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Kodi: Install from a USB thumbdrive

Installing OpenELEC is really quite straight forward once you know how. There are only a handful of steps:

Download and uncompress the latest version of OpenELEC

I do this bit using my main Windows desktop. Firstly we want to download the latest version of the OpenELEC software from http://openelec.tv/get-openelec For my NUC I'd download the latest 64bit non-diskimage version.

The file comes down as a compressed .tar file. Personally I use 7-zip to uncompress .tar files and this software can be downloaded from http://www.7-zip.org/download.html. Once you've installed 7-zip we can now extract the downloaded OpenELEC .tar file and once it has extracted you'll see a bunch of files. The file we're interested in is called create_installstick.bat

Next, insert a blank USB thumbdrive into your desktop computer and double-click the create_install.bat file. It should show a screen similar to this:

OpenELEC Live USB Installer

As it says, the thumbdrive will be wiped during this process. You MUST make sure you choose the correct drive letter for your USB thumbdrive! On my machine it's D so I'd enter D: as shown on that screen and then press [Enter].

Once it's finished building the USB thumbdrive remove it and insert the thumbdrive into the machine you'll use for Kodi.

You need to boot the Kodi machine from the USB thumbdrive. On my NUC I need to go into the BIOS for this and to get into the BIOS I repeatedly press the F2 key when it's booting. Yours may be F2, F10 or Esc or similar.

Once you've got it to boot from the USB thumbdrive you'll be presented with the OpenELEC installation menu. Choose the first option: Quick Install of OpenELEC and when prompted to Enable SSH Server on start choose Yes.

Once the installation is complete it'll take you back to the first menu. Remove the USB thumbdrive and select Reboot from the Menu and let the system boot.

How to configure Kodi

When Kodi/OpenELEC boots for the first time it'll take you through the setup process.

On the Welcome screen change your Regional Settings as required.

If you plan to have multiple Kodi devices then change the Hostname to something more meaningful.

On the Sharing and Remote Access screen ensure SSH is checked under the Configure Services: section.

Essential things to change on the default Kodi installation

What you do and do not change from the default installation is obviously down to personal preference but here's what I change:

Disable RSS Feed

On the Kodi screens you'll see a ticker feed running along the bottom. To disable it go into SYSTEM then Appearance and on the Skin screen uncheck the Show RSS news feeds option.

Change Language & timezone

Go into SYSTEM then Appearance then International and change the Region from USA (12h) to UK (24h) and set the Timezone country to Britain (UK) which sets the Timezone to Europe/London.

Set the Weather

I quite like being able to see the Weather Forecast on my Kodi and you can set this by going into SYSTEM then Weather and on the General tab choose the Service for weather information option. The click the Get More... option. I'm a big fan of Yahoo! Weather so I'd select that one and then Install and configure it by clicking on it again once it's installed. when you've installed and configured it an extra option appears on the home screen.

Movie Boxsets

I've got a bunch of movie boxsets and I like them to appear as boxsets in my Kodi library. To configure this go into SYSTEM then Video then Library and then enable the Group movies in sets option.

Updating Library on Startup

My server is constantly downloading TV shows and adding these shows to my server. To get them to show up in my Kodi library I have to manually update the library. You can get Kodi to update automatically each time it starts up by going into SYSTEM then Video then Library and then enable the Update library on startup option.

Enable LiveTV

I've got a quad TVtuner in my server which is constantly recording TV shows. Kodi acts as a front-end to the TV tuners enabling you to watch Live TV. To enable this feature go into SYSTEM then LIVE TV and on the General tab check the Enabled option. The first time you do this it'll prompt you to enable the PVR Add-on. I personally use Tvheadend HTSP Client so choose this from the menu. Then click Configure.

Tvheadend hostname or IP address. This is the IP address of your server. For the username and password use the same one you choose when you installed TVHeadend.

Leave all other options at their defaults and click OK. Then click Enable. Once it's pulled in all the TV channels you'll be able to watch live TV, pause, rewind and record TV as well as watch previous recordings. I wouldn't say it'll replace your existing PVR but the Kodi installation is getting better all the time.

YouTube

YouTube, and other channels, are built into Kodi so all we need to do is enable them. So, from the menus go into VIDEOS then Video Add-ons then Get More... and scroll down to YouTube and lastly choose Install.
Alternatively you can go into SYSTEM -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> All Add-ons -> Video Add-ons and then choose YouTube

BBC iPlayer, ITV Player

If you live in the UK you'll be able to use BBC iPlayer and ITV Player on Kodi although it's a bit more involved to get working than for YouTube. It's possible to use these services if you live outside the UK but you'll need to ask Google for help with that!

So, assuming you're in the UK then head to the following website and on the right hand side of the page download the zip file of the latest version of the BBC iPlayer http://kodi.wiki/view/Add-on:IPlayer

Save this ZIP file to a USB thumbdrive. Next insert this ZIP drive into your Kodi client and install it by going into SYSTEM then Add-ons and choose the Install from zip file option. Navigate to the USB thumbdrive and select the ZIP file you've just downloaded. You can now find BBC iPlayer from the Enabled Add-ons option under Video Add-ons.

ITV Player available from http://xunitytalk-repo.googlecode.com/svn/addons/plugin.video.itv is installed using the same steps as for BBC iPlayer.

Adding Video Add-ons to the main menu

Once you've installed BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and YouTube etc accessing them can be a bit involved. With a simple tweak they can be made available from the main menu. So go into SYSTEM then Appearance then Skin then Settings. Scroll down to Add-on Shortcuts and in the Home Page Videos Sub-menu options add each of the add-ons you've added above.

Adding the Context Menu for Kodi on the VRC-1100 Remote Control

On my remote there is no ContextMenu option by default. So to add it we simply remote onto the Kodi client and type the following:

vi .kodi/userdata/keymaps/keyboard.xml

Press [Insert] key a few times and paste the following:

<keymap>
    <global>
        <keyboard>
            <key id = "213">ContextMenu</key>
        </keyboard>
    </global>
</keymap>

Next press the [Esc] key once and type :wq to save and quit out of the file. If you make a mistake then issue :q! instead of :wq to abort your changes.

Reboot Kodi for the changes to take effect:

reboot -h now

Changing the behaviour of the power button on the Kodi Remote Control by remapping it

I have a Raspberry Pi 3 as one of my Kodi clients and, for some reason, you cannot put the Kodi into suspend mode, you can only power it off. This means that once you hit the power button on the remote to turn it off you have to physically unplug the RPi from the mains and plug it back in again for it to boot up. This is less than ideal! So, I've remapped the power button on the remote so it logs the current user off and takes you back to the login screen. Now, if any of my family members hit the power button on the remote they don't have to scramble under the TV to switch the Kodi back on again!

We simply need to create a file called remote.xml and add a few lines to it:

vi ~/.kodi/userdata/keymaps/remote.xml

Press [Insert] key a few times and paste the following:

<keymap>
    <global>
        <remote>
                <power>System.LogOff</power>
        </remote>
    </global>
</keymap>

Next press the [Esc] key once and type :wq to save and quit out of the file. If you make a mistake then issue :q! instead of :wq to abort your changes.

Reboot Kodi for the changes to take effect:

reboot -h now

 

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