Raspberry Pi 3 with Kodi, Netflix, Spotify Connect, Hyperion and RetroArch

I’m currently using an old Mac Mini from 2009 as my media center. I’ve updated it recently with more RAM and an SSD but it has its problems with Bluetooth, regardless my used bluetooth card or USB adapter. Before this setup I’ve used a Raspberry Pi 3 with LibreElec which I’ve now reactivated successfully.

I’m using the Mac Mini for hearing Spotify, watching Netflix and Sky Go Connect, SNES Emulator with Xbox 360 and PS3 Gamepads and of course Kodi as media center in combination with Hyperion on a Raspberry Pi 1 as Ambilight clone. I’ve had to replace all this functionality with the Pi 3, but luckily it is possible!

I’ve started with LibreElec (8.0.2 stable) and installed it on the Pi 3. I had to copy the necessary Kodi files for setting the used sources and mysql database, so that I get my existing library and its viewing status.

Hyperion was easy to install via HyperionRemote. I only had to enable guest control for external resources in Kodi, so that Hyperion could properly shut down the backlight while the main menu is being displayed.

The SNES emulator can be used on LibreElec using the Kodi add-on Gamestarter. Just follow the GitHub instructions.

My Xbox 360 Gamepads where installed without problems. I just had to connect them via the USB adapter and pair them with the adapter. They are usable in Kodi as well as in Gamestarter without further configuration. I think that PS3 gamepads will probably behave similar.

The Bluetooth Mac Keyboard and Trackpad can also be paired with the Pi 3 via LibreElecs system settings. This allows a better search since you don’t need to use the onscreen Keyboard.

For Spotify I’ve just wanted the Pi 3 to appear as a Spotify connect speaker. The mobile apps and my other machines in the network are a better solution to select the music I want to hear, so I just wanted the Pi 3 to appear as a target. The Librespot provides this cool feature and also enables you to add easily Spotify connect to other rooms in your house with just a Raspberry Pi. Just search in the add-on for Librespot and install it. After a restart its active. Spotify connect is available immediately and stops automatically once a movie is started. It will be available again once the movie is really stopped (being paused is insufficient). Connecting to Librespot is really fast and works even better than with my Heos speakers!

Netflix is a completely different beast. Netflix is relying on a library called WideVine which handles the DRM. Google created a version for Chrome on ARM devices and some LibreElec and Kodi developers found a great way to integrate all this into the next version of LibreElec 9 and Kodi 18. So you need to update to  LibreElec 9 alpha. Copy the downloaded update file for Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 and put it into the update folder of your Pi 3. Now just restart and you’ll get the new version. However, be sure to make a backup of your library, just in case anything doesn’t work as expected!

You’ll now need the WideVine libs, you can install them with this command on your Pi:

You’ll now only need the plugin.video.netflix add-on. Once it is started you’ll be asked for your Netflix credentials. If you enter everything correctly you’ll have all the options of Netflix displayed as nice library entries in Kodi. Really comfortable if you ask me! It even works directly with the Hyperion Ambilight which is a cool feature. I was able to use 720p without problems, 1080p is too much for the Pi 3 to decode only in software.

Now with LibreElec 9 you’ll have problems starting RetroArch via Gamestarter. Luckily there’s a version for LibreElec 9 which you can just install and update your existing add-on.

 

Congratulations! You’ve got now a Rasperry Pi 3 with Kodi 19, Hyperion Ambilight, RetroArch Emulator, Xbox 360 Gamepad support and Spotify Connect. Only thing not working is Sky Go Connect Ticket, due to a missing browser and probably DRM related issues. But since I’m just using it for 3 months to see Game Of Thrones I can workaround this with connecting my MacBook to the TV.

Forward Kodi/XBMC video information to hyperion on Raspberry Pi

My current network setup allows me only to use small bandwidth connections between the living room (that’s where my Raspberry Pi is used as my Mediacenter) and office (my NAS). However, my Macbook is fast enough and can access the NAS wirelessly, so that I often use it as a replacement for the hardwired Raspberry Pi.

However, I cannot use my Hyperion Ambilight setup behind the TV in combination with the Macbook, because its only connected to the Raspberry Pi. But yesterday I’ve found this plugin which enables the Kodi setup on my Macbook to connect to the Hyperion Server on my Raspberry Pi over network.

  1. Download the zip file with the content of the git repository.
  2. Start Kodi on the Macbook and install it using the add on manager. You can point to the zip file directly without the need to unzip it first.
  3. Configure the installed plugin to connect to the ip of your Hyperion server.
  4. Start a video and be amazed that the lights on your TV will work wirelessly 😉

Update OpenElec 4.2.1 to 5.0.0 on a Raspberry Pi

XBMC is no more, it was replaced by KODI. The OpenElec team updated its media center distribution to version 5.0.0 which includes KODI. So it was time to update my RaspberryPi and its really easy:

  1. Backup your current installation with the OpenElec Backup tool.
  2. Move your backup to a secure location. You can access the backup tar file via SMB from the backup share.
  3. Download the 5.0.0 release image for Raspberry Pi.
  4. Place the tar file in the update share of your OpenElec installation.
  5. Reboot your Raspberry Pi.
  6. It should be rebooting a few times.

After these steps you should be greeted with the new KODI logo.


Kodi start screen

And you’re done, its really easy as a Pi 😉