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post #1 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Guide: Install and Use an Odroid C2 as HTPC

Guide: Install and Use an Odroid C2 as HTPC

Hi All:

After spent years using an old HTPC in my home theater room running Windows 7, then 10 OS for Kodi, Netflix and Web Browser, I hit a road block when my old HTPC & Kodi could not playback 4K HEVC/H.265 files. After much research on different options and media players that can process 4K HEVC file, including new PC with the latest Kaby Lake i7, Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU and Nvidia Shield TV, I decided to try out the Odroid C2 with Android Marshmallow OS as my new HTPC. The Odroid C2 is a perfect solution for me. Not only it has more than enough power to playback any 1080p and 4K HEVC files, with the Google Play Store, I can install Kodi, Netflix, a lot of apps and game for kids.

However, just like any other DIY approach, there are lot of information and instructions out there, but they are not in one place and relatively hard to follow for someone who doesn’t have a computer science degree! This is why I wrote this guide and put all the instructions and links in one place for ease of use.

What is Odroid C2:

Odroid is a tiny single-board computer (SBC), but is relatively powerful with a 64-bit quad-core and 2 Gig of DDR3 RAM. It has everything one would need for an HTPC, including:
• Gigabit Ethernet for streaming large 4K files from NAS (a must for me)
• HDMI 2.0 for 4K/60hz display
• 4 USB 2.0 ports for external storage, mouse, keyboard, USB wifi etc
• Did I mention that it’s very small, completely silence and uses almost no power at all?

For more info:
http://www.hardkernel.com/main/produ...=G145457216438

Where to order:

I ordered from Ameridroid, very fast shipping and better price than Amazon.
http://ameridroid.com/products/odroid-c2

You can add as many optional items as you like, but here is what I ordered:
• Odroid-C2 board = $46.95
• Power Adapter 5V/2A US plug = $6.95
I found out afterward that you can use any micro USB phone charger as the power adapter as well, so if you have one laying around use that adapter and save $7
• Case = $4.95

Other required items:

• HDMI cable
• MicroSD for booting OS (8GB is minimum, more if you are planning to install lot of apps)
• USB Mouse and keyboard ( I use an old wireless Dell M/K and they work fine)
• Ethernet cable
• Optional, but highly recommend, remote for Kodi Player:
https://www.amazon.com/Ortek-Windows...+center+remote

Installing OS:

There are a few OS options for the Odroid-C2:
• Ubuntu (Linux OS)
• Android Marshmallow
• LibreElec (Kodi only)
• And many more unofficial OS

If you only want to use the C2 as a Kodi media player then LibreElec is the most straight forward and easy. Go to the link below to download the LibreElec USB-SD Creator to prepare the microSD card, follow a few GUI steps to flash the OS image to the microSD card.

https://libreelec.tv/downloads/

Steps to install Android OS:

I choose to install Android OS as I want to have Kodi, Netflix, web browser and apps for the kids.

1. Flashing OS Image steps:

Download a Self-installation image for Android (Marshmallow (v3.0 or higher)
http://odroid.com/dokuwiki/doku.php?...e:release_note

Don’t unzip or do anything to this file, just remember its download location.

Download the Etcher Flashing Utility:
https://etcher.io/

This flashing utility is very self-explanatory: select your OS image, select your microSD, FLASH! And Done!

2. Install the image flashed microSD card to your C2, connect the HDMI cable to TV, Ethernet cable to your router, connect the power supply to the C2. Now, You should see the famous Android Green Robot on your TV screen, give it a few minutes to install and update the apps. When done, you should have the same Android OS looks and feels just like your Android phone or tablet.

Steps to install Google Play Store:


You will want Google Play Store for Kodi and other apps.

Download Open Gapps apk:
Open the web browser on your C2, type in the below link:
http://opengapps.org/

Pick option:
Platform: ARM (important, chose ARM not ARM64!)
Android: 6.0
Variant: Pico

Hit the download arrow
The apk should start to download.

Install Open Gapps apk:

Open ODroid Utility app.
On the right side 3 vertical dot icon-Select “Package install from storage”
Select “file manager”
Select “open_gapps-arm….zip”
Select “process” and system will reboot and update
After the update, you should be able to find Google Play Store inside your app selection

Step to install Netflix:

With Google Play Store, you can now install any app you like such as Kodi and games. However, you will not able to find Netflix app from the Play Store! That is because ODroid C2 is not an authorized device! You will have to sideload the app to your C2.
You will need to follow the instruction steps from Netflix here, choose Android as your device:
https://help.netflix.com/en/node/12983

That is it! Enjoy your new silent Android HTPC!


*Note: I can’t find a way to power off and on the C2 using the remote, yet. There is a few instruction on how to map the IR remote code to a universal remote; however, it involves a lot more Unix commands than I’m comfortable with. So I currently, just plug my C2 to a small stand-a-long power strip with an off/on switch and use that switch to turn off/on my C2.
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 11:14 AM
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A little related info is here...

125" Projection | 5.2.4 Audio | Shield TV | LibreELEC/ODROID-C2 Kodi Media Client | Ubuntu/ODROID-XU4 NAS/Server | 65" LG OLED TV | TiVo | Shield TV |
| Water cooled Threadripper & Radeon VII, NVMe PC - 43" 4K Monitor |
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post
A little related info is here...
Hi Charles:
I did find and followed your guide and should have ref. to it as well, my apologies! What I wrote on my guide is more on how use the Odroid as an Android HTPC, which is very effective, as it's silence and use no power at all.
Thanks for the info.
BT
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 12:26 PM
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Nice guide BT....

One question.... why use Android to run Kodi on the C2 where you can boot the C2 with the minimalist OS LibreELEC and run Kodi directly with virtually no overhead?

Because of the apps/Netflix available via Android?

"we're still here!"
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 12:28 PM
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I tried the Odroid C2 a few months ago but returned it because VC-1 files absolutely would not play properly in LibreELEC. Have you tested any VC-1 files?
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by replayrob View Post
Nice guide BT....

One question.... why use Android to run Kodi on the C2 where you can boot the C2 with the minimalist OS LibreELEC and run Kodi directly with virtually no overhead?

Because of the apps/Netflix available via Android?
Correct! I want to run apps, such as Netflix and other apps for my kids that only available with Android OS and Google Play Store. you can't run Netflix directly in Kodi.
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post
I tried the Odroid C2 a few months ago but returned it because VC-1 files absolutely would not play properly in LibreELEC. Have you tested any VC-1 files?
Sorry, No I have not tested any VC-1 files. I don't even know what is a VC-1 file! I only use MKV files.
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btran33 View Post
Correct! I want to run apps, such as Netflix and other apps for my kids that only available with Android OS and Google Play Store. you can't run Netflix directly in Kodi.
Does the Android OS (C2 version) now support HD audio bitstreaming? I know when I first started with the C2 it didn't which is why I never gave it a try. Also, I presume it isn't Android TV that's running hence no "high-end" Android features like the Shield... such as 4K/HDR Netflix.

125" Projection | 5.2.4 Audio | Shield TV | LibreELEC/ODROID-C2 Kodi Media Client | Ubuntu/ODROID-XU4 NAS/Server | 65" LG OLED TV | TiVo | Shield TV |
| Water cooled Threadripper & Radeon VII, NVMe PC - 43" 4K Monitor |
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btran33 View Post
Sorry, No I have not tested any VC-1 files. I don't even know what is a VC-1 file! I only use MKV files.
VC-1 is a video codec. Some blu-rays use it. The Dark Knight is an example.
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post #10 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post
VC-1 is a video codec. Some blu-rays use it. The Dark Knight is an example.
I use MakeMKV to convert all my Bluray discs to MKV, lossless; All of my MKV files work perfectly fine.
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post #11 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post
Does the Android OS (C2 version) now support HD audio bitstreaming? I know when I first started with the C2 it didn't which is why I never gave it a try. Also, I presume it isn't Android TV that's running hence no "high-end" Android features like the Shield... such as 4K/HDR Netflix.
Don't know about Android TV, but for Kodi 17 app, it can pass HD bitstreaming (dts-hd, atmos, trueHD) to your receiver without any problem.
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post #12 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post
I tried the Odroid C2 a few months ago but returned it because VC-1 files absolutely would not play properly in LibreELEC. Have you tested any VC-1 files?
I have zero issues with VC-1 via LibreELEC... Smooth as can be, chapters, etc.

125" Projection | 5.2.4 Audio | Shield TV | LibreELEC/ODROID-C2 Kodi Media Client | Ubuntu/ODROID-XU4 NAS/Server | 65" LG OLED TV | TiVo | Shield TV |
| Water cooled Threadripper & Radeon VII, NVMe PC - 43" 4K Monitor |

Last edited by Charles R; 06-13-2017 at 01:29 PM.
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post #13 of 16 Old 06-13-2017, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btran33 View Post
I use MakeMKV to convert all my Bluray discs to MKV, lossless; All of my MKV files work perfectly fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post
I have zero issues with VC-1 via LibreELEC... Smooth as can be, chapters, etc.

Good to know! Might check it out again then.
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post #14 of 16 Old 06-14-2017, 06:27 AM
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For those trying to pick a box as well as an OS this thread can be of great help. I use it quite often to stay abreast as to what's available...

125" Projection | 5.2.4 Audio | Shield TV | LibreELEC/ODROID-C2 Kodi Media Client | Ubuntu/ODROID-XU4 NAS/Server | 65" LG OLED TV | TiVo | Shield TV |
| Water cooled Threadripper & Radeon VII, NVMe PC - 43" 4K Monitor |
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post #15 of 16 Old 06-17-2017, 02:55 PM
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Just out of curiosity, what advantages does the Odroid C2 have over the latest Amazon Fire TV box? They both seem to playback the same types of media. Forgive my ignorance, I haven't really been following the forums since I got my Win10 HTPC/Gaming PC.
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post #16 of 16 Old 06-17-2017, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by MKANET View Post
Just out of curiosity, what advantages does the Odroid C2 have over the latest Amazon Fire TV box?
Each has advantages (or disadvantages).

Regarding the C2 it supports...
  • HD audio
  • LibreELEC (true "appliance" media client)
  • Better image processing

Fire TV...
  • (Android TV) Internet streaming services
  • Android TV Apps

I have yet to find an Android box with an image equal to (or exceeding) most any other client. Including the "expensive" Shield. Its 2K local streaming and 4K Internet streaming lacks detail compared to other clients (including display's built-in apps). As such I find everything Android based best suited for casual viewing.

The C2/LibreELEC makes a perfect local streaming client. It's officially supported by Kodi/LibreELEC, fast, effortless to install, configure and update. Myself I wouldn't bother with Android on the C2 since it's straight Android and not Android TV. I can see a small use case for it however in most cases I would go with the Shield or add a cheap Roku streamer along with the C2/LibreELEC.

Bottom line it's all based on what you are looking for... casual viewing a Fire TV sounds great. Want more a Shield might fit perfectly... looking for HTPC performance the C2/LibreELEC offers such. You'll just need to address your Internet streaming elsewhere.

125" Projection | 5.2.4 Audio | Shield TV | LibreELEC/ODROID-C2 Kodi Media Client | Ubuntu/ODROID-XU4 NAS/Server | 65" LG OLED TV | TiVo | Shield TV |
| Water cooled Threadripper & Radeon VII, NVMe PC - 43" 4K Monitor |

Last edited by Charles R; 06-17-2017 at 05:12 PM.
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