Boot XMBCbuntu (XBMC Live) from a USB Key for testing purpose on Acer iDea 510

The purpose: try if XBMC is compatible with the hardware of a PC before doing a full installation.

Tested on my Acer iDea 510 with success. Works quite well and could replace Windows 8 Pro with the Media Center Pack !

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  • Download Linux Live USB Creator, a.k.a. Lili, to create a bootable USB Key with a linux (Could also try Unetbootin USB Creator ?...).
  • Download an ISO of XBMCbuntu from here.
    • Version 12 RC 3 of XMBCbuntu is not yet supported by Lili. In addition this version does not include DXVA support yet...
    • To boot another linux, for any purpose, download an ISO for i386 compatible with Lili (When using UNetbootin downloads itself the selected Linux image).
  • Create the bootable USB Key following the how-to.
    1. Choose a USB flash drive in the dropdown list.
    2. Select the ISO of XBMCbuntu downloaded previously.
    3. Choose the size of persistent data (usually between 250 MB and 2 GB).
    4. Check all the options.
    5. Click the lightning button to start the creation.

Tested on an HTPC Acer iDea 510:

  • First try failed. It stops with "load fallback graphics devices [Fail]"
  • Fix:
    1. Open the file syslinux\txt.cfg
    2. Search and Replace "quiet splash" with "quiet splash vmalloc=256M"
  • Second try: great !!! There is much less "lag" than in Windows 8 Pro + Media Center Pack
  • The remote control works fine so far. Including Shutdown (power-off).
  • Configuring the System to use Suspend instead of Shutdown works fine only once.
    • Suspend is really immediate (less than 1 sec).
    • However, I didn't find yet how to configure the remote to wake-up the HTPC.
    • Pressing the power button on the HTPC wakes up XBMC is less than 2 sec
    • Trying again to Suspend the HTPC will result in a black screen with the cursor blinking... A hard reboot is required :(
  • During the use of XBMC, I was able to play HD movies from a SMB Shared Folder of my Synology.
  • Sound plays in 2.0 (stereo), also for movies in 5.1 (with downmix), but default volume is really low compared to the default volume in Windows 8. Within XBMC, I have to boost the Volume Amplification. So it's not the best possible sound.
  • Sound doesn't play correctly at all in 5.1 (although I have a 5.1 system and the movie is in DTS 5.1) ?!
  • I didn't succeed yet to view any movie using UPnP. I can configure such a source, but don't see any list of movies in that source ? (To be investigated)
  • During the shutdown, I noticed an error "Killing all remaining process [Fail]". When shutdown is initiated from the remote control, XMBCbuntu asks to press enter to power-off after the error message here above.
I am not 100% convinced at all that it will be a good choice to run on the Acer iDea 510 instead of Windows 7 and MCE...

2 thoughts on “Boot XMBCbuntu (XBMC Live) from a USB Key for testing purpose on Acer iDea 510

  1. Hi,
    How did you manage to boot the Idea via USB? The USB key works correctly on other PCs
    I've tried all USB options, but without luck - Acer Idea 511.
    USB-HDD doesn't show up as an option, only USB-Zip and USB-CDRom.
    My Bios is 6.00 R3-A0.

    Thanks in advance.

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