XBMC on utilite SSD


I have stated several times that the XBMC image can perfectly be run from the the SSD on the utilite pro.
Yet, as I wanted users to be able to easily revert to another installation, I have not publicly published the way to run the XBMC image from the SDD so far.
Very recently, Compulab published the way to fully reinstall their official image on SSD on utilite wiki.
So it is time that I describe how to install the XBMC image on this SSD !

Installation how-to

First, you have to follow compulab wiki to create a SDcard.
Here is a quick summary (You need a Linux host) :

sudo SD=/dev/sdX ROOTFS_IMAGE=./utilite_ubuntu-12.04.3_2013-12-11.tar.bz2 ./dep-procedure.sh

with /dev/sdX being the SDCard device.

  • Insert the SDcard in utilite and boot your device with this fresh image
  • Configure Network and download my XBMC image on the utilite.
  • Download again the installation script
  • And launch it that way :
sudo SSD=/dev/sda ROOTFS_IMAGE=./xbmc-image-utilite_ssd.tar.bz2 ./dep-procedure.sh
  • When the script is finished, turn off the utilite, remove the sdcard and you are done !

You can now power on the device and enjoy your SSD…

57 thoughts on “XBMC on utilite SSD

    • Hi just a question did you succeed to make the hardwire LAN connection to work for internet access ?? for me it’s not configured automatically and I don’t know how to do it manually ..Xubuntu from compulab is working without any problems

      • Hi,

        Have a look at etc/network/interfaces
        and from serial console, issue
        “ifconfig -a”
        to grab interfaces names
        Please note that by default the Ethernet port which is used is the one in the middle of the device …

  1. Today I did some further testing. XBMC is running quite good. But when I tried SPDIF I ran into some issues. I did set up SPDIF for audio out and also enabled audio passthrough. So when I play a movie with dolby digital it’s working fine, but if I play a file with just stereo (AAC, MP3) there is just noise. I have tried around with a few settings but was not able to fix it. Is it a bug or did I just not find the correct setting?

    Also would be helpful if someone can give some instructions how to set up transmission-daemon and samba the easy way 🙂

    Merry X-mas to anyone

    • So basically when I try starting to play a movie, the UI of Xbmc still shows, and the background turns black, when Subtitles are enabled they are visible but do not disappear. I think this may be because I’m missing some boot option which changes the rendering of the screen.

      Could you provide the settings you are using to boot up the system?

    • Hi koby,

      Not out a the box : A minor change has to be realized in the archive : change the boot.scr file in the /boot folder…

  2. When I play movies I get all few minutes a “buffering” window. As far I know, the problem was not here with the 0.0.3 yocto image. I also saw, thats the Wifi connection is not very stabil (Signal Quality jumping from 0 to 100 and back). Any body else have the same issues? Also wish there is Airplay support too.

    • I have just pushed airplay support thanks to Prabhu contibution so it will be in next release.
      For your issue, I have not such report and on my side I only trust wired Ethernet 😉

      • Wow thats great news! I’m using Airplay a lot.
        I have to use wired connection anyway too because of samba. But the buffering also happening when I used wired connection. After I changed some settings in the advanced.xml it’s not buffering anymore. So all fine. But I have some kind of deadlock in XBMC. Will see how is it going in the next release. Hopefully it’s also releases as RFS.
        Happy New Year

  3. Hi, I have a “of topic” question regarding utilite. How do you remote control the box? It seem not to have an IR receiver or does it?


  4. Hi,
    I just receive my CuBox-i2Ultra put a Geexbox image on it and xbmc works but with a lot of issues.
    since this hardware is an i.MX6 Dual like utilite, is it possible to use same image?
    if not (it’s what i think) it would be great you do this for cubox-i, I think is an small nice piece with IR for running xbmc

    thanks for your work,


  5. hi stephan, im trying to compile wifi drivers into a linux xbmc mx image file. but massively struggling , can you help?

  6. my issue is im not sure where to add the wifi drivers into the buildroot and compile the modules to work. i have output folders with build files etc and also have the wifi files .ko etc but not sure how to import them , the wifi drivers are bcm80121 the buildroot is coretech development buildroot mx linux

  7. I tried the procedure but I got a blank screen at bootup ..meaning that the system is not booting up from SSD anymore.. could it be that I can’t work with full HD only 1280X780 due to an old samsung tv from 2006??

    • Hi

      Sorry for not being able to answer to you earlier. Nice to read that it works fine for you !
      Have you changed the resolution to get it work ?

      • Hi Stephan I can’t make it work with SSD as from my former post it doesn’t boot ..I need 1280X720 resolution .. but strangely enough it works with the yocto image booting from the micro sd card (32GB) , even is I havn’t figured out how to get the internet and networking to work , but at least the application is running. I’ll try to expand the partition to put some films on for test

        • Hi Stephan I have now succeded to install also xmbc on ssd and with the video calibration I get 1280X720 without any problem I have made also tests with different kind of video formats like MKV files with soft subtitles and they work (which is not the case for the totem media player utilite is using.. no subtile support at all )…external usb ntfs disks are also working (which is not the case for xubuntu and Utilite)
          … BUT
          1) I have no network (LAN) access at all and as a consequence :
          *1a) No internet access
          *1b) No access to my upnp server mediatomb on my main Ubuntu 13.10 box
          *1c) I can’t see the Utilite (xubuntu) file structure (because of root access ?)
          2) when I exit I shouldn’t I return to Xubuntu now the screen get black but the utilite box stays on ??

              • Hi incensus,

                Do you use my image or compulab image (xubuntu) ?
                If you use my image, DHCP is used by default (to get IP address, gw and so on). If you prefer a static configuration you can edit the file /etc/network/intrefaces file…
                – upnp should work : I use it on daily basics without trouble

                • Hi again I use the normal image from compulab to install xubuntu ( I haven’t tries the very last version yet) and I use your immage for XMBC , with which I had problems with the network access

              • Hi again I tried geexbox on my micro SD card and it works definitely better I have now network connection and the only thing really that do not work is the analog output and the shutdown is not actually shutting down the box.. to use xubuntu or geexbox is only a matter of keeping the sd card in the slot or not.. ideal in the future would be to have xbmc together with xubuntu so when you exit xbmc you go back to xubuntu as it works on my Ubuntu 13.10 pc

                • If you like geexbox, that’s fine.
                  (My yocto image is rather for developers and advanced users )
                  I work closely with the geexbox maintainers so that they stay uptodate with my work so it is a very good option…

  8. Hi Stephan.

    First of all I’d like to thank you for your brilliant work! I have your image running on my Wandboard Quad and it works like a treat except for one minor bugbear.
    On some of the videos I play on the Wandboard I have a problem with stuttering playback. The video stops for a few frames and then resumes. Often with a little bit of frameskipping. It does this again and again until I use the XBMC android remote and, on the “Now Playing” screen, I press on the progress bar roughly where the playback is at the time. Throughout those “hicups” the audio runs smoothly. At first I thought it was a buffering issue, but I upped the buffercache to 100 MB and the problem persists.
    I hope I described the problem sufficiently and would really appreciate if you or somebody who had the same problem could help me out. If you need any logs or setting files, tell me which and I will provide.

    Greetings from Germany,

  9. I’m having trouble getting the resolution for my television. Any pointers on where to look to make these sort of adjustments? I see the XBMC splash screen and then the screen goes dark and my TV displays a message that says unsupported input.

    • I think I’ve figured out my issue. For some reason when XBMC launches, CEC is changing my HMDI input on my TV to HDMI input 1 (which has nothing attached to it). I use HDMI input 3 for my setup as HDMI 1 and 2 are not easily accessible with my mall mount.

      Is there any chance the CEC components are hard coded to use HDMI 1? Is there anywhere to change this within XBMC or configs?

      • And I figured this out, too.

        XBMC on Utilite look really promising. I hope this takes off!

        Major gaps I’ve noticed so far are:
        – Plug-in dependencies (especially Pandora, https://github.com/rivy/xbmc-script.audio.pandora).
        – MythTV cmyth PVR support.

        Unfortunately for me those two items account for about 90% of my family’s XBMC use so it’s back to OpenElec on RPI (for now).

        Thanks for all of your work on this! I be watching your blog for any further updates.

        Normal, IL USA

      • ho kevin
        yes there might be an issue with th physical address reported by the CEC driver , I will check
        I t may also be a issue with your tv (lots a similar cec related issues are reported in forum -In general I mean-)
        So far no there is no soft conf for it the driver should read it in TV EDID properly…

  10. Stephan, you have a great blog – thank you for that.
    I did encounter a small issue when trying to install the XBMC tar file on the SSD:
    error line 35: /dev/mmcblk0p2: unary operator expected.

    Also the script would not run: I have to use the following command (as root) in the Terminal session after booting from the microSD card in order to get the installation going of the XBMC tar file on the SSD:

    (first sudo -s)

    sudo SSD=/dev/sda ROOTFS_IMAGE=./xbmc-image-utilite_ssd.tar.bz2 bash./dep-procedure.sh SSD

    And then the script stopped with no warning or ok done or similar.
    I rebooted and voila – your XBMC image was there !

    Just one issue with the XBMC image: the volume is not properly working via the (usb) remote: this works once or twice and then no volume commands get recognised (which means that I have to use the tv remote).

    Quick question: are there any fixes to this xbmc-image-utilite_ssd.tar.bz2 image coming in the near future?

    Also: for the makers of Utilite: as a Ubuntu noob it was a nightmare to get the MicroSD image bootable (as this can not be made under windows).

    An internal small USB slot that the utilite boots from by default would be greatly appreciated. Also the MicroSD slot is shit: you need to push the microsd car in completely and this en locks in the case, so the only way to remove it is to open the case en press the microSD card down a bit with a flat screwdriver !!!

    Otherwise: great device and super silent !

    btw check out this: http://flirc.tv/product/flirc/
    This would allow you to use any remote you program with it !

    I wish Utilite would ship the device with XMBC and this flirc build in !

    • I have mine setup with FLIRC, too. A clever/affordable solution for our “guest remote” that my in-laws can use to control what would otherwise be a too complicated setup for them.

  11. Quick question Stephan. When you install Xbmc onto the SSD do we get a choice of os at boot time or will the installation of xbmc overwrite the Ubuntu system?

  12. Stephan,

    Great work here!

    Your tutorial was great. I’ve really been stressing the system today. I played a movie, about 2 hours. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and then I went through a full configuration of XBMC to get it to my liking (pairing it with Yatze!). I did a picture slideshow for about 30 minutes and then tried to watch another movie but XBMC froze when trying to start the movie. So then I restarted it thinking it was just the transition from the slideshow to the movie. This time the movie started playing but I had no audio and the video kept running out of buffer. I did enable passthrough audio to my receiver which has always worked on other XBMC installations. Although do I have to switch to SPDIF to get the audio passthrough and if I switch to SPDIF will it still output over HDMI?

    Also is it true that the MythTV component in XBMC does not work in this version? I was really hoping to fully move over to my Utilite as my all in one media center machine. If MythTV isn’t available and it freezes after extended use this may not work. Have you witnessed the same? Anything I can provide to help diagnose?

    • Wanted to give an update.

      Turns out that for whatever reason when I was in the settings only Analog and SPDIF were available at the time, no HDMI, which was strange. So the audio is fixed.

      My latest issue is that I run out of buffer. I had originally played a movie over a wireless bridge with no issues. But that wasn’t the permanent location. The permanent location was over a wired connection. Once in place I now have a buffering issue. I can get about 1 min of play time of an HD Lossless source and then buffer for 15 sec. Goes the entire movie like this. Previously the same movie played flawlessly over the wireless bridge.

      • Hi Brad,
        Maybe at first try your TV was not selected when you booted and the kernel was not able to initialize HDMI audio driver…
        Your buffering issue is strange ! Especially when it seems to work better with wireless 😉
        Which protocol do you use to stream ?

        • Stephan,

          I have my NAS set up to be able to use both NFS and SMB but specifically for the Utilite I have used a NFS Share.

          Also when I was streaming fine I initially only had set up one folder to pull files from for video so that I could test and make sure it worked before moving it to it’s final destination. I have since set up my Pictures, Music and the rest of my video folders.

          I thought maybe it was audio settings but I tried everything under the sun there and still didn’t have any impact.

          I am able to play non-HD files fine. The buffer never seems to dip below 90% when viewing SD.

          Another issue I have found but haven’t done much investigating yet is the HDMI CEC control isn’t working right.

          Thanks for your help/input!

          • Hi Brad,

            this seems really to be a bandwidth issue. Could you try samba just to be sure ? (nfs works fine is mounted from system but libnfs in xbmc is not always so fine…)

            • Stephan,

              I put a switch in between my router and the Utilite and now I am able to stream fine. Keeping 95% buffer. Also I didn’t realize it at the time but the log on the screen was also able to show me the number of bad frames and frames that were skipped and when directly wired to the router there is a lot. But when using the switch or the bridge there is very very few.

              I have no idea why the extra hop is helping but I already had this switch in place to direct secondary connections off of the router so I will just use that. I’m thinking it is my router that is the problem at this point.

              I am going to consider that solved. I do have a CEC Issue but I want to start a new comment thread for that to make it easier for others to follow.

  13. Stephan,

    Thanks so much for listening to my previous issue.

    The latest issue is with CEC. I have done all the configuation within XBMC for the CEC Control.

    And the device turns on my TV and AVR. But it does not change it’s input and it also sets the AVR to Muting. Additionally after turning on the devices those devices do not recognize that there is a signal and therefore do not start displaying a signal even if the input was previously on the correct input when it turned on.

    Any ideas what could be going on? This is my first attempt at using CEC with XBMC so I very well could still have set something up wrong.


  14. Thank you very much for your great work.

    I am missing the Power off system usual xbmc option to power off the system (both SD and SSD).

    Any ideas why?

      • One more, sorry, the push of the power button on Utilite does not power off either; I have to hold the power button down for about 10 seconds and force power off.

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