• TUTORIAL: LibreELEC a quick installation guide for the TV-Boxes with Android

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    Today we present a Installation guide for LibreELEC 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.

    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.

    • 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

    Installing LibreELEC

    We have two ways to use LibreELEC in our TV-Box with Android:

    1. Executing it from a USB memory or SD card and respecting the Android system
    2. 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.

    Is my Android TV-Box 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 S905: MINIX NEO U1, KII Pro*, Zidoo X5, Beelink MiniMXIII / Mini / M18, Sunvell T95, Tanix TX3
    • Amlogic S905X/D/W: KI Pro*, M8S Pro+, M8S Pro+, M8S Pro W, X96, X96 mini, Tanix TX5/TX3 Pro, Nexbox A5 / A95X, Scishion V88 Pro
    • Amlogic S912: MINIX NEO U9-H, KIII Pro*, H96 Pro+
    • Amlogic S805: MK808B Plus
    • Amlogic S812: MXIII Plus, MXIII-G, PROBOX2 EX PLUS, MINIX X8H Plus, M8S Plus
    • Rockchip: Now in development phase for RK3328 and RK3288, stable only on the Rock64 development board, more info.
    • Allwinner: Not supported
    • * For models with tuners you have to activate Addons / Services> Tvheadend Server and PVR clients> Tvheadend HTSP Client

    Requirements for the installation

    Every SoC type has a specific project branch where we can obtain the necessary files to use LiebreELEC in our TV-Box. Now the most popular versions of LibreELEC for the most commons SoC’s are v.8, if we have old hardware we might be interested in v.7 and in the future we are supposed to jump to v.9.

    • Download RUFUS to create the USB memory or SD card of LibreELEC from PC
    • Download the LibreELEC system file with extension * .img.gz
    • Download the device tree of our system with extension * .dtb

    To download the two necessary system files 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.

    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 that we will have to download for our concrete model or the closest one

    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.

    Once we have downloaded the system file we will download the device tree of our specific model of TV-Box or the one that comes closest to the configuration of our device, we enter the previous pink link and check the file structure. 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.

    1. We start RUFUS, select the USB drive or microSD card
    2. We select the option DD Image
    3. Clicking on the disk icon we select the LibreELEC * .img.gz system file that we have downloaded
    4. Press Start and wait for the process to finish
    5. Now rename the device tree file that we have downloaded to “dtb.img”
    6. Copy “dtb.img” in the root of the LibreELEC unit that we have created and overwrite if necessary
    7. We connect the LibreELEC unit to our TV-Box

    Boot LibreELEC in our TV-Box with Android

    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.

    1. In LibreELEC we enter in System> System Info> IP address and check it, for example “192.168.0.XX”
    2. We activate SSH and Samba within: System> LibreELEC> Services
    3. Install and execute Putty on our PC and introduce the IP in the “Host Name” section, click on “Open”
    4. In the Putty window enter the user “root” and the password “libreelec“. We will arrive at the command line
    5. To start the installation in the internal memory of the TV-Box we will execute the command “installtointernal
    6. The process may take a few minutes, then the TV-Box will always boot in LibreELEC
    7. 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.

    Update LibreELEC

    1. Download the LibreELEC system file *.img.gz again, we also download the device tree file (no need to rename it)
    2. In the LibreELEC system we have to have activated the SAMBA system as we have said before: System> LibreELEC> Services
    3. Before updating we recommend making a backup of the system at: System> LibreELEC> System> Backup
    4. 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
    5. Copy the two files in this folder
    6. 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 at 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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