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MoviePi - VCR-Like Gizmo for Dumb TV's

Original:  18 February 2021

Updated 30 October 2020 - V2 Completed and installed, it works for users > 95 years old!

*** V2 completed and installed.  Managed to skirt MCE Remote/Lirc issues by UPDATING Kodi to 18.3, fixing YouTube and moving family movie files to thumbdrive.  Also found a better skin (Pellucid) ***

A quick gizmo that will smarten up a dumb TV (w/ HDMI, of course).  Goal was to create a simple to use Mediaplayer to show converted family movies on the 'big screen'.  Original plan was to load USB with MP4's and provide a mechanism to play on TV.  Chromecast concept didn't work well with my elderly end-users so I ended up creating a contraption that operates like the VCR/DVD they were used to!  Also decided to serve-up movies from the internet (googledrive) rather than thumbdrive to simplify adding new movies to the collection.  Works quite well!

*** Recipe below still needs to be cleaned up! ***

  • Raspberry Pi 3  (Arm7), 4 USBs + Ethernet 
  • Old Microsoft MCE Remote I had laying around 
  • 16g Micro SD
  • Ethernet & HDMI Cables
  • Official OSMC via
    Specifically:  OSMC_TGT_rbp2_20190105 via Archives, which is v17.  
  • - Burns SD right from downloaded zip file!
  • Couple of Kodi Add-ons:
    • Look and Feel
      • Screensaver - Bing:  Photos of the Week (for homepage)
      • Skin - Pellucid
    • Video Add-ons
      • Crackle
      • National Geographic
I'll sing-a-long with official following EASY path!
  • Downloaded RPi  Disk image via (236k gz)
  • Burned image to 16g SD using Etcher
  • Booted Right Up!  Installed/Configured + rebooted itself
  • Install wizard like thing - took a while to start
    • Language/Timezone
    • Hostname
    • SSH Enabled
    • License
    • Looks li
Kodi Appearance Cleanup
  • Switched to Pellucid Skin - clean/simple BIG buttons for my elderly friends and fam!
Add-ons -
  • Easiest (for me) to attempt via browser
    • Kodi Stttings->Control->Allow Remote ontrol Via HTTP
  • Google Drive
  • <aint done yet!>

<<<<  More to come >>>


18 February 2021 - Fired up another copy MoviePi using a RPi 2!  Runs great!
- This one uses an old Gyration MCE Remote*, seems to work just fine

20 October 2020 - Links used to build final v2.  Will backtrack and update recipie above
- YouTube, got it working, but decided not to use.
- Power - used 2amp supply, seems to be fine even with USB drive and MCE remote.
- Crackle - Links for TV and Movies on homescreen -
- National Geographic Add-on.  Simple, nice categories and search.  cool videos

Pretty crazy (creepy) collection of add-ons.  Need to find way to check before installing ...

Running list to review/install

Remote Control Mappings - Lirc 10 IS the problem with my MCE remote

Following is a mess, but Lirc 10 is a mess if you have MCE remote.  I'll clean this up and post experiences or something at some point.  Enough time spent for now ...

Went thru a A LOT attempting to get MCE Remote working on Dietpi Kodi ... its bad

  • Setting up MCE Remote on Linux (read it, summary for me below)
    apt-get install -y lirc lirc-compat-remotes
    // For Pete's Sake it Failed!  Errors started with "Warning: cannot open /etc/lirc/lirc_options.conf" followed by a downward spiral of errors and failures during install.  Per 
    Supplied the missing conf file and re-ran install - ALL OK this time //
    cp /etc/lirc/lirc_options.conf.dist /etc/lirc/lirc_options.conf 
    apt-get install -y lirc lirc-compat-remotes
    dpkg-reconfigure lirc
    // ACK!  Remote still doesn't work right ... rebooting old SmartiePi to see what I did to make it work there //
    Remote worked Fine out of the box on Kodi 17.6!  See below as I attempt to steal/replace lirc mappings

Backgrounder on MCE remotes and Kodi
- How Lirc works w/ Kodi (including mappings) @
- My remote (on right).  SMX, no documentation, but worked fine on Kodi 17.6

  • Original MoviePi was built using Raspberry Pi NOOBS, MCE worked GREAT!
    • Kodi 17.6 - Updated to 18.5 MCE still worked
    • lircd 0.9.0 - THIS IS THE KEY!  I think, and so do these guys
    • uname -a
      Linux MoviePlayer 4.14.78-4-osmc #1 SMP PREEMPT Wed Dec 12 17:58:11 UTC 2018 armv7l GNU/Linux
    • Luckily ssh was enabled
    • default login was osmc/osmc (yeesh!  I'm glad I'm poking around!)
    • Found Lircmap @ /usr/share/kodi/system/Lircmap.xml
    • installed ftp (sudo apt-get install ftp) and grabbed a copy of Lircmap
  • New SMoviePi built via Dietpi Optimised Software
    • Kodi 18.5, 
    • lircd 0.10.1
    • uname -a
      Linux MoviePi 4.19.97-v7+ #1294 SMP Thu Jan 30 13:15:58 GMT 2020 armv7l GNU/Linux
    • btw - scp is not supported by default on dietpi, I had to switch from dropbear to openssh using dietpi-software to transfer files via scp
  • Lircmaps were different, but no major changes in MCE that I could see, transferred 17.6 version to 18.5 - Fail!  Remote still didn't work - WTF?!
  • THIS IS RIDICULOUS!  KODI is supposed to be simple/easy - starting over. finding the easy route
 This Lirc $h1t if for the birds!   Playing with Kodi Remotes