Raspberry Pi Home Media Centre [gav-pi3] [gav-pi5]

Pi2 inside FLIRC Case

After owning a Raspberry Pi2 for quite some time, it wasn't until my Pi3 arrived, that I decided to upgrade the home media centre from my original B model to the Pi2. After seeing the difference, I wished that I'd done it much sooner as the user interface is far slicker.

There are several ways to use a Raspberry Pi as a media centre, but since I only have two simple requirements:

  1. Kodi
  2. Music Player Daemon (MPD)

Then the easiest way to get these up and running is with OpenELEC. MPD allows me to play music through my amplifier without having to turn the TV on, controlled from a PC / phone / tablet.

Kodi itself allows me to watch any videos that I have on the network, show photos, and more importantly get the likes of iPlayer, 4OD, YouTube and Ted Talks on my telly since it is a pre-Internet telly. It can also play the same music that MPD does, but with visualisations!

Kodi has exclusive use of the HDMI for video and audio.

Fanmusic FM-6011

I originally gave MPD exclusive use of the audio stereo jack. However, after getting my Marantz NR1504 A/V Receiver, I noticed a massive difference in the sound quality of the same FLAC played through MPD -> stereo jack -> analogue amplifier input and Kodi -> HDMI -> digital input on amplifier (or indeed the amplifier reading the FLAC directly). So, I bought myself one of these: a Fanmusic FM-6011 USB S/PDIF adaptor. Now I have digital FLAC all the way to the DAC inside the amplifier... it sounds much better now!

Logitech diNovo Mini

I've also got a cracking wee keyboard / mouse gadget for it for those times when the TV remote control just won't cut it.

Kodi is set up to NFS mount all of the media from within the programme. However, to get all of the media from the server for MPD, I've mounted my NFS export directly into the filesystem. If you want to store music directly on the Pi, then skip step 7a below.

It was extremely simple to set up...

  1. Plug an SDHC card into desktop PC (or laptop).
  2. Download and install OpenELEC to the card.
  3. Plug the SDHC card into the Raspberry Pi and power up, letting it re-size the SD card and then reboot.
  4. Enable the OpenELEC unofficial repository: System -> Add-ons -> Install from repository -> OpenELEC Add-ons (official) -> Add-on repository -> OpenELEC Add-ons (unofficial)
  5. Install the Music Player Daemon: System -> Add-ons -> Install from repository -> OpenELEC Add-ons (unofficial) -> Services -> mpd
  6. Install as many add-ons as you like to Kodi. The SuperReop has literally thousands of them!
  7. From the desktop PC, SSH into the Raspberry Pi and do the following:
    1. Set up a mount service to locate music on your network.
    2. Edit the MPD configuration (note that there are actually two versions in different locations for some reason, but this is the one you want):
      nano ~/.kodi/userdata/addon_data/service.multimedia.mpd/config/mpd.conf
      The things that you'll want to change are the "music_directory" and an "audio_output" - I used the ALSA example to produce this:
      audio_output {
        type "alsa"
        name "S/PDIF -> Amp"
        device "hw:1,0"
        format "44100:16:2"
        mixer_type "none"
      }
      However, if you're using the stereo socket on the Pi, you'll want:
      audio_output {
        type "alsa"
        name "Stereo -> Amp"
        device "hw:0,0"
        format "44100:16:2"
        mixer_type "none"
      }
    3. Reboot the Pi (to start MPD)
  8. Sit back and play / watch / listen!

Specifications

Case: FLIRC with Pimoroni's Omni VESA mount
Board: Rapsberry Pi 3 (version 1.2)
SoC: Broadcom BCM2837
CPU: 64-bit Quad-core (ARM Cortex-A53, ARMv8-A arch) @ 1.2Ghz
GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV@ 400 MHz
RAM: 1GiByte LPDDR2 SDRAM
Storage: Sandisk Ultra, class 10 (8GByte SDHC)
Bluetooth: BlueNext BN-01 (v2.0 + EDR)
External Sound: Fanmusic FM-6011 USB S/PDIF adaptor
Monitor: Sony KDL-37W5500 (LCD TV)
Keyboard / Mouse: Logitech diNovo Mini

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[ Page last updated Sun 18th Feb 2018 | viewed 692 times ]