Introduction: All-In-One Home Media Center

Have you ever wished that you could access your entire video game and movie libraries on the same screen? Well, now you can! This project will show you how to turn a PC into your very own gaming and movie-watching media center.

In order to build your own home media center, you will need the following equipment:

  • Computer with an HDMI port
  • Xbox 360 wireless controller (w/ dongle)
  • Computer mouse
  • Keyboard

Step 1: Synchronize the Xbox Controller to the Computer

First, plug the wireless controller dongle into the computer’s USB port. Any USB port on the computer will suffice.

To sync the computer with the controller, press the sync button on top of the dongle (Figure 1). Press and hold the centrally located Xbox button on the controller until lights begin flashing to sync the dongle with the controller (Figure 2).

Successful synchronization is indicated by illumination of the top left light on the controller after the flashing stops.

Note: If the top left controller light fails to illuminate, check the dongle connection and repeat the synchronization process.

Step 2: Install Kodi

Note: This guide uses Windows for installation. Steps may vary depending on your operating system

Kodi is a free media player that will provide access to both video games and videos. Download the Kodi program from here.

Click the download link labeled “Installer” that pertains to your computer’s operating system. Execute the downloaded file and follow installation prompts. When asked which components to choose, select “Full” install (Figure 3).

After installation is complete, run Kodi.

Step 3: Use the Xbox Controller With Kodi

Thanks to the synchronizing done in Step 1, the Xbox controller will automatically work with Kodi. No additional setup is required.

Step 4: Install Steam

Steam is the most widely-used video game distribution platform, and we will use it to play games on the home media center.

Navigate to here to download Steam. Click the green “Install Steam Now” button to begin the Steam download (Figure 4).

After the download is completed, execute the downloaded file and follow installation prompts. At the end of the installation process, check the “Launch Steam now” box and press “ok."

Steam will then update if necessary and prompt you to log in or create a new account (Figure 5). Log in if you already have an account; otherwise, create a new one.

Close the window once you've logged into Steam. Steam will continue to run in the background.

Step 5: Integrate Steam Into Kodi

To run Steam through Kodi, you will need to download the required Steam launcher.

Download the Steam launcher from here. Launch Kodi after the download completes and navigate to the “System” menu (Figure 6).

Under the “Add-ons” menu, select "Install from zip file." Navigate to the location of the downloaded launcher; the default Windows location is C:\Users\Downloads. Select the launcher file and press “Okay."

After a few seconds, a notification in the lower right-hand corner should display; this indicates successful installation of the Steam add-on (Figure 7).

To access Steam, press backspace on the keyboard to back out until you are at the Kodi main screen. From here, go to the “Programs” menu and select “Steam." Steam will then launch with your game library displayed.

Step 6: Exit Steam

To exit Steam, click the power button in the top-right corner and select the “Exit Steam” button (Figure 8).

Warning: This last step is important, as selecting “Minimize” will crash Kodi and require restarting the program.

Step 7: Boot Into Kodi

To have your computer boot directly into Kodi at startup, download Launcher4Kodi version 1.1 from here.

After the download, double click the file to install. Follow installation prompts, and when asked which components you would like to install, select “Launcher4Kodi" and ignore all of the other options (Figure 9). Run Launcher4Kodi after the installation is finished.

Once it opens, ensure that “Start Kodi when Windows starts” and “Start Kodi when Windows resumes from Sleep” are both checked (Figure 10). Under the “Shell” tab, select “Launcher4Kodi." These settings decrease the Kodi boot speed on startup.

Close Launcher4Kodi and restart the computer. Kodi should automatically load on startup.

Step 8: Complete!

Your PC is now a media center that can be completely controlled from the couch using an Xbox 360 controller. You may want a wireless keyboard to make typing into the computer much easier. You can now add your video collection and have an all-in-one home media center.