Sync multiple XBMC media libraries, including Raspbmc

If you have more than one XBMC installation on your network, centralising your media library has many benefits:

  • Your watched / unwatched statuses are shared between media centres
  • You can watch a video in one room and continue watching it in another – without needing to find your place (in theory :))
  • You only have one library that needs to be updated

The basic steps towards setting this up:

  • Make sure all your media is shared so that it is available to all PC’s on your network
  • Change all the paths in your media library to point to the shares instead of a local file system
  • Set up a MySQL server that contains your library data that all your XBMC installations can connect to
  • Configure all your XBMC installations to use the MySQL server for it’s library data

The process is very well documented on the XBMC wiki, but there is one very important point to note – and this is especially relevant if you are using Raspbmc on a Rasperry Pi – Your XBMC versions must all be the same!

The problem is that XMBC uses a numbering scheme in the database name used for it’s video and music libraries, I suspect to manage schema changes from one version to the next. So, if you have XBMC Eden (v11) installed, your video library database might be called “myvideos60”. If you use a nightly build, the version number appended to the end will be different. The result? If your versions differ between XBMC installations, your library will simply not be picked up by one or more of your media centres. If you are using Raspbmc, you are using a nightly build. This means that the only way to share your media library on MySQL is to make sure your other XBMC installations are also using a recent nightly build.

So, with that important caveat noted, follow the instructions on the XBMC wiki. For your Raspbmc instance, be aware that there is already a advancedsettings.xml file created, unlike normal XBMC installations where this file is not present by default. Just append your library database settings to the existing settings in the file.

One thought on “Sync multiple XBMC media libraries, including Raspbmc

  1. As far as I know, when you install a new XBMC version, it will try to find an old database version, create a new database version and attempt to import your library from the old database into the new database. If this is successful, it might appear as if your library is synced, but in effect your installations are pointing to different databases.

    In my case I had Eden (v11) installed and my library imported. When loading up Raspbmc, it did not successfully import the older database created by my Eden installation and the library items simply didn’t show up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *