Kodi (previously known as XBMC), is a free, open source (GPL) multimedia player that originally ran on the first-generation Xbox, and now runs on Linux, OS X, Windows, Android and iOS. Kodi can be used to play/view the most popular video, audio, and picture formats, and many more lesser-known formats, including:

  • Video - DVD-Video, VCD/SVCD, MPEG-1/2/4, DivX, XviD, Matroska
  • Audio - MP3, AAC.
  • Picture - JPG, GIF, PNG.

These can all be played directly from a CD/DVD, or from the hard-drive. Kodi can also play multimedia from a computer over a local network (LAN), or play media streams directly from the Internet. For more information, see the Kodi FAQ.

As of version 12, it can also be used to play and record live TV using a tuner, a backend server and a PVR plugin; more information about this can be found on the Kodi wiki.



Install the kodi package. Be sure to install the optional dependencies listed by pacman that apply to your specific use-case.

Note: Users of Arch ARM should be aware that several different kodi packages with specific hardware support are available.


Autostarting at boot or ondemand

The kodi package supplies a stand-alone wrapper script /usr/bin/kodi-standalone that allows a minimal system to run the application without a full blown DE. There are several methods to enable it described below.

Warning: Select only one of the methods listed below.


The kodi-standalone-serviceAUR package provides kodi.service and creates the needed user to run Kodi in standalone mode. This is a drop-in replacement of the package-legacy systemd service and post install script which Arch developers have removed from the package when the Xorg package updated to 1.16-1 (see this commit). Functionally, there is no difference.

Warning: Users of Arch ARM should not attempt to install this package as breakage will occur!

Start kodi.service and enable it to run at boot time.

  • The Xorg video driver for your specific hardware is an assumed dependency.
  • No additional configuration is required.
  • If errors persist, add the suggested lines to /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config (as outlined in next section)

Xsession with LightDM

Note: This assumes that the user has created an kodi user named kodiuser on the system and that the following file is present as described.
Note: kodi-standalone-serviceAUR creates a user named kodi, which is not permitted to login, thus autologin will fail with this user.
Note: lightdm does not pull in an X server as a required dependency, it is optional. The X server listed as an optional dependency (xephyr) does not work when run as root by lightdm.service (Bug to have optional dependency modified) (Upstream Bug). If you don't already have it installed, Install xorg-server.
needs_root_rights = yes

To use LightDM with automatic login, see LightDM#Enabling autologin and LightDM#Enabling interactive passwordless login. Kodi includes kodi.desktop as xsession.



Socket activation

Socket activation can be used to start Kodi when the user starts a remote control app or on a connection to Kodi's html control port. Start listening with systemctl start kodi@user.socket (replace user with the user running Kodi to be started as).

The kodi-standalone-socket-activationAUR package provides kodi@.service and kodi@.socket which can be used to run Kodi in standalone mode listening on port 8082. Depending on the setup, one may want to change the port in kodi@.socket. This can be done by manually using the following systemd files.

Description=Launch Kodi on main display

ExecStart=/usr/bin/su %i /usr/bin/kodi
ExecStartPost=/usr/bin/bash -c "sleep 15 && systemctl start kodi@%i.socket"


# listen for WOL packets

# change this to Kodi's http control port


Start from remote control with LIRC / irexec

Kodi can be configured to start via a key press. Users will need kodi-standalone-serviceAUR and lirc. This can be useful on setups running 24/7 and having kodi up on demand.

See the corresponding LIRC article and create a functional setup with a remote. Also, the package kodi-standalone-serviceAUR has to be installed.

Generate the file /var/lib/kodi/.lircrc with the following content:


prog = irexec
remote = devinput
button = KEY_MEDIA
config = pgrep kodi-standalone || /usr/bin/kodi-standalone -l /run/lirc/lircd
repeat = 0

Adopt button to whatever button on the remote is to start Kodi. One can use irw (see LIRC#Usage) to find out the correct values for remote and button.

Next copy kodi.service from /usr/lib/systemd/system/ to /etc/systemd/system/ and change the line

ExecStart = /usr/bin/kodi-standalone -l /run/lirc/lircd


ExecStart = /usr/bin/irexec

Start kodi.service and enable it to run at boot time.

Sharing a database across multiple nodes

One can easily configure Kodi to share a single media library (video and music). The advantage of this is that key metadata are stored in one place, and are shared/updated by all nodes on the network. For example, users of this setup can:

  • Stop watching a movie or show in one room then finish watching it in another room automatically.
  • Share watched and unwatched status for media on all nodes.
  • Simplify the setup with only a single library to maintain.

Several key things are needed for this to work:

  • Network exposed media (via protocols that Kodi can read, e.g. NFS or Samba).
  • A MySQL server (Arch uses mariadb).
Note: The following guide is only an example of one configuration and is not meant to be limiting but illustrative. Key steps are shown but a detailed discussion is not offered.

These assumptions are used for the guide, substitute to reflect your setup:

  • The media is located under following mount points: /mnt/tv-shows /mnt/movies /mnt/music.
  • The network addresses of all nodes are within the 192.168.0.* subnet range.
  • The IP address of the machine running both the NFS exports and the MySQL database is
  • Each Kodi box is referred to as a node.
  • The Linux user running Kodi is 'kodi' on all nodes.

For additional info, refer to the official Kodi wiki.

Setup an NFS server

This section provides an example using NFS exports, but as mentioned above, any protocol that Kodi can read is acceptable.

Warning: Kodi is using libnfs to access NFS shares which only supports NFSv3 (see #37 and #156). Therefore do not setup a NFSv4-only server or Kodi will only be able to list the shares but cannot access them.
Note: Users only need one box on the LAN to serve the content, therefore, do not repeat this for each node. The following example assumes the user is running Arch Linux, but any NFS server will work, be it Linux or BSD, etc.

The NFS server is provided by nfs-utils and this only needs to be installed on the box serving up the content.

Setup the shares:

# mkdir -p /srv/nfs/{tv-shows,movies,music}
# mount --bind /mnt/tv-shows /srv/nfs/tv-shows
# mount --bind /mnt/movies /srv/nfs/movies
# mount --bind /mnt/music /srv/nfs/music

Add the corresponding entries for these bind mounts to /etc/fstab:


/mnt/tv-shows /srv/nfs/tv-shows none bind 0 0
/mnt/movies /srv/nfs/movies none bind 0 0
/mnt/music /srv/nfs/music none bind 0 0

Share the content in /etc/exports:

Tip: This example sets-up read-only exports. See man exports for additional options and configurations.

Whenever changes are made to /etc/exports, always refresh the exports:

# exportfs -rav

Start rpcbind.service and nfs-server.service and enable them to start automatically.

Optionally check with:

# showmount -e localhost
Export list for localhost:
Note: If the box is using a firewall, ensure that it is not blocking connections. This is beyond the scope of this article.

Install and setup the MySQL server

The box running the library needs to be available 24/7 and is commonly the same box that holds the media.

Note: The following example assumes the user is running Arch Linux, but any MySQL server will work, be it Linux or BSD, etc.

The MySQL server is provided by mariadb and this only needs to be installed on one box that all nodes can access.

Start mysqld.service and enable it to run at boot time.

First time setup:

# mysql_install_db --user=mysql --basedir=/usr --datadir=/var/lib/mysql
# mysql_secure_installation
   <<follow the in-script prompts and answer "Y" to all the questions>>
$ mysql -u root -p
   <<enter the mysqld root password assigned in the first step>>
MariaDB [(none)]> CREATE USER 'kodi'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'kodi';
MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT ALL ON *.* TO 'kodi'@'localhost';
MariaDB [(none)]> \q

No other setup to the MySQL server should be needed.

Note: If the box is using a firewall, ensure that it is not blocking connections. This is beyond the scope of this article.

Setup Kodi to use the MySQL library and the NFS exports

Since this example makes use of NFS shares, an optional dependency of Kodi is now required to access them. Ensure that each of the Kodi nodes has libnfs installed.

Setup Kodi to use the common MySQL database

To tell Kodi to use the common database, insure that Kodi is not running, then create the following file:



Tip: If using kodi-standalone-serviceAUR, the default for the profile is /var/lib/kodi/.kodi and be sure to chown the newly created file to the kodi user and group, i.e. # chown -R kodi:kodi /var/lib/kodi
Setup network shares
Warning: This only needs to be done once, on only one of the nodes. Once completed, configuration of subsequent nodes is a drop-in operation of ~/.kodi/userdata/advancedsettings.xml; no other configuration is needed!
Note: Even if Kodi is running on the same box that is also running the NFS exports and MySQL server, one MUST setup the media using the nfs shares only!

Load Kodi and define the network shares that correspond to the exports by browsing to the following within the interface:

Video>Files>Add Videos>Browse>Network Filesystem(NFS)

After a few seconds, the IP address corresponding to the NFS server should appear.

Select "/srv/nfs/tv-shows" from the list of share and then "OK" from the menu on the right. Assign this share the category of "TV Shows" to setup the appropriate scraper and to populate the MySQL database with the correct metadata.

Repeat this browsing process for the "movies" and "music" and then exit Kodi once properly configured. At this point, the MySQL tables should have been created.

Cloning the configuration to other nodes on the network

Setting up another Kodi node on the network to use this library is trivial. Simply copy ~/.kodi/userdata/advancedsettings.xml to that box and restart Kodi.

Note: There is NO need to do any other setup steps to define the sources since the nfs exports, the metadata for the programming, any stop/start times, view status, etc. are all stored in the MySQL tables. If problems are encountered after this file is added to the profile directory and after Kodi is restarted, it is recommended to simply re-create the Kodi profile on that node, and again copy over the advancedsettings.xml file. This way, only a trivial amount of configuration to the GUI itself is required which is often easier than troubleshooting conflicting local databases, sources, and the like.

Using a remote control

As Kodi is geared toward being a remote-controlled media center via an official app, physical remote control, or USB/bluetooth keyboard/mouse.

Using the Android or iOS app

Both Android and iOS users can use the official app (currently free of charge) to control kodi once it is correctly setup to do so. Steps to configure both Kodi and the app are detailed on the Official Kodi Remote page.

Using a physical remote control

Any PC with a supported IR receiver/remote, can use remote using Lirc or using the native kernel supported modules. Configuring specific remotes with lirc is covered on the Lirc article.

To work properly with Kodi, a file will be required that maps the lirc events to Kodi keypresses. Create an XML file at ~/.kodi/userdata/Lircmap.xml (note the capital 'L').

Note: Users running Kodi started with kodi-standalone-serviceAUR will find the kodi home (~) under /var/lib/kodi and should substitute this in for the shortcut above. Also make sure that if creating this file as the root user, it gets proper ownership as kodi:kodi when finished.

Lircmap.xml format is as follows:

  <remote device="devicename">
  • Device Name is whatever LIRC calls the remote. This is set using the Name directive in lircd.conf and can be viewed by running $ irw and pressing a few buttons on the remote. IRW will report the name of the button pressed and the name of the remote will appear on the end of the line.
  • XBMC_button is the name of the button as defined in keymap.xml.
  • LIRC_button is the name as defined in lircd.conf. If lircd.conf was autogenerated using # irrecord, these are the names selected for the buttons. Refer back to LIRC for more information.
  • A very thorough Lircmap.xml page hosted on the Kodi Wiki should be consulted for more help and information on this subject as this is out of scope of this article.

HDMI-CEC with Pulse Eight USB-CEC

An elegant way of getting remote functions in Kodi is using CEC, a protocol that is part of the HDMI specification. Most modern TVs support CEC, although some manufacturers advertise the feature under other names. Apart from a CEC-enabled TV some hardware that takes the CEC signals coming from the TV and present them in a way that Kodi can understand is also needed. One such device is the USB-CEC adapter from Pulse Eight. Hooking up the USB-CEC is pretty simple, but in order for it to work in Arch we have to do a few things.

Install libcec.

When connected, the USB-CEC's /dev entry (usually /dev/ttyACM*) will default to being owned by the uucp group, so in order to use the device the user running Kodi needs to belong to that group. The user also needs to belong to the lock group, otherwise Kodi will be unable to connect to the device. To add a user to both groups, run

# usermod -aG uucp,lock [username]

If more than one user uses Kodi, repeat the command for all those users. If, for example, one is using kodi-standalone, the relevant command is

# usermod -aG uucp,lock kodi

Remember that modifying the groups of any logged in users means those users need to log out and login again in order for the changes to take effect.

Note: Trying to use the USB-CEC without belonging to above groups may lead to problems, including Kodi crashes, so make sure the correct user belongs to both groups.

Tips and Tricks

Keep a log of what is watched

Keep track of every video watched on kodi with kodi-loggerAUR.

CLI tool for kodi

A powerful CLI tool for use with kodi is texturecacheAUR. Users can accomplish many task from library management to querying what is currently playing.

Enable Hardware video acceleration

Enable and configure Hardware video acceleration to speed up playback performance.

Restart Kodi and enable the hardware backend(s) in Playback under Settings.

Slowing down CD/DVD drive speed

The eject program from the util-linux package does a nice job for this, but its setting is cleared as soon as the media is changed.

This udev-rule reduces the speed permanently:

KERNEL=="sr0", ACTION=="change", ENV{DISK_MEDIA_CHANGE}=="1", RUN+="/usr/bin/eject -x 2 /dev/sr0"

Replace sr0 with the device name of the optical drive. Replace -x 2 with -x 4 if the preference is 4x-speed instead of 2x-speed.

After creating the file, reload the udev rules with

# udevadm control --reload

Use port 80 for webserver

Kodi has a webservice that allows interaction through a web-interface. By default, it uses port 8080 as 80 requires root privileges. Use the following to permit it to use low port numbers:

 # setcap 'cap_net_bind_service=+ep' /usr/lib/kodi/kodi.bin

Restart kodi.service and set port 80 in the configuration menu (Services->Webserver->Port).

Using ALSA

If PulseAudio does not work properly, try using ALSA directly by starting Kodi with the AE_SINK=ALSA environment variable. The Kodi wiki for NUC devices provides [instructions]

Raspberry Pi (all generations)

Kodi runs smoothly on the Raspberry Pi (RPi), RPi2, and RPi3. Some helpful tips to consider:

  • Install either the kodi-rbp (stable) or kodi-rbp-git (dev) package instead of kodi from the Arch Linux ARM repository.
  • This package ships with a systemd service to run in standalone mode.
  • The memory reserved for GPU is 64 MB by default. This is insufficient for GPU accelerated HD video playback. Users can increase this value via a simple edit to the gpu_mem tag in /boot/config.txt. A value of at least 128 MB is recommended.

Run kodi in a window manager

Users running kodi in a Window manager may see a black screen at exit. To fix this, try switching to another tty. A possible solution is to run kodi with this script (running as the root user):

sudo chvt 2 
sleep 1
sudo chvt 1

To make sure that sudo does not ask for password for chvt add this line to sudoers file:

UserNameHere ALL=NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/chvt

Right Click Menu Key

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: If there is a bug, where is the bug report? (Discuss in Talk:Kodi#)

On the Raspberry Pi the physical keyboard "Menu Key" does not work with kodi. As an alternative hold the "Enter Key" longer to access submenus in kodi. This bug seems to be exclusive to the Raspberry Pi as it is run in a standalone environment.

USB DAC not working

Users of USB DAC/sound cards may experience distorted sound/clicks/pops or no sound at all when selecting it from Audio settings. A possible fix:

Open guisettings.xml (it should be under /var/lib/kodi/.kodi/userdata/ if using the supplied kodi.service) and change

<processquality default="true">101</processquality>


<processquality default="false">100</processquality>


Accessing kodi logs

In case of an error the first point to start investigation can be ~/.kodi/temp/kodi.log.

Fullscreen mode stretches Kodi across multiple displays

For a multi-monitor setup, Kodi may default to stretching across all screens. One can restrict the fullscreen mode to one display by setting the environment variable SDL_VIDEO_FULLSCREEN_HEAD to the number of the desired target display. For example, having Kodi show up on display 0, add the following line to the Kodi user's ~/.bashrc configuration:

Note: Mouse cursor will be held inside screen with Kodi.

Video tearing on Intel HD Graphics

Users observing tearing when watching a movie try this: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=176651

Try a different X11 compositor like compton as an alternative with Xfce which reduces video tearing. There is no essential need to install the intel driver. A tutorial how to configure compton with Xfce can be found here.

Soft subtitles not displaying

The ffmpeg package is used to extract the subtitles.

H.264 playback is using only a single core

Tip: By default, press O during playback to show codec information and CPU usage. More information about this overlay can be found here.

If your setup does not or cannot make use of hardware acceleration, disable it and explicitly set video decoding to software. This is because H.264 decoding is only multithreaded when video decoding is set to software. To achieve this, go to System Settings and then to Video. Set the settings level to Advanced or Expert and go to Acceleration. There, set Decoding method to software.

Kodi hangs on exit, fully occupying one CPU core, UI unresponsive

This problem can arise with third-party plugins installed, there is some issue with their termination[1],[2].

Workaround: find proper UI description file (DialogButtonMenu.xml) and tweak exit button type from internal Kodi's Quit() function call to sending signal from outside system to Kodi. Here is one-liner that makes modifications to any skin from your default Kodi package:

find /usr/share/kodi/addons/skin.* -name DialogButtonMenu.xml | xargs sudo sed -i "s%<onclick>Quit()</onclick>%<onclick>System.Exec ("killall --signal SIGHUP kodi.bin")</onclick>%"

See also

Note: xbmc-addons-chinese:Addon scripts, plugins, and skins for XBMC Media Center. Special for chinese laguage.