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Raspberry Pi Essentials

Setting Up Kodi (Xbmc) on the Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi 2 is cheap, and powerful enough to use as an amazing media streaming device. Although very affordable, there are other pieces of hardware you will need when setting up Kodi, and in fact to do any of the amazing things the Pi can do.

Although this guide is for setting up Kodi (XBMC) on the Raspberry Pi, The same process is used for booting any of the many different Operating Systems such as Raspian, Raspbmc and RetroPie.

You will need the 5 items listed below to be able to use your Pi.

Setting up Kodi – Required Hardware

SD Card – I would recommend a 8GB class 6 or above micro SD card for the Pi 2 and B+, and a standard SD card with the same spec for previous Raspberry Pi models. Slower cards can be used when using the Pi for other uses other than media streaming. Using below a class 6 card with Kodi may decrease the overall performance.

Recommended Card: Samsung Memory 16GB Evo MicroSDHC UHS-I Grade 1 Class 10 Memory Card.


Display Cable – For optimum performance a HDMI cable is required. A DVI cable can also be used. Many people think that they need to buy an expensive HDMI cable in order to get the best picture quality. This simply is not true. If your cable works the buying a more expensive cable will not improve quality. There are different versions of HDMI cables though. These have extra capabilities such as Audio return and 3D Video. A standard HDMI cable costing a couple of pounds is fine to use.

Recommended display cable: Wired-up HDMI to HDMI Gold Plated Connectors 1.8m Cable v1.3A


Ethernet Cable – Any standard Ethernet cable will do

Power Supply with USB to micro USB cable – A minimum of a 5V USB plug is recommended. If you use anything lower then this your Raspberry Pi may behave strangely, such as small blocks appearing on the screen. Combine this with a USB to micro USB cable. Or use a all in one plug like the recommended one. I find an iPad plug is good to use.

Recommended power: Tontec® 5V 2A Micro USB Power Wall Supply Charger AC Adapter


Keyboard and Mouse – If you have nothing else, then a USB keyboard and mouse can be used for controlling your Raspberry Pi.  These are good to set things up with but but ideally you will want to use one of the many other wireless methods. Please see Controlling Kodi on the Raspberry Pi for a full guide. For a list of keyboard controls head over to the Kodi Wiki Site. 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 Case (Optional) – Although a case is not needed for setting up Kodi for the Raspberry Pi to boot, I would highly recommend one. The case will protect your Pi from knocks and dust. There are many different styles of cases. You can even make your own from Lego or one of the templates online. A good case is compact with easy access to all sockets and ports.

Recommended case: High Quality Raspberry Pi 2 Case


Heat Sink (Optional) – A heat sink is not needed for setting up kodi on the Raspberry Pi unless you are considering overclocking.

Setting up Kodi on Raspberry Pi 2 – Windows Users

1 – Download the latest version of OpenElec. Be sure to get the correct disk image for the Raspberry Pi model that you have.  The one for the Pi 2 is the ArmV7 build.

Setting up Kodi - OpenElec Download Page


2 – Insert your SD card into your PC.

3 – Ensure that the card is formatted as FAT32.

Format SD


Format SD pt2


4 – Load up Win32 Disk Imager. If you don’t already have it you can download it from SourceForge.

5 – Choose the letter of the drive for your SD card under device. It is important to get this bit right or you may wipe a different drive.

6 – Click on the folder icon and locate where the unzipped .img file for OpenElec is on your computer and click open.

Win32 load disk  image


7 – Once loaded in. click the Write button.

8 – Click Yes if you are happy to proceed.

Win32 load disk image pt2


The green bar indicates the write process.  Once done you will see Done at the bottom left of the Window and a write successful window will pop up.

Win32 load disk image pt3


That’s all there is to it for setting up Kodi ready for your first boot. You can now eject your SD card and pop it in your Pi. Switch on you Raspberry Pi and it should boot up into OpenElec and load up Kodi!



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