Run Balena Etcher and select the OSMC disk image downloaded previously, as well as the SD card you’ll be using in your Pi. Click ‘Flash!’ when ready to write the image.
Stick around, it might take a few minutes for the data to be written.
Done! Remove the SD card and insert it into your Raspberry Pi.
Controlling OSMC with a Keyboard
To navigate OSMC, use the arrow keys to select menu items, the ENTER key to select items, and the BACKSPACE key to go back.
Configuring OSMC for Raspberry Pi
Now that OSMC is installed, it’ll need some configuration before it can be used.
When OSMC is booted for the first time it will partition and format your SD card.
…and install some files. It’s all automatic, just sit back and wait.
When the installation has completed, the main OSMC menu will appear. Don’t do anything just yet, the first-run configuration tool will automatically open after a few seconds.
The first run configuration for OSMC will ask some questions about your language and locale. Answer with whatever suits you best.
Give your device a name which will be used on your network (if you connect OSMC to your network). A randomly generated name can be used if you aren’t feeling creative.
Enabling SSH is recommended for troubleshooting purposes. SSH can also be used to transfer media files over the network using SFTP.
As always, there are various terms and conditions that must be accepted before using the software.
Back to the main menu – OSMC is ready to go!
Connecting OSMC to Your Wifi Network
OSMC is up and running, but it can’t do much yet – for this you’ll need a network connection.
Select ‘Settings’ from the main menu, and then navigate to the ‘System’ menu.
Select the ‘Services’ menu item and ensure AirPlay is enabled. This is useful if you have iOS devices and wish to watch streaming services on your TV – I’ll cover this later.
Return to the ‘Settings’ menu and navigate to ‘My OSMC’.
Select the network Icon at the top of the ‘My OSMC’ menu.
Select the ‘Wireless’ option. Ensure ‘Enable Adapter’ is selected, and then wait a few minutes while the list of available WiFi networks is refreshed.
Select your WiFi network from the list on the right of the screen.
Confirm your WiFi network selection.
Enter the password for your WiFi network.
Select ‘Apply’ and wait a few moments for OSMC to finish connecting. You’ll see the IP address details populate when the connection is ready.
When everything’s up and running, the network status will show as ‘Connected’.
Go back to the ‘My OSMC’ menu and select the ‘Updates’ menu item on the right.
Navigate to ‘Manual Controls’ and select ‘Scan for Updates Now’ – we want to make sure all software used by OSMC is up to date!
Update progress will be shown in the top right corner of the screen.
Once the updates have been downloaded, you’ll be prompted to install them.
The update installation screen isn’t as pretty as the rest of OSMC.
Your OSMC media center is now configured, updated, and online!
Adding Streaming Media Channels to OSMC
Now we need to find something to watch. OSMC includes addons for a bunch of online streaming services (like YouTube and Twitch).
I won’t cover them all here, you can install as many as you want. I’ll just run through the steps to install the Vimeo addon.
Head back to the ‘Settings’ Menu and select ‘Add-on browser’
Select ‘Install from repository’ to see the list of available addons.
Select the video streaming addon you wish to install (in this case, Vimeo).
Confirm the installation by selecting ‘Install’.
Head back to the main menu and select ‘Videos’.
To view content from add-ons, select ‘Video add-ons’.
The list of available channels provided by add-ons is shown – select the one you want to watch.
Vimeo contains a number of different ways to find content – you can search for it, navigate by category, or view featured videos.
Let’s watch something from the Staff Picks.
Once you’ve navigated to a list of videos, you can view thumbnails and preview. Vimeo has a lot of great free curated content you can watch to test out your new media center.
Watching Media from a USB Drive in OSMC
If you’ve got your own media collection, an easy way to watch it with OSMC is simply to load it all onto a USB hard drive and plug it in. I prefer this method as the WiFi connection to my living room is a bit wonky, and using a USB drive means I don’t have to run a separate media server.
Just make sure the drive is formatted with the ExFat file system – this will let you read and write to the drive from just about any operating system (Windows, Linux, MacOS).
To watch media from a USB storage device, navigate to the Videos Menu (or Music, or Pictures, depending on what’s on your USB drive) and select ‘Files’.
Select your USB drive to view the media stored on it.
Supported media files will be shown, with a preview. I’m watching some very informative documentaries on what happens if you pirate media.
Streaming Your Own Media to OSMC
If you want to build your own media server to stream your media library to OSMC over the network, I recommend setting up Plex on your server, and installing the OSMC Plex plugin.
Plex is a great tool and can be easily installed on your home server or desktop computer, which should have enough processing power to convert and stream videos to your Raspberry Pi.
If you have an iOS tablet or phone, and have the airplay feature enabled in OSMC, you can also stream from apps on your device to OSMC – including from apps like Netflix and Amazon Video.
Shutting Down OSMC
When you’re done watching for the day, You can power-down OSMC.
I'm Brad, and I'm nearing 20 years of experience with Linux. I've worked in just about every IT role there is before taking the leap into software development. Currently, I'm building desktop and web-based solutions with NodeJS and PHP hosted on Linux infrastructure. Visit my blog or find me on Twitter to see what I'm up to.
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