XBMC running on ARM


The XBMC team has posted a teaser showing the current state of the ARM port of this popular open source media software. We’ve embedded it after the break where you can see the package boot up and playback HD video. In it we see that the system is decoding the signal well, but image rendering needs some tweaking before this will be ready.

The hardware used is a Beagleboard which runs a 600 MHz ARM processor, has OpenGL 2D/3D acceleration, puts out HD via a DVI port, and is selling for about $150. The 3″ by 3″ board can be connected to a network using a USB WiFi dongle. Although integrating XBMC by hacking TV firmware is a long way off, we’d consider velcroing one of these to the back of our HDTV and getting rid of the hulking PC behind the entertainment center.

Can’t wait for this version to hit a stable release and don’t mind using hardware that is just a bit bigger? Check out this guide for setting up XBMC on the $200 Acer Aspire Revo.

[Photo: Koenkooi ]


  1. nave.notnilc says:

    cool, the beagleboard is a nice piece of hardware, and this seems like a useful program for it.

    I wonder if it has the specs to deal with larger res video, though.

  2. x500 says:

    Might have to get myself one of those to play with. Hopefully they get out the packages soon.

  3. Cynyr says:

    1) a “hulking pc” is mentioned in the description, replace that with a mac mini (run linux + xbmc if you want, or boxee on osx)
    2) also i was under the impression that with vdpau an ATOM with a nvidia 9400m should be able to play back that same big buck bunny clip.
    3) I’m sure this thing beats both in power consumption, especially when idle.
    4) This is awesome, I’d love to see all of the fmpeg codecs ported as well, and i’ll take 3.

  4. ejonesss says:

    in theory XBMC should run on an ipod since ipods use the arm processor

  5. MS3FGX says:

    XBMC is, at least in my mind, one of the most incredible open source/homebrew projects in history. I love to hear about it getting ported to new hardware or getting some new feature that commercial set top boxes costing hundreds of dollars don’t even have.

    I am very interested in getting a functional HD-capable XBMC install on a device like this. I have XBMC on my modded Xbox, but it just can’t handle HD content (the few videos that will play rarely go above 10 FPS). I wonder if it would be possible to get XBMC on the Roku player? I have no idea what the status of Roku firmware hacking is, but the thing is a great form-factor and is already running Linux.

  6. tehgringe says:

    XBMC rocks…I make a lot of use using old xboxes. My project list also has it down to go on a little itty bitty box that handles HD to replace the now dated looking xbox.

  7. zigzagjoe says:

    cool but I don’t think the arm has enough horsepower for this

  8. Eric says:

    I use XBMC all the time, it’s my media center of choice, and I am impressed, sign me up.

  9. PocketBrain says:

    Hmmm… I really need to get a Beagleboard to play with. Nice to see the platform is being targeted by devs.

  10. wonslung says:

    guys, the ARM processor on the beagleboard is much more powerful than that of a typical IPOD or IPHONE

    It’s the ARM cortex a8

    It’s QUITE powerful. The corex a9 is even more powerful.

  11. tj says:

    The Overo boards are hands down the best implementation of the ARM cores to date. They basically blow the beagleboard away and have the same price range, some cases less, and have a drastically better support system and community.

    The beagleboard has the TI OMAP3530, which is the fastest ARM core you can get without special licensing and/or at least bulk purchasing. I’d still go with Overo boards for the same price range. 2/4 of them have the OMAP3530 with OpenGL support.

    Also I think the 3530 has a 256MB address limit on DRAM and flash, beyond that requires a external controller. The Overo boards max it, and I think the latest Beagleboard REV did too.

    FYI the really well designed partitioning and bootrom security combo known as TrustZone is in no way open to the public or documented anywhere. So, if you’re a security researcher don’t bother, most consumer electronics don’t even use it(probably why they are all reversed.)

  12. nrp says:

    Overo is nice, but more expensive once you take into account needing a $50 I/O board to really use it.

  13. tehgringe says:

    By the way you guys need to try and watch Micro Men, a docu-drama-comedy thingy that the BBC did a few weeks ago. Its pretty interesting, showing the rat race between Sinclair and Curry (founder of Acron and the primordial origins of the ARM chip).


    Its no longer available i iPlayer but where there is an Internet…

  14. Karl says:

    Loved seeing this and really looking forward to what might come of it. i just wanted to say, it is possilbe to play HD content on XBMC on an orignal xbox, http://k-world.me.uk/?p=468 here is my write up on what has to be done, imcluding a sample video for you to test on yours.


  15. GSV Ethics Gradient says:

    *OpenGL ES

  16. Chris winter says:

    Nice work the xbmc crew need god status.

  17. tj says:

    The OpenGL ES correction is kind of frivolous…

  18. BLKMGK says:

    I use an ASROCK 330 which is an ION machine. Max 40watts usage, plays 1080P H.264 video at high bitrates VERY well including the BBC “Earth” clip that everyone uses to abuse systems – Killa’ Video.

    I have NO doubt that this ARM would run cooler and use less juice but the ASROCK is fine by me and is now also handling my Torrents with ease. For about $349 it’s the best XBMC box I’ve seen yet and it runs off a wall wart :-)

  19. lwatcdr says:

    The Beagle Board is more than powerful enough for HD video. The one thing it is missing is Flash. I would buy one in a second if I could use it to watch Hulu and CBS.com. Now if we could just get a hack to allow it to playback “protected” blue ray and get NetFlix and Amazon streaming on it you would have an almost perfect media center PC.

  20. fartface says:

    This rocks because XBMC is the absolute best media center interface and setup that exists. It blows anything from Microsoft out of the water HARD.

  21. Alex says:

    Nokia’s N900 port please! :D

  22. Reeve says:

    It’d be awesome if he could make a sata cradle instead of a flash card one, then u can make a mini case with a pair of small fans and have a neat XBMC box

  23. Falloutboy says:

    I would like SATA too

    and to add DVB-S2 Tuner would be nice, best would be a DVB-S/S2/C plug and play Tuner, like them from DMM, changeable, that would be nice

    DVB-S2 USB Devices don’t have hardware decoding, and i don’t think that they will work with the Beagleboard.

    would be a nice , cheap Receiver, when a smartmouse/Phoenix Cardreader is added via RS232

  24. PinkFreud says:

    I’m using the $199 Aspire Revo 1600 single-core Atom + ION with XBMC as my bedroom media center. It’s been flawless. :)

  25. Tony says:


    The ‘example’ image you have is either not HD, or you reduced the size of the png. Its only showing up as 1263×528.

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