Kodi winter update. (Geek alert.)

I am finally spending some days at home and had time to fix my Kodi install. This was pending for some time: I forgot my custom OSMC password a long time ago, and of course I know it’s possible to reset the password if I mount the SD card and so on… but we actually live in an age where it’s actually easier to just to a clean install (that I wanted to do anyway) with the right (new) config. I also have 2 of the exact same Raspberry Pi 3+ setup (a Raspberry Pi with a HiFiBerry sound card in a HiFiBerry box) So I did just that, and also set a password that I will never forget again! (Ha ha ha.)

(Note: my Kodi on the Raspberry Pi with a HiFiBerry card, plus my new Beovox CX-100 speakers and Onkyo A-803 are probably the best audio setup I’ve had in my life so far.)

So far, my Kodi related pain points were these:

  1. I have a TV with only 1 HDMI port. I’m a Netflix subscriber and still watch Netflix every once in a while. So far my only way to watch Netflix on the TV has been via Chromecast, for which I’d had to unplug the Kodi box and plug in Chromecast (and then switch them back once I was done.) Like a savage!
  2. In an unrelated bonus note, I’ve still had the problem of sharing a Youtube video from my phone to the Kodi box… This of course works perfectly on Android (using e.g. the Yatse remote), but I didn’t have a solution on iOS.

Let’s talk about the Netflix in the room

There has been a Netflix plugin for a while for Kodi, provided you are over version 18 (Leia). Originally it was in  asciidisco’s Github repo: https://github.com/asciidisco/plugin.video.netflix

But asciidisco stopped maintaining this repo. The repo that’s currently working is this: https://github.com/CastagnaIT/plugin.video.netflix

I chose this repository option, and now have both repos installed/enabled on my Kodi — this should keep things up-to-date, and I hope they won’d conflict (once the asciidisco repo comes back online.)

Once this is done, the InputStream Adaptive plugin is also needed — on OSMC this is installed by default.

My next install problem was this:

from Cryptodome.Random import get_random_bytes
ImportError: No module named Cryptodome.Random

Solution to this is to install pyCryptodomex, as explained in this comment.

After this, I was really almost done: I restarted my OSMC/Kodi box, started the Netflix Add-on, logged in with my account, and started playback of a video. On this first playback attempt, I had to install the Libwidevine library — this was basically triggered by the playback itself, I only had to accept some EULA’s (which I didn’t particularly like, but it’s Netflix, ¡Hay que joderse, hay que joderse!)

After this I was really done. My daughters celebrated by watching an episode of that horrible Netflix series, Mermaid Adventures.

So far, the plugin seems to be working just fine. One added benefit of using it is that it does not do “binge mode”, ie. you will have to manually start episode N+1 after watching episode N. Maybe some people dislike this — to me this is a big advantage (as I like to go to bed in time).

Let’s talk about the Youtube in the room

This one is even simpler. (“More simple”?…)

There is an app for that: the SendToKodi app.

This creates a Share action for your Kodi server on your phone, and you can share actually anything to the Kodi server. Whether Kodi picks up the shared thing depends on what it is (ie. what kind of URL it is… we are typically sharing URLs), and what plugin is installed on your Kodi. For youtube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, etc. it works.

As with the Netflix Add-on, there’s a secondary gain: SendToKodi has a Kodi plugin (through this repo). Youtube stuff works without it too, but I can now, for example, send any of my podcasts (from Player.fm, my podcast app of choice) to Kodi as well — and they will play, too!

Why I also still wanted to mention this here is what else is there, plus what not to try.

AirPlay still works for audio. I find this fairly easy to connect to when I just want to listen to some music, basically stream the audio from my phone. This replaces casting from Play Music to the Chromecast (for which I have to switch the HDMI plugs, switch on the TV, etc… Kodi just works, even without the TV being on.)

On the other hand, don’t try TubeCast. The concept is good, it implements a long forgotten Youtube cast protocol. But only works with the Youtube app, and you have to pair the phone to the “TV” on every connection, which is a hassle, especially in light of the SendToKodi solution.

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