You may want to try Rasp BMC instead.
I found xbian to be laggy as OpenElec as well. Let us know how it works out.
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Interesting. The info I found suggested otherwise. Openelec was listed as a lightweight xbmc only implementation. Lacking on functionality but more responsive. Rasbmc was explained as being built on top of the rasbian os giving it more Linux functionality but making it laggy and slower to boot. Xbian was supposed to be the compromise of the two.
I'll probably try all three as well at some point. SD cards are cheap.
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I believe you will find both of them being slightly laggy compared to a say a laptop running media center software. I have not tried Openelec but I know with Raspbmc you have to be patient. There are times with my center you have to wait several seconds for screen to render but given the hardware its running on that is to be expected. Using a Pi as a media center real strengths are being completely silent and low power usage. I am really glad I don't have to have a noisy laptop or mini pc hooked up to the tv.
I have been curious if stacking two Pi's together will help with the lagginess, if anyone tries this I hope you post your results.