Raspberry Pi FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions Kodi running on the Raspberry Pi.

Contents


1 General FAQ

See also: XBMC all platforms FAQ for FAQs that apply to all versions of Kodi.

1.1 Installing Kodi on the Raspberry Pi

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The easiest way to install Kodi on an R-Pi is to use one of these pre-made OS/Kodi packages:

1.2 Is Kodi for Raspberry Pi different from normal Kodi?

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  • The current stable version of Kodi for Raspberry Pi is Kodi v14.0 Helix. This is the same code that all of the other platforms (Linux, iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, etc) are using.
  • There are two acceleration options on the Pi. "omxplayer" runs much of the player logic on the gpu which is highest performance option and can handle raw Blu-Ray quality videos. It does not support DVD menus or ALSA audio.
  • "MMAL" acceleration uses dvdplayer with hardware acceleration of the video codec. Performance is a little lower than omxplayer, but should still handle most 1080p content.
  • By default both are enabled, and omxplayer acceleration will be disabled when not appropriate (i.e. DVDs with menus or when ALSA audio is enabled).
  • If you don't play raw Blu-Ray quality videos then disabling omxplayer acceleration is an option which some users may prefer.

1.3 How do I find out what version of Kodi am I running?

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  • Kodi main menu > System > Lower submenu > System info. Note the build date.

1.4 Video and audio formats the Raspberry Pi can playback

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  • H.264 (up to High Profile) encoded videos are supported up to 1080P using hardware video decoding. Note: Hi10P will not work.
  • MPEG-4 encoded videos are supported up to 1080P using hardware video decoding. This includes XviD and recent versions on DivX (but not the older 3.xx DivX).
  • The Raspberry Pi Foundation offers additional video codec licenses for a few dollars. At the moment you can purchase MPEG-2 and VC1, both with support up to 1080P. Read below on how to enable these.
  • MJPEG, VP6, VP8 and OGG Theora are supported as GPU accelerated software decoders. These are limited to DVD resolutions.
  • Codecs without gpu support like DivX 3, msmpeg and sorenson spark will be decoded by dvdplayer on the ARM. Should work for SD resolutions.
  • DVD ISOs with menus should work fine (using dvdplayer).
  • Software DTS audio decode works well in recent builds. TrueHD audio is CPU intensive and may require overclocking.

1.5 Video and audio output on the Raspberry Pi

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  • Video output via HDMI up to 1080P. The GUI is 1080p by default, but can be reduced in video settings without affecting video resolution.
  • Video output via the analog component video (RCA) jack will be in SD.
  • Analog audio output via the mini phone jack is supported.
  • I2S and USB ALSA audio cards are supported with Kodi v14.0 Helix builds. omxplayer acceleration is not available (it will be disabled automatically).
  • DTS and AC3 audio passthrough audio is supported (and recommended, as it will reduce CPU load on the R-Pi)

1.6 How about multichannel audio support?

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  • By default audio is downmixed to stereo.
  • If your receiver/TV supports DTS or AC3 passthrough then enable these in audio settings and you will get 6 channel audio.
  • Multichannel PCM audio is supported over HDMI. Note: not all receivers support this and toslink/optical will not.
  • Enable by setting the speaker configuration to suitable value (e.g. 5.1 or 7.1).
  • If your recevier does not support multichannel PCM, then leave this at 2.0. You can still get multichannel audio through passthrough.

1.7 Enabling additional video codecs

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You can buy additional video codecs (VC-1 - used in some bluray discs, and MPEG-2) from the Raspberry Pi Foundation online shop. After purchase the keys are emailed to you, looking like this (invalid keys used for example):

decode_MPG2=0x1cc591c7
decode_WVC1=0x8aa09876

In order to enable additional video codecs you should modify /boot/config.txt and add these lines literally. The method may vary per distribution:

  • Manual: Open /boot/config.txt with a text editor like nano or vi, and add the keys.
  • XBian: You can add/remote your keys using XBian-config. After reboot your keys will be entered and ready to use.
  • Raspbmc: Navigate to Programs -> Raspbmc Settings -> System Configuration -> MPEG2 codec license/VC1 codec key. Enter your keys with the onscreen keyboard then Kodi will prompt you to reboot. After reboot your keys will be entered and ready to use.
  • OpenELEC: Type mount /flash -o remount,rw to remount the boot partition in read/write mode. The file to edit is located in /flash/config.txt, and contains stubs for the license keys. Add the keys using nano or vi. There is also an unofficial add-on which can be used to enter the codec information.

1.8 Accessing media

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  • You can connect to media that's being shared from a computer, HTPC, or NAS device on your local network.
  • You can access media on the main SD card or from the USB ports (hard drives, USB stick drives, hubs, all supported).

1.9 Add-ons and skins

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  • Kodi for Raspberry Pi is a full version of Kodi and will be able to use all non-platform specific add-ons and skins. More feature rich (CPU demanding) skins might not run smoothly, so keep to "lighter" skins.
  • Recommended lite skins include: Confluence (default skin), Amber, Metropolis, Quartz, Quartz Reloaded, Slik, xTV-SAF. Aeon Nox 5 is quite usable.

1.10 How to properly shutdown/disconnect

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  • It is not possible to use traditional "shutdown" on the Raspberry Pi. The only way to power it off is to disconnect the power.
  • ALWAYS select the shutdown command in Kodi before powering off the Raspberry Pi. Failure to do so can corrupt the Kodi library databases, other databases, or even other OS files.
  • Most users leave the Raspberry Pi on all the time, as it uses very little power (the cost of electricity for a year is about the price of a hamburger).

1.11 Remotes for Raspberry Pi

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See: Raspberry Pi#Remote controls

1.12 MySQL library sharing

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  • If you are using MySQL library sharing features, please note that your library will only sync with the Raspberry Pi if all your other Kodi instances are running the same version (how to check your version).

2 Troubleshooting

2.1 Getting more help with Kodi for Raspberry Pi

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2.2 Userdata folder and logs

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See How-to:Submit a proper bug report for bug reporting details and Debug log for how to post the debug log.
  • Userdata folder:
    • OpenELEC: /storage/.kodi/userdata/
    • Raspbmc: /home/pi/.kodi/userdata/
    • XBian: /home/xbian/.kodi/userdata/
  • Debug log:
    • OpenELEC: /storage/.kodi/temp/kodi.log
    • Raspbmc: /home/pi/.kodi/temp/kodi.log
    • XBian: /home/xbian/.kodi/temp/kodi.log

2.3 Wrong language displayed in Kodi

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2.4 Raspberry Pi known issues

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  • None currently with Kodi v14.0 Helix

2.5 Performance: video buffering, stuttering, choppiness

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  • Use a lightweight skin such as the default Confluence, Amber, Quartz, Bellow, or xTV-SAF.
  • Turn off RSS feeds and any scrolling text options for your skin.
  • You can also try to use a combination of SD and fast USB drive for your XBMC/Kodi install, but recent improvements to the software make it so that even just using a good SD card is about as fast as using a fast USB drive.
  • Avoid using wifi. If you do use wifi, use a wifi adapter that contains two antenna (either internally or externally). Otherwise, stick to wired ethernet, local USB drives, or ethernet-over-power devices (like Homeplug, etc).
  • Try using NFS file shares instead of SMB file shares.
  • Try mounting network shares through OS rather than Kodi. This allows more tweaking of filesystem options, like chosing UDP and larger block sizes. See This raspbmc thread for details
  • Overclock. Most Pi's can handle a significant overclock, as long as they have a good power supply. There is no universal setting that will work for everyone (except for the default speed that you get without overclocking). Try various overclocking settings and run XBMC/Kodi for a while and see if it's stable. If one group of overclocking settings causes crashes, try a group of settings that are lower than that. For more information about this check out this forum thread: http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=199272
  • "Extract thumbnail and video information" from file lists settings is disabled by default on the Pi as it improves browsing performance.
  • For smoother video playback enable "Adjust display refresh rate to match video" from playback settings
  • When using dvdplayer "Sync playback to display" and "adjust PLL" for sync method are recommended. See playback settings
  • Make sure the video is using H.264 (up to High Profile. Hi10P will not work) or MPEG-4, or, if a codec was purchased and enabled, MPEG-2 or VC-1.
  • Passthrough is recommended as it lowers CPU usage for DTS and AC3. Use audio passthrough if your TV/receiver supports it.
  • To determine which audio passthrough formats your HDMI-connected TV supports, you can log in to your chosen distribution, via SSH, and run this command: /opt/vc/bin/tvservice a (on OpenELEC: tvservice -a).
  • Some additional advanced tips for speeding up boot times. Editor note: Some of this can likely be broken up into individual bullet points for this list, but I haven't examined any of this in detail yet. I'm not sure which ones only improve boot time and which ones improve actual performance once already booted. If anyone wants to take a whack at this, please do. http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=201354
  • For locally connected drives containing videos and music, the format of the drive can have an impact on read and write speeds. For example, NTFS tends to be much slower on any Linux-based system than the more native EXOFS formats (ext2, ext3, etc).
  • If you use MySQL then you will want to make sure your images are pre-cached using the Texture Cache Maintenance utility tool. Local libraries typically don't need this as their images are cached when videos are scanned in. Using MySQL can improve performance as the database queries are handled by another machine.
  • Organizing your movies in single folders for each movie, rather than all movies in one folder, is recommended. The individual folders reduce the time it takes for XBMC/Kodi to look for supporting media like external subtitles, making browsing, scanning and starting playback a little faster. You might also want to consider pre-scraping the meta data using a Library manager to reduce the time it takes to scan in both movies and TV shows.

2.6 Memory usage (especially with 256M Pi)

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  • gpu_mem should be set to 128M. On a 256M Pi it is recommended to set it to 112M. On a 512M Pi it may be worth increasing this if you are running heavy skins or if you want to increase the default fanart resolution or colour depth. 256M should be more than enough.
  • A 256M Pi is quite short on memory. Be careful with running other apps in the background (e.g. torrents) or installing add-ons that consume memory.
  • The default cachemembuffersize will be 2M for a 256M Pi, and 20M for a 512M Pi. You can use 0 to cache to sdcard.
  • Reducing the "GUI resolution limit" (e.g. to 720p) in settings/system/video will save memory. This is a default on a 256M Pi. Video will still play at full resolution (e.g. 1080p).
  • Enabling "higher colour depth artwork" will use more memory. It should be disabled on 256M Pi.
  • Reducing imageres/fanartres will reduce memory usage.

2.7 TV is not detected unless powered on first

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  • Some TVs/receivers only report their capabilities (EDID) through HDMI when powered on before the Pi.
  • If TV doesn't get the right resolution or CEC doesn't work when Pi is powered before the TV/receiver then you can:
  • Run: sudo tvservice -d edid.dat (after booting with TV/receiver powered on first)
  • copy the edid.dat to the FAT partition (/boot on raspbmc and /flash on openelec)
  • and add to config.txt: hdmi_edid_file=1 and hdmi_force_hotplug=1
  • Note: if you change TV/receiver or use a different HDMI input you should capture a new edid.dat file

2.8 Videos don't play from archives

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  • When browsing, any archives need to be extracted to identify the content. This can be very slow and even cause out-of-memory crashes with large archive files.
  • So, on the Pi this is now optional and disabled by default. Enable with: Settings -> Appearance -> File lists -> Support browsing into archives
  • Note: using rar files doesn't save any space as video files are already highly compressed, so just extracting them would be the preferred solution.
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