I bought a Raspberry Pi to act as a Media Server in the home. I bought a PI, case, SD card and power source. As ever here are my notes. Currently, getting started (or 1st boot), 1st customisations, and early days with the media browsers and XBMC/Kodi. I have BBC, ITV and YouTube working, Channel 4 is going to be very hard and so is Sky, since among other things since Silverlight is deprecated.

I have given up, and bought a Roku stick. In addition to the challenges of getting all the channels I want, even v3 of the Pi struggles with iplayer HD; it might be the CPU, it might be the BT broadband plus speed but it’s too hard. I shall reconstruct the page and use comments, as one of the purposes of making a notes page was collecting the various web pages that helped me get to wherever I got.


Installing an OS & getting started

The first choice is whether to install using NOOBS or Raspbian Live CD. We want to end up with Raspbian since its an Ubuntu derivative and I know how to use that. Actually debian derivative but close enough.

Here’s the ‘pi quick start page!

And here’s some more; how to download NOOBS, make a device and install it onto the computer.

  1. https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/noobs/ has the download hyperlinks
  2. https://www.raspberrypi.org/help/noobs-setup/ has instructions on creating a bootable device
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCcXa4UFeLg how to install the micro sd card

From the download page, I installed the offline installer onto my SD card and this worked as promised; installed Raspbian onto the SD card. Plug everything into the ‘pi, power last and up it comes, and then connect to the internet via Wifi.

1st stage customisation

First I add some users, making one of them a sudo user and change the password on the default user, I use the preferences panel to change the default user password; and will delete the default user in 15 minutes. I went and found some wallpaper.

Second, Firefox is Iceweasel on Debian (FFS), and apt-get install iceweasel, works to install it, after apt-get update. Obvs. I then changed the default browser using update-alternatives. See also here.

# update-alternatives --config gnome-www-browser

I still need to install a big button theme on firefox.

After installing Unified Remote, (see below), I tart up the menu using the menu editor and I replace epiphany with ice weasel on the panel by placing the mouse cursor over one of the application launch bar application icons; right click and select application launch bar settings. This gives me a gui editor. I also set iceweasel to autostart by linking iceweasel.desktop to the appropriate sub-folder in my $HOME directory

Building the Media Browsers

I installed Unified Remote from their web page. They have an ARM debian package which installs using the following command, after downloading the package.

sudo dpkg -i 

This allows me to use my phone as a mouse.


Argh! No Flash. I didn’t know this!

The advice is to use gnash.

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPwYvgaJHbw or
  2. http://cagewebdev.com/index.php/raspberry-pi-playing-flash-movies/

Although this works for youtube, but not for BBC or ITV. This is not going to be easy and takes us all to an uncomfortable place. My first researches suggest the following pages,


As of today, the recommendation seems to be KODI, which is an evolution of XBMC. This is an alternative viewer,

  1. http://www.alphr.com/software/1002235/what-is-kodi-all-you-need-to-know-about-the-app-formerly-known-as-xbmc an independent piece on the evolution of KODI
  2. https://seo-michael.co.uk/how-to-manually-install-bbc-iplayer-for-xbmc-kodi/ instruction on how to enhance KODI for the BBC iplayer
  3. http://kodi.wiki/view/HOW-TO:Install_Kodi_on_Raspberry_Pi a little piece on their wiki, which presumably has much more, but this page documents the apt-get runes. install kodi

We need to install channel managers.

  1. http://kodicommunity.com/how-to-install-the-itv-player-on-kodi/
  2. https://seo-michael.co.uk/how-to-manually-install-itv-on-xbmc-kodi/
  3. http://www.xbmcandkodi.com/how-to-install-add-ons/
  4. https://superrepo.org/get-started/
  5. http://www.wirelesshack.org/a-guide-to-kodi-and-watching-free-movies-and-tv-shows.html

Channel 4 is a bit of a problem,

  1. https://superrepo.org/kodi/addon/repository.mossy/
  2. https://superrepo.org/get-started/ includes the 4OD drivers
  3. https://superrepo.org/kodi/addon/plugin.video.4od/
  4. http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=134118&page=31 – seems it’s now broken

Here are some manuals

  1. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+to+use+kodi

An alternative approach might be documented at, http://raspi.tv, where they have an article on get_iplayer. I use get_iplayer on the Mac, but it’s 7 day index cache is limiting.


Silverlight is deprecated, that means that Sky is going to be hard’ if not impossible,


There’s no bluetooth on the Raspberry Pi, shame I threw away my Belbin dongle the other week. (It didn’t make it to the new house.) Mrs. L. is unimpressed with the mouse and keyboard cables.

Remote Access

The package xrdp is required and supports MS RDP and maybe VNC; we’ll see.


Also not so easy. There’s no TOR package for ARM, so we may need to go to source.

Let’s look at SFTP, or maybe Samba?

2 Replies

  1. How stuck am I? XBMC for BBC & ITV, shagged for Sky & C4, probably also for C5, although I am not sure what I am missing with that at the moment.

    This is caused by Adobe’s commercial decision not to release flash on raspberry pi, compunded by the broadcaster’s decisions to protect their content in various ways, I have paid for this but they don’t want me using a £50 device and free software. Some have suggested that the 4OD failure was caused by them conforming to google’s revised mobile friendly page rank algo re-write.

    NB The Sky failure is due to a lack of silverlight on the platform.

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