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I have a Raspberry Pi set up as a HTPC using Raspbmc. Almost every time I play a video from my notebook on Raspbmc over SMB, some time during the video it freezes and the screen goes blank. After about a minute, the XBMC menu appears at its last state. I can play the video again from here and there is usually no further problem during the playback of that video.

I think this is Raspbmc losing its network connection. I know this because whenever this happens and the screen goes blank, I can see that the XBMC remote (on my Android cellphone) cannot connect to Raspbmc. I can see the same by using the remote on the web browser which complains that the connection to Raspbmc is lost.

Why is Raspbmc temporarily unreachable over the network? I read on another forum that playing video over SMB might take too much CPU. Could that cause the network freeze? Is there anything I can do to diagnose or fix this?

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Since both SMB stream and remote control (HTTP) are down, you may want to check if your RPi completely lost the connection. To know whether the connection is lost by your RPi (lower OSI layer), or by XBMC (higher OSI layer), you can ping the RPi continuously during the playback. If you can ping it even if the screens goes blank, that means the guilty is XBMC, and not the OS. Maybe this can help you to find the problem. –  Morgan Courbet Oct 26 '12 at 16:23
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I have also had this issue streaming video and I am not using SMB. –  Jivings Oct 26 '12 at 16:23
    
Do you see anything unusual in dmesg after the blackout? Something like eth0: link down or ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): eth0: link is not ready for example? –  Avio Oct 26 '12 at 19:19
    
I wonder whether a static IP would solve this? –  Alex Chamberlain Oct 27 '12 at 9:09
    
@Morgan: Tried it. Raspbmc does not respond to pings when the screen goes blank and remains blank for about a minute. –  Ashwin Oct 28 '12 at 0:37
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I've had the same issue, and in my case it was definitely the RaspBMC losing connection to the wireless network. The RaspBMC was in a weak spot (not quite dead) for my wireless network, and the limited power that it can give to the wireless USB card as I wasn't using a wired hub gave it a flaky connection.

Rather than try a powered hub as I didn't have one handy, I purchased a network extender to improve the wireless connection in that area and that's worked perfectly from what I've seen. If you aren't currently running your wireless card through a powered hub, that is another option worth testing.

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as a addition, I was have wireless dropout woes with my Pi and home network in general, and I found that shifting the channel from 10 to 6 has helped considerably (11 and 1 were already taken). I believe 11 6 and 1 are the strongest channels for wireless –  kolin Jan 29 '13 at 9:00
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