Introduction to Optimising Kodi on Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi can be a little beast of a computer. Optimising Kodi on Raspberry Pi and some tweaks can make it a really small and nippy machine that runs Kodi really well. Making a cheap and effective media center.

This short tutorial will give you some tips and ideas on the optimization of Kodi and Overclocking of the little Pi.

Just a note, Overclocking above certain amounts technically voids the warranty and i can not be held responsible for any screw ups. Overclock Responsibly 😀

Changing the resolution to 720p

One of the best ways for Optimising Kodi on Raspberry Pi is changing the interface resolution. In Kodi in “Settings” > “System” > “Video” will let the system run a little faster and save some of the precious ram/memory on the little Pi. Video content always plays in the original files resolution, so 720p files and 1080p files play in 720 and 1080 respectively.

To change the resolution go to “Settings” > “System” > “Video Output” > “Resolution”.

In my experience, i noticed that changing this option does help a fair amount, specially with older Raspberry Pi models and even newer ones. In fact i use these options on the latest Raspberry Pi board which i use for my own media server.

Overclocking the Raspberry Pi

Overclocking the Raspberry Pi with LibreELEC takes place by modifying the config file in the root of the SD card which is then loaded by the system.

The also exists a OpenELEC addon at this website which is reported to work on LibreELEC since both LibreELEC and OpenELEC are very similar.

I have not used the above tool and instead modify the config file and reboot the system.

A really in depth but simple guide to overclocking can be found on howtoraspberrypi.com

The guide is very easy to follow, however its content is third party and i give you one of the many examples of overclocking the system. If you want specifics from me, then leave me a comment.

Changing the Skin

Example of default Kodi home screen, showing movies and menu. Skins will change these dramatically to suit your tastes.

LibreELEC comes with a nice looking and fairly lightweight skin for Kodi. Its quite quick and also fairly responsive. However Kodi is open source and open source means options. Plenty of them.

Skins are no exception to that. Aeon series of skins, and a variety of others are really nice looking. Recent updates to the Raspberry Pi hardware and software updates to LibreELEC and Kodi have meant that performance is not hit as heavily as before.

However each skin is different and some are not as optimized as others. Downloading them, test them if you like it, keep it. If not then you can delete it and try another.

Go to “Settings” > “Interface” > “Skin” > “Skin” > “Name of Skin” to download and change a new skin. The skin will prompt a box about applying the new skin once downloaded.

Some skins do not support every feature. For example LibreELEC configuration panel is not visible on some skins. But since you seldom need the app it is not an issue. You can always switch back and use the app and return to your desired pretty skin.

Disable thumbnail extraction

Kodi will try to get thumbnails from videos that have no thumbnail image to show on the home screen or in the library. This is a very CPU intensive activity that will sometimes cripple Kodi running on Raspberry Pi systems.

On the “Settings” menu you will see “Video” > then “File lists” > Turn off “Extract thumbnail and video information”.

You can also disable actor thumbnails/images from the “Settings” > “Video” > “Library” > “Download actor thumbnails when adding to library”. Since other scrappers will be better anyway at getting this information.

Changing the display refresh rate to match video

One of the more noticeable issues with Kodi and Raspberry Pi is smooth video playback due to differences in the refresh rate of the Kodi system and the files.

You can easily edit this feature by going to “System” > “Video” > “Playback” > “Adjust display refresh rate to match video”.

Another way to make the playback more smooth, is to enable audio pass through. I use this on my HDMI enabled TV and it does work good, however if you are using some external sound systems you need to ensure the TV will enable the pass through to the sound system. Using audio pass through should lower the CPU usage but the increase or noticeable increase may be minimal and i always change the audio settings for the best quality rather then smoothness since latest Raspberry Pi boards with new versions of Kodi and some simple overclocking and skin changes make s very smooth system.

You can enable it by going to “System” > “System” > “Audio output” > “Enable pass through”.

Final Thoughts

While this list is by no means complete, there are other ways to improve speeds to get the best performance. This should help you if you are having issues.

I can say that sometimes, especially with older models i have spent more time then i am willing to say to satisfy my OCD for the "perfect" system. I have since learnt that keeping it simple, focus on the content and usability of everyday use will serve you excellently.


Robert

Robert Mizen is a Producer, Tech Consultant and all things nerdy person. Interested in Games, Apps, Web, Green Tech, Astrophysics and Travel. This website is a outlet to express so i dont explode.

3 Comments

Setting up a Raspberry Pi Media Server/Player (Kodi) - TVO Robert Mizen · 2018-10-15 at 13:36

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