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Making XBMC work on Mint 12, with HDMI Audio Passthrough and LIRC

I’ve got a Dell Optiplex 755 hooked up to my Yamaha amp and surround system, and it was about time XBMC was installed on it. It uses a low profile Nvidia GeForce 8400GS for VDPAU acceleration and HDMI audio. These are some rough notes I took whilst setting it up.

Follow this guide to install XBMC on Mint 12

adduser --system --home /var/lib/htpc/ htpc
vipw, change htpc shell to /bin/bash
apt-get install build-essential vim xbmc xbmc-standalone ubuntu-restricted-extras mint-meta-gnome-dvd mint-meta-codecs

Download and extract lirc-0.9.0.tar.bz2 from
As I’m using a DangerousPrototypes USB IRToy, all I’m interested in is the IRMan driver

sudo apt-get install libirman-dev
./configure --prefix=/usr/ --with-driver=irman
make install

Copy the SysV startup script from a Debian package into /etc/init.d/, use update-rc.d lirc defaults to put it in all the right runlevel directories

Used my existing Hauppauge A415 remote control definition file, and put it in /etc/lirc/

Edited /etc/lirc/hardware.conf to include the following…

REMOTE_MODULES=”lirc_dev mceusb”

Edited /etc/lirc/lircd.conf to include the following at the end…

include “/etc/lirc/A415-HPG-KG.conf”

Ensure the lirc_dev module is loaded at boot, with echo lirc_dev >> /etc/modules

Start lirc with /etc/init.d/lirc start, and fire up irw. Press some keys on the remote to make sure it works.

Edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf, ensure autologin-user=htpc, and user-session=XBMC

Reboot and bask in XBMC glory

I restored most of my XBMC settings from backups, but the audio settings were of a particular concern. This is what I use to get HDMI passthrough over a NVidia GeForce 8400GS card…

Audio Output : HDMI
Speaker Configuration : 5.1
Audio Output Device : Custom
Custom Audio Device : plughw:0,7
Passthrough output device : Custom
Custom Passthrough device : plughw:0,7

I knew the audio devices courtesy of the output from aplay -l, and some random testing with mplayer got me the results. To test it with mplayer, I just ran mplayer -fs -afm hwac3,hwdts -ao alsa:device=hw=0.7 against the name of a movie I knew had an AC3 soundtrack. Within a couple of seconds the amp was reporting a full AC3 bitstream, and surround sound was filling the living room.