Center PC

Guide for installing Ubuntu on PC to run XBMC on an Acer Revo updated for Karmic.

I have done this more as a notes page to remember the steps taken to install the various parts of the software. Most if not all of this information has been gleened from

The Ubuntu community provides a handy “Minimal CD image”, a tiny bootable CD (<10 MB) to be used to perform a custom installation with a text-based installer. Get the most recent Karmic ISO image from here.

Select “Install” at boot prompt, then when prompted provide info about your location, language, keyboard layout, time zone. Disk partitioning will be basic, the full disk will be deleted and used.

  • Note: If you want more control on the install options you can opt for the “Expert install” at boot prompt, that provides you more flexible disk selection and partitioning options.

You will then be asked to confirm your country and keyboard information. It will then ask you to give your new Media PC a name.

You will then be asked to create a user account type in xbmc select a password and also dont encrypt your home directory.

Next you will get a screen asking about automatic upgrades select no.

after some downloading of information you will be presented with the screen below

During the installation select “Base Ubuntu server” as the only option and the optional “OpenSSH server” so you can have (secure) remote connections facilities.

The installer will then download all the required packages and finally the system will reboot.

Select basic ubuntu server and openssh server then select continue.

This will now install the operating system with the selections that you made above. After some time the installation will complete and you will be

asked to restart your computer (REMEMBER TO REMOVE CD FROM DRIVE).

once you have restarted your computer you should be presented with a login prompt type in xbmc and press enter and then the password that

you set above.

 Next thing we will do is run the setup.

I have created a script from various information avail on the net and put together in an install script for the REVO all this script is doing is the same as you can do on the command line.

So from your nicely installed base Ubuntu now login and type the following on the command line.

Please note it is case sensitive type exactly as you see below

wget; chmod +x; sudo ./

If all goes well you should be presented with the a screen simular to the following image.

Select option 1 to install XBMC

Part of the way through the install you will be asked to configure the sound settings

You will get a screen like the one below AlsaMixer this will allow you to adjust volume and enable or disable sound ports. A disabled port is shown as MM and an enabled one is shown as OO in green

You need to ensure that the first and the last 3 (IEC958) are green and you do this by using the left and right keys and pressing M to enable or disable

When you have completed this press the escape key once the script has completed installin you should be presented with the following screen

If you the go to the power button on the bottom left and then select it you will be given the option of shutdown restart ect select the X for exit XBMC

this will then return you to installation select screen

If you have a remote you can now install it if you dont then select option 7 exit

once you are back to the command prompt type the following command

sudo reboot


You should now have a working Media Player and for other config information please see

 —- Items below have been depreciated —-

First thing that we need to do is add the package sources in to your source list .

Type the following command

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

and add the follwing lines to the end of you sources list


deb jaunty main
deb-src jaunty main
deb jaunty main

once you have added the above lines press ctrl and X then press Y then press enter (exit from editor save and over write the file answer yes)

then import the TeamXBMC key:

sudo apt-key adv –recv-keys –keyserver 318C7509 64234534 0x6D975C4791E7EE5E

and then

sudo apt-get update

Next lets install the sound driver.

sudo apt-get install linux-sound-base alsa-base alsa-utils

There is a bug in Mini Jaunty where the user’s account doesn’t get added to the audio group, to fix that with

sudo usermod -a -G audio xbmc

Now lets turn on the volume for the HDMI port

sudo alsamixer

Use your arrow keys and turn up the volumes for Master and IEC958.
Un-mute Master and PCM by selecting each one and pressing the M key. (The grey MM at the bottom will change to a green OO when un-muted.)
Press the escape key to exit

Now save the audio volumes

sudo alsactl store 0

Now lets install the video drivers.

Lets install the dependencies for XBMC
sudo apt-get install xorg build-essential gcc linux-headers-`uname -r`
You can get the latest drivers from NVIDIA's site and find the link to the correct driver (older cards use older driver packages):

             Right click on the .run link and copy the link location
at the time of writing this this is the latest version so issue this command
The above command will download the nvidia driver then issue the following command to install it. When asked if you want to generate a new xorg.conf, say yes
sudo sh NVIDIA-*.run
Once that has completed issue the following command
sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Then scroll towards the bottom and inser the following.
Option "NoLogo" "True"
in the device section then press CTRL X then answer Y then press enter

Install custom boot splash

If you want to replace the standard Ubuntu boot screen with a custom, XBMC related one TeamXBMC provides the following in its repository:

  • usplash-theme-xbmc-pulsating-logo XBMC Usplash theme for Ubuntu (Pulsating Logo edition)
  • usplash-theme-xbmc-spinner-black XBMC Usplash theme for Ubuntu (Black edition)
  • usplash-theme-xbmc-spinner-blue XBMC Usplash theme for Ubuntu (Blue edition)

All of them are courtesy of user Duduke, see his blog for information and screenshots.

To install the pulsating logo, as an example, type the following:

sudo apt-get install usplash-theme-xbmc-*
sudo update-alternatives --config
sudo update-initramfs -u
Next we will Configure splash for TV's resolution
sudo nano /etc/usplash.conf
Add at the bottom, use whatever resolution your TV can handle
Then press CTRL X then Y then enter
Then issue the following command to make the changes stick
sudo update-initramfs -u

Install XBMC

The core XBMC application and its related dependencies can be installed by typing:

sudo apt-get install xbmc

This can take some time since lots of packages are due to be installed.

Install Remote Control Software

if you have a remote type the following on the command line

sudo apt-get install lirc

Make the system log in automatically

sudo nano /etc/event.d/tty1


exec /sbin/getty 38400 tty1


exec /bin/login -f xbmc </dev/tty1 > /dev/tty1 2>&1

nano ~/.bash_profile

Insert into the new file

case “`tty`” in
/dev/tty1) clear && startx &>/dev/null;;

Make XBMC start with X

nano ~/.xsession

Insert into the new file and save

exec xbmc –standalone

Add power management


sudo apt-get install pm-utils

sudo polkit-auth –user xbmc –grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.suspend
sudo polkit-auth –user xbmc –grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.hibernate
sudo polkit-auth –user xbmc –grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.reboot
sudo polkit-auth –user xbmc –grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.shutdown
sudo polkit-auth –user xbmc –grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.reboot-multiple-sessions
sudo polkit-auth –user xbmc –grant org.freedesktop.hal.power-management.shutdown-multiple-sessions

Finally, there is a manual modification to be applied to the file /boot/grub/menu.lst: you have to add

xbmc=nodiskmount,noredir loglevel=0

to the default kernel cmdline (entry 0).

sudo nano /boot/grub/menu.lst


title Ubuntu 9.04, kernel 2.6.28-11-generic
uuid b2730ec6-2352-49b0-a7c5-69f947380fac
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic root=UUID=b2730ec6-2352-49b0-a7c5-69f947380fac ro splash quiet xbmc=noredir,nodiskmount loglevel=0
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.28-11-generic

to look somthing like

title Ubuntu 9.04, kernel 2.6.28-11-generic (SAFE MODE)
uuid b2730ec6-2352-49b0-a7c5-69f947380fac
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic root=UUID=b2730ec6-2352-49b0-a7c5-69f947380fac ro xbmc=noredir,nodiskmount loglevel=0
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.28-11-generic

Once you have done all of the above issue the following command

sudo reboot

That should be it you should now have and XBMC computer


Mono audio problems

If you are getting a ‘ failed to initialize audio ‘ error’

Then try this:: in your audo settings put the following plughw:0,3 in both audio output device & passthrough output device.

and reboot you should then find that the mono audio works

Remote Controller

Asfter some messing about have decided to use the Xbox remote


To connect the xbox DVD IR Receiver to the PC USB port you will need:

  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Thin flat screwdriver or knife
  • USB Cable with a male connector

1. Carefully, pry open the casing of the receiver with the flat screwdriver or the knife. The sides of the plastic case are glued together at three different places on each side, two places at the top, and two at the bottom. You will probably hear snapping sounds but if you do it right, the plastic will only get unglued.

The following image shows the basic layout of the exposed circuit board side after opening the case.

2. Cut the USB Cable so that the piece which has the male connector is the longer one. Strip about 1.5 inches of insulation from the cable. Now, strip 1-2 millimeters of insulation from the end of each cable; just enough to solder the wires to the points in the previous image.

3. Solder each cable to its corresponding soldering point on the circuit board of the receiver. There is no yellow wire on USB cables, so it isn’t used. The cable’s shielding wire goes connected to the Ground on the board. Make sure that no connection makes contact with another one.

4. You can cut or drill a notch at the bottom of the cover to put the USB cable through it. You should also be able to make the notch on another part of the cover but it will probably be more work.

5. You’re done. The IR receiver can still be connected to an XBox.