Raspberry Pi: Media Center Installation

This is my first article regarding the use of the Raspberry Pi here at "The Nerdbench". In this article I will review what is needed to transform the Raspberry Pi into a robust Media Center that is very capable of offering a variety of content with minimal configuration (my basic configuration tool less than 30 minutes). This article will provide a general overview of the tasks required to install RaspBMC to a Raspberry Pi using a Windows-based OS.

There are a number of features that one can configure within RaspBMC such as configurable local weather forecasts and easy access to centrally stored files (which can be stored on a variety network based locations such as a NAS or Windows-based server). Additionally there are a number of streaming options that can be configured for audio and video uses.

Hardware Items:
  • Raspberry Pi*
  • 4GB SD Memory Card (used to store the OS and media; user larger media if needed) *
  • HDMI Cable (used to connect the Raspberry Pi to the monitor using HDMI) *
  • Memory Card reader for SD Memory Card*
  • 1 Amp (1000mA) USB-based Power Supply*
  • USB 2.0 Powered Hub (required if you intend to add a USB-based Storage)

* are required items

Software Items:

  • The process listed in this article will required the use of a Windows-based OS
  • WinRAR (free tool used to expand the .gz file to a img file)
  • Win32DiskImager (free tool used to extract img file to the SD Memory Card)
Note: by incorrectly following the process below you potentially could render your computer in a un-bootable state. Make sure you know what you are doing!


  1. Insert the SD Memory Card into your computer's memory card reader
  2. Record the drive letter assigned to the SD Memory Card (required for Step-7)
  3. From a computer download the Standalone Image to a location on the hard disk
  4. Download and install WinRAR to your computer
  5. Download and install Win32DiskImager to your computer
  6. Use WinRAR to extract the .GZ file to a location on your hard disk
  7. Use Win32DiskImager to extract the .IMG file to your SD Memory Card (use drive letter from  Step-2) 
  8. Use Windows's Explorer to verify that files have been written to the SD Memory Card
  9. Eject the SD Memory Card from your computer
  10. Verify that your Raspberry Pi's is powered down
  11. Insert the SD Memory Card into the Raspberry Pi's memory card slot
  12. Install the Ethernet Cable, HDMI Cable, USB Mouse, and USB into correct ports on the Pi
  13. Power up the Raspberry Pi
At this point you should see the Raspberry Pi boot; eventually the RaspBMC main screen will be displayed.

What is next:In the next article I will cover basic configuration regarding how to configure the RaspBMC to use media stored on a Windows Server Share or media stored on a external USB Hard Drive. 

Have fun!

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