How to Install SABnzbd on XBMC Live

Installing applications on XBMC Live is actually much easier than you might think. It does require bashing out some code on a shell prompt, but it’s relatively easy. You can access the shell via two methods: directly from the XBMC-live machine or remotely via SSH. See below for the details on both methods.

Before I start the instructions on how to install, I’d like to give a plug for two other applications which pair up perfectly with SABnzbd: NewzBook and SickBeard. NewzBook is an application I wrote for managing my downloads and files remotely. (install instructions | info) NewzBook includes a mobile friendly website that allows you to search for content and start downloading it remotely — it also includes a web based media player and file manager. SickBeard is an amazing PVR app written by someone else and it heavily simplifies my life. (install instructions | info) Simply tell SickBeard what shows you want to watch and it will automatically go out and search the major indexers and download new versions of the TV shows as they come out. SickBeard can also index all your content locally so it can then download updated / better versions as they come available — for example, you might have a few episodes in SD quality and you can have SickBeard automatically check for HD versions.

Directly from the Machine

To access the shell directly from the machine, you will need to plug in a keyboard to the xbmc box then switch to a different window/desktop. You can switch to a different window by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F#. Most people typically recommend switching to window two by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F2. When you are finished (or even if you just need to switch back temporarily), you can get back to the main XBMC window by going to window 7 (Ctrl+Alt+F7).


I personally prefer to use SSH as it keeps me untethered from the box. My XBMC machine is in a media cabinet, so I don’t keep the keyboard connected and don’t like having to pull one out. Most people will probably want to follow along with this blog post while they do the steps anyway so it’s probably just easier to use SSH for you as well. If you don’t already have an SSH client, I would recommend puttyTRAY. You can download it by visiting this website, then dragging the large icon from the left to the right.

To access the box via SSH, open up putty then enter the IP address (or name) of your XBMC Live machine in the Host Name box. The default port 22 and connection type of SSH will work. Press the open button at the bottom to connect.


At this point you will be prompted for a username (then the password). By default this is XBMC/XBMC, but if you may have selected something different during installation. When you type the password, you won’t see the cursor moving. Don’t worry, it is getting what you are typing but it hides passwords. After entering the username and password, you will get to a window that looks similar to the following:


SABnzbd+ Installation

At this point, you are now connected to the shell (either via SSH or directly on the machine). Use the following instructions to update your apt-get repository and install SABnzbd+.

  1. Update the repository (not necessary, but a good idea):
    sudo apt-get update
  2. Install the application. Type the following at the command prompt, then enter the password of the super account (if you are prompted for it) and type “Y” when prompted to continue. The system will automatically grab all the dependencies and install them for you.
    sudo apt-get install sabnzbdplus
  3. Configure the base application. If you read through the messages from the apt-get installation, you’ll see a line that says “Not configured, aborting. See /etc/default/sabnzbdplus”. This means we need to setup the configuration (via command line) before we can start the main application. We’ll do this using a basic editor called nano (you can use vi or emacs if you prefer them). We’ll use the sudo command so we can ensure we edit the file with an account with appropriate access.
    sudo nano /etc/default/sabnzbdplus

    You should now see a file that looks similar to the following on your screen:

    # This file is sourced by /etc/init.d/sabnzbdplus
    # When SABnzbd+ is started using the init script, the
    # --daemon option is always used, and the program is
    # started under the account of $USER, as set below.
    # Each setting is marked either "required" or "optional";
    # leaving any required setting unconfigured will cause
    # the service to not start.

    # [required] user or uid of account to run the program as:

    # [optional] full path to the configuration file of your choice;
    # otherwise, the default location (in $USER's home
    # directory) is used:

    # [optional] hostname/ip and port number to listen on:

    # [optional] extra command line options, if any:

    You’ll need to change two settings to get the application to work properly: USER and PORT. I usually just set the USER to the account XBMC runs on by default ‘XBMC’ and set the PORT to ‘8080’. This means you will later access the web interface via http://XBMCIP:8080/sabnzbd/

  4. Press Ctrl+O (then enter) to save the file, then Ctrl+X to exit out of the editor.
  5. Restart the SABnzbd service with our new configuration. Type the following to restart the service.
    sudo /etc/init.d/sabnzbdplus restart
  6. You now have the application installed and the baseline configured. You can now access the web interface via http://XBMCIP:8080/sabnzbd/ (where XBMCIP is the IP address of your XBMC machine)
  7. You can configure the rest of the settings via the web interface. Just click on the configuration tab of the web interface (http://XBMCIP:8080/sabnzbd/)

Other Thoughts

If you don’t already have a usenet provider, I would highly recommend Astraweb. They often have a special for 11.99 which can typically be found by googling ‘Astraweb Special’.

There is also an XBMC plugin which I haven’t fully tested which you can find on this thread on the SABnzbd+ forums. The latest version at the time of writing this is 1.5.4 and can simply be unpacked into the /home/xbmc/.xbmc/plugins/programs folder then run from the Programs tab of XBMC.

You can install three more themes for SABnzbd+ using the sudo apt-get install method used above.

  • sabnzbdplus-theme-iphone – iphone interface templates for the SABnzbd+ binary newsgrabber
  • sabnzbdplus-theme-plush – plush interface templates for the SABnzbd+ binary newsgrabber
  • sabnzbdplus-theme-smpl – smpl interface templates for the SABnzbd+ binary newsgrabber
  • sabnzbdplus-theme-mobile – mobile (phone) interface

For example, to install the iphone interface, use:

sudo apt-get install sabnzbdplus-theme-iphone

Just like above it will ask you to enter the password for the super account (XBMC) if you haven’t already used the sudo function in your current session… and it will require you to press ‘Y’ to install the package.

In my installation, I’ve also made sabnzbd available via my main apache webserver which I use to serve up other apps on my XBMC server. If you are interested in serving SABnzbd via apache (reverse proxy), check out this article.





23 responses to “How to Install SABnzbd on XBMC Live”

  1. Scott Avatar

    Hey just wanted to say thanks for your little guide, I already had the SSH thing down, but wanted to know if you could run sabzbd+ on this badboy, and sure enough, this guide pops up.

    One problem I ran into was I couldnt set the port for xbmc + sabzbd+ to the same port, so xbmc is now 8080 and sab is 9995, for anyone else who comes across this and runs into that problem.


  2. Tim Osborn Avatar
    Tim Osborn

    Thanks for the instructions – can’t connect using my web browser i’m afraid. I’ve tried adding xbmc under user and port 8080. I’ve also changed the port to 9995 and no joy. Google chrome just reports the link might be broken – any ideas?

  3. josh Avatar

    You might try entering the IP address of your XBMC machine in the “HOST” field of the configuration file for sabnzbd.

    Also, if you change the port to 9995 like Scott, make sure you are using the appropriate web address (eg. http://xbmcip:9995/sabnzbd).

    You can ensure SABnzbd+ is running by looking at the processes that are running:
    [code]ps -eaf | grep sab[/code]

  4. Tim Osborn Avatar
    Tim Osborn

    Thanks for your advice. I’ve checked my config file and i’m definitely pointing at (my xbmc box).

    I try “” and get nothing.

    I’ve run the command you gave and my output is:

    root@XBMCLive:~# ps -eaf | grep sab
    xbmc 1392 1 0 Jan14 ? 00:00:08 /usr/bin/python2.5 -OO /usr/bin/sabnzbdplus –daemon
    root 2406 2394 0 13:44 pts/0 00:00:00 grep sab

    So I think its running – any other ideas? Thanks for looking..

  5. Tim Osborn Avatar
    Tim Osborn

    Sorry scratch that, its working. Restarted the service and good to go. Thanks so much for the guide!

  6. Ryan Avatar

    Thanks! This guide is great. Had a tiny bit of trouble initially, but read comments and added my XBMC’s IP to the config, and made sure I had a different port.

    One question though: any easy way to now upgrade this to 0.5.0 RC3?

  7. Ryan Avatar

    Nevermind, I successfully installed 0.5.0 RC3 using aptitude by following this thread:

  8. josh Avatar

    Did you have any trouble with using those instructions you pointed out? When I ran the command:
    [quote][code]sudo aptitude –with-recommends install sabnzbdplus[/code][/quote]
    …it automatically uninstalled python and a bunch of other libraries it thought were un-necessary. After installing sabnzbdplus with those instructions everything appeared to be working fine, but when I did a full reboot of my machine I couldn’t get it to load back into XBMC. It kept giving me an error about “XBMC needs hardware accelerated OpenGL rendering”… I have no idea how the packages that were uninstalled as part of sabnzbdplus were in any way related to that, but it seemed to have caused me an issue on my Nvidia ION based revo.

    Anyway, I went ahead and tried installing 0.5.0 RC3 again, but this time I used:
    [quote][code]sudo apt-get install sabnzbdplus[/code][/quote]
    …instead of the direct aptitude command. Using apt-get installed the core components, but didn’t remove all the other packages. I now have the 0.5.0 RC3 release installed in unison with XBMC Live on my Revo.

  9. josh Avatar

    I ran into the issue where my video graphic drivers went out of whack again while trying to upgrade to the latest XBMC SVN. ([url][/url]).. so this time I decided I would try to figure out how to fix the core issue instead of reinstalling. It turns out it just requires a reinstallation (upgrade) of the video drivers to get you back up and running. Check out this blog post for more details on fixing your XBMC video driver woes ([url][/url]).

    You should be able to use the same video driver fix mentioned in my blog post (on a Revo/Ion chip) if your video drivers went out of whack when upgrading SABnzbd+ using the method mentioned on the SABnzbd+ forums.

  10. Lefty Avatar

    Thanks for the guide got sabnzbd installed on my acer revo running xbmc live. Also got the xbmc video plug working as well as the nzbstreamer plugin very happy chappy 🙂

  11. Jonathan Avatar

    Whats the default User/Password for the WebUI? I’m being prompted but can’t get in??

  12. Peter Avatar

    I have had so much help from your blogs, great with people like you out there, *bows*

  13. josh Avatar

    The password is the password of the user you entered on the USER= line of the SABnzbd configuration. In my example, I used the xbmc account so it would be the password of the xbmc account.

  14. Jaybarti Avatar

    without a GUI or a web browser

    set the
    # [optional] hostname/ip and port number to listen on:

    This will set sabnzbd+ to listen on all ports allowing you to access it remotely if need.

  15. Joris Avatar

    I had the problem that I could not access the webinterface (page could not be displayed error). I solved it by entering my IP-adres of the XBMC after the HOST= paramerte in step 3 (Exampe : HOST=

  16. Diekund Avatar

    Awesome guide, thanks a lot for the help

  17. josh Avatar

    @Diekund: Thanks for the comment! I’m glad you liked the guide!

  18. Dennis Roberts Avatar
    Dennis Roberts


    Great blog Joshua! I’m not interested in this application right now, but I would like to ask you if it is possible to install Handbrake as an application in XBMC live? I’m going to build a new HTPC that will be faster than my XP desktop PC. So, the new box wwould process videos faster.

    I’ve searched, but I can’t find anything specific on this. Also, my linux knowledge is very limited.

    Thanks for any help.


  19. josh Avatar

    It looks like there is a Linux release of Handbrake so it can (in theory) be installed on an XBMC Live setup. One thing I would note though is that you will not actually be installing Handbrake IN XBMC Live. Think of XBMC as an app just like Handbrake. When you run/install XBMC Live, you are actually running it from within a “live” version of the Ubuntu Linux OS. It sounds like you would need to do one of a few things:
    1) Install Handbrake into your XBMC Live install, but you would need to learn how to run Handbrake from command line (probably not so fun)
    2) Install a full version of Ubuntu. Then install XBMC, Handbrake, and whatever other apps you want on top of that. Keep in mind, this is probably still more technical than installing Windows + Apps, but there is a lot of support for this on the XBMC forums.
    3) Build your new HTPC as a Windows machine and install one of the XBMC windows builds. Then install Handbrake as usual for a Windows machine. This is what most of my friends have done since they still want to use their XBMC machine for more than just a media center. Note that you may want to install one of the branched XBMC Windows builds that supports hardware decoding if you are putting in a graphics card that supports it. (eg. the DSPlayer Build ([url][/url]))

  20. Dennis Roberts Avatar
    Dennis Roberts

    Thanks for the reply and clear description of how XBMC runs like an application on Linux. I would like to use the Linux version of XBMC Live as a starting point so as to get my feet wet with Linux without having to do the full Ubuntu install right now. I’ve been searching for and reading any info I can find about this, and I found a post on the XBMC forum by someone who installed Firefox to run with XBMC Live by first installing Gnome, and then Firefox, and setting up a launcher in XBMC.

    I do not mind skipping the launcher setup and exiting XBMC to a desktop (Gnome?), and running handbrake from there. I have a guide for installing handbrake for Lucid-Lynx, but I need to understand how to do a functional install on my HTPC that has XBMC Live installed.
    I’ve boiled my research down to a few questions.

    1. Do you see any problem with installing Gnome and then handbrake to the HTPC that has Live installed already, then running handbrake from the Gnome GUI desktop – and eventually via VNC from my XP PC?
    2. If question 1 is a go, then alternatively, could I just do a Gnome-core and handbrake install and run handbrake from the Gnome-core GUI desktop (does it have one)?
    3. Is Fluxbox a GUI desktop that could be used to run a standalone application such as Handbrake?

    Thanks for any assistance,

  21. Ezkabar Avatar


    Sabnzb works well but is there no way to keep sabnzb installed so when I have a power out and have to load up again, SAB starts to run again without doing all the re-install and config??

  22. Ezkabar Avatar


    Solved that one. Just need to install to use install to HDD option.

    My videos often randomly skip, they will just randomly jump a few minutes back/forward in the video file. Any advice on the videocache options??

    Does XBMC keep any error logs so I can see why exactly this might be happening?


  23. Hicham Avatar


    First thank a lot for this great tutorial. I’ve managed to install sabnzbd on xbmc live, and everything is working well, except for one feature. I know that the windows version of sabnzbd, you have several automated actions on an empty que.For expample:”shutdown pc” “shutdown sabnzbd”. On the xmbc live version i can only choose one option:”shutdown sabnzbd”. My question: How can i add “shutdown PC” after an empty que? Please advise. Appreciate you input.


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