Installing Kodi on your Raspberry Pi

In this Raspberry Pi project we will show you how to install Kodi to a Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Kodi

Kodi is one of the most popular ways to play media on your Raspberry Pi.

Kodi is different from a Plex server as the files are played directly on your device, rather than streamed to another device.

It has support for a massive range of different media formats. You can play music, videos, and even showcase your images using this media center software.

One of the coolest things about Kodi is its ability to scan and categorize all your media. It will download information about your media files and present it nicely to you.

Using Kodi on your Raspberry Pi is a great experience. The software has been heavily optimized for the device. It is capable of displaying a large variety of high-resolution files.

You can even use Kodi to play Netflix on your Raspberry Pi, which isn’t even supported by the Chromium web browser.

For the best experience with Kodi, we recommend that you use the Raspberry Pi 4 or newer. The stronger processor and increased RAM will help Kodi run at its best.

Suppose you would prefer to use a distribution that comes with Kodi pre-installed. In that case, we recommend that you check out LibreELEC, OSMC, or XBian.

Equipment List

Below is a list of the equipment we used when installing the Kodi media center to our Raspberry Pi.

Recommended:

Raspberry Pi

Micro SD Card

Ethernet Cable or Wi-Fi dongle (Pi 3 and newer has Wi-Fi inbuilt)

Power Adapter

HDMI Cable

Optional:

Raspberry Pi Case

USB Keyboard

USB Mouse

For this guide on installing Kodi, we were using a Raspberry Pi 4. For the operating system, we used the latest version of the lite edition of Raspberry Pi OS.

Installing Kodi on Raspberry Pi OS

In this section, we will be walking you through the straightforward process of installing Kodi to Raspberry Pi OS.

Before we proceed, you need to have installed either the desktop or lite editions of Raspberry Pi OS. If you are using the lite edition, make sure  you have also set up SSH on your device.

Lite is handy for maximizing the memory and CPU performance of your device. When we install Kodi, all the packages needed to display it to your screen will be installed.

1. Before installing Kodi we should first make sure that our Raspberry Pi’s operating system is up to date.

To update your device, all you need to do is run the following two commands.

sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade

These two commands will update the package list then upgrade all packages that have a new version available.

2. Once your Raspberry Pi has finished being updated, we can install Kodi.

Kodi is available through the official Raspbian package repository, meaning installing it is incredibly simple.

To install Kodi, all we need to do is run the command below on our Raspberry Pi.

sudo apt install kodi

This install can take considerable time, depending on your network speed. You will need at least 800mb free on your SD card.

Running Kodi on your Raspberry Pi

There are two different ways that you can load Kodi on your Raspberry Pi.

One way is to load Kodi up by using a simple command within the terminal.

The other way is to open it by using the automatically created entry on the desktop interface.

Opening Kodi on the Raspberry Pi OS Desktop Interface

In this section, we will show you how to find and load Kodi on the desktop interface.

1. First, open the start menu by clicking the raspberry icon on the top left corner of the screen

Raspberry Pi Kodi Desktop - Start Menu Icon

2. Within the start menu, hover over the “Sound & Video” option (1.).

Hovering over this option will bring up some additional items. In this sub-menu, clickKodi” to open it (2.).

Raspberry Pi Kodi Desktop - Sound and Video Kodi

3. You should now have Kodi open on your Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Kodi Interface Opened

Launching Kodi using the Terminal

Opening Kodi using the terminal is a straightforward process as all you need to do is issue a single command.

1. On your Raspberry Pi, type in the following command.

This command will launch the standalone version of Kodi on your device.

kodi-standalone

Kodi should begin to start up on your Raspberry Pi immediately.

2. If you would like to start up Kodi without it consuming your terminal session, you can use the following command.

kodi-standalone &

The inclusion of the ampersand (&) will tell bash to run this command asynchronously.

Using this character allows you to continue to use your current terminal session.

3. You should now have Kodi up and running on your device.

If you can’t see anything, make sure your HDMI cable is plugged in correctly.

Getting Kodi to Auto-Start on the Raspberry Pi

In this section, we will show you how to get Kodi to auto-start on your Raspberry Pi.

To achieve this, we will need to create a system service file. Don’t worr, as this process is relatively straightforward.

1. To create the service file, we will make use of the nano text editor.

Begin creating this service for Kodi by running the following command on your Raspberry Pi.

sudo nano /lib/systemd/system/kodi.service

2. Within this file, enter the following lines of text.

[Unit]
Description = Kodi Media Center
After = remote-fs.target network-online.target
Wants = network-online.target

[Service]
User = pi
Group = pi
Type = simple
ExecStart = /usr/bin/kodi-standalone
Restart = on-abort
RestartSec = 5

[Install]
WantedBy = multi-user.target

These lines will tell the service manager to run the Kodi binary once the network has come online. It will also wait for all remote filesystems have been connected.

The requirement for the filesystem to be online ensures that Kodi should have access to all your networked shares.

3. Once you have entered all the lines correctly, we can now save our Kodi service.

Save the file by pressing CTRL + X, then Y, and finally ENTER.

4. Now that we have created the service, our next step is to enable it.

We can enable the Kodi service by running the following command on your Raspberry Pi.

sudo systemctl enable kodi

By enabling a service, it will be automatically started by the service manager when the system boots.

5. If you want Kodi to be started immediately, you can run the command below.

sudo systemctl start kodi

6. Likewise, if you ever wanted to stop Kodi from running on your Raspberry Pi, all you need to do is run the following command.

sudo systemctl stop kodi

Hopefully, you have now gotten the Kodi media center up and running on your Raspberry Pi.

To improve your experience with Kodi, you might want to look into mounting an external hard drive, or set up a remote control.

If you have found any issues, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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