Today we present a Installation guide for LibreELEC or CoreELEC to test it quickly and easily. LibreELEC is a very interesting system for all KODI fans who want to get the most out of their TV-Box. In this article we will see how to execute it for the first time from a USB memory, an SD card or how to install it permanently in our TV-Box.
Table of Contents
WHAT IS LIBREELEC?
As the motto of this distribution says, “Just enough OS for KODI” with this philosophy we have many advantages with regard to using KODI over Android, but also some inconvenience associated with this system. Lately some brands are publishing too a Dual OS system with LibreELEC and Android, with this feature when starting our TV-Box we are allowed to select which system to use. There are multiple versions of this system like CoreELEC that can be installed and tested with this same manual.
- Pros :
– The system only consumes 100 Mb of RAM
– KODI fits perfectly to our device’s hardware
– We have automatic refresh change to avoid the Judder effect
- Cons :
– We can not run Android apps
ANDROID TV-BOX MODELS COMPATIBLE WITH LIBREELEC
This is one of the points where we can have doubts when testing the system, but as we have seen we run no risk because we can try it without deleting the installed Android system. Some of the devices compatible with LibreELEC are those that we indicate in the following list but given the infinity number of TV-Box many of them identical with different name it is best to try.
- Official support: Raspberry Pi, Wetek, Odroid
- Amlogic S905X2 / S905X3 / S922X: Already functional in the test phase in models such as the X96 Max and Beelink GT1 mini.
- Amlogic S905X / W (p212), M8S Pro + / W, X96, X96 mini, Tanix TX5 / TX3 Pro, Nexbox A5 / A95X, Scishion V88
- Amlogic S905D (p230, p231): KI Pro *
- Amlogic S912 (q201): MINIX NEO U9-H, M8S Pro, KIII Pro *, H96 Pro +
- Amlogic S905 (p200): MINIX NEO U1, KII Pro *, Zidoo X5, Beelink MiniMXIII / Mini / M18, Sunvell T95, Tanix TX3
- Amlogic S805: MK808B Plus
- Amlogic S812: MXIII Plus, MXIII-G, PROBOX2 EX PLUS, MINIX X8H Plus, M8S Plus
- Rockchip RK3328: In the development phase and the compatibility is limited, info here version LibreELEC 9 Rockchip Alpha.
- Allwinner: Not supported
- * For models with tuners you have to activate Addons / Services> Tvheadend Server and PVR clients> Tvheadend HTSP Client
We have two ways to use LibreELEC in our TV-Box with Android:
- Executing it from a USB memory or SD card and respecting the Android system
- Installing it in the internal storage of our TV-Box and deleting the Android system (it is recovered reinstalling firmware from a PC)
As is logical, it is always advisable to test the system with the first option and then with some simple steps we can try to install it in the internal memory of the TV-Box where it will go faster than in an external memory.
Requirements for the installation
Every SoC type has a specific project branch where we can obtain the necessary files to use LiebreELEC or CoreELEC in our TV-Box.
- Download RUFUS to create the USB memory or SD card of LibreELEC from PC
- Download the LibreELEC or CoreELEC system file with extension * .img.gz
LibreELEC v9 = Kodi 18 Leia / In testing phase
LibreELEC v8 = Kodi 17 Krypton / The most popular LibreELEC versions for current SoCs
LibreELEC v7 = Kodi 16 Jarvis / If we have old hardware maybe we are interested
- Copy the device tree of our system with extension * .dtb
IMG – image system file
To download the IMG system file we have to enter the specific thread of the SoC of our device, if you have doubts you can ask us in this article. To start we are going to enter and then we explain how to obtain exactly the two needed files.
- CoreELEC v9.2 for Amlogic S905/S912/S905X2/S922X (select your model to download DBT – device tree file)
- LibreELEC v9.0 for Amlogic S905/S912/S905X2/S905X3/S922X
- LibreELEC v9.0 for Amlogic S905/S912
- LibreELEC v8.2 for Amlogic S905X/D/W
- LibreELEC v8.2 for Amlogic S912
- LibreELEC v8.0 for Amlogic S802/812
- LibreELEC v9.0 for Amlogic S812
- LibreELEC v8.0 for Amlogic S805
- AlexELEC for Amlogic S805/812/905/912
- LibreELEC for Rockchip
- LibreELEC for Allwinner
- LibreELEC for Amlogic / Allwinner / Rockchip versions nightly/dev
DTB – device tree file (if don’t come with IMG)
Within each of these post at the beginning we are guided about the different versions we have available and which is what we need for our device, the general rule is that we can use the generic version if we do not find some specific for our specific model, if we enter for example in the thread of S905 we can see the following:
- In red we have access to all the different LibreELEC system files for this SoC.
- In green we have access to the file of the generic version of LibreELEC for our SoC without specific modifications.
- In pink we have the device tree (sometimes don’t exist).
We enter the link where all the LibreELEC system files are (previous link in red) and check the structure. Within this list of downloads the files that interest us are the *.img.gz, there are several specific versions like C2 and LePotato, a version that deactivates the thermal sensor (which we will use if the generic version freezes us the TV-Box) and finally the version without modifications that we had in green in the previous list, we can download this if we do not have a specific version.
Copy Device Tree DTB
Once we have downloaded the system file you have two possible options to find the device tree:
- Burn the system IMG in your USB drive (see “Creation boot drive”) , inside you can have a device tree directory with the DBT files
- Download the DBT files from the same server of the IMG (pink link in the previous image)
You can found the device tree file of our specific model of TV-Box or the one that comes closest to the configuration of our devic. First we select our concrete SoC and enter the list of files, inside we have different versions the key point is the RAM of our model, they are divided into 1g / 2g / 3g, then there are specific versions, if we do not have one or we do not know our hardware we download the generic without modifications.
CREATION OF THE LIBREELEC BOOT DRIVE
Once we have the installation program, the LibreELEC system file and the device tree of our device we can create the SD memory or USB drive to boot this system, we run the installation program. If it does not work by USB drive it is recommended to use an SD card, in any case you have to have the fastest unit possible if we are going to use it with this method.
- We start RUFUS, select the USB drive or microSD card
- We select the option DD Image
- Clicking on the disk icon we select the LibreELEC * .img.gz system file that we have downloaded
- Press Start and wait for the process to finish
- Now rename the device tree file that we have selected to “dtb.img” (see previous text)
- Copy “dtb.img” in the root of the LibreELEC unit that we have created and overwrite if necessary
- We connect the LibreELEC unit to our TV-Box
BOOT OR INSTALL LIBREELEC IN OUR ANDROID TV-BOX
To boot LibreELEC we have several methods available, basically the two options are by means of the update button of the TV-Box or using Android to launch the Update mode by software.
- Mode 1: Start the TV-Box with the update button pressed.
- Mode 2: Use the LibreELEC app for Android that restarts the TV-Box in update mode
- Mode 3: If we are root from an Android terminal we do “su” and then “reboot update”
When you boot LibreELEC for the first time, we will see a configuration wizard that will activate the network systems and we recommend activating the SSH and SAMBA services because then we will use them.
Installing LibreELEC in the internal TV-Box storage
With this process we will completely eliminate Android from our TV-Box and we will have LibreELEC as the only system, this allows us to improve the overall speed of KODI since everything loads much faster in the internal memory. In case we do not like the result we can reinstall Android without problems.
To install and do advanced processes with LibreELEC we need to connect to our TV-Box from a PC using SSH through our local network, once we learn the basic steps the process is simple.
- In LibreELEC we enter in System> System Info> IP address and check it, for example “192.168.0.XX”
- We activate SSH and Samba within: System> LibreELEC> Services
- Install and execute Putty on our PC and introduce the IP in the “Host Name” section, click on “Open”
- In the Putty window enter the user “root” and the password “libreelec“. We will arrive at the command line
- To start the installation in the internal memory of the TV-Box we will execute the command “installtointernal“
- The process may take a few minutes, then the TV-Box will always boot in LibreELEC
- If we want to restore Android we just have to download a firmware for our TV-Box (use search box on our website) and follow the manual to reinstall it.
- Download the LibreELEC system file *.img.gz again, we also download the device tree file (no need to rename it)
- In the LibreELEC system we have to have activated the SAMBA system as we have said before: System> LibreELEC> Services
- Before updating we recommend making a backup of the system at: System> LibreELEC> System> Backup
- We enter our file explorer and access the local network, connect with the “Update” folder within LibreELEC
– Taking advantage of it, we can copy the backup file inside the “Backup” folder
- Copy the two files in this folder
- Restart the TV-Box and start the system update
INSTALL KODI ADD-ONS IN LIBREELEC
The process of installing add-ons is exactly the same as in any other system with KODI, through the public repositories or by downloading the add-on in particular and installing it manually.
- ATTENTION: Whenever you download an add-on for LibreELEC you have to download the Linux version, never the Android version
Normally the right version for our SoC is the ARM v7, few TV-Box have 64bit SoC today and equally v7 is compatible
- Remember that to install add-on manually you have to change: Settings> System> Add-ons = Activate “Unknown sources”
REMOTE CONTROL IN LIBREELEC
The distributions of LibreElec that we install are generic for all TV-Box and there are thousands of different remote controls, it is possible that our serial remote control does not work with this system so we have some alternatives.
- Configure your remote by modifying files on the system, we can see several examples of remote control setups in this thread.
- Use the Kodi remote control app in your smartphone with Android or iOS
- Using a mouse or other USB adapter, like Logitech combo or any all in one keyboard.
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- We also have available a Guide of LibreELEC for PC