After trying to find a way to run XBMC fullscreen in second monitor I decided a bespoke solution was the way forward.
UPDATE: This post was written back in the times of Ubuntu 12 (I think). As such as as you can see from the comments at the bottom of the post there are now better ways of accomplishing this task.
Although this tutorial focuses on the XBMC Media Center it can be applied to many other programs.
I know there have been work-arounds for previous versions of Ubuntu but over the years they have fallen by the wayside.
What I’m going to show you now will allow you to run XBMC fullscreen in second monitor.
Points to Note
- If you want to copy the code I advise you to click on the word “bash” above the code, this will open up a new box for you to copy the correct code from
- This tutorial is to get XBMC running in fullscreen but the code can be used to get many other programs running in fullscreen
- I have structured the tutorial so that you can run XBMC fullscreen in second monitor but you can easily alter the code to have it fullscreen in your primary monitor
- Quiet a bit of this tutorial uses the terminal, you can open a Terminal window by pressing control (or command for MacOS), Alt & T at the same time
Step 1: Run XMBC and get the title
Run XBMC up so that we can find the title it uses.
To find the title type
into the terminal. This will bring up a list of windows that the window controller is in charge of.
The chances are that the XBMC window is called “XBMC Media Center” but it may be different on yours so look in the last column of the output and copy the XBMC title.
Step 2: compizConfig settings manager
See if you have compizConfig installed by typing
If you get a path to the executable such as
then you have it installed. If not type
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
Now you can start the program by entering
in the terminal window.
Once the program has loaded look on the right hand side and under “Effects” click “Window Decoration”
Now find the field titled “Decoration windows” and click on the green plus icon on the right hand side.
Look for the “Window Decoration” option
In the first drop down box select “Window Title”
In the second box enter the title that the previous step displayed
Click the “Invert” checkbox and click Add
Once that box disappears you can exit that program.
What this does is hide the title bar from from the XBMC window
Step 3: Get your display information
Now we need to get the display details
Run xrandr from the terminal
xrandr | grep " connected" | sed -e 's/\(.*\) connected \(.*\) (.*/\nDisplay Name: \1\nDisplay Sizes: \2 /'
You will be presented with an output similar to the following
Display Name: VGA-0
Display Sizes: 1440x900+0+0
Display Name: DVI-I-1
Display Sizes: 1680×1050+1440+0
Assuming you’re wanting the program in your second monitor then we the information from the latter of the two monitors
The display name is straight forward – take a note of this.
The next line not to straight forward. The value is made up of
display-width x display-height + start-x-pxs-from-the-left + start-x-pxs-from-the-top
The value we need here is the third value as this will be where the XBMC window will start (from the left)
Step 3: Create out actual script file
Create a file called….well, what ever you want, I called mine XBMC_fullscreen.sh
In this file type or paste the following:
Now you need to change the NAME variable to something other than the default value **IF** your version of XBMC has a different title in the window (see last step).
You also need to change the DEVICE variable to the one returned as Display Name above.
Lastly you need to change the PRIMARYWIDTH variable to the third number in the returned Display Sizes above.
Now let’s take a look at what this does (just the important lines though)
- This tells the system to use bash to execute the script
- Set the program to the path we found earlier
NAME='XBMC Media Center'
- This sets the title of the the window that we want to control
- This is the name of the display device that we noted down earlier
- This is the width of your primary monitor
$PROGRAM > /dev/null 2> /dev/null & disown && sleep 3
- Ok, this line will:
- Start the program
- Redirect the output
- Disown the process so that the the script can carry on
- Wait 3 seconds so the program has a chance to start
- Set the vertical line blanking to on
- Make sure that we tie our XBMC window to the device we want
- Make sure we don’t have the screensaver
wmctrl -r "$\$NAME" -e '0,"$PRIMARYWIDTH",-1,-1,-1'
- This will set the window to start at the end of the primary monitor
wmctrl -r "$\$NAME" -b toggle,fullscreen,maximized_vert
- This will put the window in full screen but we also need to maximize the window vertically
Step 5: Save the file
Now we need to save the file and make it executable.
I’m sure you know how to save a file but then once it’s saved go back into the terminal and type
So for me it was
chmod +x ~/xbmc_fullscreen.sh
Step 6: Create a shortcut
If you haven’t already got it, install gnome-panel
sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends gnome-panel
gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ --create-new
This will bring up a box that will enable us to add a shortcut to the desktop. We can then drag and drop it on the launcher.
The Create a shortcut dialogue box
In the “Type” box leave the default value (Application)
In Name type anything you like, I typed “Run XBMC in Full Screen”
In the 3rd box type the path to our shell file in the form of /home/user/xbmc_fullscreen.sh
If you want to type any comments in the last box then feel free.
Take a look on your Desktop and you should now have a shortcut to XBMC that works as default in full screen.
If you want, simply drag this shortcut over the launcher to the side of the screen.
That about does it for this script.
That’s it, thanks for looking, I hope you enjoyed the post and don’t forget to leave your comments below.
At some point further down the line the above script stopped working for me. It appears as if it needed a bit of a timeout so I often had to run a script containing these commands. This basically goes through the previous proceedure but as the XBMC program is already running it just sets the GUI co-ords etc.
NAME='XBMC Media Center'
wmctrl -r "$NAME" -e '0, '$PRIMARYWIDTH',-1,-1,-1'
wmctrl -r "$NAME" -b toggle,fullscreen,maximized_vert
If you have run the first part of the post but XBMC is still in your primary monitor then try this part. Hopefully your system just needed a bit of a timeout before the wmctrl commands were set.