How to turn any Linux PC into HTPC without Kodibuntu

Kodi is an excellent open source home theater system and, thanks to its wide availability, is the leading DIY media center software.

Kodi is an excellent open source home theater system and, thanks to its wide availability, is the leading DIY media center software.

You can install Kodi on Linux as an application, but what if you want to build a dedicated HTPC? In the past, a solution like Kodibuntu, combining Kodi with key elements of the Ubuntu operating system, was the ideal solution. But Kodibuntu is no longer available, so how can you turn your Linux PC into a dedicated media center?

It's time to learn about LibreELEC, the replacement for Kodibuntu to build a Linux media center.

Using Kodibuntu turns any Linux PC into HTPC

  1. What happened to Kodibuntu?
  2. Learn LibreELEC for Linux HTPCs
  3. How to turn Linux into HTPC with LibreELEC
  4. Install LibreELEC on Linux PC media center
  5. Practice with LibreELEC
  6. Who should switch from Kodibuntu to LibreELEC?
  7. Should you switch to LibreELEC?

What happened to Kodibuntu?

For years, the No. 1 destination for anyone who wants a Linux-based Kodi media center, Kodibuntu, has been shut down. Kodibuntu, a combination of Kodi and Lubuntu, has been discontinued since about 2016.

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So, if you are looking for a new version of Kodibuntu for 2019 onwards, then unfortunately you're out of luck.

The main advantage of Kodibuntu is its ability to switch to Linux desktop mode. In practice, however, this is the advantage of any Linux installation running the manually installed software. Kodi runs on almost every Linux version, so if you want to access your desktop frequently, you just need to install it yourself.

However, if you do not want to access the desktop, then there is a smart option for Kodi: LibreELEC. Not only is this the best option in the future for most users, LibreELEC also avoids potential security problems that come from using an operating system over 4 years old.

Learn LibreELEC for Linux HTPCs

Kodi originated as Xbox Media Center, or XBMC, and has since evolved into Kodi. Thanks to support for most media formats and lots of add-ons, a Kodi media center can handle almost everything stored locally or elsewhere online.

The Kodi add-on is very similar to applications. For example, the Plex add-on for Kodi provides access to media stored on the Plex media server. Similarly, the Funimation Now add-on streams live Funimation content from Kodi.

It doesn't matter whether you have used Linux before or not. You probably won't see Linux appear, because with LibreELEC installed, the media center just needs to boot straight to Kodi.

Download the LibreELEC media creation tool.

Everything looks very familiar.

How to turn Linux into HTPC with LibreELEC

LibreELEC is installed with integrated USB creation or SD card tool. This tool allows you to write installation media to a USB device or SD card. You can then boot the media center with the installation media and start the LibreELEC installation process.

Note that there is no ISO option. LibreELEC cannot be installed from CD-ROM, DVD or any other optical disc. The LibreELEC installation is available for Linux, Windows and macOS.

Other versions of LibreELEC are also available. The article focuses on PC-based systems in this tutorial, but LibreELEC can be installed on Raspberry Pi, ODroid, WeTek and other devices.

To install a PC (a system based on AMD and Intel 32-bit or 64-bit), LibreELEC requires a fairly large hard drive. Although the software will run on a modest system, having at least 32GB of storage is a good idea.

Meanwhile, the computer should be connected to the HDMI screen, have an accompanying keyboard (for installation purposes) and an Internet connection.

Install LibreELEC on Linux PC media center

Before proceeding, ensure that a formatted USB memory stick or SD card is inserted in the PC.

Installing LibreELEC starts with the creation tool. After downloading, start LibreELEC USB-SD Creator and select the target platform with Select version .

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At this stage, if you wish, you can simply select a previously downloaded image file from the LibreELEC download page above. The image will be selected with the Select file option.

However, for simplicity, you just need to set the correct version, then click Download and select the destination for the data.

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After downloading, make sure that the USB or SD card is selected, then click Write. This will write the installation image to the media you have selected. When finished, click Close to exit LibreELEC USB-SD Creator and safely delete the newly created installation media.

When the target device (PC media center) is off, insert the installation media and start it up.

If you don't see the boot option from the LibreELEC installer, reboot your computer to access UEFI / BIOS. Here, change the boot order (you may need to consult your computer's documentation) and reboot.

The LibreELEC installation tool will launch. Use the keyboard to select the Install LibreELEC option, then click OK. Follow any on-screen prompts for regional settings and wireless access, if needed. The installation process will take up to 15 minutes.

Practice with LibreELEC

With LibreELEC installed, it's simple to start enjoying media content. Kodi is a powerful open source Linux media center. The core part of its function is the ability to play media from various sources.

However, there is a warning. Linux is not a great choice for playing Blu-ray discs. Therefore, the solution is to extract the video into h264 format at 1080p, then play the extracted file.

Apart from this, everything else is very easy. The Kodi add-on can be installed, media played locally or streamed from a network location or via an add-on. A lot of things are available, from Plex, Netflix to Amazon Prime Video or BBC iPlayer. Check out 's guide to the best legitimate Kodi add-ons for more suggestions.

Who should switch from Kodibuntu to LibreELEC?

Kodibuntu has both Kodi and LubFi, making it one of the easiest ways to get started with Kodi.

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If you've used Kodibuntu before and are concerned about its compatibility for long periods of time without security updates, LibreELEC is a smart option. Sure, other Linux media center platforms are available, but LibreELEC is the best all-in-one solution.

For those with a major security concern (especially issues caused by add-ons), standard Linux operating system with Kodi installed as an application is the best way.

Should you switch to LibreELEC?

If you're building a home theater PC, consider LibreELEC as an all-in-one Kodi solution. It is a quick way to get started with Kodi, without having to configure the application.

The biggest use of LibreELEC is being able to install on a lightweight, low-power device like the Raspberry Pi. However, in fact, it is still perfect for desktops.

Overall, LibreELEC is a functional Kodi HTPC distribution, running on a stable Linux distro.

LibreELEC is ideal for a DIY HTPC and media center. Even if you don't want to overhaul your home theater PC with LibreELEC, this is still a safer option than Kodibuntu.

For a smooth Kodi experience on Linux PC media center, LibreELEC is the answer you need.

Hope you are succesful.