Archive:Raspberry Pi FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions Kodi running on the Raspberry Pi.

1 General FAQ

See also: All_platforms_FAQ for FAQs that apply to all versions of Kodi.

1.1 Installing Kodi (for Linux) on the Raspberry Pi

Easy / Kodi centric distributions

Advanced / can be used with Kodi

Note that Arch ARM provides different Kodi packages optimized for different RPi models. All builds feature popcornmix's gbm_matrix branch of Kodi and offer some flavor of HW accelerated decoding just like LibreELEC. kodi-rpi for RPi 3/4/400 kodi-rpi-legacy for RPi 2 (popcornmix's gbm_matrix branch)

  • Raspberry Pi OS - Up-to-date versions (Currently Leia 18.7) of Kodi are now on the default Raspbian repositories. See full guide here.

1.2 Can I run Kodi for Android on Raspberry Pi?

  • The short answer is no. There are currently no full featured versions of the Android operating-system that work on Raspberry Pi (first-generation) or Raspberry Pi 2. If and when the Raspberry Pi Foundation releases a full featured version of Android for Raspberry Pi, (which, if it occurred, would most likely be only for the newer Raspberry Pi 2), then in theory Kodi for Android should just work on it. This will however depend on what is meant by "full featured" in fulfilling all the Android API requirements that Kodi needs to fully function properly.

1.3 Can I run Kodi for Windows on Raspberry Pi?

  • No. There are no full featured versions of the Windows operating-system that work on Raspberry Pi (first-generation) or Raspberry Pi 2, and there probably never will be. Microsoft have a released an IoT (Internet of Things) version of Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi 2, and by definition that IoT version is not a full featured versions of Windows which is what Kodi for Windows would need to run on the Raspberry Pi.

1.4 Is Kodi for Raspberry Pi different from normal Kodi?

  • The current stable version of Kodi for Raspberry Pi is Kodi v19.4 Matrix. 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.

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

  • Kodi main menu > Settings > System information > Summary Note the build date.
  • See also: Settins > System information > Summary

1.6 Video and audio formats the Raspberry Pi can playback

  • 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 Enabling_additional_video_codecs 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.

1.7 Video and audio output on the Raspberry Pi

  • 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 v19.4 Matrix 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)

1.8 How about multichannel audio support?

  • 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.

1.9 Enabling additional video codecs


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):


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.
  • OSMC: Go in to My OSMC -> Pi Config. Navigate to Codecs and enter your keys with the on-screen keyboard. After a reboot your keys will be entered and ready to use.

1.10 Accessing media

  • 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).

1.11 Add-ons and skins

  • 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: Estuary (default skin), Confluence, Amber, Metropolis, Quartz, xTV-SAF. Aeon Nox 5 is quite usable.

1.12 How to properly shutdown/disconnect

  • 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).

1.13 Remotes for Raspberry Pi


1.14 MySQL library sharing

  • 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).

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1.15 Getting more help with Kodi for Raspberry Pi


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1.16 Userdata folder and logs

See HOW-TO:Submit_a_bug_report for bug reporting details and Debug log for how to post the debug log.
  • Userdata folder:
    • LibreELEC: /storage/.kodi/userdata/
    • OpenELEC: /storage/.kodi/userdata/
    • OSMC: /home/osmc/.kodi/userdata/
    • XBian: /home/xbian/.kodi/userdata/
  • Debug log:
    • LibreELEC: /storage/.kodi/temp/kodi.log
    • OpenELEC: /storage/.kodi/temp/kodi.log
    • OSMC: /home/osmc/.kodi/temp/kodi.log. On OSMC, a Debug log can be uploaded via My OSMC -> Log Uploader.
    • XBian: /home/xbian/.kodi/temp/kodi.log

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1.17 Wrong language displayed in Kodi

  • If you're getting a different language displayed in Kodi than the one you've set in Settings -> Appearance -> International, it could be caused by your TV's language settings over CEC.
  • Go into Settings -> System -> Input devices -> Peripherals -> RasPi CEC module -> Use TV's language and set to off.

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1.18 Performance: video buffering, stuttering, choppiness


Note: Some of these tweaks are more aimed at the Pi 1 CPUs (A, B, A+, B+, Compute Module, Zero) as they only have a slow single-core CPU. Raspberry Pi 2/3 probably doesn't need some of these tweaks to run Kodi really well, but it also won't hurt anything, if you really want to push things to their limit.

  • Avoid "heavy" skins and lots of "service" type add-ons that run in the background.
  • Turn off RSS feeds and any scrolling text options for your skin. Depending on the skin/text, this can really boost a Pi 1, sometimes even a Pi 2/3.
  • Use an SD card with good rewrite speeds. The class of the SD card doesn't always mean it will be better, as that speed classification is for sustained reading and writing, whereas for Kodi, random read/write speeds are more important.
  • You can also try a combination of SD and fast USB drive for your Kodi install, but with the recent software improvements 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 antennae (internal or external) that advertises "300 Mbps". Otherwise, stick to wired ethernet, local USB drives, or ethernet-over-power devices (like Homeplug).
  • Try using NFS file shares instead of SMB file shares.
  • 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 Kodi for a while to see if it's stable. If one group of overclocking settings causes crashes, try a group of lower settings.
Note: Overclocking is pretty important for the Raspberry Pi 1 (A, B, A+, B+) and Zero, but much less so on the Pi 2/3 due to the multiple CPU cores as well as increased speed per core. You can still overclock the Pi 2 if you really want to, but for most users it makes little difference.
  • By default, "Extract thumbnails from video files" (in Media Video Settings) is disabled on the Pi, improving browsing performance.
  • For smoother video playback, enable "Adjust display refresh rate" in |playback settings
  • When using dvdplayer, "Sync playback to display" 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 additional codecs have been 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 via SSH and run this command: /opt/vc/bin/tvservice a (on LibreELEC: tvservice -a).
  • For locally connected drives containing videos and music, the filesystem can have an impact on read and write speeds. NTFS for example tends to be much slower on any Linux-based system than the more native ext2, ext3, etc.
  • If you use MySQL, you will want to make sure that 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 Kodi to look for supporting media like external subtitles, which makes 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.

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1.19 Memory usage (especially with 256M Pi)

  • gpu_mem should be set to 128M on a Pi1, 256M on a Pi2. On a 256M Pi1 it is recommended to set it to 112M. On a 512M Pi1 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 on a Pi1, although 320M on a Pi2 may be appropriate if using higher resolution imageres/fanartres and also higher colour.
  • 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 Pi1/Pi2. 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.

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1.20 TV is not detected unless powered on first

  • 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/Raspberry Pi OS, and /flash on LibreELEC)
  • 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
  • You can use Raspberry Pi EDID locker to run all these commands at once.

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1.21 Videos don't play from archives

  • 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.
  • On the Pi this is now optional (enabled by default), enable or disable with: Settings -> Appearance -> File lists -> Support browsing into archives
  • If your library does contain rar files, beware of disabling - you may need to rescan library after enabling again. Also note that subitles in rar won't work when disabled.
  • 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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1.22 Coloured square appears on screen

  • A coloured square may appear in the top right corner of screen to warn you of problems that should be remedied.* More info here.
  • A multicoloured square means the voltage is too low. You should try a better power supply or cable between power supply and Pi (Note: under-voltage detection is only supported on B+ and Pi 2)
  • A red square means temperature is high (85'C) and overclock has been disabled. This is pretty rare, but can occur in a hot environment, with a case with no ventilation and with the Pi on hot equipment.

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1.23 Audio or video dropouts on HDMI

  • If the dropouts only occur when playing video with "adjust display refresh rate to match video" enabled, then try adding hdmi_clock_change_limit=20 to config.txt
  • If the dropouts occur when cpu is busy (e.g. scrolling through library) then an insufficient power supply is most likely.
  • If the dropouts occur randomly, or you have interference visible, then try config_hdmi_boost from here