Openelec vs Raspbmc vs Xbian



In less than 12 hours after being public this article hit 1500 unique visitors. I received a lot of comments and thus an update is needed. You will find original part that has been corrected under stricke through text.

It’s now been a month that I’m playing with a borrowed (thanks to my flatmate Spencer Matteson) Raspberry Pi. Didn’t have time at the begininnig but as soon as I started connecting to a tv and sharing with all my flatmates it was fun from the first second.

I’ve been reached a stable configuration after X ( read as x big) number of researchs, hacks and tries. In this blog post I want to share my impressions and my researches about Raspberry Pi as a mediacenter with anyone that reads this blog post.

Raspberry Pi

It’s a cool toy, nothing to say about that. Even if people on the internet says that it lags in playing 1080p video in all my tests I didn’t find any lag. They pop up as soon as you start playing a 1080p video and doing netwoking intense operation like starting a rsync with a remote server or downloading 4/5 torrents.

If you have 25$ buy it. It’s worth the time and money you will spent on it. Due to the fact that it gets powered by a micro-usb connector (we are talking about 1A at 5V) don’t expect to connect a portable usb disk without power supply to the Raspberry. It will simply not going to work well and keeps rebooting just because power is too low to keep on the hard drive.

In my configuration I just connected to the Raspberry pi a ethernet cable, a HDMI cable and a usb hard drive with its own case and power supply.

Distro challenge


Version tested: 3.0 RC2

Openelec was the first distribution I’ve tried. It’s easy, smooth to install and to use. It just works (TM). It has only one goal: be the best mediacenter distribution. And It just does it very good. With openelec you don’t have to worry about updates but as a con, you miss a package manager and everything of a linux distribution actually. It’s very stable and if you just need a mediacenter I will use this.

There is openssh installed but you will barely need it, I just used for a couple of reboots. The XBMC repository is already set and you can install any kind of software that is available directly from the UI. The problem is that you will not find anything advanced like a webserver or any other package you will find in other distributions. The farest I went while using it was to install transmission bittorrent client directly from XBMC repositories from the UI. It went well and worked pretty smooth. But transmission just uses http and does not support https so exposing it outside your personal network is not wise. And since you don’t have a webserver you can’t actually put an apache configured as https trasparent proxy in front of transmission.

Also I was really disappointed when I figured out that It doesn’t support changing ssh root password as its FAQ states. Since I soon wanted to do more with Raspberry pi that a simple mediacenter this was clearly an issue. I than tried Raspbmc.


Version tested: 1.0 final installed on 3th of Feb 2013

Seriously. Don’t do that. Don’t spend your time in trying to figure out to make this distro work. It’s bloated. As soon as I installed I liked the really nice self installer and the cool splash screen while the system is loading. But apart from that, underneath you have a broken apt and package repository.

I tried to install the *byobu* package. When it was installing it’s dependence, *screen* there was a detected /deadlock in the init system/ so it refuses to install it. What?! (as a comment demonstrated this issue seems to have been fixed after this post. I’ll try myself as soon as I’m nearby my Raspberry). After that I installed apache2 and transmission and linked the two together making apache2 being a transparent ssl proxy. It didn’t work. It appears that Raspbmc mounts the drives as the pi user which is the one that runs the xbmc application using writing permission only for the pi user. The problem is that transmission runs as debian-transmission user. So it is unable to write on my external usb disk! After tweaking with /etc/udisk-glue.conf configuration I managed to mount the devices as root and assigning a write permission to all the users.

(The best part was when I tried to install some software from XBMC repository. I couldn’t because the repo was empty. Bart Otten, webmaster of and contacted me privately saying that this issue is related to the XBMC repo. It can happen in any distribution that has XBMC. So if you don’t find software in your XBMC addon catalogue, just wait until the repository is up again.)

It may be the fact that Raspbmc is a one person project but the fact is that I found it really unstable and not flexible. If I were Sam Narzako (the man behind Raspbmc) I would open the project to more people or, better, contribute to the Xbian project.

Sam Nazarko politely commented that Raspbmc is not a one man project. I apologize for the misunderstanding but I got this information from the about page that states that “Raspbmc is created and maintained by Sam Nazarko, a 19 years old student from London”.


Version tested: 1.0 Alpha 4

Xbian was really easy to install. After downloading its image and put in a sd card as its website states first time that it loaded on the Raspberry pi to stretch the partition in order to use all the space in the sd card. The system was ready in less than five minutes and I was able to install byobu, apache2 and transmission without problems. Also the usb hard drive is automounted allowing anyone to create or read any file (chmod 777).

I then installed the XBMC watchdog plugin in order to keep the library up to date with new additions. The system resulted to be really stable.

I found Xbian to be the most mature mediacenter distribution for Raspberry pi. It is easy to install and maintain but it preserve the flexibility of a debian based distribution. The only annoying thing is a menu that appears to the user anytime he/she logs in with ssh. I don’t think that this behaviour is wanted by an user that is connected through ssh because it tries to simply management. But who connects through ssh is not a newbie and thus does not need any simplification. Instead this menu alter the expected behaviour that the user imagine about connecting through ssh.

Configuring apache2 as transparent proxy for transmission

In order to simplify configuration, the configuration for apache2 as transparent proxy for transmission is the following:

<VirtualHost *:443>
    Order deny,allow
    Allow from all

  SSLEngine On
  SSLCertificateFile    /etc/ssl/certs/ssl-cert-snakeoil.pem
  SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/ssl-cert-snakeoil.key

  ProxyPass        /
  ProxyPassReverse /


I’ve my new shiny mediacenter, how do I control it from my sofa?

You can have a Raspberry pi with all the software you want, but you will never have a mediacenter until you can control laying on your sofa. For xbmc, which is the base software in all the distribution I just spoke about, the remote control software is Yatse or Xbmc remote.

I tried both and I prefer Yatse. It’s much more complete and the UI is much more effective than the one in Xbmc remote. Also for functionality yatse seems much more powerful even if I didn’t analyze each specific functionality between the two remotes. You can install Yatse directly from goole play as like Xbmc remote.

They both work accessing your Raspberry pi via the network. All of the distribution I’ve shown have remote control enabled by default although both Openelec and Raspbmc use port 80 while Xbian uses port 8080.

I highly suggest to make Xbmc scan through your media files in order to populate your library. In fact library is easy accessible, sortable and playable from yatse and It will save a loot of file in finding the right file expecially when it’s in a directory polluted by other media files.

Alex, from a comment, says that XBMC Remote for iOS works very well, I didn’t test it personally. YYou can find it on the app store.

How to run OpenVpn and a webserver (Apache, Nginx, Cherokee, etc) in the same port
How to make usb disks readable by all users on Raspbmc
  • Thanks for the distro comparison, I was just waiting for someone with the time to experiment thoroughly 😉
    I’ve been fighting with Raspbian for a long time now, and it’s time to change that broken distro in something really usable!

  • XBian is compatible with CEC (I don’t know for the others), this mean that if your TV set is compatible, you don’t need to install yatzee or another app to your phone or tablet but you can control xbmc with your genuine tv remote !
    XBian FTW ! 🙂

    • Sure. I will solve the ssl issue. But having a webserver, if you can, can be useful. Imagine to share your library under webdav or via http.

  • I like raspbmc as a standalone media center for all My tvs

    But since raspberry is so cheap i have another one with raspian, usb drive as a nas, web server, etc

    • Sorry. English is not my mother language. I’m working on it and this blog is also a test platform in order to improve my communication skills.

    • There is a beautiful irony in some asking a foreigner, who actually speaks good English anyway, to write proper English ffs. Last time I checked acronyms, particularly text speakesque ones, were not proper English.

      Jack, you appear to be an ignorant, rude, Whiney little b****.

  • Raspbmc is not a one man project. The fact you cannot install a software package, have not read the FAQ, and make outlandish claims is more of a sign of your incompetence rather than anyone else’s.

  • Hmm, I can confirm this excellent review of the 3 distro’s.
    It’s the first time I see a decent comparision which I can recommand to any people wanting a media center XMBC distro.

    OpenELEC is very easy to use and have removed all their initial bugs. It’s very stable and comes almost in the same area as Xbian which is still my favourite distro. Very mature, fast and stable.
    Raspbmc is less stable and doesn’t work with many SDcards.
    I’ve retried different time the RaspBMC distro to give it a fair trial. But every new release it became worse.
    The author of Raspbmc should better put his time more in fixing his buggy, slow distro instead of firing at other distro’s (look above) which outstand his.
    It’s the only thing the Raspbmc author can do is flame other people (“they stole my GPL code, …”, wtf who want to use your installer anyway ?)
    Guess it has something to do with his premature age/incompetence I think.

    Again great comparison vincenzoampolo7 🙂

  • I never tried Raspbmc. I agree with verdict on the other 2 tho, I’m using Xbian Alpha 4 cos I found OpenElec is too locked-down.

    One issue I’ve found with Xbian Alpha 4 is that it crashes quite regularly when shutting the system down from within XBMC. When this happens, I SSH in from my laptop to issue the ‘sudo shutdown -h now’ command. This has always worked for me. If you don’t have a way of SSHing in to shutdown the system when this happens, you’d have to pull the power plug out of the Pi while the system was still operating, which risks corrupting the SD card. If you can SSH in, it’s just a minor annoyance. Either way, I recommend making a backup image of your SD card once you have Xbian setup the way you want it. That way, you can reflash the SD card if necessary and return the card straight to how you want it.

    Xbian seems pretty good, i think its the best XBMC distro for Raspberry Pi at the moment. It’s still only at Alpha stage so bugs are being actively ironed out. I look forward to Alpha 5 and ultimately the final v1.0 release

    • Ah, forgot to mention, yes it is annoying that when you SSH in to Xbian, you are presented with that blue config screen. Just hit the ‘right arrow’ then ‘enter’ to ‘Return’ to the command prompt.

      Minor annoyance but glad we will have the option to switch this behaviour off in subsequent releases

  • GreatReview

    The GPL violation in question at the time was actually not ‘theft’ but a lack of compliance with the GPL.

    Rather than spread FUD, you should actually try Raspbmc. We use the same firmware as other Raspberry Pi distributions and so our SD card support is identical to other distributions.

    Raspbmc’s developers (myself included) do not need to spread misconceptions such as these because our distribution is popular and we allow our users to spread the good word, rather than the bad word of other distributions. We do however, have to comment on reviews such as these and make our case when things are misreported or wrong. It’s not flaming, it’s a counter argument.



  • Vincenzo, you’re not the only one who found the Add-Ons list empty. It seems to be a continuous problem with the XBMC repository RaspBmc uses. This wouldn’t be such a problem if a helpful message such as “Repository seems to be down, please try again later” came up, but it doesn’t.

    I’m really surprised at the comments you’ve received, particularly from those who seem to have an issue with licences and copyright. I for one thank you for your reviews and opinions!

  • Sam Nazarko :
    The GPL violation in question at the time was actually not ‘theft’ but a lack of compliance with the GPL.
    Rather than spread FUD, you should actually try Raspbmc. We use the same firmware as other Raspberry Pi distributions and so our SD card support is identical to other distributions.
    Raspbmc’s developers (myself included) do not need to spread misconceptions such as these because our distribution is popular and we allow our users to spread the good word, rather than the bad word of other distributions. We do however, have to comment on reviews such as these and make our case when things are misreported or wrong. It’s not flaming, it’s a counter argument.

    hmm, now u saying it was’t a “theft” “but lack of compliance with the GPL”
    but we all remember what you said and how you did it.
    And if you dont remember it let me quote a bit of text what was on your website (which I have saved before you removed it)

    “XBian code theft

    Update: It appears the XBian website is down


    RC5 is only a couple of days away now, and just before release, I feel I need to make a post to reveal the story behind XBian stealing Raspbmc code. Unfortunately, I tried to talk to the author Koen Kanters about this and avoid this situation, but he did not leave much choice.

    It was brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago that someone had posted a Windows installer for XBian in their forum. The theft of code from Raspbmc was quite obvious with identical, but renamed DLLs and the same functions and routines visible.”

    This is only the part of the whole article from your website, but we can clearly see words theft or stealing few times.
    So where is the true Sam ? Because when you realized you did something very wrong you have simply removed the article but you have never said that you was wrong, or you never apologized publicly. You was so quick with posting such an article on your site about something what Xbian has never done (it was clearly a user contribution on their forum).

    • The user ‘fma965’ who developed this for XBian admitted in IRC that he did copy the code. This was made obvious by the identical functionality, including erasing the MBR of an SD card for easy formatting. This was further evidenced by the fact the user fma965 then uploaded an allegedly ‘compliant’ version later, i.e. he would not have had to do this if he had been compliant. This was theft in the sense that XBian made changes to the Raspbmc installer binary without making these changes available in an open source form. This was a GPL violation as well as code theft (i.e. usage without complying with the original author permissions).

      Obviously, you are an XBian member since you have saved the article. There is unfortunately nothing on my part to apologise for. Given the immaturity of the project’s lead developer at the time, who said he did not “care” about the GPL, I stick by the story. The article was removed because XBian contacted me saying they had received threats over this.

      • Obviously you you are wrong again Sam.
        I can assure you that this person is not a XBian member. Maybe a fan or someone who see things different.
        What is it that make you say such things against us all the time?
        My point of view:
        If you not made such an article at the first point,XBian would not have to be reborn 3 times, yes three times!
        First was shut down to prevent harm to our first webhost and than 2 more,when we were under heavy DDoS 24/7 for 4 weeks when 3 of our webhosts could’t deal with. All this attacks were related to your first post,and clearly made by one of your followers as he stated so. For this reason we have also lost all our backups cos constant moving the site.
        I not going to discus about mature or unmature as no need in my age.
        But I would like to ask you,please think carefully your words.

  • Michael Horne. This repository is /not/ hosted by Raspbmc. It’s hosted by XBMC. If you read above, the original author has actually corrected their statement as this issue is present across /all/ distributions that implement the final version of XBMC.

    Furthermore, licenses are important, for if they were not complied with, you would not be able to enjoy such free software.

    • Sam, try reading what I wrote instead of being on the attack _all_ the time. It does _seem_ to be a continuous problem with the XBMC repository RaspBmc _uses_. i.e. the repository that RaspBmc uses seems to have the problem every time I use it.
      And did I say licences aren’t important? No, I didn’t say that. I just think that those with the issue should settle it between themselves rather than dragging it out publicly… again and again…

  • Michael Horne — I am not on the attack at all. Raspbmc and Xbian and OpenELEC use the same repository. Namely the repository. The reason this issue is not manifsting itself in XBian is because it is not using the final release of XBMC in which this issue is present. The issue is not network related (as explained above), and there is in fact an easy fix for this.

  • On iphone/ipad I would recommend XBMC Commander over any other remote. That really deserves to be mentioned in the article. I tested all of the free ones available in iTunes store.
    Totally agree on Android your best choice is Yatse.

  • just a reply to the comments story line
    @Sam Nazarko, please don’t take me wrong here but I think that taking a criticism is a good thing and there is nothing to be shame of.
    Our philosophy at XBian is to listen to people, and listen very carefully to every single person.
    For us every feedback is an opportunity, opportunity to do something. We like to receive a good feedback and is really nice to read about your work in pro, but we also listen to the critics and the negative feedback. That is the thing what make us different from others and that is the motor what push us to move forward, to improve and make things better.
    Without this we would not have the motivation.
    So for you instead of taking this review as something bad for Raspbmc take it as an opportunity to make your project better.
    There is no need to argue or fight the people in comments or say bad about others, you do better if you concentrate your power to do something better, something good.
    You have the knowledge and willing so lets make the Raspberry Pi and XBMC world better.

    PS: For people who don’t know me my name is Richard Danis aka rikardo1979 and I’m XBian Community Manager

    • Hi Richard

      Indeed I’m always open to suggestions. However, the issues outlined here, such as the repository not filling, isn’t actually a Raspbmc issue itself.

    • rikardo1979 :
      Obviously you you are wrong again Sam.
      I can assure you that this person is not a XBian member. Maybe a fan or someone who see things different.
      What is it that make you say such things against us all the time?
      My point of view:
      If you not made such an article at the first point,XBian would not have to be reborn 3 times, yes three times!
      First was shut down to prevent harm to our first webhost and than 2 more,when we were under heavy DDoS 24/7 for 4 weeks when 3 of our webhosts could’t deal with. All this attacks were related to your first post,and clearly made by one of your followers as he stated so. For this reason we have also lost all our backups cos constant moving the site.
      I not going to discus about mature or unmature as no need in my age.
      But I would like to ask you,please think carefully your words.

      I’m sorry that your website was DDosed, however I did make attempts to resolve the GPL issues behind closed doors. I do not condone DDOS attacks (many Raspberry Pi websites have suffered from them as well), but do not feel I can be blamed for them.

      • Hello i have just tested raspbmc and it is working like i wanted (right out of the box, no linux knowledge needed install and use, tv remote controlled via hdmi-cec like other i suppose, perfect to access my files on my synology) so i am keeping it

        But please stop flaming each others, go on irc to discuss with each others and keep the subject on : distro comparaison

        Of course i dont agree with this blog post about raspbmc as it is perfect for me from my point of view, but everyone could need different usage !

        Thanks all distro maker for giving us good-free-easy product (xbian, openelec and raspbmc, and other i dont know !)

  • This argument seems to have stemed by Sam Nazarko first comment. The word “incomptence” seems quiet strict. But I argue that Sam is passionate about his work and has a right to articulate his defense. Its easy to gang up isn’t it “You Fool”, “ishimali” “rikardo1979” “Michael Horne” “Richard Danis” against Sam Nazarko. And Micheal Horne and Richard Danis you clearly are choosing your own reality were if one has a “counter argument” he is clearly fighting. Yet Sam has remained calm and has good arguments to each one you raised and It seems to me those that are “fighting” Sam are abit flustered and angry. I have personally tried Raspbmc and Openelec. I am a novice user but for each obsticles I have come across (wifi, transmission..) I have always found an answer using google. (No need as of official release everything seems to work). I tried Openelec and admittidely I haven’t given it enough chance but even loading wifi I coudn’t find enough material to help me solve my issue. So for me Raspbmc has been favourable.

    I don’t know if most of you know but Sam Nazarko has just finished 1st year Undergradute at one of the most prestigious and highly competitve University not just in UK but in the world. Has produced Raspbmc. Shown great leardership to manage all the helpers that made the SUCCESS that Raspbmc is. where in the world you have time to do all this?? At that young age. How the hell he managed half of that I cannot comprehend. And you guys are flaming him. Sam Nazarko I don’t think you should waste anymore time defending yourself and Raspbmc. And let the haters hate. Surround yourself in positive and productive endevaours and don’t let the critisism absorb your energy. You are clearly destined for greater things. I want to thankyou for all your hard work in producing Raspbmc. I am loving it everyday.

    • I thank you for these kind words. I am actually half way through my first university year! I’m glad someone can see my case that providing a response to something isn’t a form of aggression, but truely is a counter argument. Indeed — time taken here is not productive and takes away time that can be used making Raspbmc / XBian or OpenELEC better.

    • Not sure why you decided to single me out twice, there. All I’ve ever said is that I found the Add-Ons list empty and I also found Sam’s comment a little aggressive. Not sure what you mean by me having my own reality… Well done on making the argument continue, though. Bravo. I don’t flame, by the way, though others have. Kindly don’t lump me in with them.

  • I’ve used all of these distributions for a while now. 6 months or so. The comments about Raspbmc are completely unfounded. I’m not aware of any crashes. All the distributions are worth looking at. Depending on what you’re doing, I’m sure you’ll find one that suits you better than the others, but really, there’s very little to choose.

    What seems to be going on is a pissing contest, which is pretty much par for the course with these kinds of projects.

  • Hi,

    I don’t know what I’ve done wrong but I’ve setup Raspbmc twice, once more than half a year ago and now again and both were running out of the box. But I was loading the files via LAN and even a 1080p Video with 5.1 Audio was running smoothly.

  • Having just got my Pi yesterday, I was up and running with rasbmc within about 15-20 mins, it is incredible!!! Thank you all!

    This thread has been quite amusing to read too 🙂 Lets all have a hug

  • It is interesting review. I write here some experience with RasPi as HTPC on cottage.
    My Raspberry has come in summer holidays 2012. This time the HTPC distros were under heavy development, full of problems. According to user references I chose Raspbmc and installed it on one SDHC card. Raspbmc brought me working HTPC system.
    What I found out yesterday? OpenELEC 3 was released. I installed it on another SD card, started up and tested on home LCD TV. It had faster reactions in menu than Raspbmc.
    I should feel lucky at both XBMC distros because they are able to play 98% films on my HDD. How I solve unlucky 2%? I play them on laptop or I recode them in PC.

  • I have used all three distributions over the last couple of months. I don’t run any fancy things like web servers, torrenting stuff or other add-ons to xbmc. I just use xbmc to access by HD movies, that are on my windows share, via the network cable to my sony tv.

    All three do the job, but there a different quirks in each.

    Openelec was the easiest to install, its menu navigation is a bit slow, but movie playback is perfect – never skipped or had buffering problems. Changing between different movie library views is very slow and I had trouble with subtitles not showing.

    Raspbmc was a bit more difficult to install and took much longer – I’m not sure why. Interface & menu navigation is even slower than openelec,but movie playback is fine, except it seems to take a while to buffer when you seek ahead. Subtitles all worked fine. Returning to the home screen when a movie is playing is really slow.

    Xbian was easier to install than Raspbmc and it was the quickest to install too. Menu navigation is also the quickest out of the three which is really good as I spend quite an amount of time browsing my video library, flicking between movie detail screens is way quicker on xbian than raspbmc, and so too was loading a new movie. Again movie playback is fine, although it too was also a little slow a rebuffering when seeking ahead. Subtitle support was great. Using CEC via my tv was also way faster than openelec (I couldn’t get it working on raspbmc) which in turn also made menu navigation much more snappier.

    All in all I am happy with all three and they are all usable as media centres, however 1st place definitely goes to xbian with its much faster navigation just making it so much more pleasant to use.

  • Great article and been using Raspbmc and had some stability issues, don’t use it very often but when i want to watch a movie in that room it seems to alway loose HTTP connection and i have to reboot it to reconnect my iphone. I will have been wanting to switch to OpenELEC for a while now, and now i will for sure! I also wanted to recommend “XBMC Constellation” for iOS it is a more complex interface compared to some of the others, but once i figured it out it has become my favorite out of all that i have found for iOS.

  • Hello,

    First of all sorry for my English. This is the best article I have found to see the differences between this three distros.
    I am now using raspbmc. It’s quite good but I am going to begin to use my raspberry Pi for other porpouses and I prefer to be sure that I can do “apt-get update/upgrade” whithout any problem. As far as I can see, the only distro that let me do this is Xbian. Am I right? Thanks.

  • Thanks for the comparison. The first version I tried was Raspbmc with the usb install. It worked a whole lot better than just with the SD card. I have it running upstairs on a 512MB Pi @ 720

    OpenELEC is installed on a 256MB pi @ 720. IMO it performs better than Raspbmc and just maybe Xbian with this amount of memory.

    Xbian is my favourite and runs on my third 512MB pi @1080. To me it is the smoothest and most refined but there really isn’t that much between them. I would be happy to use any of them and would recommend all three of them.

  • 5/1-5/13: I spent 4 days trying to get important things to work on raspbmc (e.g. basic library functions, streaming from all computers, other). Great effort Sam Nazardo, regardless. Very impressive.

    Only 1 hour on openelec and everything worked great. That was my experience.

    Wish I had read this page first. My raspbmc SD cards will now be reformatted to openelec.

  • I’m the average man on the street and I’ve never typed a linux command in my life and have no expectation to do so! I only really want to play DVDs I have ripped (with DVDfab) that I currently play on my Danelec media player (but it’s full). To replace it I have a 2TB HDD attached to my RP. My HDD contains 400+ DVDs and 6000+ MP3s.

    My experience; pros and cons:

    + Used latest full image file (not the online installer version) and was up and running in minutes.
    + Wireless adapter worked (after an hour or so!) without any extra drivers – until it cooked itself and died after a couple of weeks (shouldn’t buy cheap unbranded adapters!) – I’m now properly wired!
    + I could enter MPEG2 / VC2 license directly via the Raspbmc setup program 🙂
    + Playback quality (max 720) has been flawless
    + I have Youtube and iPlayer working well, if somewhat slowly!
    +/- I can access my HDD on the pi via windows explorer to transfer files back and forth but it took me days to get it sorted and I’m not entirely sure what i finally did!!!
    – menu response is slow, sometimes painfully so.
    – I miss the first 5-10 seconds of video for most avi/mov/mp4 files – the sound starts ok but the time it takes to clear the menu and start playing the video is annoying. I have to use the left cursor to skip back to the beginning if it’s crucial.

    + OE Menu response was initially a lot faster than Raspbmc but noticeably slowed down a bit after I had populated the video and music libraries.
    – I could not get the wireless to work (I had Linux drivers but I couldn’t figure out how to install them from a windows machine)
    – To play MPEG2 (DVDs) you need the license but you can’t enter it directly on the RP via the menu system (unlike Raspbmc). I put the SD card into a PC to edit the ‘config.txt’ file and opened it in notepad (default prog) where it looks a complete mess (due to CR and LF issues). After a failed attempt I opened it again using good old Wordpad which showed it formatted correctly and I realised I had to remove the comment characters from the beginning of each line for the codes to work!

    General comments:
    + The movie database works really well (if slowly) – I have found the info and cross-referencing (stars) to be very useful.
    – Both systems were quite slow at populating the library database (at least 10 or 15 seconds per film) – seems to be an XBMC poor programming issue? I have disabled fanart to improve speed (in skin settings)
    – Both systems were slow at presenting search results on Youtube or iplayer – again, an XBMC poor programming issue?
    – TV programmes released on DVD are a problem. I think they expect you to rip each episode but I just rip the complete DVD and cataloguing them doesn’t work well as they are neither movies nor TV episodes.
    – The music library is rubbish compared to most PC media players (I use Winamp). It catalogues lots of ‘various’ CDs with each track as a separate album.
    – No functioning fast forward or rewind is unforgivable these days! The skip forward/back controls work but really… My old Danelec box worked flawlessly at this.
    – DVD menuing is flaky to say the least. Some don’t work at all, some partially work whilst others are fine! My old Danelec box worked OK with all.

    I use an ultra mini keyboard/trackpad/laser-pointer to control the box – £20 but it’s absolutely brilliant and the size of a normal remote control.

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