Raspberry Pi as a Media Server
Published by António Lopes on June 25, 2012
Categories: Apple, Geek, Mac, Personal, Technology

Following up on some Raspberry Pi setup notes, I’ve been trying to use it as a media server, but besides the basic stuff, I’ve been unable to use the RPi to its full potential so far. Basically, I installed RaspBMC, which is an XBMC build designed specifically for the RPi, and it works pretty much right away. For the basic stuff anyway…

RaspBMC working on my RPi

Sure, you can connect an external disk to it and browse videos, music or pictures in it but that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. What I wanted was for the RPi to sit on a corner connected to the TV and the local network and seamlessly access the content over the network. Unfortunately, I couldn’t put these to work:

  • For some reason, the official XBMC remote app for the iPhone is unable to find the RaspBMC instance and connect to it. Even if I put on the details by hand, it still doesn’t connect. The web interface works, though, but it’s a complete rubbish.
  • Can’t connect the RPi to iTunes home sharing  (it works fine over the iPad or the iPhone, just not on the RPi).
  • Since Mac OS X Lion introduced a new (proprietary) implementation of SMB server, XBMC (and consequently RaspBMC) is unable to connect to any SMB shares you may have, thus rendering it useless for accessing content on your Mac. Sure, there are a lot of fixes around, but almost all of them fix one thing and break another.
  • AirPlay isn’t working either, I tried it both on the iPad and the iPhone. Basically, the iPad detects the AirPlay instance on the RPi but when I click on it to transfer the viewing to the television, although the iPad tells me that “this video is now playing on AirPlay…”, nothing happens on the RaspBMC side.

So, until I’m unable to fix these things, I won’t call the RPi as a media server experience a success. Not yet.


  1. ste says:

    I had similar issues but got it working in the end

    1) You need decent power. I have a 1.5 amp power supply and it is now happy

    2) Change the port of the remote webserver to 9991 (rather than 8080) and then i could manually connect the XMBC controller and air play 🙂

  2. ste says:

    Worth also stating that I got samba running fine between the Pi running XMBC and my Mac which is running Lion.

    All I had to do was follow the guide below


    and my mac saw the Pi shared drive. I have successfully copied data back and to from my mac to the Pi’s memory card. My next step is to get a powered USB drive running and Samba that out…et viola MEDIA SERVER 🙂

    PS i am using RASPBMC RC3

  3. ste says:

    PS… The port 9991 i chose was just a random unassigned port number. I think the problem is 8080 may be used by airplay..so if you have airplay and the remote webserver running their is a port conflict and neither run.

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