4. Place the Pi into the bottom of the protective case.
5. Snap on the top of the case.
6. Secure the two halves of the case together with the
four included screws.
7. Plug in the Wi-Fi adapter.
8. Plug in the Flash drive containing your digital media
9. Connect an HDMI cable from the Pi to your
10. Connect the USB cable from the RaspPi to the
USB power adapter.
11. Turn on your TV/monitor and plug the power
If all is well, in mere moments you should see the
OpenELEC user interface appear on the display as shown
in Figure 5.
After I verified the media center was working
correctly, I put some Velcro® on the back of the case so I
could attach it to the back of whatever TV/monitor I was
using for display. That way, I can use it in the house when
I want to and then easily move it to the RV for traveling.
Before discussing media creation, one first has to
prepare the Flash drive for storage of the digital media. I
did the following:
1. Formatted the 128 GB Flash drive with the
Win32 format. This may not have actually been
necessary, but it made sure no other files would
be on the Flash drive other than the ones I put
2. I then created a directory called MUSIC and a
directory called MOVIES in the root directory of
the Flash drive.
I did this on my Mac, but it is easily done on a PC as
well. Creating digital media (movies and music) for your
media center takes much more time than building the
media center itself. Luckily, in my case, I already had a large
music library of about 500 CDs that I had ripped over time.
I use i Tunes to manage my music, so all I had to do was
copy the entire i Tunes library of aac (m4a) files to the
MUSIC directory on the Flash drive. Now, that was easy!
Kodi can play many music formats, so if you have a
collection of mp3 files, for example, you can copy them to
the MUSIC directory. Also, Kodi doesn’t require all of the
digital music files to be of the same format, so you can
essentially load any music you have onto the Flash drive.
Video media, on the other hand, took some time to
create. I have a rather large collection of DVDs, so I had to
rip the movies I wanted to have on the media center into a
format that Kodi can play. Being the frugal individual that I
am, I searched the web for free DVD ripping software and
came up with a program called HandBrake which does the
job nicely (see the Resources section for a link for
downloading HandBrake). Handbrake is available for OSX,
Windows, and certain varieties of Linux.
HandBrake refers to itself as “The Open Source Video
Transcorder.” This means it can convert from DVD
format to many different output video formats, with
one important exception. It cannot transcode
videos that are protected with the Content
Scramble System (CSS) which is a form of Digital
Rights Management (DRM) meant to prevent
illegal copying. To get around this impediment, you
can install a library called libdvdcss on the
computer system you are planning on using to rip
the DVDs and it will remove the DRM information
during the transcoding process. See the Resources
section for where you can acquire this library and
how you go about installing it. As I understand it, I
have the right to make a backup copy of any DRM
protected media I personally own so I have no
problem doing this.
FIGURE 5. The OpenELEC user interface you will see upon
successful installation (stock skin, but many others available).
FIGURE 4. Bottom of the media center case. Note the
Velcro strips which hold it to the back of the display in
both our RV and home TV. Securing it to the back of the
display means it takes up zero additional space.
38 October 2016