Use OSMC to turn your Raspberry Pi into a media center! Watch your videos, listen to your music, view your photos, and take advantage of Kodi’s huge library of add-ons!
This guide was completed using a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with OSMC Release 2019.04-1.
The OSMC (Open Source Media Center) is a free and open source operating system based on Debian Linux and The Kodi Project. It’s a very cool, feature-rich OS with great community support. It’s also easy to use! This guide will show you step-by-step how to get going with your own Raspberry Pi powered media center.
There is a bit of setup needed to get OSMC up and running. If you get stuck at any time, please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected]. More information can be found at the OSMC wiki page and from the OSMC Community.
What is Kodi? Kodi is an award-winning free and open-source media player application. You can think of OSMC as an operating system that brings Kodi to your Raspberry Pi with a stylish and easy to use interface.
What is an Add-on? Add-ons for OSMC are a lot like apps on your phone. They bring added features and functionality to your media center. OSMC has its own add-ons and is also compatible with Kodi’s huge library of add-ons, right out of the box!
What is a Repository? A repository is the storage location where add-ons can be found and installed from (kind of like the app store on your phone). OSMC comes with the Kodi repository by default and has the functionality to add others too.
What you will need to make an OSMC Media Center:
- Raspberry Pi (latest board, 3B+ Recommended)
- Good Quality Power Supply (5V 2.4A)
- MicroSD Card, Class 10, 16GB/32GB/64GB, Blank or preloaded with NOOBS / OSMC
- HDMI Cable
- USB Keyboard (we like this mini keyboard and mouse combo)
- (Recommended) A Remote
- (Recommended) Raspberry Pi Case
- (Recommended) Heatsinks
- (Optional) A microSD card reader (essential if starting with a blank microSD card)
- (Optional) A USB stick (for storing and transferring your media files)
- (Optional) An Ethernet cable (if not using onboard WiFi)
Our Media Center kits (Basic, Plus, and Ultimate) come with everything you need to get started with OSMC! Best of all, they come with a preloaded microSD card with OSMC – with it, you can skip right past the installation section of this guide!
- A Television or Computer Monitor (with HDMI)
- (Recommended) Speakers (essential if your screen doesn’t have Audio)
- A PC (to transfer your media files)
There are three ways to install OSMC.
Option 1 lets you create a bootable OSMC image on your microSD card with OSMC’s software and is good for beginners. If you’re already familiar with creating images for the Raspberry Pi, see Option 2. If you have a microSD card preloaded with NOOBS, see Option 3.
If you already have a preloaded microSD card with OSMC, you can skip this section.
Option 1: OSMC Installer
Step 1: Download the OSMC Installer
Visit https://osmc.tv/download/ and select the installation version for your PC’s operating system.
Download and run the installer.
Step 2: Create a bootable OSMC image
On the welcome screen, you will be prompted to select your language and what you would like to install the image on (select Raspberry Pi 2/3). Click the arrow to proceed.
Next you will be asked to select the version you’d like to install. Choose the latest one.
Next, you will be asked where to install the image. Choose “on an SD card”.
In the next steps, you will be asked to configure how you would like OSMC to connect to the internet. Select wireless unless you will be using an Ethernet cable.
For wireless configuration, most home networks will be configured with WPA/WPA2 PSK and will require your network’s name (SSID) and password (Key). Don’t worry too much about making a mistake in this step; you can always fix your configuration later.
For device selection, carefully select the drive letter of your microSD card. You can find this in your computer’s file browser.
Accept the End User License Agreement
The installer will now create a bootable OSMC image on your microSD card.
Option 2: Manual Install
Step 1: Download the image from OSMC
Visit https://osmc.tv/download/ and scroll down to the bottom of the page to the “Disk images” button.
Click on it and a list of available releases will appear. You will want to select and download the latest image for Raspberry Pi 2 / 3 / 3+:
(Optional) Compare the md5 sum (in Windows it is under Properties > File Hashes).
Step 2: Write the image to a microSD card
Insert your microSD card into your PC using a microSD card reader.
Download and install Balena Etcher: https://www.balena.io/etcher/
Run Balena Etcher, carefully select the downloaded OSMC image and the microSD card. Click Flash (an administrative popup may appear)
The program will let you know when the Flash is successful.
Option 3: From NOOBS or NOOBS lite
Since May 2015, OSMC has been available on NOOBS and NOOBS lite as a network installation. Simply boot it up in your Raspberry Pi (see the assembly instructions in the next section below), connect to your wireless network (w) or plug in an Ethernet cable, select OSMC from the operating system list, and hit install (i). Once the installation completes, you’ll automatically reboot into OSMC. More information can be found in the official NOOBS documentation.
If you’re using heatsinks, install them on the board. If you’re using a case, the microSD card may need to be inserted into the Raspberry Pi either before or after assembly, depending on the specific model of case. Next, plug in your peripherals; USB keyboard (and remote if you’re using one), HDMI cable, and lastly the power supply. You should see the OSMC splash page come alive on your screen.
Step 1: Your First Boot Preferences
On your first boot, you will be greeted by the OSMC splash screen. OSMC will then begin formatting and installing itself. It will then load into its Welcome screen. From here, you choose your preferences:
- Select your language
- Select your timezone
- Name your device (or choose the default name, OSMC)
- Enable SSH (recommended)
- Accept the license agreement
- Connect to the Internet
- Choose your preferred theme (we used OSMC in this guide)
- Sign up for the mailing list (optional)
Step 2: View or Edit your Network Settings
You should have set up your network settings in the last step, but you can update them if needed.
To view your network settings, from the main menu go to “Settings”, “System info”, and then “Network”. You’ll want to write down your IP address for the next steps.
To change your network settings, from the main menu go to “My OSMC”, and then “Network”.
From here there are tabs for “Wired” (for those using an Ethernet cable), or “Wireless” (for WiFi users). Both of these screens will allow you to Enable or Disable an adapter, show you your IP addressing information, and give you the network’s Status. From here, you can also manually set your preferred IP addressing configuration (DHCP or Static).
The “Wireless” menu will show you the networks available to connect to. If you haven’t already, choose your connection and enter your password at the prompt.
Step 3: Try the Web Interface
By default, OSMC will install and enable the Kodi web interface. This a really cool way to control your media center from another device. You can access it from a browser using your Raspberry Pi’s IP address in the format http://x.x.x.x (see the Network Settings step above if you need to view or make a change to your IP).
Add your Media
It wouldn’t be a media center without media! Add your own movies, songs, and photos to OSMC with one of these two methods.
While going through these instructions, it may be helpful to picture the different source menus in OSMC as being like a file structure on a PC.
To make your transferred files display correctly in the OSMC menu, you’ll have to link the source folders to their respective menus. From the main menu, go to “Settings”, then “Media”. Underneath “Manage Sources” in the right panel you’ll see three categories (Videos, Music, and Pictures). Apply the following steps to all of them:
- Click on the category and select “Add videos/music/pictures”.
- Select “Browse”, then “Home folder”, select the sources from the list below, and select OK (keeping the defaults) to add them to the menu. For Videos, you’ll have to go through the process twice to add both sources.
◦ For Videos, add “Movies” and “TV Shows”.
◦ For Music, add “Music”
◦ and for Pictures, add “Pictures”
Option 1: SSH Transfer
Step 1: Enable SSH
Go to “My OSMC” and then “Services”. If you enabled SSH from the first boot menu, it should already be running. If not, choose “Apply” here to start it.
If SSH is missing from the Services menu, you can install it from the “App Store” in the “My OSMC” menu.
Step 2: Get an SFTP program and connect to OSMC
For Windows, we used WinSCP.
After downloading and running the installation, launch the program and enter the following details (this username and password are the defaults for OSMC):
File Protocol: SFTP
IP Address: Getting Started section above>
Port Number: 22
You may be prompted to accept the Raspberry Pi’s certificate on your first login.
Step 3: Drag and Drop your files
In the SFTP program, navigate to “home” and “osmc” in the right panel. Navigate to the location of your files in the left panel.
From here, simply drag and drop your files into their correct folders.
Your files will be available in OSMC from the main menu, in “Videos/Music/Pictures”, “Files”, in the folder you chose in the above step.
Option 2: USB Transfer
Step 1: Load files onto the USB
From your PC, format the USB stick to FAT32 and simply drag and drop your files onto it. Once complete, insert it into the Raspberry Pi.
The drive will automatically be mounted by OSMC and your files will be sorted and available from the main menu, in “Videos/Music/Pictures”, “Files” in a folder named for your USB stick.
(Optional) Step 2: Copy your files onto OSMC
To optionally copy your files from the USB stick, go to “Settings” from the main menu and select “File Manager”.
In the right panel, select “Add Source” and then click “Browse”. Select the “Home folder” and then choose “OK” at the bottom twice.
Now on the right menu you will see “osmc” as a source. Click on it, and then select the folder for the type of file that you will be copying over (for example, a movie file would go into the “Movies” folder).
In the left panel, navigate to your files on the USB stick. Right click your file and select “copy” from the menu. Select “Yes” on the prompt.
Helpful tip: You can also bulk copy your files with “Select all” from the menu.
Install Add-ons from the Kodi Repository
OSMC comes equipped with the official Kodi Repository, so installing add-ons is a breeze!
From the main menu, go to “Settings” and then “Add-on browser”. Choose “Install from repository”.
This will take you to the Kodi Add-on repository. From here, you can grab any of the official Kodi add-ons, which are nicely organized by type. All you need to do if find your desired add-on in these lists, click on it, and select “install”. The program will then be available from its section in the main menu, under “Add-ons”.
Check out the Kodi add-on wiki page to learn more.
(Optional) Install Unofficial Add-ons
There are many unofficial repositories and add-ons available to add to OSMC, but you should only add content from sources you trust. We’ve documented the process here, but be aware that add-ons from outside of the official Kodi repository are downloaded at your own risk.
Option 1: Install an Add-on from a .zip File
Transfer over your .zip file using either a USB stick or SSH.
By default, OSMC has enabled installing add-ons from unknown sources. You can check this setting in “Settings”, “System”, and “Add-ons”.
In “Settings”, “Add-on browser” select “Install from zip file”.
Navigate to the location of your .zip file, select it, and select “OK”. Once installed, the add-on will be available from its section (Videos/Music/Pictures etc.) in the main menu, under “Add-ons”.
Option 2: Add a Repository Source from a URL
From “Settings”, go to the “File Manager”. Select “Add source” from the left panel. Click where it says and you will be prompted to enter the url of your media source in the format http://source.source/ . Make sure to enter the path exactly as written and then press “Done”. In the blank box below, name your media source and press “OK”.
See the instructions above to Install an add-on from a .zip file. This time your target is the source you just created. Select it by what you named it in the last step. You will then get a notification that the add-on is enabled.
From here, go to “Install from repository”. You will now have the option of selecting add-ons from your new repository.
Enjoy your Media Center!
You should now be all set to enjoy many of the functionalities of OSMC!