Installing OpenElec XBMC on the Raspberry Pi

Posted on 28.12.12 in the category Raspberry Pi

OpenElec Raspberry Pi

Installing XBMC on the Raspberry Pi can be achieved several different ways, if you want an easy and simple method then installing OpenElec is the way to go. OpenElec is short for ‘Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center’ and is a light-weight Linux distro with XBMC pre-installed, they provide a build specifically designed to run on the Raspberry Pi.

To install OpenElec on your Raspberry Pi you are going to need the following…

  • A Raspberry Pi
  • An SD Card (1Gb Minimum)
  • SDFormatter
  • Win32DiskImager
  • OpenElec Image

Once you have all of this to hand, we can begin the process…

Step One – Formatting Your SD Card

The SD card will need formatting before you can use it, install whatever version of the SDFormatter utility you installed and launch it.

SD Formatter 3.1 for SD/SDHC/SDXC

Select your SD cards drive letter from the drop down menu and then click ‘Format’ from the bottom right hand side. Once your format is complete you should see a success message like the one above, if so then your ready to move onto the next step.

Step Two – Installing The OpenElec Image

You now have a blank SD card so we are going to need to transfer the Raspberry Pi Optimised OpenElec image file onto it. Open up the ImageWriter for Windows software…

Disk Imager For Windows

Select your Drive Letter and load up the image file that you downloaded from the link at the top of this article, if you missed it then go to and scroll to the bottom of the list for the latest. In our instance we are using the file from the 28th December. Hit the ‘Write’ button and accept the warning prompt that appears, the progress bar should now start filling and the image file will be transferred. This usually takes about 2 or 3 minutes but could be longer depending on the speed of your SD card.

Step Three – Try It Out

If you were expecting more steps then you are going to be sorely disappointed, that’s it! Take your SD Card out of your computer and plug it into your Raspberry Pi, power it up and wait a while. Depending on your SD card speed, after 30 seconds or so you should be presented with the front screen of XBMC.

Now you can get on with configuring and skinning XBMC to how you like it, if you want to find out more about OpenElec then check out their website at

2 Responses to “Installing OpenElec XBMC on the Raspberry Pi”

  1. Step 1 isn’t needed, as the OpenELEC image used in step 2 carries over formatting (FAT32 and Ext2 partitions).

    I’d also suggest using the latest OpenELEC official images (presently 2.95.6 beta of OpenELEC 3) rather than dev builds.

  2. Thanks for this post I was surprised @ how quick and easy it was to install didn’t even need to format the SD card 🙂 Here is a link straight to the OpenELEC Image Repository

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