I've been having trouble with my XBMC setup (Raspbmc on RPi). Sometimes the TV remote does not work when XBMC starts. Pressing the buttons just doesn't work. Sometimes, when it does not work, I switch the video source to HDMI2 or AV1 and back again and it starts working. Sometimes I have to do it 2, 3 or more times before it starts to work. But most of the times even this does not help.

The best method seems to be that I plug the RPi into the power outlet with a USB adapter and have the TV turned off so RPi turns it on. The worst (practically never worked) is to plug it into the TV USB port (which does not provide power when the TV is off, so the TV starts before RPi). I have a Philips TV and I have confirmed this on an LG model too (the same workaround but with greater success rate - BUT! - on the LG it also stops working when XBMC goes into screensaver mode).

Now, because I want to get rid of the extra cable/power adapter, I want the RPi powered by the TV so everything is hidden behind the TV.

Any idea what might be wrong, or can anyone else confirm this? This "CEC successfully started" thing always shows on XBMC start even if the remote does not work.

-- Additional findings --

I experimented a bit more today and found out the following:

  1. TV power switch off
  2. RPi plugged in the USB port
  3. Switched the TV power switch on, wait for the boot (screen shows logo, blinks, then turns off again).
  4. During boot RPi gets power for a few seconds but is abruptly terminated when the TV goes into standby (soft off).
  5. Switch the TV on with the remote, RPi starts

Result: remote/CEC does NOT work

At this point nothing works:

  • Hard restart the RPi (plugging out the USB power) and let it restart
  • Turning the TV off and back on (which hard restarts RPi too)

Going back to step #2:

  1. TV power switch off
  2. Switch the power on
  3. Wait for boot until it goes into standby
  4. Plug in RPi
  5. Turn the TV on with the remote, RPi starts

My TV does something weird now, it "publishes" a new HDMI1 connection with the label XBMC, but the source is auto set to the default HDMI1. I can see the XBMC menu and everything, but I have to switch to the other HDMI1 connection labeled "XBMC" so that the remote starts working in the XBMC interface.

Now I can also turn RPi off via the menu and then the TV too. When I again start the TV (without powering it off completely) everything works.

So, the solution in my case is to never completely plug off the TV, if you don't mind the bright red LED and the few Watts of power it consumes in standby (I mind both).

  • I am having the exact same problem and I also have a Philips TV. A friend of mine has this problem as well, and also he has a Philips TV. Don't know how to solve this problem other than to restart the Pi with my Phone remote app or Ipad remote app. Any help would be appreciated!
    – user11348
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 9:38
  • @user11348 I added some additional information. My model is 42PFL5405H
    – SlimDeluxe
    Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 15:03
  • I have the same problem with my LG TV. But it looks like the problem is with the TV; if I press the ENTER button, for instance, the TV info tab appears in the top, as if it didn't know there is a CEC device and doesn't "forward" the command to the Rpi. What works for me 100% of the times is to use some external app (e.g.: iPhone's XBMC App) to start a movie, and from there on the TV remote starts working again for everything.
    – user17321
    Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 1:41

1 Answer 1


I've a similar problem for a few days now and I was not able to make the remote work so far, but since this function runs about the HDMI cable, please see the link below:
How does remote control in raspbmc work . I will check the HDMI cable, maybe something is wrong with the pin.

  • 1
    Welcome to Raspberry Pi Stack Exchange! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 14:54

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