The Only Raspberry Pi 4 Kodi Tutorial You Will Ever Need

The Only Raspberry Pi 4 Kodi Tutorial You Will Ever Need

This guide (updated for the Raspberry Pi 4) will teach you all you need to know about using Kodi on the Raspberry Pi 4 mini computer.

You’ve come to the correct site if you want to learn how to set up a Raspberry Pi Kodi entertainment center with the right accessories and software.

Contents

CHAPTER 6

Make Your Home Smarter

Chapter 1: Parts You Will Need

Based on my expertise, you’ll learn which components to choose for the best performance in this chapter.
You’ll discover how to select the best:

  • Case to prevent overheating
  • Memory card for optimal performance
  • Power supply to avoid any reliability issues
  • And more tips on component selection

What you will need:

The entire cost of the computer is determined by the accessories, although you may already have the majority of them at home.

Get the Raspberry Pi 4 board

Raspberry Pi 4 board

Over the last few years, I’ve had mixed thoughts about utilizing the Raspberry Pi board as a Kodi front-end device, because it was simply not responsive enough for my needs, even after applying all feasible optimization tactics.

Luckily, this is no longer the case with the Raspberry Pi 3 and 4, so I’ve put RPi in my list of recommended HTPC builds.

Get a case with a built-in heat sink

Flirc_case

The latest fourth-generation Flirc models are compatible with this casing. It’s made of aluminum and looks extremely amazing when compared to other Raspberry Pi cases on the market. It also features a built-in heat sink, which comes in handy if you plan to overclock the system.

Get a supported microSD card

Samsung

Please keep in mind that many people have reported problems with various memory cards, so make sure you  supported SD card. When I first bought my Raspberry Pi Model B, I tried three different cards before finding one that worked with the operating system.

Many Raspberry Pi 3 bundles include a normal microSD card, although they may be of poor quality and will not last very long.

I propose obtaining a separate microSD card with wear leveling if you want to extend the life of your memory card. Wear leveling is only available on the more expensive microSD cards, which means the card will try to spread wear out throughout the entire disk rather than writing and reading the same location on the disk all the time.

I’d also suggest obtaining a card with at least 16GB of storage, as greater space boosts the card’s longevity by allowing for more wear leveling.

With the OSMC operating system, you may also use a USB memory stick, although I didn’t notice any speed differences between the Kingston DT USB 3.0 stick and the SanDisk Extreme Pro.

Finally, you need to be sure that the microSD card will live for a long time without causing any problems, thus I propose the Samsung Evo Plus 32GB.

Get a supported power adapter

Power

Because the Raspberry Pi does not come with a power adapter, you will need to  supported power adapter.

Make sure to purchase a high-quality power adapter, as the cheap ones that come with many Raspberry Pi bundles may not function properly.

For example, when utilizing a cheap power adapter, I encountered issues with a Flirc remote companion adaptor. When I used a power adapter that came with the Raspberry Pi model B+ bundle, I received irregular key presses with the Flirc. The issues were rectified when I put the RPi into a higher-quality power adapter.

Because the Raspberry Pi lacks an on/off switch, I recommend utilizing this On Off power switch for Raspberry Pi to turn your RPi off for the night.

Use supported input devices

Remote

HDMI CEC

I recommend utilizing HDMI CEC if your television supports it because it is the simplest way to control your Raspberry Pi.

By sending signals via the HDMI wire, you can operate Kodi with your TV’s remote. HDMI CEC usually works without any additional settings.

Flirc

If your television does not support HDMI CEC, the Flirc is the most cost-effective and functional option. Because Flirc can learn any remote control, you can use an IR remote control and map it to the Flirc using a configuration tool on Windows or Mac OS X.

To map the keys with the configuration program, use these Flirc instructions. The Flirc can then be connected to the Raspberry Pi and used to control Kodi.

Mobile apps

The third method is to utilize an app like the Official Kodi Remote to control your TV from your phone or tablet.

Chapter 2: Build Your Raspberry Pi

You’ll see how simple it is to put everything together in this chapter.

You’ll learn how to: Put your Raspberry Pi system together

Flirt_inst-2

Building your own system is straightforward, and in less than 30 minutes, you’ll have it ready to boot up with an operating system if you follow these four simple steps.

1. To begin, open the case and attach the thermal tape to the heatsink built inside the case. After that, place the board inside the casing.

2. Return the case lid to its original position and tighten the screws.

3. In the slot beneath the case, place the microSD card. To install an operating system, please refer to the instructions in the next chapter.

4. Place the HDMI next to the power adapter slot, as well as the Ethernet and USB-C cables. Connect the Flirc adapter, keyboard, and any other controllers to the computer.

Chapter 3: Install Kodi on Raspberry Pi

This chapter will teach you how to choose an operating system and how to install it.
You’ll discover how to:

  • Format the microSD card
  • Install LibreELEC with their USB-SD Creator app
  • Install OSMC (recommended)

I put the OpenELEC, OSMC, LibreELEC, and XBian operating systems to the test in terms of performance and stability. They’re all using Kodi (XBMC) for entertainment, but the Linux distro they’re running is different.

There is no substantial performance difference between LibreELEC, OpenELEC, XBian, and the OSMC from a pure performance standpoint.

LibreELEC

LibreELEC is a Kodi-only operating system, which means that all other features have been removed and the entire distribution has been streamlined for Kodi use exclusively.

Because LibreELEC is a fork of OpenELEC, they are nearly identical. LibreELEC, on the other hand, has a larger development team and is updated more frequently.

While LibreELEC is a wonderful choice for many people, you might prefer to have the whole Linux operating system running in the background so you can add features like home automation and media server capabilities.

OSMC

The OSMC is based on the Debian operating system, which gives you more customization options than LibreELEC or OpenELEC.

Second, by default, OSMC has lighter and more optimized skin than LibreELEC/OpenELEC, making it feel a little faster when navigating Kodi.

Overall, both LibreELEC and OSMC are good options for you, but I would choose OSMC since it offers a better overall user experience, is easier to configure, and offers greater customizability.

Format the microSD card

Here are the detailed instructions on how to format your microSD card:

  1. SD Formatter 4.0 is available for Windows and Mac.
  2. Run the SD Formatter installer and follow the on-screen directions to complete the installation.
  3. Insert your microSD card into the SD card reader on your computer.
  4. Choose a letter for your microSD card’s drive. Keep the “Quick Format” option selected and enter the card’s name.
  5. You’ll be done in no time if you click the “Format” button.

Install operating system

OSMC

I’ll show you two different ways to install an operating system: the first is LibreELEC, which comes with a USB-SD Creator program and is recommended for the Raspberry Pi 4. Option 2: OSMC, which only works with Raspberry Pi 3 and older models at the moment.

Option 1: Install LibreELEC with USB-SD Creator (USE THIS FOR RASPBERRY PI 4)

Note: To install and get started with LibreELEC, you can utilize the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s straightforward operating system installer called NOOBS.
However, this way makes the system startup a little slower.

For a specialized Kodi setup, LibreELEC’s development team recommends using their own USB-SD creation program.

Here are the detailed instructions how to install LibreELEC using their USB-SD Creator:

LibreElec installer

1. Download the LibreELEC USB-SD Creator.

2. Insert your microSD card into the SD card reader on your computer.

3. With administrator rights, open the Creator app.

4. Make sure the version is set to “Raspberry Pi 4.”

5. Select the folder where you want to save the image file by clicking “Download.”

6. Check to see if your SD card drive is selected correctly.

7. To confirm the action, click “Write” and then “Yes.”

8. After you’ve finished writing, press the “Close” button to remove the card from your computer safely.

9. Place the card in the Raspberry Pi.

10. To start the RPi for the first time, plug in the power cord.

Let’s continue with installing the LibreELEC operating system.

1. After the RPi has booted, the LibreELEC wizard will appear. “Next” should be pressed.

2. You can rename your hostname if you want to. This is how other devices in your home network will see your RPi.

3. Choose a Wi-Fi network. To connect to the Internet, press “Connect” and input your Wireless Network Password.

4. Then choose “Next.”

5. Simply press “Next” to skip sharing and remote access.

6. That is all there is to it. You’re now ready to set up Kodi Media Center.

Option 2: Install OSMC operating system (USE OSMC ONLY ON RASPBERRY PI 3 OR OLDER MODELS)

Sam Nazarko built and maintains the OSMC, which is the successor of Raspbmc.

To avoid accidentally formatting an incorrect disk, plug in the microSD card reader and unhook any other USB storage devices before continuing with these steps.

osmc

1. Download the OSMC installer.

2. In the welcome screen of the OSMC installer application, select the language and Raspberry Pi 2/3 device.

3. Then select the most recent OSMC version by clicking the “next” button.

4. Next, choose where you want OSMC to be installed. Normally, you should put it on your SD card.

5. Then, select whether your system connects to the internet via a wired or wireless connection by clicking the “next” button. If you choose wifi, you’ll be asked to choose network encryption (typically WPA/WPA2 PSK), as well as the name (SSID) and password for your network.

6. Now choose the device path where you want OSMC to be installed.

7. Accept the licensing agreement by clicking “next.”

8. When the download is finished, select “Yes” when prompted to confirm the installation.

9. After the installation is finished, you may put the microSD card into the RPi and boot it up.

10. Wait as OSMC formats the device and installs the necessary files.

11. After that, choose your locale and confirm it by selecting “Yes.” After that, choose your time zone.

12. Then, if desired, you can change the name of your gadget. Choose “Accept.”

13. Simply press “Accept” to forgo SSH sharing and remote access.

14. After then, confirm the license agreement.

15. The next step is to decide whether you want to use OSMC’s own skin or Kodi’s default skin (Classic).

16. Finally, you can select whether or not you want to receive OSMC’s newsletter.

17. That is all there is to it. You can now start enjoying OSMC. To exit the settings wizard, press Exit.

Chapter 4: Add Media Content Sources

You’ll learn how to add more content sources, such as live TV streaming, Netflix streaming, high-fidelity music streaming, and local media files, in this chapter.

As a sample operating system, I’ll utilize OSMC.

You’ll discover how to:

  • Install video codecs
  • Set up a media library
  • Add live TV
  • Add premium online channels
  • Add add-ons
  • Integrate with Plex Media Server

Install MPEG-2 and VC1 video codecs (ONLY FOR RASPBERRY PI 3 OR OLDER MODELS)

Codecs

To decode and play MPEG-2 and VC1 video files on a Raspberry Pi 3 or older model, you’ll need to obtain licensing from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Install the codecs by following these steps:

1. Purchase license keys for the MPEG-2 and VC1 codecs.

2. Within 72 hours, you will receive the license key through email.

3. Go to My OSMC > Pi Config > GPU Mem & Codec in OSMC.

4. Under the Codec status, enter the licensing key from your email to MPEG2 and/or WVC1 license.

5. Restart the computer.

Set up a media library

Videos

To centrally store all of the media files, I recommend using a  Network Attached Storage (NAS).

1. Select “Files” from the videos menu on the main screen.

2. In the add video source, choose “Add Videos” and “Browse.”

3. Go to the location where your media files are kept. If your data are on a network attached storage device, you’ll need to add the NAS server’s SMB or NFS share.

4. If necessary, rename the media source and click “OK.”

5. The type of media can be selected in the set content window. After you’ve put up the media material, Kodi will automatically scrape the movie, TV show, or music information.

6. Enable “Movies are in distinct directories that match the movie title” if your movies are in separate folders.

7. Confirm that you want to “Change content” in the “Change content” question.

8. You can now return to the main menu and see a new “Movies” menu with your recently added movies.

Go to Settings > Library settings > Databases and enable “Update library on startup” if you want Kodi to check for new media files when it starts up. If you don’t want to see the progress indicator every time the library is updated, you can select “Hide progress of library updates.”

Add HDHomeRun LiveTV

HDHomeRun

Using an HDHomeRun network linked TV tuner with a Raspberry Pi is the simplest way to watch live TV.

If you don’t already have HDHomeRun, follow this guide to get and install HDHomeRun..

You may also use a TVHeadend server to record TV shows with a Raspberry Pi, but it is significantly more difficult to set up and will not provide the same level of user experience as a DVR.

Because live TV recording uses the Raspberry Pi’s resources, running OSMC/LibreELEC at the same time will be a clumsy experience.

As a result, I would recommend following this approach to Windows-based DVR back-end system using this guide.

However, the Raspberry Pi is ideal for watching live TV and timeshifting, so let’s look at how to watch live TV with HDHomeRun and the Raspberry Pi.

1. Navigate to “Settings” > “Add-on browser” > “Install from repository” > “Video add-ons” > “HDHomeRun”.

2. Choose “Install” and Kodi will download and install this add-on.

3. To watch TV streams, go to “Videos” > “Video Add-ons” > “HDHomeRun Live TV”

4. Go to “Settings” > “Appearance” > “Skin – Settings” > “Home – Customize Home Menu” to add live TV to the home menu. Scroll down to “Choose shortcut” and “Live TV.”

5. Choose “Add-on” > “Video Add-on” > “HDHomeRun Live TV”. Choose OK to save settings.

6. You can run the Live TV shortcut now to watch TV.

Add Hulu, Netflix and other premium channels

Netflix

You’ll need to install commercially available software called PlayOn ( PlayOn (get it here)) on your Windows-based PC to stream premium content channels into the RPi in order to enjoy premium channels on the RPi.

If you want to view Hulu, Netflix, Amazon VOD, HBO Go, and other premium content channels on your Raspberry Pi, I think this online video streaming service is too cool to pass up.

 Simply buy and download PlayOn here , then install it on your Windows machine.Open PlayOn Settings (Start / All Programs / PlayOn / PlayOn Settings) and enter the license information on the Registration panel to register your copy.

Let’s set up OSMC so that we may watch Netflix and other premium services.

1. Navigate to “Videos” > “Files”. Select “Add Videos…” > “Browse” > “UPnP Devices” > “PlayOn (your computer name)”.

2. You can choose the service you want to add as a source from this list (e.g. Netflix).

3. The name of this media source can then be renamed (e.g. Netflix).

4. Go to “Settings” > “Appearance” > “Skin – Settings” > “Home – Customize Home Menu” to add Netflix to the home menu.

5. Choose “Choose shortcut” > “Video Library” > “Sources” > “Netflix” from any existing shortcut. To save your settings, click OK.

6. You may now use PlayOn Media Server to browse your favorite TV series and movies.

Add Tidal music service

Tidal(1)

Install Tidal’s official Kodi add-on, which allows you to stream high-fidelity music (including lossless) and music videos.

1. Go to “Settings” > “Add-on browser” > “Install from repository” > “Music Add-ons” > “In Select “Tidal” from the drop-down menu.

2. Kodi will download and install this add-on if you select “Install.” Now navigate to “Music” > “Music Add-ons” > “Tidal.”

3. Select “Add-on settings” from the context menu by pressing the “C-key.”

4. Enter your Tidal account and password after selecting the quality.

5. Go to “Settings” > “Appearance” > “Skin – Settings” > “Home – Customize Home Menu” to add Tidal to the home menu.

6. Choose “Add” and “Choose shortcut” on any existing shortcut > “Music Add-on” > “Tidal” > “Add-on” > “Tidal”. To save your settings, click OK.

7. You can now use Tidal to stream high-quality music directly from your home screen.

Use the Plex Media Server to transcode video files

Plex_app

I would recommend Plex Media Server as a back-end if you want an easy way to consume media files throughout your home.

Any media file in your library can be transcoded and streamed with Plex Media Server and the PleXBMC XBMC add-on.

Here are the the steps to install and set up the official Plex for Kodi add-on:

1. Navigate to “Settings” > “Add-on browser” > “Add-on browser” > “Add-on browser” > “Add-on browser” > ” “Plex” > “Install from repository” > “Video Add-ons”

2. To download the Plex add-on, right-click it and choose install.

3. Return to the Videos menu, and the new Plex add-on will be found in the Video Add-ons folder.

4. Select “Sign In” from the Plex add-on menu. Go to plex.tv/link in your web browser (on any device) and input the code seen on your TV screen.

5. Now you’re ready to start using Plex to discover your content.

Chapter 5: Optimize and Speed Up

This chapter will teach you how to increase performance, which is especially crucial if you have an older Raspberry Pi model.
You’ll discover how to:

  • Overclock
  • Change resolution
  • Change default skin
  • And more tips to optimize the speed

If the performance of your Raspberry Pi isn’t up to par, there are a number of ways to improve it.

You may drastically speed up your older Raspberry Pi system by following these tips and tactics when compared to the original baseline.

Overclock it

overclock(1)

Overclocking the RPi is a safe way to increase its speed. To overclock, go to “My OSMC” > “Overclock.”

To overclock the machine, adjust the system performance profile to “Turbo.”

Overclocking did not have as much of an effect as I had hoped, but it helped improve boot-up time. However, the speed of importing and navigating through a movie library remained same.

Change resolution to 720p

Reduce the resolution of the Kodi user interface under “Settings” > “System” > “Video” to save memory and speed up the system and menus. The video will continue to play in full definition (e.g. 1080p).

Select “Settings” from the drop-down menu. To change the resolution, go to “System” > “Video Output” > “Resolution.”

On the RPi 1, I noticed a 20% increase in navigation menu speeds, so if you don’t need 1080p resolution in your menus, this modification will make your system feel faster.

Change the default skin

skin

The default skin on OSMC is lightweight and already performance-optimized, so you don’t need to change it to boost system responsiveness.

However, according to my experiments, there are even more gorgeous skins available, such as Kodi’s default Estuary skin, Aeon Nox, and Mimic, which all run great on Raspberry Pi 2 and 3.

To download and change a new skin, navigate to “Settings” > “Interface” > “Skin” > “Skin” > “Estuary”.

Disable thumbnail extraction

XBMC will extract thumbnails from videos that don’t have any in the library by default. You should disable this function to speed up library navigation because it takes a lot of CPU power.

Select “Video” > “File lists” > deselect “Extract thumbnail and video information” from the “Settings” menu.

You may also turn off actor thumbnails by going to “Settings” > “Video” > “Library” > “Download actor thumbnails when adding to library.”

Adjust display refresh rate to match video

To get smoother video playback, I recommend increasing the display refresh rate to match the video.

Go to “System” > “Video” > “Playback” > “Adjust display refresh rate to match video” to enable it.
Audio passthrough is another approach to smooth the playback. I haven’t tested this, but using audio passthrough for DTS and AC3 should reduce CPU utilization.

Go to “System” > “System” > “Audio output” > “Enable passthrough” to enable it.

Use NFS instead of SMB share

If you’re using a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device like a Synology Diskstation, you should access media files in XBMC using the NFS protocol rather than the SMB protocol. Because the SMB networking protocol consumes so much of the RPi’s CPU, NFS is the speedier alternative.

For example, a 1080p video was buffered regularly across a wireless network using the SMB protocol during my experiments, but it played beautifully with NFS without any buffering issues.

Chapter 6: Make Your Home Smarter

In this chapter, you’ll learn how to use Raspberry Pi to add home automation features to make your home smarter.

You’ll discover:

  • How to use RPi as a multi-room music player
  • Other ideas on awesome home automation projects

Turn Raspberry Pi into a multi-room music player

Volumio1

It would be a waste to throw away your old Raspberry Pi if you have upgraded to a newer third-generation device.

Repurposing your old Raspberry Pi as a music player around your house is a terrific way to keep it in use.

I recommend using the HiFiBerry DAC+ and Volumio music player to get the highest audio playback quality and turn your Raspberry Pi into a music player suited for all audiophiles. HiFiBerry DAC+ is a sound card for the Raspberry Pi that is optimized for high-quality sound at 192kHz/24bit.

Volumio is a fantastic music system that replaces your Kodi (XBMC)-based operating system to play all of your music in the finest quality, whether it’s a high-resolution file or Spotify. You can use your smartphone, tablet, or computer to control it.

You’ll need the following to enjoy high-quality sound:

1. Download the VolumioX.XPI.img.zip file and extract it.

2. Download Win32DiskImager and run it as administrator by right-clicking on the file and selecting “Run as Administrator.”

3. Insert the microSD card into your computer, then navigate to the Volumio1.5PI.img file and press Write.

4. Connect the DAC+ board from HiFiBerry to the RPi board. Start the system by inserting the microSD card and wires.

5. In your device’s browser, type volumio.local/. Ascertain that you and Volumio are on the same network.

6. You can customize it from here, such as adding NAS drives or Spotify credentials.

7. Done! You’re all set to perform your first song.

I’ve had a lot of fun with Volumio, and I have a separate HiFiBerry-powered RPi with active speakers in my living room where I can listen to music whenever I want.

Other ideas on awesome home automation projects

Did you know that you can transform your Raspberry Pi into an Amazon Echo with Alexa or a Google Home with Google Assistant?

These instructions are more sophisticated and go beyond the scope of this lesson; you can find them here:

Conclusion: Now It’s Your Turn

Overall, the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is a fantastic little computer that works well as an entertainment center front-end when paired with the Flirc remote companion and a high-quality Raspberry Pi case.

 

 

 

 

 
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