Multiple XBMC outputs on one PC

  Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Post Reply
ignisuti Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #1
I've read several threads about people wanting to do this, but never saw any success stories.

I'm trying to design my XBMC media box to output Monitor 1 to HDTV 1 and Monitor 2 to HDTV 2. I'm guessing that'll be simple enough. I think the challenge will be getting separate audio to each HDTV. Also, I'll need to figure out how to control each XBMC instance individually via remote control.

Has anyone got this working?
find quote
Ned Scott Offline
Team-Kodi Wiki Guy
Posts: 21,864
Joined: Jan 2011
Reputation: 288
Location: Arizona, USA
Post: #2
The only way I can think this would ever be possible would be to run virtualization software, boot a second OS, and then move that screen to the second monitor. Control each instance of XBMC from a web remote/smartphone app. Have a second sound card and get some software that lets you route sound from a specific application (one being XBMC, the other being the virtualization software) to a specific card/output.

In the end you might have something that works, but is very silly and won't run as good as two $200 XBMC boxes. To each his own.
find quote
ignisuti Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #3
To each his own, indeed!
Buying two $200 boxes seems like the silly approach to me. Just seems wasteful.

But, I guess my setup is a bit different. I've already got the expensive 50' runs of HDMI cable run throughout the house. If that weren't the case, separate boxes would make more sense to me. Still, If each box is consuming say 50W, I'd rather have a single box outputting a bit more (say 70W) than run three 50W boxes. Yes, these 'should' get turned off when not in use, but with young kids in the house, it'll be hard to enforce that rule.

I'm really quite surprised no one has done this already. I guess I need to research more to better understand the challenges.

Virtualization? Are you suggesting running one XBMC from a VM?
Is there an already known solution for rerouting sound from one app to a specific audio card?
find quote
DDDamian Offline
Team-XBMC Developer
Posts: 3,028
Joined: Sep 2011
Reputation: 254
Location: Canada
Post: #4
The time and tears you're going to outlay for this to not work are greater than the cost of the boxes and power usage combined.

System: XBMC HTPC with HDMI WASAPI & AudioEngine - Denon AVR-3808CI - Denon DVD-5900 Universal Player - Denon DCM-27 CD-Changer
- Sony BDP-S580 Blu-Ray - X-Box 360 - Android tablet wireless remote - 7.1 Streem/Axiom/Velodyne Surround System
If I have been able to help feel free to add to my reputation +/- below - thanks!
find quote
jhsrennie Offline
Team-XBMC Developer
Posts: 7,248
Joined: Nov 2008
Reputation: 119
Location: Chester, UK
Post: #5
An HTPC is more like 20W.

I confidently predict you'll end up using two separate HTPCs, so I'd succumb to the inevitable without the prolonged agonies of trying and failing to make a single PC work :-)

JR
find quote
ignisuti Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #6
You guys seem pretty confident this won't work. Are you basing this on other people failing? I ask because I can't find much history on anyone really trying this and reporting what they were having trouble with. I'd like to understand the difficulty before I move on.
(This post was last modified: 2012-03-17 20:20 by ignisuti.)
find quote
Hudson_Hawk04 Offline
Posting Freak
Posts: 1,177
Joined: Oct 2006
Reputation: 3
Post: #7
so you basically want to run dual monitors right? You are only going to have access to one instance of xbmc unless your pc has the power to run a virtual machine at the same time with another instance of xbmc running...not really sure its do able but its an idea. Cabling might be a problem as well but where there is a will there is a way I suppose.

If you wanted you could pick up a few atv1's just checked craigslist for my area and found one for 80bucks, throw in a crystalhd card by removing wifi and you have the ability to play HD content.

I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day.
Frank Sinatra
If I managed to help you in any way, please add to my reputation
.
(This post was last modified: 2012-03-17 20:31 by Hudson_Hawk04.)
find quote
Ned Scott Offline
Team-Kodi Wiki Guy
Posts: 21,864
Joined: Jan 2011
Reputation: 288
Location: Arizona, USA
Post: #8
A few reasons:

One, XBMC itself is designed to only work once per OS at a time, so that's where the VM requirement comes in. It would require some code patching to work any other way, and that would be a lot of work. That's the largest fundamental block right there.

A few people have attempted this (using various methods, like a VM) only to find that performance was way low even with a beefy machine.

On paper, the cost-to-preformance ratio isn't there.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
(This post was last modified: 2012-03-17 23:09 by Ned Scott.)
find quote
ignisuti Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #9
(2012-03-17 20:28)Hudson_Hawk04 Wrote:  If you wanted you could pick up a few atv1's just checked craigslist for my area and found one for 80bucks, throw in a crystalhd card by removing wifi and you have the ability to play HD content.

I've tried ATV's and was not impressed by the speed of menu navigation. I guess for now, I plan to setup a single beefy PC and mirror that image to all my TV's using an HDMI splitter. Then, I can expand to more PCs as my financial situation allows.

I hadn't thought about running the 2nd instance of XBMC through a virtual machine. I've heard that it's possible to get VMs to run nearly at bare metal speeds, but don't have much experience in that realm. Perhaps, it's something for me to investigate in my spare time.

But... As far as you guys know... No one has successfully run 2 images of XBMC without the use of VMs to accomplish what I'm suggesting?
find quote
Ned Scott Offline
Team-Kodi Wiki Guy
Posts: 21,864
Joined: Jan 2011
Reputation: 288
Location: Arizona, USA
Post: #10
I'd be all over it if someone got something like that to work, even if it was just to experiment around. In concept it sounds pretty cool.

If you check out the hardware thread, there's probably some posts there about sub-$200 HTPC configurations that should bridge the gap between ATV2 performance and "beefy".

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
find quote
o.maille Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Apr 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #11
The VM route appears most appealing to me as re-compiling to enable multiple instances (as suggested elsewhere) seems like a huge on-going task for upgrades etc.

The main issue will be the video performance, that said if you can fit in a number of PCI video cards etc... - I think only vmware allows for full allocation of video devices but may be wrong.
tweaking dirty regions, fliptimeout etc. a must i imagine as well as disabling visualisations

Obviously a processor with AMD-V or VT-x would be a huge +

I'd give the idea one month so all input appreciated
find quote
o.maille Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Apr 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #12
It works! - for audio anyway

FYI

Hardware Spec;
Pentium 4 630 3 Ghz on intel D945GTP board - http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lookup.p...+4+3.00GHz
2.5 GB ram (running at 266 Mhz) -
Geforce 6800 GS 256Mb
3.5 TB on two drives connected via USB caddy (to be move internally)
M-Audio Delta 1010lt sound card - 4 stereo phono outputs
Cut 2 phono leads in half and crudely wired through a simple blocks (Upgrade http://www.ebyelectro.com/terminal-block...ewless.asp) to speaker cables that run through my house then into two speakers in each room

Software
Windows XP 32 - (to be changed to server 2003 64 if possible)
XBMC (4 separate folders on external drive - Run side by running in portable mode as different windows users outputting to different audio devices- wasn't able to achieve in windows 7/8)
Virtual Audio Cable - to allow switching of audio into more than one room (can use xbmc mutliroom audio plugin for two audio output)
MySQL - to manage single database
Xbmc remote on android (assign different port for each instance) - minor issues controlling volume and next track etc.

Performance;
Each instance seems to use about 20% CPU and 30-40mb of Ram with all playing music, much lower when idle
The sound levels are not fantastic but OK for my bathroom and bedroom running but I'm running the sound back into my stereo in living room for amplication

Given the low spec of the CPU and GPU I'd be surprised if this cannot be replicated on a small €200-300 pc
As for video I might get 4 old lcds and test it as the pc has original on board VGA and DVI + the Geforce ones
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-06 19:33 by o.maille.)
find quote
dougdeep Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Apr 2010
Reputation: 0
Post: #13
I'd think this would be possible on Linux using multiple instances of Xorg (one for each display adapter), and running each Xbmc instance with a different user to ensure the home directory files don't interfere. Finally, you'd want to point each instance to the correct audio card. My only fear would be that there's some kind of bug in the video drivers that screws up the whole thing.

The other route on Linux is virtualization. I've poked around on this before. In KVM, there's a low chance you'll get PCI passthrough to work for your video cards because of some VGA bios problems. I've found few successes, and those who did got lucky with very specific video cards. If it worked, this would be my preference.

Xen may be more hopeful. I believe they've managed to get specific video card passthrough support working on Xen. However, KVM is considered the strategic hypervisor on Linux these days. I'm not convinced it'll continue to grow like KVM is.

I doubt there's any room for success on Windows.

I have to build a new HTPC/server soon, so I may just try this out. I will, of course, share the results.
(This post was last modified: 2012-06-21 22:39 by dougdeep.)
find quote
o.maille Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Apr 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #14
I've two video cards in the rig above each with dvi and vga and will be hooking them up to 4 monitors to see how it goes in the next few days;
Somewhat apprehensive given ;
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid...pid1085302

Realistically I don't see great benefit for me in hooking more than 2 video outputs, worried about speed and video audio lag etc. also using laptop with widi and projector covers whatever room I'm in.

I'm using one sound card and assigning different channels with xbmc, works very well. Virtual audio cable is not working very well but I'm looking into alternatives.

I probably will give this a go on linux but unfortunately my linux experience isn't what is was 5 yrs ago.

What would you recommend; i was thinking xorg on dsl?
-drivers may be a pain but it would be lightweight
find quote
CantrellsMedia Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Jun 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #15
I'm pretty new to XBMC so don't take this to the bank. I have two jailbroken atv's (Latest version) with XBMC and I couldn't be happier with the performance. All my content is stored on my mac mini and streaming works great.

As soon as I can figure out how to get DTV to play through XBMC and Apple TV I'll toss my matrix switchers and baluns!
find quote
Post Reply