Samsung Chromebox with XBMC

At google IO 2012 every delegate got a free Samsung Chromebox. Personally I already have a laptop, desktop, tablet and smart phone. Why would I need a cut down desktop? It would probably be great for your Nan who has no idea what they’re doing and just wants to email the grandkids. So what should I do with this piece of hardware? Well my xbox classic is struggling to play some high def media files, it is over 10 years old, how about I use my free chromebox.

Enable Developer Mode Essentially flip a switch and erase all user data.

Here’s how. Install ChrUbuntu I only had one problem following these

instructions, me, I didn’t follow them. You must leave your box in developer mode, meaning that boot time takes almost a minute because of the developer mode warning.

Install XBMC

XBMC has been accepted into debian.

sudo apt-get install xbmc

Install VNC and SSH Invaluable, otherwise you’ll be plugging in your keyboard and mouse every time you get a problem. 

Install SSH
Enable Remote Desktop Connections

Run xbmc on startup I had a slight issue with xbmc starting just before the window manager had fully started. This was causing xbmc to start in a windowed state. Instead I wrote a small script to pause for 2 seconds then start xbmc.

sleep 5  

chmod +x and then add the file to startup programs.


In total it took me about 90 minutes. My main annoyance is the beep you get on startup. I connected it to my TV through the dvi port which only supports 720p. I tried using display port to hdmi with audio but couldn’t get any audio coming into my TV. No doubt this wouldn’t be a problem with external audio.

Would I recommend buying one explicitly for this purpose, no, unless the price tag is brought down significantly.

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