Raspberry Pi Mobile Media Center With Smartphone Control

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Introduction: Raspberry Pi Mobile Media Center With Smartphone Control

Our main ideas of a perfect mobile media center are:

- watch videos or listen to your music anywhere (only power supply and a monitor/projector for videos required)

- easy control with your smartphone

- simple setup for non-programmers

- great sound and video quality

With a Raspberry Pi 2 and a powerful sound card like the HiFiBerry Amp+; together with an SD-Card with Max2Play and a simple WiFi Stick, you already have everything you need together!
This small tutorial shows how to easily set up Max2Play to get everything working. You do not need any knowledge of Linux or programming and just 5 minutes of time to set this up! There are various images, all free downloads.

Step 1: The Components and Their Purpose

The essential parts required are:

- Raspberry Pi 2B
The heart of this media center is the affordable but powerful 2B, it can handle multiple audio and video players with its quad core processor and 1 GB RAM.

- USB WiFi Stick
A simple USB-connected WiFi Stick to use as an access point that lets us control the Pi from any device in its vicinity.

- MicroSD Card with Max2Play Image
The Linux-based Max2Play image includes the Kodi media center and various audio players and other extensions that can be managed from any web browser. Once burnt, the system works right away and does not require any further configuration.

- (Optional) A Sound Card for Better Audio Performance
The Max2Play image is perfect to optimize and configure sound cards like HiFiBerry's DAC+ and Amp+ with just a few clicks. These sound cards can make a huge difference in sound quality for a media center.

Step 2: Burn the Image on the MicroSD Card

The images for download on Max2Play are all packed in .rar or .zip files and can be burnt onto a card using a simple tool like the WinDiskImager for Windows. Just let it burn and once the process is done, put the card into the Raspberry Pi.

Optional: You can also order an already burnt and configured microSD card from Max2Play.

Step 3: Set Up the Access Point

To be able to access our Raspberry Pi from anywhere on the go with our smartphones and tablets, we have to set up an access point with our connected WiFi stick.
The Access Point Setup extension is a premium feature on Max2Play, so we need to have an activated account. Once this is the case, we can activate the extension. It is just a web page with a button saying "install". When we click it, the system automatically detects the WiFi Stick and sets it up as an access point for any outside devices.

Step 4: Setting Up Kodi

Since Kodi comes preinstalled freely on Max2Play, all we need to do is change a few configurations in its interface to control it from our smartphones.
Connected to a screen, we can get the video output from the Pi's HDMI jack to display Kodi with just a click. There, we need to go to System -> Settings -> Services where we need to tick “Allow programs on other systems to control Kodi” and “Allow control of Kodi via HTTP”. We can also enable AirPlay functionality for our Apple products.

Step 5: Control the Media Center With Apps

We can now make all our commands to the media center with one of the many great Kodi Apps for Android (e.g. Kore or Yatse) and iOS (Sybu or the official Kodi App). We can also still access our web interface from any device with WiFi and a web browser to change our Max2Play plugins.

If the software steps were hard to follow, above is a video showing each step in detail.

Max2Play is a new plug-and-play image for Raspberry Pi that is still evolving. If you have any questions or ideas regarding Max2Play, please visit our forums or contact us directly at Max2Play.com

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    44 Comments

    I've been looking for an easy solution for creating a wifi hotspot!

    Will use it in vacations in the car/hotel room, taking all my music with me.

    Will use it together with an external batter charger for power and a simple chargeable speaker.

    Thanks!

    I made this. I'm going to use it as the media center on my boat.

    Using the Edimax wifi adapter on the RPi has a known issue of going to sleep. You need to add module options in /etc/modules.d/ to prevent that. Google it for details.

    I used the Kodi iOS app and it works great. I'll try a few of the other ones too.

    Adding music/movie sources only adds them to the Kodi library, it doesn't copy them to the local RPi storage, so the original location has to be available. Solution: copy the audio & video files to the RPi filesystem and THEN add them to the Kodi library, that way the media center is truly portable. A large SD card is better, or plug in a 128GB ($38) thumb drive with your media files on it.

    Can I use the remote control apps for Kodi without using the built-in access point - only using a home wifi access point that the RPi and the smart phone are connected to?

    Yes, The smartphone/tablet apps will connect to any kodi instance on the same network. Can even remember multiple instances of kodi so if you have one on each tv or different rooms you just select the one you want to control. I've used apps on iOS and android they couldnt be simpler to set up and use. Even easier than programming infrared remotes and the added advantage of no line of sight required if you want your media center behind the tv, for instance.

    My advice is download and try 2 or 3 of the free apps, they all work but the interfaces are slightly different, personal preference wins out.

    Hi,

    How can I connect a Blackberry Bold Q10 nano-keyboard to a raspberry?
    I want to make my raspberry portable console with a nano-keyboard of a Blackberry Bold Q10 but i don't know how to connect it XD

    How will this Max2Play solution function on a Pi Zero? This seems like exactly what I'm looking for to create a media center for the projector on the patio.

    We have not tested it yet on the Zero. But Max2Play is fully compatible with the Raspberry Pi Zero, thus it should work fine. However, you are more limited in your choice of sound card, we currently only support the IQaudIO DAC for the Zero.

    I'm unfamiliar with that their DAC for the Zero but I'll tale a look. Any plans to work with the Pimoroni pHat DAC? Those are incredibly popular with the Zero right now.

    Thanks for tip! We have not had any experience with this card yet, but we will look into it.

    hi there, I just bought the right hardware, but now I would like to have a few broadcasting devices (rPi) but the main device should be on my server (like running this software in a VM or as a program on an existing ubuntu or debian) how should I do it ?