Raspberry Pi Kodi Quick Start Guide

Would you like to run Kodi on Raspberry Pi? If so you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re going to show you how to configure a new Raspberry Pi 3 to run Kodi. Better yet you will be up and running in just a few minutes. Follow our guide step by step for the best results. We’re going to start with a brief explanation of Kodi and Raspberry Pi for those new to the topics. You can skip to the install guide if you don’t need the primer.


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IPVanish Kodi

What is Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi is a small computer than can fit in your pocket. The Pi was developed in the UK to help students learn more about computers. It has since spread around the world as enthusiasts find new ways to use the popular device. We will be using a Raspberry Pi 3 for our guide.

What is Kodi?

Kodi is an open-source media player developed by the XBMC foundation. It allows you to install add-ons to access content around the world. The team changed the name from XBMC to Kodi in case you used it in the past. Other applications including Plex and MediaPortal found their beginnings in the popular project. Custom operating systems like OpenElec and LibreElec are the key to running Kodi on Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Hardware Checklist

Before we look at installing Kodi, let’s make sure you have all the elements necessary to get off the ground running. We’ll start with the hardware required to get started. We recommend purchasing a Raspberry Pi package to give you everything you need. Here are a couple options. Both are available through Amazon. We recommend the first package.

  • Raspberry Pi 3 with 32 GB SD card + HDMI cable – $69.99 on Amazon
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit (No SD or HDMI) – $49.99 on Amazon
  • Note: if you get an SD card with more than 32 GB of memory you will need to format it with FAT32 file system to get Raspberry Pi to recognize it.

Kodi Raspberry PiMake sure you have the following hardware on hand:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 board with power cord
  • Case (optional but highly recommended)
  • Micro SD card (we recommend 16 GB or higher)
  • Keyboard and mouse (connect via USB)
  • Computer monitor or television

Download and Install Kodi on Raspberry Pi

There are a number of operating systems you can use with Raspberry Pi. The Noobs Raspbian OS is a good choice for technical enthusiasts who want to learn more about the Pi. It’s a good starter OS, but not the one we’re going to use for Kodi. The reason being that there’s an easier way. You can use OpenElec or LibreElec to quickly access Kodi on your Raspberry device. We will be using OpenElec with support for VPN.

Step 1 – Format your SD memory card

The first step is to format the SD card. The process depends the memory size of the card you are using. If you have a SDHC card (32 GB or less) then you can use the SD Card Formatter tool. If you went with an SDXC card (64 GB or higher) then you need to use the Fat 32 Format tool. Otherwise the SD Card Formatter will set your SDXC card to exFAT which isn’t supported by Raspberry.

  • Format SDHC card (32 GB or less)

Download the SD Card Formatter tool and install it on your laptop. Now insert your SDHC card and launch the program. You will want to click on the Option button and set the Format Size Adjustment setting to “On“. Then click OK. Make sure the drive letter listed in the program matches the one assigned to your SD card and click Format.

SDFormatter

  • Format SDXC card (64 GB or higher)

If you are using an SD card with a memory size of 64 GB or higher then it’s critical you use a different tool to format the card. The reason being that Raspberry Pi only supports Fat32 file system. Since SDFormatter does not allow you to format cards larger than 32 GB with Fat32, you will want to download and install the Fat 32 Format tool. You can use the command line utility or download the Windows GUI version.

Step 2 – Download OpenElec with Kodi

The next step is to download the OpenElec operating system. OpenElec is a custom OS with Kodi built in. You can visit the OpenElec.tv website to download the latest files.

OpenElec download

We downloaded the disks image for the Raspberry Pi3 model B+ 512MB and recommend you do the same if running a Raspberry Pi 2 or Raspberry Pi 3 device. Once you have the files downloaded to your system we will look at how to save the disk image to your newly formatted SD card. This will in turn install Kodi on your Raspberry Pi.

Step 3 – Install OpenElec with Kodi on Raspberry Pi

Now that you have the OpenElec disk image, the next step is to use 7zip to extract the disk image. You can refer to this guide if you want assistance using 7zip to extract the image.

Extract Openelec image with 7zip

Once you have the OpenElec image file extracted, you will want to write the image to your SD card. You can use Win32 Disk Manager to take care of this task.

OpenElec disk image

To write the image to your SD memory card, simply click on the blue folder icon and select the image file. Make sure the device is set to the drive letter that matches your SD card and click on Write to save the image. Slip the SD card into your Raspberry Pi and fire it up. The OpenElec OS will launch you directly into Kodi.


Want to take things a step further? You can install add-ons just as you would on any Kodi device. See the right side bar of this page or any of the sections linked at the top of the page to learn more about all the popular add-ons available for Kodi. Here’s a list with some of our favorites. Click on any add-on to view a full guide.

If you don’t want to install individual add-ons, then perhaps you would like to use a build. This can get a little more complicated when using Raspberry Pi. If you prefer using a build then you need to keep Raspberry Pi’s resources in mind and select an appropriate build. We recommend some of the same builds that are popular for Firestick users.

We installed the Orroo Fire Stick build and it worked well on Raspberry Pi. It wasn’t perfect but we were able to access some of our favorite Kodi add-ons with the build. Here’s a quick look at Orroo running on our Pi.

Raspberry Pi Kodi

The last step that everyone should consider is using a VPN. Whether you plan to use Kodi on Raspberry Pi, Android, or any other device, we recommend using a VPN. A quality VPN like IPVanish will help protect your privacy and unblock geo-restrictions.