Using a remote control with a Raspberry Pi Kodi media centre

Using a remote control with a Raspberry Pi Kodi media center

What is a media centre without a remote control? Fortunately, Kodi can be configured with various types of remote controls. This post explores all the remote control options available and shows how to connect and map them in Kodi.

This is an ongoing post. Please suggest corrections, explanations, etc. in the comment section at the bottom of this page.

Introduction

Remote control devices are wireless devices that allow input. For media centres, they are used to select/play/pause/skip movies, series, music, etc. without having to leave the couch. When it comes to Kodi on a Raspberry Pi there are mainly three remote control options available: PC remotes, traditional remotes and mini-keyboards.

The Raspberry Pi remote controls mentioned in this post are available from Amazon.com and BangGood.com.

PC remote controls

PC remote controls, better known as MCE remotes or simply Media Desktop Computer remote controls, are basically wireless keyboards that look like a traditional media centre remote control. Keystrokes are sent to an infrared (IR) receiver connected to one of the USB ports of the Raspberry Pi.

Kodi PC remote control
MCE remotes, otherwise know as PC remotes, are readily available and a popular, easy-to-setup choice for Kodi.

These remotes are easy to use and easy to get hold of. Most newer MCE remote controls can be used on Kodi without problems. Their popularity is also supported by the fact that there are many brands to choose from.

Shop for MCE remote controls from BangGood.com and Amazon.com.

Mini-keyboards

Wireless mini-keyboards (or any other keyboard for that matter) are fun and very flexible. Most of them use the 2.4GHz radio frequency (RF) range and are also connected to the USB port of the Raspberry Pi, but many Bluetooth options also exist.

Mini-keyboards for Raspberry Pi
Wireless mini-keyboards can also be used as remote controls for Raspberry Pi Kodi media centres. Most use IR, but Bluetooth connectivity is also easy to set up.

Shop for mini-keyboards from BangGood.com and Amazon.com.

Traditional remote controls

Traditional remote controls or Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) remotes work via your TV through the HDMI cable. These are typically the remote control you got with your TV. Some of these remote controls will also work with Kodi.

Pairing Bluetooth devices

Connecting a Bluetooth device to a Raspberry Pi Kodi media centre is simple. The Raspberry Pi 3 has built-in Bluetooth connectivity, but earlier models will need a Bluetooth dongle connected to one of its USB ports.

Bluetooth devices are paired with Kodi under the Bluetooth settings section of Kodi (either go to System -> Settings or System -> OpenElect where you will find the Bluetooth tab. If your device is not found, make sure to press the pairing button on the device. The most common passwords are 0000 and 1234.

Keymapping

For custom or optimum use, the remote control of your choice will need some key mapping. Keymapping can easily be done through the Kodi Keymap Editor add-on.

Keymap Editor can be installed from Settings -> Add-ons -> Install from repository -> Kodi add-on repository -> Program add-ons -> Keymap Editor.

Kodi Keymap Editor Add-on

After the installation, Keymap Editor can be accessed from Settings -> Add-ons -> My ad-ons -> Program add-ons. To map the keys of your remote control, the on-screen instructions can be followed.

More about IR remotes

Infrared (IR) needs a fairly clear and straight path for the connection to work. In some cases, a USB cable needs to be used to relocate the IR receiver from behind the TV.

Not all remotes have the same range as well. Make sure to choose one that will be able to reach the distance from your couch to the receiver.

About the author
Renier busies himself with improving his English writing, creative web design and his websites, photoshopping, micro-electronics, multiple genres of music, superhero movies and badass series.
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