Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:16 am

Media server/downloader for XBMC Apple TV

Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:23 pm

Got my RPi about a week ago, and wanted to share what I've done in case others were doing the same or wanted to suggest improvements.

I have an Apple TV 2 jailbroken with XBMC installed which is my front end, so I decided to make a backend which does all the downloading renaming moving and automation. The Raspberry Pi, with its low power consumption and linux based flexibility, seemed like the perfect tool to do this.

I considered an all in one (running raspbmc or openelec) but figured since the ATV2 has wifi, a remote and more importantly some RAM it made sense to split the work.

So i set up SSH, VNC and samba, plugged in an 3TB ntfs external HDD with all my TV/Films.
Then I added SickBeard, CouchPotato, headphones and SabNzbd+ to automate all the downloading and notifying XBMC to update the library.

Sab downloads max out at about 1Mbs but on average are about 500Kbs and everything else works like a charm.

Everything portforwarded on my router so I can add movies/shows when I'm out and about and its sitting there ready to be watched on XBMC when I get home.

Just wondered if anyone else was doing similar and had any suggestions for improvement. All I could think of was adding an LCD via the GPIO for some kind of output ( like HDD capacity, uptime, cpu usage)

Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:52 pm

Re: Media server/downloader for XBMC Apple TV

Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:57 pm

Hi tomekent,

This sounds extremely interesting and is exactly the kind of thing I would love to attempt with my Revue with Plex overlay.

Just wondering if you are happy with the speed with which the media is delivered from the HDD to your ATV2. I read some wikis that suggested that for video streaming the (low-powered) R-Pi is not the way to go. What is your experience in the matter so far?

Also, do you have any good references for a step-by-step guide to set up the media server on the R-Pi?

Many thanks!

Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:16 am

Re: Media server/downloader for XBMC Apple TV

Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:44 am

I am very happy with the the Raspberry's ability to handle lots of tasks at once, such as downloading/unraring/repairing/renaming/moving all only taking a maximum of about 30-40% cpu at its peak.

The streaming itself is using smb and it uses hardly any cpu or ram (at most about 5% at any one time). I personally don't download anything in 1080p so I don't know how it would handle it, the most I go is about 4GB for a movie and that worked seamlessly. To transfer a file of 4GB takes about 20 minutes so Its not super speedy, from that I can presume that if the file is over 12GB for an hours content it wouldn't work so well.

SMB shares take very little to serve up. However if you're talking about running plex I'm not sure. would that be on the revue itself as a server edition or is it just the client app like it is on the ATV2?
Because as far as I was aware Plex is much better on faster computers as it likes to transcode files before/as it sends them.

In terms of step by step guide not really, its a mix and match of various googled things.

I started with setting up shh/vnc as mine isn't connected to a screen:
along with making it auto login.

and then its samba shares:

It helps to use hexxah's rpi-update tool. I had some issues with kernel panic under heavy usb/network usage. So you might want to look into that.

After that it was just adding sick beard etc and then leave it running.

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:41 pm

Re: Media server/downloader for XBMC Apple TV

Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:48 pm

You mentioned that your usegroup downloads max out at 1Mbs and average 500Kbs. Could you let us know what your download speeds are normally? I thinking about doing a similar build, I currently have all my backend stuff on a linux box that is consuming 46 watts-- would be great to transfer all of that to a Pi.


Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:16 am

Re: Media server/downloader for XBMC Apple TV

Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:22 pm

So I've since changed my set up a little. On my macbook sab gets about 1.8Mbs, but I've limited it on the rpi to 700Kbs as it seems to reduce network load on it.

For my purposes it works just fine, as I'm in the UK and a lot of the TV I have setup on sickbeard is broadcast in america, so it does all the downloading at sort of 2am-6am, so when I wake up its all finished and ready for me to watch.

I have stopped using XBMC as it kept crashing on me so I have been using the firecore media player instead.

Some unraring can fail on much larger files as the pi doesn't have enough ram, but I can browse for the files then unrar them via my macbook which usually does the job.

I am very pleased with the set up, It just sits there and does what I want quietly, and since everything can be done via web interfaces (meaning I can easily port forward it and do it anywhere, even on my phone) I can easily add downloads whenever I feel like it.

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