Tech: How to setup your media centre on Kodi

Oct 22, 2015, 07:55 IST | Hassan M Kamal

Whether you are on Windows, Android, Mac or Linux, the open source media centre app, Kodi, presents a great way to organise all your media files and build your media library. Here's how

  This has been in the pipeline for a while. During our three-part special series on add-on devices to help turn your standard LED/LCD TV into a Smart TV or PC, we had promised a special guide on how to use the Intel Compute Stick (iBall Splendo and Panache Air PC) or any other Windows Device and Android boxes such as the iRevo Smart TV and Smart PC boxes to build your own personal media library. For this, we will be using the open source media centre app, Kodi by XBMC. The app is available for free download and helps arrange all your locally stored audios, videos and pictures in an easy to use interface. So here it is:

On Windows OS (iBall Splendo and Panache Air PC) and Android OS (iRevo Smart PC and Smart TV)

Before we set out, let’s do a check on whether you have all the required accessories to run and install Kodi. You will need:

1) An external hard disk (we used a 1TB hard disk with our movies and TV shows in it). Also make sure you store all your media files in different folders, say films in a Movies folder, TV shows in a TV Shows folder, songs in a Music folder, etc. Also, it's advised to check the names and spellings of all the files, so that it’s easier for Kodi to search for the metadata of those files.

2) A wireless mouse and keyboard or a Microsoft remote controller (the latter requires a few tweaks and understanding of Windows system, but there are plenty of online tutorials to get you through)

3) A Wi-Fi setup (since the iRevo Smart PC/TV come with an Ethernet port, you can use it to setup a Wi-Fi network as well. Read the user manual to setup an Ethernet connection).

4) If you have more than one drive or USB devices, you should be able to add them using an external USB hub. Though, there are plenty of cheap USB-powered USB hubs in the market, we would recommend, a good quality self-powered USB hubs. The USB-powered hubs drain power from the device, and can overload it, whereas self-powered USB hubs, though costs extra, are safer for the device as they are powered externally and do not put extra burden on the device.

Once, you have all the required accessories, follow the steps mentioned below:

STEP 1: Attach the USB adapter that came along with keyboard and mouse to the PC-On-Stick, and then turn on the device. Once you have finished the initial setup of the Windows OS, log on to your home Wi-Fi network, and then visit on your browser. (If you are using the iBall Splendo, and you want to use Windows 10, we recommend updating the device to Windows 10 before going ahead with the installation of Kodi). Download the latest 32-bit stable version of the app, and then click on it to install. Follow the default settings. For the iRevo Smart PC or Smart TV, you can download the Kodi app directly from the Google Play Store.

STEP 2: Post installation, connect your external hard disk to the large USB port on the stick PC. In iRevo Smart PC and Smart TV box plug it to any of the USB ports at the back. You should be able to attach more external USB storage devices to the device using a USB hub. Now, launch the Kodi app.

STEP 3: The next step is to add all the sources of media files in Kodi. Scroll through the menu and open Videos. It will open a new Window with the options — Files, Playlists and Video Add-ons. Click on Files and then select Add Videos. It will open a new window. Select Browse and then browse to the Movies folder in your portable disk. Select OK button. If you want to change the name of the media folder, you can change it here. Select OK. Now, right click on the newly added video (in Android press for a few seconds) to bring out the options menu. Now, select Set Content to open the Set Conent Window. Here, you are required to tell what kind of media is present in the folder. Select from the list. Click OK. Press Yes to scan the media.

Repeat the method to add your TV Shows and Other Videos folder into the library. You can see your TV shows and movies arranged alphabetically with details about the director, year of making, studio and title cover of the film. Repeat the same step by adding your music under the Music tab in Kodi. Congratulations, you have your own personal media centre, ready to go.

STEP 4: Now, to play a file already added in the library. Visit either of the media tabs — Photos, Music or Videos, and select the file you want to play. You should also be able to see some of the latest media files in the home page of the respective tabs.

STEP 5: Sometimes, however, you may want to play a movie file from a pen drive. To access files on your pen drive, you need to add it as a source. To do that, go to Settings on the Home page. Click on File Manager. It will open a new Window with two sections called A and B. Under A, click on Add Source and select the Pen Drive. Once you have added the Pen Drive, you will be able to access all files in it by going to File Manager in Settings.

NOTE: Kodi can also be set to function as PVR to record shows on TV, but it's a complicated process. To know more about how to use Kodi, to install other gadgets or to boot directly to Kodi app, visit the guide, recommends users to check the legality of any downloads made via Kodi, to ensure that you do not end up breaking the law in the process.

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