Guide: Install and Use an Odroid C2 as HTPC
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:
Where to order:
I ordered from Ameridroid, very fast shipping and better price than Amazon.
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:
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.
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)
Don’t unzip or do anything to this file, just remember its download location.
Download the Etcher Flashing Utility:
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:
Platform: ARM (important, chose ARM not ARM64!)
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 “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:
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.