Raspberry Pi with XBMC, Composite-Video and PAL

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By Andrew McCombe
January 16, 2014

Tonight I have set up my Raspberry Pi with XBMC, Composite-Video and PAL mode. There were a couple of hurdles to get over but it's working fine now. I bought a Raspberry Pi a few weeks before Christmas to replace the monolithic Dell tower I was using as a media server. The idea was to use it to stream films and music from my Buffalo NAS server located in my home office and also to replace our broken DVD player. Unfortunately I can't get it to work properly with the external DVD player so I decided to use it with an old Hyundai 17″ monitor I had spare. The monitor also doubles up as a TV and has VGA, composite and composite s-video inputs. The Pi has HDMI and composite outputs so I decided to try it out.

The first problem I came across was the output from the composite port didn't work great. I'd get a glimpse of the RaspBMC logo every now and then. I suspected that the output was NTSC by default and a quick look on http://elinux.org/RPiconfig#Video confirmed it. I shut down the Pi (pulled the plug), pulled the SDHC card and edited the config.txt file, adding the following:


I re-inserted the card and it worked fine. Picture is a little 'grainy' compared to the HDMI output but I guess that's what you get with the composite output. I added a Belkin Wireless USB stick, rebooted, set up the connection and rebooted it again. The Pi booted into XBMC and found all the shares I had set up previously. It's been playing 'The Social Network' for the last hour without any issues. Finally I tied the cables up and put it up in the kitchen.