Kodi

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Kodi (formerly known as XBMC) is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OSX, Windows, iOS and Android, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. These can all be played directly from a CD/DVD, or from the hard-drive. Kodi can also play multimedia from a computer over a local network (LAN), or play media streams directly from the Internet. It can also be used to play and record live TV using a tuner, a backend server and a PVR plugin; more information about this can be found on the Kodi wiki.

Installation

The official stable release can be installed via the kodi package. Alternatively, recent alpha, beta, or RC builds are available from kodi-pre-releaseAUR. Be sure to review/install optional dependencies listed by pacman to enable additional functionality.

All of the official addons in the kodi-addons group are disabled by default and need to be enabled in Kodi's addon menu after installation.

Running

The kodi package supplies two binaries for two different use cases:

  1. /usr/bin/kodi is meant to be run by any user on an on-demand basis. Use it like any other program on the system.
  2. /usr/bin/kodi-standalone is meant to be run as the only graphical application, for example on a HTPC. See #Running standalone for more information.

Running standalone

Using standalone mode is advantageous for several reasons:

  1. The default kodi user is unprivileged and cannot access a shell.
  2. When paired with a systemd unit (or equivalent, see below), this setup makes the box on which kodi is running more like an appliance.
Warning: Select only one of the methods listed below.

kodi-standalone service

The kodi-standalone-serviceAUR package provides kodi.service and automatically creates the unprivileged user to run Kodi in standalone mode. Although the correct driver is an assumed dependency, no extra Xorg packages are needed.

Start kodi.service and enable it to run at boot time.

Note:
  • If kodi.service fails to start, see Xorg#Rootless Xorg.
  • The home directory for the created kodi user is /var/lib/kodi/.

Xsession with LightDM

Note:
  • This assumes that a kodi user named kodi is on the system and that the following file is present as described.
  • lightdm does not pull in an X server as a required dependency, it is optional. The X server listed as an optional dependency (xorg-server-xephyr) does not work when run as root by lightdm.service (FS#52067, LightDM Bug 852577). Install xorg-server.

To use LightDM with automatic login, see LightDM#Enabling autologin and LightDM#Enabling interactive passwordless login. Kodi includes kodi.desktop as xsession.

/etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf
[Seat:seat0]
pam-service=lightdm-autologin
autologin-user=kodi
autologin-user-timeout=0
user-session=kodi

Socket activation

Socket activation can be used to start Kodi when the user starts a remote control app or on a connection to Kodi's html control port. Start listening by starting kodi@user.socket (replace user with the user running Kodi to be started as).

There are no packaged kodi@.socket and kodi@.socket files, one must create them manually. Depending on the setup, one can optionally change the port in kodi@.socket.

/etc/systemd/system/kodi@.service
# This fails if the user does not have an X session.
[Unit]
Description=Launch Kodi on main display
Conflicts=kodi.socket

[Service]
Type=simple
Environment=DISPLAY=:0.0
Nice=-1
ExecStart=/usr/bin/su %i /usr/bin/kodi
ExecStopPost=/usr/bin/systemctl --no-block start kodi@%i.socket

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target
/etc/systemd/system/kodi@.socket
[Unit]
Conflicts=kodi@%i.service

[Socket]
# listen for WOL packets
#ListenDatagram=9

# change this to Kodi's http control port
ListenStream=8082

[Install]
WantedBy=sockets.target

Start from remote control with LIRC / irexec

Kodi can be configured to start via a key press. Users will need kodi-standalone-serviceAUR and lirc. This can be useful on setups running 24/7 and having kodi up on demand.

See the corresponding LIRC article and create a functional setup with a remote. Also, the package kodi-standalone-serviceAUR has to be installed.

Generate the file /var/lib/kodi/.lircrc with the following content:

/var/lib/kodi/.lircrc
begin
prog = irexec
remote = devinput
button = KEY_MEDIA
config = pgrep kodi-standalone || /usr/bin/kodi-standalone -l /run/lirc/lircd
repeat = 0
end

Adopt button to whatever button on the remote is to start Kodi. One can use irw (see LIRC#Usage) to find out the correct values for remote and button.

Create a drop-in for kodi.service:

/etc/systemd/system/kodi.service.d/lirc.conf
[Service]
ExecStart =
ExecStart = /usr/bin/irexec

Start kodi.service and enable it to run at boot time.

Using a remote control

As Kodi is geared toward being a remote-controlled media center via an official app, physical remote control, or USB/bluetooth keyboard/mouse.

Using the Android or iOS app

Both Android and iOS users can use the official app (currently free of charge) to control kodi once it is correctly setup to do so. Steps to configure both Kodi and the app are detailed on the Official Kodi Remote page.

Using a physical remote control

Any PC with a supported IR receiver/remote, can use LIRC or even kernel supported modules to drive it. Configuring specific remotes with lirc is covered on the LIRC article.

To work properly with Kodi, a file that maps the lirc events to Kodi keypresses is needed. Create an XML file at ~/.kodi/userdata/Lircmap.xml (note the capital 'L').

Note: Users running Kodi started with kodi-standalone-serviceAUR will find the kodi user's home (~) under /var/lib/kodi/ and should substitute this in for the shortcut above. Also make sure that if creating this file as the root user, it gets proper ownership as kodi:kodi when finished.

Lircmap.xml format is as follows:

<lircmap>
  <remote device="devicename">
      <XBMC_button>LIRC_button</XBMC_button>
      ...
  </remote>
</lircmap>
  • Device Name is whatever LIRC calls the remote. This is set using the Name directive in lircd.conf and can be viewed by running irw and pressing a few buttons on the remote. IRW will report the name of the button pressed and the name of the remote will appear on the end of the line.
  • XBMC_button is the name of the button as defined in keymap.xml.
  • LIRC_button is the name as defined in lircd.conf. If lircd.conf was autogenerated using irrecord, these are the names selected for the buttons. Refer back to LIRC for more information.
  • A very thorough LIRC page hosted on the Kodi Wiki should be consulted for more help and information on this subject as this is out of scope of this article.

HDMI-CEC

With a supported USB-CEC adapter, Kodi can be used to automatically turn on and off the TV and other home theater equipment. Volume control from Kodi can be sent to a supported amplifier, one can manage DVD or Blu-Ray players from inside Kodi, and redirect the active source on the TV to whichever equipment needs it, all from one remote control. For more information see the official Kodi wiki page on CEC and libCEC FAQ.

Install libcec.

Tango-view-fullscreen.pngThis article or section needs expansion.Tango-view-fullscreen.png

Reason: Add reference for the need to add users to these groups. (Discuss in Talk:Kodi#)

When connected, the USB-CEC's /dev entry (usually /dev/ttyACM*) will default to being owned by the uucp group, so in order to use the device the user running Kodi needs to belong to that group. The user also needs to belong to the lock group, otherwise Kodi will be unable to connect to the device. See Users and groups#Group management for instructions on how to add users to groups.

Note: Trying to use the USB-CEC without belonging to above groups may lead to problems, including Kodi crashes, so make sure the correct user belongs to both groups.

Sharing media and a centralized database across multiple nodes

If multiple PCs on the same network are running Kodi, they can be configured to share a single media library (video and music). The advantage of this is media and key metadata are stored in one place, and are shared/updated by all nodes on the network. For example, users of this setup can:

  • Stop watching a movie or show in one room then finish watching it in another room automatically.
  • Share watched and unwatched status for media on all nodes.
  • Simplify the setup with only a single library to maintain.

As well, the media itself can be located in one space thus allowing a lighter footprint of client systems (ie no need for large HDD space).

Several things are needed for this to work:

  • Network exposed media (via protocols that Kodi can read, e.g. NFS or Samba).
  • A MySQL server.
Warning: When sharing a database, ALL clients need to be on the same major version of Kodi due to versioned requirements of the database schema. Refer to this table for a list of database versions.
Note: The following guide is only an example of one configuration and is not meant to be limiting but illustrative. Key steps are shown but a detailed discussion is not offered.

These assumptions are used for the guide, substitute as needed:

  • The media is located under following mount points: /mnt/shows /mnt/movies /mnt/music.
  • The network addresses of all nodes are within the 192.168.0.* subnet range.
  • The IP address of the machine running both the NFS exports and the MySQL database is 192.168.0.105.
  • Each Kodi box is referred to as a node.
  • The Linux user running Kodi is 'kodi' on all nodes.

For additional info, refer to the official Kodi wiki.

NFS server export example

This section provides an example using exports, see NFS for install and usage.

Note: Users only need one box on the LAN to serve the content, therefore, do not repeat this for each node. The following example assumes the user is running Arch Linux, but any NFS server will work, be it Linux or BSD, etc.

Create an empty directory in NFS root for each media directory to be shared. E.g.:

# mkdir -p /srv/nfs/{shows,movies,music}

Bind mount the media directories to the empty directories in /srv/nfs/.

Setup exports:

/etc/exports.d/kodi.exports
/srv/nfs          192.168.0.0/24(ro,fsid=0,no_subtree_check)
/srv/nfs/shows    192.168.0.0/24(ro,no_subtree_check,insecure)
/srv/nfs/movies   192.168.0.0/24(ro,no_subtree_check,insecure)
/srv/nfs/music    192.168.0.0/24(ro,no_subtree_check,insecure)

Install and setup the MySQL server

See MariaDB for installation and configuration instructions.

To create a database for Kodi, use the following commands:

$ mysql -u root -p
   <<enter the mysqld root password assigned in the first step>>
MariaDB [(none)]> CREATE USER 'kodi' IDENTIFIED BY 'kodi';
MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT ALL ON *.* TO 'kodi';
MariaDB [(none)]> flush privileges;
MariaDB [(none)]> \q

Setup Kodi to use the MySQL library and the NFS exports

Since this example makes use of NFS shares, an optional dependency of Kodi is now required to access them. Ensure that each of the Kodi nodes has libnfs installed.

Setup Kodi to use the common MySQL database

To tell Kodi to use the common database, insure that Kodi is not running, then create the following file:

~/.kodi/userdata/advancedsettings.xml
<advancedsettings>
  <videodatabase>
    <type>mysql</type>
    <host>192.168.0.105</host>
    <port>3306</port>
    <user>kodi</user>
    <pass>kodi</pass>
  </videodatabase>

  <musicdatabase>
    <type>mysql</type>
    <host>192.168.0.105</host>
    <port>3306</port>
    <user>kodi</user>
    <pass>kodi</pass>
  </musicdatabase>

  <videolibrary>
    <importwatchedstate>true</importwatchedstate>
    <importresumepoint>true</importresumepoint>
  </videolibrary>
</advancedsettings>
Tip: If using kodi-standalone-serviceAUR, the default for the profile is /var/lib/kodi/.kodi and be sure to chown the newly created file to the kodi user and group, i.e. chown -R kodi:kodi /var/lib/kodi

Setup network shares

Load Kodi and define the network shares that correspond to the exports by browsing to the following within the interface Video > Files > Add Videos > Browse > Network Filesystem(NFS).

After a few seconds, the IP address corresponding to the NFS server should appear.

Select /srv/nfs/shows from the list of share and then OK from the menu on the right. Assign this share the category of TV Shows to setup the appropriate scraper and to populate the MySQL database with the correct metadata.

Repeat this browsing process for the "movies" and "music" and then exit Kodi once properly configured. At this point, the MySQL tables should have been created.

Note: Even if Kodi is running on the same box that is also running the NFS exports and MySQL server, one must setup the media using the nfs shares only.

Cloning the configuration to other nodes on the network

To set up another Kodi node on the network to use this library, simply copy ~/.kodi/userdata/advancedsettings.xml to that box and restart Kodi. There is NO need to copy any other files or to do any other setup steps on the new kodi node. The nfs exports, the metadata for the programming, any stop/start times, view status, etc. are all stored in the MySQL tables.

Note: One can optionally define other media sources that are not managed by kodi database, but they will be specific to that particular node.

Tips and Tricks

Keep a log of what is watched

Keep track of every video watched on kodi with kodi-loggerAUR.

Speedup video playback (synchronized audio and video) up to 1.5x

To enable speed-up and slow-down with audio/video sync (0.8x - 1.5x) do the following:

  • Create the following file that will map the [ and ] keys to the tempo down and tempo up actions, respectively:
~/.kodi/userdata/keymaps/custom.xml
<keymap>
  <FullscreenVideo>
    <keyboard>
      <opensquarebracket>PlayerControl(tempodown)</opensquarebracket>
      <closesquarebracket>PlayerControl(tempoup)</closesquarebracket>
    </keyboard>
  </FullscreenVideo>
  <VideoMenu>
    <keyboard>
      <opensquarebracket>PlayerControl(tempodown)</opensquarebracket>
      <closesquarebracket>PlayerControl(tempoup)</closesquarebracket>
    </keyboard>
  </VideoMenu>
</keymap>
  • Restart kodi which will read in these changes.
  • Navigate to System > Player > Videos > Playback and enable "Sync playback to display" option.

Play some video content and enjoy the ability to adjust the speed using the keys discussed above.

CLI tool for kodi

A powerful CLI tool for use with kodi is texturecacheAUR. Users can accomplish many tasks from library management to querying what is currently playing.

Hardware video acceleration

Enable and configure Hardware video acceleration to speed up playback performance.

Restart Kodi and enable the hardware backend(s) in Playback under Settings.

Adjusting CD/DVD drive speed

The eject program from the util-linux package does a nice job for this, but its setting is cleared as soon as the media is changed.

This udev-rule reduces the speed permanently:

/etc/udev/rules.d/dvd-speed.rules
KERNEL=="sr0", ACTION=="change", ENV{DISK_MEDIA_CHANGE}=="1", RUN+="/usr/bin/eject -x 2 /dev/sr0"

Replace sr0 with the device name of the optical drive. Replace -x 2 with -x 4 if the preference is 4x-speed instead of 2x-speed.

After creating the file, reload the udev rules with

# udevadm control --reload

Use port 80 for webserver

Kodi has a webservice that allows interaction through a web-interface. By default, it uses port 8080 as 80 requires root privileges. Use the following to permit it to use low port numbers:

# setcap 'cap_net_bind_service=+ep' /usr/lib/kodi/kodi.bin

Restart Kodi and set port 80 in the configuration menu (Services > Webserver > Port).

Using ALSA

If PulseAudio does not work properly, try using ALSA directly by starting Kodi with the AE_SINK=ALSA environment variable. The Kodi wiki for NUC devices provides instructions

If using kodi-standalone, change the APP variable in /usr/bin/kodi-standalone to

APP="${bindir}/pasuspender -- env AE_SINK=ALSA ${bindir}/${bin_name} --standalone $@"

Audio Passthrough

To allow the receiver to decode the audio by enabling passthrough. This is useful for files encoded in TrueHD or Atmos. If using PulseAudio, follow the instructions at https://kodi.wiki/view/PulseAudio to first enable passthrough in PulseAudio. Then the passthrough options will appear in Kodi. If using ALSA, the passthrough options will appear in Kodi without modifications.

Warning: PulseAudio requires the output in Kodi to be set to 2 channel. Audio encoded in formats not passed through will only be sent as stereo audio. Use ALSA to support passthrough and passing decoded surround audio signals
Note: PulseAudio does not support TrueHD, DTS-MA, or Atmos passthrough. Use ALSA to pass these to through the receiver.

Fix for delayed startup on wifi

If running with WiFi only (wired network unplugged) while #Sharing media and a centralized database across multiple nodes, kodi will likely start before the wireless network is up, which will result in failure to connect to the shares and to the mysql server. Assuming the network is managed by the default systemd-networkd, this can be fixed by using two Systemd#Drop-in files, one for kodi.service and another for systemd-networkd-wait-online.service:

# systemctl edit systemd-networkd-wait-online.service
[Service]
ExecStart=
ExecStart=/usr/lib/systemd/systemd-networkd-wait-online --ignore eth0
# systemctl edit kodi
[Unit]
After=remote-fs.target network-online.target
Wants=network-online.target

Run kodi in a window manager

Users running kodi in a Window manager may see a black screen at exit. To fix this, try switching to another tty. A possible solution is to run kodi with this script (running as the root user):

kodi.sh
#!/bin/bash
kodi-standalone
sudo chvt 2 
sleep 1
sudo chvt 1

To make sure that sudo does not ask for password for chvt add this line to sudoers file:

/etc/sudoers
UserNameHere ALL=NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/chvt

USB DAC not working

Users of USB DAC/sound cards may experience distorted sound/clicks/pops or no sound at all when selecting it from Audio settings. A possible fix:

Open guisettings.xml (it should be under /var/lib/kodi/.kodi/userdata/ if using the supplied kodi.service) and change

<processquality default="true">101</processquality>

to

<processquality default="false">100</processquality>

Troubleshooting

Accessing Kodi logs

In case of an error the first point to start investigation can be ~/.kodi/temp/kodi.log.

Fullscreen mode stretches Kodi across multiple displays

For a multi-monitor setup, Kodi may default to stretching across all screens. One can restrict the fullscreen mode to one display by setting the environment variable SDL_VIDEO_FULLSCREEN_HEAD to the number of the desired target display. For example, having Kodi show up on display 0, add the following line to the Kodi user's ~/.bashrc configuration:

SDL_VIDEO_FULLSCREEN_HEAD=0
Note: Mouse cursor will be held inside screen with Kodi.

Video tearing on Intel HD Graphics

Users observing tearing when watching a movie try this: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=176651

Try a different X11 compositor like compton as an alternative with Xfce which reduces video tearing. There is no essential need to install the intel driver. A tutorial how to configure compton with Xfce can be found here.

Soft subtitles not displaying

The ffmpeg package is used to extract the subtitles.

H.264 playback is using only a single core

Tip: By default, press O during playback to show codec information and CPU usage. More information about this overlay can be found at https://kodi.wiki/view/Codecinfo.

If the hardware does not or cannot make use of acceleration, disable it and explicitly set video decoding to software. This is because H.264 decoding is only multithreaded when video decoding is set to software.

To achieve this, go to System Settings > Video. Set the settings level to Advanced or Expert. Then go to Acceleration and set Decoding method to software.

Kodi hangs on exit, fully occupying one CPU core, UI unresponsive

This problem can arise with third-party plugins installed, there is some issue with their termination[1],[2].

Workaround: find proper UI description file (DialogButtonMenu.xml) and tweak exit button type from internal Kodi's Quit() function call to sending signal from outside system to Kodi. Here is one-liner that makes modifications to any skin from the default Kodi package:

# find /usr/share/kodi/addons/skin.* -name DialogButtonMenu.xml -exec sed -i 's%<onclick>Quit()</onclick>%<onclick>System.Exec ("killall --signal SIGHUP kodi.bin")</onclick>%' {} \;

See also