When setting up my XBMC instances, I wanted to have a central machine in my house serve up all my media, and for that I chose to use my Mac OS X Lion machine. Since my XBMC machines are being powered by Windows 7 I ran into a bit of a predicament. In Mac OS X Lion, Apple started using the SMB2 protocol that Microsoft introduced in Vista back in 2006. Naturally this would be a welcomed change since the original protocol has been around since the Windows 3.1 days, but XBMC doesn’t include support for SMB2.
There are some alternative protocols you can try using, such as AFP or FTP, but even those have their drawbacks. XBMC 11 added built-in support for AFP shares which is file sharing protocol that Apple prefers. In my case AFP isn’t even an option since Windows doesn’t natively support AFP, which means my XBMC machines don’t see the AFP shares. As far as the FTP goes Apple removed that functionality in Lion, but it can easily be restored. I didn’t want to go that route though because FTP connections limit some of what you can do with the media in XBMC, such as not being able to delete videos directly from the XBMC interface. So for me Samba/SMB was still my best option.
After some searching I came across a free app called SMBUp that restores the old-school SMB protocol compatibility in all its glory on your Mac OS X Lion install. You just have to download the app, open it up, and it will install a version of Samba that works beautifully with XBMC. As you can see in the screenshot above you’ll be provided a full interface for managing all of your shares, and you can even enable guest access to shares making it even easier to hook XBMC up to them.
A lot of geeky people will argue that using the older protocol will drastically limit your transfer speeds compared to other methods, but I have not found that to be the case. In fact before installing SMBUp I was able to transfer files at 92MB/s to a Windows machine, which was being done with the newer SMB2 protocol. After installing SMBUp I saw speeds to the same machine reach 98MB/s, and that was with the older protocol. Not bad, and that shows that my gigabit network is on par to my expectations.
Tip: Most people treat the Samba and SMB terms as one-in-the-same, but in reality they are not. SMB/CIFS is pretty much only found in Microsoft Windows, whereas Samba is the free and open source version that you’ll find in the Mac and Linux OS. Samba was originally developed by reverse engineering SMB.
SMBUp Homepage (Mac only; Freeware)
CyberNet’s XBMC Guides:
- XBMC: Introduction to Our Upcoming Guides
Our introduction provides some of the deciding factors for switching from Windows Media Center to XBMC.
- XBMC: Build Your Own HTPC
Our extensive guide on the hardware we chose for our home theater PCs (HTPCs), the cost, and some tips on choosing the hardware for your own HTPC.
- XBMC: Prepare and Optimize Windows 7
A helpful list of tips to optimize the performance of Windows 7 so that the system is able to offer as many resources to XBMC as it can.
- XBMC: IR Receiver and Remote (Harmony, Xbox 360, and More)
If you want your HTPC to operate like a set-top box you’ll definitely want to get a remote control configured, and for me this was a critical step so that I wouldn’t have to be concerned about less tech-savvy users trying to use my TV.
- XBMC: Share and Sync Media/Settings Between Multiple XBMC Installs
Configuring XBMC to share settings between multiple instances means you’ll be able to stop a show in one room, and seamlessly pick up where you left off in another room.
- XBMC: Fit the Picture to Your TV with Overscan
If XBMC doesn’t fit your TV screen perfectly there are a couple of steps you can take to get it just right.
- XBMC: Installing Skins
How to tweak the appearance of XBMC so that it looks the way you want it to.
- XBMC: Custom Home Screen Menu Backgrounds
Make the backgrounds of your chosen skin/theme a little more interesting by having it flip through artwork from your favorite TV shows and movies.
- XBMC: Dynamic Weather Backgrounds
If you’re using the Aeon MQ 3 theme you can have it use dynamic wallpapers that change based on the time of day and current weather conditions.
- XBMC: SMB on Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)
I use a Mac to serve up files to my XBMC instances running on Windows, and so my preferred protocol for sharing files is SMB. This guide explains how you can get a XBMC-compatible version of SMB running on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.
- XBMC: Adding Media Sources
Learn how to add your media to XBMC and turn on the appropriate content scrapers.
- XBMC: Troubleshoot Buffering Issues
Trying to troubleshoot buffer issues in XBMC can be quite a pain, and so I lay out some of the most common culprits.
- XBMC: Test Your HTPC with High Bitrate Sample Videos
Want to see how well your HTPC performs? Throw some of these high bitrate 1080p sample videos at it.
- XBMC: More Advanced Settings
Configure some of the settings that you won’t find anywhere in the GUI.
- XBMC: Stream Hulu, Food Network, and More
Thanks to add-ons you can stream videos from some of your favorite sources including Hulu, Food Network, HGTV, TWiT, and more.
- XBMC: AirPlay on Windows
Send videos from your iOS device to any XBMC instance with very little configuration.
- XBMC: Web Interface and Chrome Extension
As long as you are on the same network as your XBMC box you can control it from any browser using the built-in web interface, or you can install a Chrome extension to make it even easier.
- XBMC: iPhone and iPad Remote
If you own an iPhone or iPad you can enjoy one of the best XBMC remote control experiences I’ve seen, and it will only cost you a few bucks.
- XBMC: A List of Our Guides, Plus Helpful Wiki and Forum Posts
A recap of all the guides we’ve written as well as useful wiki and forum post from the official XBMC.org site.
- XBMC: Free and Official iOS Remote for XBMC Released
This is the free and official XBMC remote control iOS app (optimized for both the iPhone and iPad). It will let you easily control all of the XBMC instances in your house as long as they are all on the same network.
- XBMC: Running XBMC on Startup in Windows 8
Learn how you can make XBMC start automatically when Windows 8 boots.
- XBMC: Send YouTube Videos From Chrome to XBMC
Send YouTube videos from your PC to any XBMC instance in a single click.
- XBMC: Aeon MQ 4 Skin
If you’re looking for one of the best and most popular XBMC skins the Aeon MQ 4 is a great choice.
- XBMC: Android Widget Remote Control
Control multiple instances of XBMC without ever having to open an app on your Android device!