Home Media Center Using Raspberry Pi




Introduction: Home Media Center Using Raspberry Pi

Using Raspberry pi and a hdmi/vga display from a old desktop monitor, you can create you own home media center. This is a very simple project and requires minimum prerequisite knowledge of programming/embedded systems design. All components used are off the shelf !

Here are the fun stuff that you can do with your home media center

1) Use it as a digital photo album to do a slideshow of photos from USB storage or from an online repository like dropbox, picassa, flickr !

2) Play Media files(music, video) from USB storage or an online repo like pandora, youtube, netflix etc.

3) Get weather updates

4) Alarm feature - I have configured it to play a custom mp3 file or radio stream as alarm in the morning :)

5) Play some cool games

6) And much more .. - The home media center uses kodi which is a free and open-source media player software developed by the XBMC Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium.Kodi is available for multiple operating systems and hardware platforms, with a software 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, such as podcasts from the internet, and all common digital media files from local and network storage media (www.kodi.tv)

Step 1: What All Do U Need to Create Your Home Media Center ?

1) Rapberry pi computer - We will use a raspberry pi as a computer for our home media center. It is a credit card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools.It is low cost but powerful computer that hosts quad core ARM based processor which brings a lot of computing power to do some cool stuff. It has many interfaces like HDMI, USB ports, 3.5mm jack, EMMC slot etc. which gives many options for embedded developers to play around.

2) USB based Wifi Dongle for network access for your ras. pi

3) A case for raspberry pi

4) Power supply for raspberry pi- You can use a 2.5- 5A usb power supply

5) HDMI cable

6) 8GB sd card to hold the operating system and other system software for your home media center

You can buy these components separately from amazon or you can buy a raspberry pi kit from amazon like this one which has all the components mentioned above for 70$


7) A Display for your home media center. You can use an old LED/LCD monitor with HDMI or VGA display(along with VGA to HDMI convertor cable) or you can buy a 9" or 10" LCD display for raspberry pi from ebay for 60$


Step 2: Loading Kodi Software on Your Raspberry Pi

As i mentioned in Step 1, we will be using SD card to house the operating system and the other system software that runs our home media center. All the software is bundled into a single package called Kodi. We will be copying Kodi software on the sd card and will be booting raspberry pi from sd card

1) Download Kodi software from https://osmc.tv/download/ onto your laptop. Depending on the OS running on your laptop choose the appropriate option ( Windows, Linux, MAC ).

2) Plug the sd card onto your laptop. You can use micro sd to sd adaptor to plug the micro sd card onto laptop.

3) Once you have downloaded the file onto laptop in step 1. Execute it. Select the option to install the software on sd card.

4) Plug out the power supply from raspberry pi

5) Once the installation is complete on step 3, remove the sd card and plug it into raspberry pi

6) Plug in the power supply of raspberry pi. The raspberry pi is configured to boot from sd card by default and it will boot to Kodi homescreen . Connect the raspberry pi onto your LCD monitor to see the Kodi home screen !! Simple is'nt it :)

7) You are almost done ! Change the theme to confluence by navigating to System-->Settings --> Appearance --> Skin --> Confluence. you would need a USB mouse to navigate . Plug the USB mouse to one of the USB ports of raspberry pi

8) Now for the exciting part :) You can control your home media center using your android/apple phone ! Yes. by installing a free app called Yatse from playstore/apple store you can navigate through the Kodi software on your home media center. Here is a quick guide to setup Yatse for controlling Kodi

Step 3: Slideshow Your Pics From Dropbox !

If you want to configure your home media center to access your pics/music/video files from a online repo like dropbox, Kodi has a addon for dropbox which you can install and set it up . This way, whenever you take a pic or video on your cellphone, you can upload it onto dropbox and your home media center would sync to these files automatically .

Follow these instructions to add dropbox addon and link your dropbox account on kodi

Once you have setup the dropbox account on Kodi, you can do a slideshow of your pics by navigating to Picture-->Addons-->Dropbox

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28 Discussions


1 year ago

What if the TV screen doesn't have neither HDMI nor VGA port?

1 reply

This place has almost all the parts, and of a better qualty, as Amazon, but a cheaper price

1 reply

BangGood is an excellent site that has some of the best prices on the internet and great customer service as well. The only downfall is that they ship directly from China so it can take 7-30 days to get what you ordered.

I have been running Kodi for about 3 months now and it works great. I am using http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KF9IVKC/ref=oh... keyboard. it works great at 15 feet ± 5 feet. I have not tried at any distances past that.

I am upgrading my wireless to 300 Mbps as we are having some trouble with the 150mbps that came with the Pi.


3 years ago

You can get access to pretty much every plugin at once by adding http://srp.nu (superrepo) as a source - Genesis is just one of several hundred of the plugins.

2 replies

Thanks for sharing. Can u give more steps on how can i add this on my kodi device ?

The easiest way is to search for superrepo on youtube and there's a full video showing step by step instructions - I meant to put that in my original comment, sorry :-}

Cool! What if we plug a touchscreen interface in the raspberry? (PS. I know nothing about this raspberry stuff, but this looks pretty feasible for a extra-master-blaster-NOOB)! :-D

2 replies

Hi. I guess u can plug in a touch screen display like this one http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/181712864050?lpid=82&chn=ps ?

How long have you been using this setup and how stable is it? I've been using the predecessor to KODI, XBMC, on various types of hardware for years but lately it has become very unstable. This looks like a good solution but just wanted to confirm the stabilty of the install.

1 reply

been using it just over 3 weeks.. seems stable so far, but 3 weeks is a short time to access.

It would be helpful if you also provided a short summary of the steps in the video. It takes more time to listen to a video than to read. It would also be good to provide a link or links to retailers of HDMI -> VGA adapters that work out of the box. Sometimes there are issues with powered vs. unpowered adapters.

In the list of fun stuff you can do, you should use an unordered list (usually dots instead of #s) given that order is irrelevant and get rid of the 6 since the last bit isn't a meaningful list item and the part that follows it is general commentary.

A direct link to the disk images (https://osmc.tv/download/images/) page might also be useful for those who are somewhat comfortable and don't feel the need to download a fancy installer.

[minor technical details]: I believe you should be spelling the name of the software and product as Kodi and Raspberry Pi (with capital letters) as they are proper nouns. In your Instructable there seem to be more pictures than details and the pictures provided are not particularly meaningful. Trimming down to a few less photos would make it a bit easier to read and wouldn't take much away from the whole. Putting the HDMI cable in the picture (camera or on the computer) with the other parts would take up a bit less space.

1 reply

Great instruct.... Only thing is you say in the intro that you can play video from netflix? I havent come across a decent addon for netflix yet, what one are you using? Cheers.

1 reply

The answer is technically yes, but in a practical sense no. There are addons for Kodi that allow you to stream Netflix but they are klunky and not user friendly. Unfortunately Netflix does not support and open source platform yet, so only systems with Netflix built apps can run it ( i.e. it's, Android, Xbox ..). Hopefully one day they will see the benefit in open source but for now we're stuck.