Raspberry Pi Mobile Media Center With Smartphone Control

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About: Max2Play offers a browser based administration interface for mini-computers like Raspberry Pi and Odroid on a Linux basis. With Max2Play, applications, so-called Max2Play extensions can be installed and admi...

Intro: 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 Discussions

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    DanL4

    3 years ago on Introduction

    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!

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    ckroger65

    3 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    ckroger65

    3 years ago on Introduction

    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?

    1 reply
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    Rgeneb1ckroger65

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    joelm145

    1 year ago

    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

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    bmckenna1982

    2 years ago

    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.

    3 replies
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    Max2Playbmckenna1982

    Reply 2 years ago

    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.

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    bmckenna1982Max2Play

    Reply 2 years ago

    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.

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    Max2Playbmckenna1982

    Reply 2 years ago

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

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    RomainB6

    2 years ago

    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 ?

    1 reply
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    Max2PlayRomainB6

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi Romain,
    You can have the RPi's acting only as players and install the Squeezebox Server-Software on any other device in your network that supports it. However, once the SBS is installed, you can access its menu from any browser and also use apps to control it.

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    RobW6

    2 years ago

    Maybe this is overkill, I don't know, but could you use this as a glorified iPod? I had a 160 classic that was stolen recently, and I'd like to find something to replace it with...

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    edwinkort

    2 years ago

    What is the benefits of this over a complete Kodi install (OpenElec)

    1 reply
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    Max2Playedwinkort

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi edwinkort,

    Max2Play is a very flexible control center you can easily adapt to your individual interests and wishes. It contains many more features like multiroom audio or even call blocking in your network and can be extended with plugins available on our website. Moreover, updating Max2Play is very convenient: New data is written quickly on your SD card without need to reboot your device afterwards.

    Learn more about the features of Max2Play on our homepage: http://www.max2play.com/en/features/

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    baxmwale

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Ok am pretty much a newbie when it comes to the raspberry pi, i got my new raspberry pi like 2 days ago and i have been having trouble getting to the interface that lets me set up the access point. Is there a step missing or am i just the wrong image?

    1 reply
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    Max2Playbaxmwale

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Hi baxmwale,
    If you are using any of Max2Play's images (for Raspberry Pi it should either be the HiFiBerry image or the Squeezeplug image), you should be able to find it, once you have connected it to your local network (LAN), by typing "http://max2play/" into the browser of any of your devices using the local network. You can also look in your router's interface and see if the device "Max2Play is listed as a connected device.

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    sinao

    3 years ago

    I have the raspberry pi one model B. Can I use it for this?

    2 replies
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    Max2Playsinao

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, but expect the performance not to be as good since the RPi one does not have the same power.

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    dmagryta124sinao

    Reply 3 years ago

    I'm using that model raspberry pi with OSMC.

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    maspeir

    3 years ago on Introduction

    How about a link to that case? At the very least, the name of it so that I can find it myself.