Make your own Kodi player with LibreELEC

LibreELEC turns any (mini) PC ​​or laptop into a flexible media player in no time at all. With a little tinkering, it even works on a Raspberry Pi or Android streamer, should the latter's interface fail. After installation, you will have access to the flexible user interface of the wildly popular media program Kodi. In short: play all your media files and add the best streaming services via add-ons.

1 What is LibreELEC?

LibreELEC is an operating system based on Linux. With a regular operating system such as Windows or Ubuntu, you have the freedom to install your own programs. This is not the case with LibreELEC. After installation, you will only have access to Kodi. As soon as you switch on a device that runs LibreELEC, you immediately enter the interface of this popular media program. That works great. It is not without reason that some ready-to-use media players are equipped with Kodi as standard, such as the Eminent EM7580. LibreELEC is therefore an excellent tool for setting up your own media player.

LibreELEC vs. OpenELEC

With OpenELEC, there has been a platform for building Kodi players for years. However, the OpenELEC development team had a disagreement, after which some of the programmers split off and went their own way. The birth of LibreELEC was thus a fact at the beginning of 2016. The differences between both Linux distributions are minimal. The main difference is that LibreELEC releases new updates faster than OpenELEC. This usually allows users to access new features sooner.

2 Select device

You first determine on which device you want to install LibreELEC. If you still have an old laptop or PC lying around, you can use it as a glorified media player. A more elegant solution is to choose a slim mini PC with the appearance of a media player, such as an Intel NUC or Gigabyte BRIX series. You can easily store such a mini PC in a television furniture and operate it via an infrared receiver with a remote control. It's nice that LibreELEC can also handle products from Raspberry Pi and ODROID. Handy if you want to set up a complete media player for a low budget. It is even possible to convert existing Android boxes with an Amlogic processor into a LibreELEC player.

3 Bootable storage medium

You can install LibreELEC from a bootable USB stick or SD card. So first check which connections are available on the (future) media player. LibreELEC provides a program with which you can easily create a bootable USB stick or SD card. Surf over here and click on a link at the top to download LibreELEC USB-SD Creator. This program is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. In Windows, double-click on the exe file, after which the program starts immediately.

4 LibreELEC USB SD Creator

Insert a USB stick or SD card into the computer. Please note that LibreELEC USB-SD Creator erases all data on this storage medium. It is important that you Choose version makes the right choice for your hardware. To use a regular (mini) PC ​​or laptop, choose the option Generic AMD/Intel/NVIDIA (x86_64) to create a bootable USB stick. You can also create a bootable storage medium for Raspberry Pi and Odroid, among other things. Make a choice and click on the second step Download. You browse to the desired storage folder, after which you confirm with Select folder. In the third step, you point to the correct USB stick or SD card. Finally choose write / Yes.

Amlogic chipset

Many Android boxes run on an Amlogic chipset. If you are dissatisfied with your media player, you may use LibreELEC from an SD card or the internal storage memory. LibreELEC itself does not provide official versions for Amlogic chipsets, but several forum members have developed modified versions. For players with an Amlogic S802, S805 or S905 you will find the correct download links here. Choose at the part INSTANT DOWNLOAD in front of Generic Amlogic HTPC. Installation varies by device and is intended for advanced users only.

5 Customize Boot Menu

High time to install LibreELEC! Insert the bootable USB stick or SD card into the target media player and boot this device from the storage medium. With a PC or laptop, you can arrange this by changing the boot order in the settings menu (bios/uefi). For example, in the case of an Intel NUC, you press F2 during the startup phase, but that could just as well be a different hotkey on another system. Make sure the correct storage medium is on top. You can usually recognize a USB stick or SD card by the brand name. Save the changes and then exit the bios or uefi. On PCs or laptops, you usually use the F10 hotkey for this.

6 Install LibreELEC

After customizing the boot menu, the system will reboot. The LibreELEC logo appears in capital letters on the screen. Select the option Quick Install or LibreELEC and confirm with OK. In the next screen, indicate on which disk you want to install the operating system. After you confirm with OK, LibreELEC warns that all existing files will be deleted. Choose twice YES to start the installation. The installation is usually completed within a minute. Remove the USB stick or SD card from the device and reboot via reboot the system.

7 Initial Settings

As soon as you start your custom media player for the first time, a welcome window will appear. Choose Next and think under hostname a relevant name for your media player. The device will appear in your network under this name. In the next screen you go through the network settings. It is best to connect a media player wired to the network, so that you can download media streams without hitches. click on Next. Advanced users can optionally operate the system via the ssh protocol. The samba protocol is useful when you want to access the Kodi player from other network locations, for example a PC. through twice Next complete the introduction wizard.

8 Language and time

The standard language within LibreELEC is English, but luckily you can easily change it to Dutch. Navigate to SYSTEM / Settings / Appearance / International. Then choose Language where you English as the default language. LibreELEC downloads the language file and changes the interface to Dutch on its own. It is also advisable to set a time zone so that the operating system displays the correct time. Go left to Country and language settings and choose at Time zone country for Netherlands.

9 Update

It is important to keep LibreELEC up to date. You will then always have access to a recent edition of Kodi with any new features. The makers regularly release a new version of the operating system. From the main Kodi window, browse to SYSTEM / LibreELEC / System. At the part Updates you go through the options. The option Automatic updates defaults to manual. If you prefer to install updates automatically, choose this car. LibreELEC only gets stable updates with this setting, so you don't have to deal with beta versions. Through Check for updates now you will immediately see whether a new version is already available.

Control Kodi

There are several ways to control your Kodi player. With a wireless keyboard and mouse you can do everything that is needed within LibreELEC. Once your media player has been configured, it's nice to be able to use a remote control. Many mini PCs are equipped with an infrared receiver, such as the Intel NUC series. Handy, because you can use any mce remote or Logitech Harmony. Alternatively, you can use an iOS or Android device as a glorified remote control. In that case, install the Official Kodi Remote app on your smartphone or tablet.

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