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Remote Control Kodi

Controlling Kodi on the Raspberry Pi

There are a number of ways of controlling Kodi (XBMC). In fact you are spoilt for choice  You are likely to already have the hardware needed for some of the methods that can be used. Here are the top 7 ways.

Controlling Kodi with a TV remote

Most modern TV remotes will work straight away through a technology called CEC, Consumer Electronics Control. It works by sending commands through your HDMI cable to the connected device. Different manufacturers have different names for CEC such as: LG – SimpLink, Sony – Bravia Link/Sync, Toshiba – Regza Link and Samsung – Anynet+ to name a few.

If you TV does support CEC, and it is not working. Be sure to check that you have the CEC adaptor enabled under System > Settings > System > Input Devices > Peripherals.

You will find that the directional buttons work along with select, back, exit along with Stop, play and fast forward etc. Most actions can be made with just these buttons, with text input available via the onscreen keyboard.

One of the best combinations is to use the TV remote along with a 2.4GHz keyboard for the longer text input when needed.

Controlling Kodi with a Game Pad

Game pads can be used for Controlling Kodi. On Windows based systems for example, the Xbox controller should work straight away.  This is because Windows has the supported drivers. You will find that most game pads work. Unfortunately this is not the case when using them on the Raspberry Pi because of the lack of supported drivers.

Buttons can be changed by saving different keymap files in userdata/keymaps/

Using a wired Keyboard & Mouse

Controlling Kodi with a wired keyboard and mouse is not the ideal method for controlling Kodi with the Raspberry Pi. Especially in a living room setup, with wires traipsing across the floor. It is more suited to a Kodi setup on a desktop PC.

It is however a life saver for the initial setup of Kodi if no other method is working.

The main controls you need are the arrow keys to move around, Enter to select, Backspace to go back and Esc to go to previous menu or home screen. A full set of mapped keys can be found on the Kodi Wiki page.

Controlling Kodi with a IR Remote

This is a good option for having a stand alone remote to control Kodi on the Raspberry Pi.  They use a usb cable attached to a Infrared receiver that is plugged straight into the Pi (or any other device). You can then control Kodi with the remote control straight away if you are using OpenElec and most other operating systems.

It works by turning the button pushes on the remote into keyboard and mouse clicks.

They can be found very cheaply on both Ebay and Amazon.

Be sure to check that “Remote control sends keyboard presses” is enabled under System > Settings > Input Devices if you run into any problems.

The DIGIFLEX USB PC Computer Remote Control Media Center Controller is a good example of a reliable cheap IR remote.

Digiflex USB IR Remote

Using a Bluetooth or Radio frequency remote or keyboard

RF remotes are a very popular choice. Many come as a keyboard and mouse (track pad) in one. Normally they are standard PNP, which means no drivers are needed so will work out the box.

They work similar to the IR remotes by sending keystrokes and clicks.

One of my favorite is the Rii i8 Multifunction 2.4GHz RF Portable Mini Wireless Keyboard with Touchpad Mouse. They are a nice size and have everthing you need. There are some fake ones being sold for ceaper prices, but even those should still work well.

If you purchase one and don’t like the button configurations, then you can always change your keymaps. This shouldn’t be an issue with a keyboard based remote, but you may wish to change them on the standard remote variants.

Rii i8 Wireless Keyboard-Mouse

Controlling Kodi with your Smart Phone or Tablet

There are many apps out there that can be used as a Kodi remote. They can be a little harder to setup than the other methods mentioned. But once setup work very well. Just type in Kodi remote or Xbmc remote into your respective app store to find them. Most are free, but you can pay a bit for some more premium features.

To be able to use them you will have to first turn on a few setting under settings > services.

  1. The first is “Allow programs on other systems to control Kodi“, under “Remote control
  2. The second is “Allow control of Kodi via HTTP“, under “Webserver“. Take a note of the port number, Username and Password. You will probably need them when setting up the app on your smart device.
  3. And finally “Announce these services to other systems via Zeroconf“, under “Zeroconf“. This is most likely to already be enabled. It helps other devices to recognize Kodi on your network. This does not always work in which case you will need to input the IP address of you Raspberry Pi or other device.

Using a Web Browser

A web browser can be used on any device from you desktop to your smartphone to control Kodi.

You will first need to do two changes to the settings.

  1. Turn on “Allow control of Kodi via HTTP“, under “Webserver” in settings > services.
  2. Under settings > services > webserver, set which interface you would like to use as default. You should find one from Team XBMCalready there.

Once done you can enter the IP address i.e http://192.168.1.x into your address bar and you will be presented with a web interface remote.  You can also use hostname followed by port number. By default if left blank it will assume that you are using port 80.


What method do you use for controlling Kodi on the Raspberry Pi ?(or any other device). It would be good to hear which your favorite is.

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