The Raspberry Pi - Part 5: Media Center with Kodi

In the fifth part of the series of articles about the Raspberry Pi, your Raspberry Pi is your personal entertainment center to your TV. The free open source home theater software Kodi - formerly called XMBC - turns your Raspberry Pi into a silent player for your living room, the videos, photos and music on your PC, server or NAS as well as audio and video streams from the Internet reproduces and as Airplay receiver can act. You can also expand it by a variety of free available add-ons. The functionality of the Media Center are perfectly adapted to your personal needs. In this article we will describe to you in detail how to install Kodi, how you can expand your system with a variety of add-ons and how to configure Kodi to all media. In addition, we will discuss on how to make your Raspberry Pi, an Airplay receiver.

Required hardware components

To use your Raspberry Pi as a multimedia center, you need a Raspberry Pi, including power supply, SD card and HDMI cable and connect to your home network. Going with Kodi as Airplay receiver? In this case, a Wi-Fi connection to your home network is required - for this you need on your Raspberry Pi additionally a compatible Raspbian wireless stick and a WLAN-enabled router or access point. Would you like to control your new Media Center from across the room? For this you need a mouse and keyboard, a remote control with USB receiver, an iOS or Android mobile device or may also use the remote control of your TV. In addition, of course, a monitor or television set is needed, where you can operate your Raspberry Pi with HDMI output or Chinch- and 3,5mm audio output.

Installation of kodi



Figure 1: The logo of Kodi (Source: http://kodi.wiki/images/c/c9/Logo.png)

In this article, to install Kodi, it is assumed that you have already installed your Raspbian Raspberry Pi. Want to know how to set up and configure Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi? In the article setting Raspbian Wheezy, which appeared in November 2014 EEWeb Germany, you will receive all necessary information on this issue. When configuring Raspbian Note that you enable the SSH server on the Raspbian configuration menu.

Before installing Kodi on your Raspberry Pi, you should connect to the Internet and update your operating system. Do this, open the Terminal and read the sudo apt-get update command, the package lists again. Then you associate with sudo apt-get upgrade command and your system up to date. This can take a while depending on the speed of your Internet connection.

After you upgrade your system, the installation of Kodi is a cinch: enter into the console the command sudo apt-get install Kodi; so install Kodi including the required dependencies. When this process is complete, you can start your Kodi new Media Center using the command.

Configuration of Kodi

In the following section, we will show you some ways that you can adjust, use and customize to your needs. It must not be carried out all the steps, the order in which you make the settings in general does not matter, however, previous configurations are possible for some settings required.

Static IP Address

When you reach your system via SSH or Kodi and you want to control using the integrated website or iOS / Android app, it is advisable to assign a fixed IP address for your new living room PC, because it is the only way you can make sure that the Access can be managed easily even after a restart of the Raspberry Pi. Before you begin setting up the static IP address, you must write down the current network settings of your Raspberry Pis, which can be found in the Kodi main menu under Options, System Info and network. Here the IP address, subnet mask, and gateway is required.

To set up a static IP address, you need to change your Raspbian using the console. Do this, start the terminal if you have direct access to the Raspberry Pi - if this is not the case, can you connect to SSH: Start your terminal on a remote PC, which is located in the same network as the Raspberry Pi. Use the command ssh <username> @ <IP address>, where you have to enter <username> and <IP address> with the appropriate values of your Raspbian operating system to replace the fields, connect to your Raspberry. The default user is pi, the IP address is already listed. If you use Windows on your computer, you can use the free application Putty to connect via SSH with your Raspberry. The first time you connect via SSH, you will be asked if the RSA key fingerprint belongs to your Raspberry Pi, and you want to connect with the target. If you are in your protected home network, you can confirm this with YES.

With the Ifconfig command, you will get a list of available on your system network interfaces. Search on the left side after the term Wi-Fi where x represents a number; usually this is the number zero. To the right of this, WLAN interface is on the second line under the inet address listed on your network address. If you use a network cable, you need to look for the interface eth <x>. Write down your interface, including number.

With sudo su, you will be the superuser. Using your favorite text editor, you can now edit the etc / network / interfaces file /. The vi editor is pre-installed and ready for use; if you have not yet used this editor, it is advisable to look for instructions that explain the main functions of the software in more detail on the Internet. Search in this file for the entry auto <your port> and change the line iface inet manuel to iface inet static. Right here, you must insert the following lines and replace the angle brackets and its contents by the listed values:

address <your IP address>

netmask <your subnet>

Gateway <your gateway>

Watch this step especially for typos! Once you have made sure again that the data entered is correct, you can save the file, exit the editor and restart the utility for new network management by running the following command on the command line: sudo /etc/init.d/ networking restart. If you have connected to SSH to your Raspberry Pi, the connection is terminated. After a short time you can connect again - with the now been registered IP address. You can also check the settings in the system info from Kodi.

Note: Some router manufacturers fixed IP address must also be stored in the router configuration. If, despite the investments made in this section settings can not establish a network connection to the Raspberry Pi, you can drag your router manual for advice and configure the IP address of the Raspberry Pis in the router.

Autostart

By using the Kodi command the software starts and you have access to the configured media content. In daily use, you certainly do not want to enter the user name and password of Raspbian system and the command to start Kodi - a small change in the configuration of Kodi saves these steps: First, you need access to the terminal operating System. Now open a text editor and superuser privileges, the file / etc / default / Kodi and set the value ENABLED =. 1 The next time you start Raspbian Kodi, it will be opened automatically.

Language and regional settings

In this menu you can change the language under Language, enter the country under Region and in point Timezone your time zone. Once you exit the menu item again, the changes are activated immediately and saved automatically.

Media Access

Are your pictures, videos and music on the external hard drive, on network computers and on the NAS and you want them to be played anywhere or anyway? With Kodi, that's no problem. You can add pictures, videos and music. This is under the home folder and the root file system. You can share media from the Raspberry Pi or directly connected mass storage devices such as USB sticks or external hard drives to add. Go to the menu item network share ... it allows you to connect to the network media. You need to specify the protocol, the IP of the source, the shared folder and the user name and password. In some cases it is necessary to specify the port. What settings are to be made depends on the type of release; on the internet you will find information which settings you must make, for example, releases of Windows PCs; Manufacturer of NAS systems also provide information on which sharing options can be selected for the folder. If you confirm your configuration with OK, the entry appears in the list. Choose from the list, click OK, enter a name and select the source with OK. Please note that you need to perform these steps for pictures, videos and music separately. For example, the older images on your NAS and the latest is stored separately on your PC. Perform the above steps and add the resources until you can access all files!

Airplay

Airplay - so called Apple its streaming protocol, which allows you to transfer images, videos and audio. In a scenario with Kodi as a living room PC and Stream receiver Apple devices with the operating systems iOS or OSX, Android devices with commercial software as well as Windows PCs with iTunes or paid software can serve as a streaming source. To use Airplay on Kodi, you must connect to your home Wi-Fi, which also contains your mobile devices or PCs are. You must also receive AirPlay content in Airplay menu Activate. This can be found in Kodi under Options, Settings, Services, airplay on the main menu. Next, you can activate the volume control via Airplay and password protection, to make sure that other people in the home network does not interrupt your stream. If you are using iOS devices as iOS 8 source, you should also put the iOS 8 compatibility mode.

With the free software available from Apple iTunes, which is available for Apple and Windows devices to download, you can also media from your Windows PC to Kodi stream. Here it is important to note that iTunes can not play all media formats. If a majority of your music or movie collection in such a format, you must convert iTunes meet them first. If you prepares the conversion too much work, you can fall back on expensive software that allows you to redirect your entire audio output of the Windows computer.


Figure 3: Airplay iTunes for Windows

In Figure 3 it can be seen how to enable Airplay in iTunes on Windows. Since Apple has heavily customized the user interface of iTunes for Windows to the OSX version that it can be activated in the same way to redirect the issue toward iTunes Airplay under OSX. The button Multiple allows you to play the sound output for example to a receiver and airplay on the local computer at the same time. In our test, unfortunately, the issue did not take place synchronously to the equipment.

If you want to take advantage of airplay, it is recommended that in addition to the WLAN USB stick, a wired network connection to your Raspberry Pi must be used. If both connections are available, without prejudice to the Raspberry Pi at NAS or Internet media about the most rapid and trouble-free wired connection.

Remote Control

Once your media center has been configured, you are only a small step from perfect coffee enjoyment away - because without remote control, you will quickly find the pleasure in your living room PC lose. Kodi supports the various types of control of the house, of which the most important ones are presented now.

Consumer Electronic Control

Do you want to operate your Raspberry Pi through the use of your modern Consumer Electronic Control TV? Simply use your TV remote control to navigate to the Kodi menu. If your Kodi CEC-compatible TV is detected, the required libCEC is automatically activated so you can get started right away.

iOS / Android mobile device

Even without modern TV it is possible to control Kodi from the sofa: just use the freely available apps for iOS and Android smartphones or tablets. The free Android app Kore, Official Remote for Kodi is available, inter alia, the Google Play store; iOS counterpart's Official Kodi remote is available for free in the iOS App Store. These Apps will display all available media - processed with covers, reviews and information about the current file. With the remote-mentioned function, which can be seen in Figure 4, you can navigate like a normal remote control by Kodi.


Figure 4: The Kodi Remote - a classic remote control on your mobile device

To prepare Kodi for control via app, you must allow the control of Kodi over HTTP. The menu item of the same name found under Options, Settings, Services, Web Server. Enabling this feature allows you to adjust, among other things the port through which the server is reachable. You can also see your username and password which is necessary for controlling Kodi. Next, the mobile device on the same network as Kodi must be located, because the control was found via app via the network connection.

Also in the app itself, you must make some preparations in order to communicate with your Media Center. Start the app Kodi and enter the settings of your media center in the App a. As shown in Figure 5, you need a name for your system. You can choose to have the IP of Pi and the port through which your Kodi web server is accessible. The user name and the password that you assigned in the previous step (if you have assigned a password) can be left blank. The MAC address may also be left empty. Click Save to confirm the configuration and return to the home screen.


Figure 5: The configuration of Kodi app for iOS

The app should now have established a connection with Kodi and you can choose with a swipe gesture from the left portion, which is shown in Figure 6. Select the media or the remote control afterwards.


Figure 6: The remote control of Kodi menu under iOS

If the connection could not be established? First, check whether Kodi and your mobile device are in the same network. If itís in the same network, compare again the webserver settings with those parameters set in the app.

Website

Do you want to control Kodi with your Windows Phone, Windows or Linux device? As shown in Figure 7, the integrated web server in Kodi offers a website, which allows you to control the system. If you want to use this feature, you must enable remote control via HTTP Kodi. This is described in paragraph iOS / Android mobile device. It needs a device with an installed graphical browser to serve as a remote control, in the same network as Kodi. Enter in the address bar of your browser the IP address of the Raspberry Pi, including the ports that you specified in the HTTP control setting - the default port is 8080. The IP and the port must be separated by a colon - as shown in the browser address bar in Figure 7.


Figure 7: As a remote control

Cover and information of Movies and music are available on Kodi.

Remote Controller with USB Receiver

Do you prefer to use a separate remote control for your new Media Center computer? Commercially different systems with USB receiver are available. Before you opt for such a solution, you should first check the compatibility with Kodi. Once you plug in a supported USB receiver by Kodi into the USB port of Pi, the required libraries are automatically activated and you can start immediately.

Wireless keyboard and mouse

Finally, the possibility remains, a wireless keyboard on your living room PC. However, you should note that the Raspberry Pi by default does not have a Bluetooth-enabled hardware. You should therefore make sure that the keyboard and mouse are supplied with a corresponding USB receiver and is compatible with Linux. If these conditions are met, you must connect the USB receiver only to the Raspberry Pi and optionally configure and pair the devices with the receiver.

Extensions - Addons

The functional scope of Kodi can be extended free of charge by means of so-called addons. Thus, you can easily view from your sofa Youtube videos, get the latest news from the ARD library, follow artists on SoundCloud, listen internet radio from different suppliers, and more. In addition, these extensions provide the ability to function and the appearance of Kodi through programs and skins adapt to your needs. Under Options, Settings, Add-ons, you can see the addon menu. You can install addons from ZIP files and repositories. If you choose to install the item from the repository, you can see several add-on categories; For example, you can change the video category Addon video addons to extensions such as Clipfish, Youtube, DMAX or the ARD Mediathek to install. By default, all add-ons from the official Kodi repository are listed - have a look and try it out! If you do not like an extension, you can remove this course.

Have a few favorite Addons found that you use often? In this following tip, you can make your selection of enhancements directly from the home screen accessible: In Options, Settings, illustration, skin, settings, add-on, you can assign the various displayed on the home screen media types addons to reach them quickly. Do you want to place, for example, a video addon on the home screen, you can select from the main menu, Video submenu of a 5 Addon courses and assign the desired video expansion. Please note that you can, for example, assign the point music only music addons; this scheme must be applied for other analogous types. Next you need to have an addon installed first before you make it accessible from the main menu.


Figure 8: On the Home screen placed video Addons

If you are still missing some functionality, you can find more official addon, maintained by the community. You can find them using a search engine.

Skins

In addition to the functional expansion with add-ons, there are several skins available that define the basic appearance of Kodi. You can search skinds under Options, Preferences, Appearance and Skins, then click the menu item Skins. You can find all skins installed on your system. Do you want to install more skins? In the Addons, there is a category for eponymous skins. Have a look in the addons and try some skins out! Regardless of your selection, the new skin will be saved in all installed Skins list; so you can quickly switch between skins when needed. Depending on the skin, model and overclocking rate your Raspberry Pis have different load times. If you do not like Confluence skin, you can view different skins through the menu and install only the most interesting ones on your Raspberry Pi.


Figure 9: Installation of new skins

Have fun configuring and personalizing your Kodi! Share your experience using Kodi and how you configured it with others on EEWeb Electronics Forum or on EEWeb Europe Electronics Forum.