Installing LibreELEC on the Raspberry Pi

In this guide, we will be showing you how to install the media center software, LibreELEC, to your Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi LibreELEC Thumbnail

LibreELEC is an open-source Linux distribution with just enough packages installed for Kodi to be able to work.

The project started as a fork of the now-abandoned OpenELEC project. LibreELEC is meant to provide an operating system that contains the bare necessities to run the Kodi media center software.

By running a super slim distribution, LibreELEC can maximize Kodi’s performance on your Raspberry Pi. The distribution also helps minimize the amount of space the operating system consumes.

LibreELEC is regarded as one of the best operating systems for running Kodi on the Rasberry Pi.

If you would like to run other software alongside Kodi, you will need to use a distribution that features a full operating system such as OSMC, XBian, or Raspbian.

Equipment List

Below we have included a list of the equipment that you will need to install LibreELEC on your Raspberry Pi.

Recommended

Raspberry Pi

Micro SD Card

Power Supply

Ethernet Cord or WiFi dongle (The Pi 3 and 4 has WiFi inbuilt)

HDMI Cable

Optional

Raspberry Pi Case

This tutorial on installing the LibreELEC software was tested on a Raspberry Pi 4 running the latest available version of the Raspbian Buster operating system.

Downloading LibreELEC for the Raspberry Pi

In this section, we will be quickly walking you through the steps to download the appropriate LibreELEC image for the Raspberry Pi you are using.

Before proceeding with this section, make sure that you know which Raspberry Pi you want to use LibreELEC on.

LibreELEC has support for all currently released versions of the Raspberry Pi, from the Pi Zero to the Pi 4.

1. There are three versions of the LibreELEC distribution available for the Raspberry Pi.

Each version of the operating system targets a particular set of hardware, so we will be pointing you in the right direction with the list below.

Raspberry Pi 0(W) & Raspberry Pi 1
You can download the LibreELEC image for the original Raspberry Pi by going to the following download page.

The image you obtain from this page will work with both the Raspberry Pi 1 and the Raspberry Pi Zero.

Raspberry Pi 2 & Raspberry Pi 3
If you want to use LibreELEC on the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, you will need to obtain the image by going to the LibreELEC Raspberry Pi 3 download page.

The image provided from this page will only work with the Raspberry Pi 2 and the Raspberry Pi 3.

Raspberry Pi 4
For the Pi 4, you will need to download a separate image from the LibreELEC Raspberry Pi 4 page.

This version of the LibreELEC image will only work on the Raspberry Pi 4.

2. In the next section, we will be showing you how to install the LibreELEC image to your Raspberry Pi’s SD card.

Installing LibreELEC to your Raspberry Pi

For this section, you will need to make sure you have an SD card ready for your Raspberry Pi. We will be writing the LibreELEC image to this SD card during this section.

1. To write the LibreELEC image to our SD card, we will be using a piece of software called Etcher.

Etcher is a useful piece of software that can write images to SD cards and USB drives. The software is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Once you have downloaded and installed Etcher, you will be able to proceed with this section.

2. Within the Etcher software, you will need to start by clicking the “Select Image” button.

Using the file dialog, find and select the LibreELEC image you downloaded in the previous section.

Selecting the LibreELEC image for your Raspberry Pi

3. Our next step is to select the drive we want to write the LibreELEC image to. You can click the “Select target” button to bring up the list of available devices.

Make sure the drive you select is the same one you intend on using with your Raspberry Pi.

If you only have one compatible device connected, the Etcher software will automatically select it for you.

Select Target Drive for LibreELEC Image

4. To start the flashing process, you will need to click the “Flash!” button.

Flash LibreELEC to Raspberry Pi

Please note this process can take some time as it writes the LibreElEC image to your SD card then verifies its contents.

5. Once the flashing process has completed, you can proceed to make use of LibreELEC on your Raspberry Pi.

LibreELEC successfully flashed to Raspberry Pi

First Setup of LibreELEC on the Raspberry Pi

In this section, we will be walking you through your first run of LibreELEC on the Raspberry Pi. During your first run, you will be asked to configure various components of the LibreELEC operating system.

1. You will be greeted by the Kodi splash screen whenever you start up LibreELEC on your Raspberry Pi.

This splash screen will differ slightly depending on what version of Kodi that release of LibreELEC is using.

LibreELEC First Start Up Kodi Splashscreen

2. Once LibreELEC has started up, you will be asked to configure some settings to get Kodi set up.

The very first option you will be greeted with is the language setting. You can modify your language by clicking the currently specified language (1.).

Once you have selected your language, you can now click the “Next” button to proceed.

Setup of LibreELEC Completed on the Raspberry Pi

3. On the next setup screen, you will be asked what hostname you want your Raspberry Pi to use.

By default, the hostname used for your Pi will be set to “LibreELEC“.

You can modify the hostname by clickingLibreELEC” (1.).

Once you are happy with the specified hostname, you can click the “Next” button.

Select Hostname for LibreELEC to use

4. Within this screen, we can set up the network settings for our Raspberry Pi.

This interface allows you to see all the available networks and give you the ability to connect to them easily (1.).

Any wired connections will automatically be connected. For a wireless connection, all you need to do is click the connection and follow the prompts.

Once you have configured the network settings for your Raspberry Pi, click the “Next” button (2.).

Connect LibreELEC to local Network

5. The last setting we need to configure is the additional services that LibreELEC offers.

The two services that the LibreELEC operating system offers are SSH and Samba (1.).

SSH allows outside access to your Raspberry Pi’s terminal. This service is only useful if you need to configure various aspects of the LibreELEC operating system.

For most people, it is safer to leave this option disabled unless you need it. If you do decide to use SSH, it is recommended to follow the prompts to change the password for the account.

Enabling the Samba service will help LibreELEC talk with Windows devices. If you have Windows devices on your network, we recommend that you enable this option.

Once you have enabled the services you want, click the “Next” button to finish setting up LibreELEC on the Raspberry Pi.

Configure Services for LibreELEC

6. At this point, you will now see a message box thanking you for completing your set up of LibreELEC.

This screen also points you towards the Kodi Wikipedia for guides on setting up and configuring Kodi on your Raspberry Pi.

Setup of LibreELEC Completed on the Raspberry Pi

7. You can now proceed to configure LibreELEC on your Raspberry Pi.

The first step you should take is to add all your media libraries to Kodi.

Kodi Running on Top of LibreELEC On the Raspberry Pi

At this point, you should now hopefully have LibreELEC up and running on your Raspberry Pi.

If you have any issues with the installation process for LibreELEC, feel free to drop a comment below.

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