Introduction: Pine64 As a Kodi Media Center (On Android Platform)

Here I will talk you through how I went about setting up my Kodi media center on a Pine64. Until a more optimised version of the Kodi software becomes available, the easiest (and fully working) method is to just install it on top of Android.

For this you will need:

  1. Pine64 (I have the 2GB version)
  2. Internet access (either via Ethernet or a WiFi card)
  3. An 8GB or more microSD card (high speed HC1 etc recommended)
  4. A display with HDMI cable to connect to your Pine64
  5. Kodi/Pine64 Input devices (Either a USB keyboard and mouse, or emulated keyboard/mouse IR remote)
  6. A good quality 2 amp 5 volt adapter and a lower resistance microUSB cable (Either a short cable or one with heavy duty wire cores, such as the 20AWG cables that are now readily available, don't be fooled by gold connectors!).

Step 1: Backup Your Existing MicroSD Card

If you already have a working installation on your SD card, it's a good idea to make a backup image now, in case things don't work out as planned! If you have a blank SD card, SKIP THIS STEP.

  • Insert your SD card to your Windows PC (via any means to your disposal). Don't worry if Windows File Explorer doesn't recognise your card and list it as a Drive, the Win32DiskImager app will still be able to find it.
  • Once installed, right click on the Windows start menu icon (Win32DiskImager) and click "run as administrator"
  • Navigate to your chosen backup Folder by clicking the blue Icon in Win32DiskImager, then typing a file name for your backup before pressing "ok" to select the location.
  • To begin the backup just press "read" (Win32DiskImager will automatically pre-select a removable drive, so make sure there are no other removable drives connected to the computer).

The waiting begins (for larger microSD cards this could take some time)

While the backup is being created, skip to step 2 and begin your Android OS download.

Step 2: Download the Latest Android Build for Pine64

The Pine64 Wiki page has all the latest builds wiki.pine64.org/index.php/Pine_A64_Software_Release

  • Navigate down to the Android Image Release section and download your chosen version (Currently Android 5.1.1)

You can select the most appropriate image for your microSD card size, choosing a smaller image will leave you with unusable space on the finished Android installation (If you have an 8GB card, download the 'for 8GB' image file).

  • Once the Zip file has downloaded, extract the *.img image file (and remember where it is saved)

For the file extraction you can use the built in Windows "Extract All.." feature by right clicking on the downloaded Zip file.

Step 3: Writing the Android Image to MicroSD Card

Again using the Win32DiskImager tool, we are going to write the Android *.img file to the SD card.

  • In Win32DiskImager, use the blue folder icon to navigate to your extracted Android disk image file (*.img)

Select the file and click "ok"

  • To write the Android image to your SD card, click "Write"

The writing process will take a while, so now is a good time to make a Brew.

NB: Some have reported needing to use the Allwinner PhoenixCard Bootable SD-Card Creator, but I found Win32DiskImager never fails me with Pine64 or Raspberry Pi

Step 4: Booting Android on Pine64

Once Win32DiskImager has done its job, go ahead and insert the microSD card into the Pine64

  • Connect your Pine64 to your desired accessories (connect the WiFi card if you have one)
  • Connect a microUSB lead and power on your device, Android will begin to boot

Step 5: Install Kodi on Pine64 Android

  • Once in the Android interface, open the Google Play store (login with your google account) and download the Kodi app
  • If you prefer Android to boot directly to Kodi on startup, then I recommend using a free app like "Startup Manager (free)" to launch Kodi at boot

Make sure your using a fast microSD card, and also avoid long length cheap USB cables, the internal resistance at 5V causes system instabilities, either use short cables, or ones with certified high thickness cores! (I have a 3 meter 20 AWG micro USB cable that works great, cost me less than £4)

Comments

author
Jobo17 (author)2016-10-14

Lol, what's the use of the board as a HTPC without internet?

author
Hansaplast (author)2016-06-26

Thanks for the write up, my Microsoft USB keyboard does work with this Android version, but my Logitech mouse works fine.

Initial boot time is really bad, but it gets better after a reboot (although one minute and thirty seconds is still not great when compare to my old HTPC).

For Mac users; you can use ApplePi-Baker (free) to flash your microSD cards.

(http://www.tweaking4all.com/software/macosx-software/macosx-apple-pi-baker/

author
southwalesboy (author)Hansaplast2016-06-26

Thanks for the additional comments, I think other readers will find useful.

I am using a Chinese £3 IR remote that emulates a standard keyboard and mouse. It works great as both.

My stats are similar:
My boot time for Android on Pime64 (from flicking the power switch on) to desktop is 49 seconds.

My boot time to Kodi home screen on pine64 is 1minute 9 seconds.

Shut down is almost immediate (using power button on "keyboard").

author
Hansaplast (author)southwalesboy2016-06-26

Thanks for the quick response, maybe the speed of my SD card is not as fast as yours (although it's a fast 32Gb Lexar). My keyboard does work just fine on my Raspberry Pi's, etc. But it has no "Power" button. So I'll have to find a nicer way to shutdown ;-)
For those interested, it's a Microsoft US keyboard, Digital Media Keyboard 1.0A.

Another observation: H265 (HVEC) playback works very smooth, even over WiFi.

Something to complete the article; which infrared sensor can be used on the header of the pine64? I have been looking around for that one, and found very limited info, suggesting the TSOP38238. I have not tested this yet, since I'm a little confused about the proper pin-layout for the IR receiver diode.
I might just start using the Media Center Remote I have with the USB receiver that comes with it.

author
southwalesboy (author)2016-06-16

Thanks for looking at my tutorial,

How are you trying to connect to the internet? Maybe I can help.

The initial requirements state:

2. Internet access (either via Ethernet or a WiFi card)

Step 4 states:

Connect your Pine64 to your desired accessories (connect the WiFi card if you have one)

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-06-01

Very well written tutorial.

About This Instructable

23,714views

11favorites

License:

More by southwalesboy:Pine64 as a Kodi Media center (On Android platform)
Add instructable to: