Popular media center software Kodi is an open source, cross-platform application for music, movies, photos, online media, and other content. The software runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android, but if you have a device that you pretty much only want to use for Kodi, there’s LibreELEC — a GNU/Linux-based operating system designed to put Kodi front and center.

Last week Kodi 18 “Leia” was released, bringing support for games, improved Blu-ray support, DRM support, and other improvements.

A few days later, an updated version of LibreELEC designed around Kodi 18 was released. But that’s not the only change in LibreELEC 9.0.

LibreELEC is a light-weight operating system that can run on low-power devices including the Raspberry Pi and other computers with limited processing power and system resources. But it also should run on pretty much any relatively recent computer with Intel or AMD processors.

Version 9.0 includes all the updates featured in Kodi 18 and builds upon them in some ways. For example, Kodi now includes initial support for gaming, so LibreELEC’s developers included a number of emulator cores and a few open source games (but you’ll need to provide your own game ROMs.

Other updates are specific to LibreELEC. For example, there’s a new Safe Mode boot option that you can use if Kodi has problems during startup.. There’s support for changeable SSH passwords. And there’s a wider range of  DVB TV tuner drivers if you want to use Kodi to watch or record live TV.

LibreELEC has also added support for new devices including the Libre Computer LePotato, Khadas VIM(1), Khadas Edge, Pine64 Rock64, 96rocks ROCK960, and other single-board computers with Amlogic and Rockchip processors.

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11 replies on “LibreELEC 9.0 released: Linux distro built around Kodi media center”

    1. The performance seems good, about equal to the old QSD 810 and the QSD 650 chipsets.
      However, looks like there are still software and driver issues holding it back.

      You can expect full-speed emulation upto the PSP, PS1, N64, etc etc (and weaker).
      However, emulating the PS2, GameCube, and Wii are definitely out of reach… or annoying at the least.

      The likes of the QSD 835 could do upto Nintendo Wii, depending on compatibility/title/performance.
      I think we can expect the upcoming QSD 855 to do upto the Nintendo WiiU and Switch emulation… once those projects are mature enough for the ARM64-bit port.

  1. LIbreELEC is effectively in a race against commercial streaming services. I used to collect all my content in mpeg4 and h264 (1080p, 720p and 480p), but have stopped as I have inexpensive access to streaming content that I like.
    My youngest likes watching older content played back by the RPi, and I have some 4K h265 files that play back on my odroid c2. Those boards play all my collected content.
    I suspect that the total number of people collecting files is on a sharp decline.
    It was a really fun hobby, but I have not collected a file in over 2 years. I’m curious if other avid collectors have also given up.

    On another topic, the latest Steam Link client for RPi is working really, really well. I have been using it for a couple of days now with no issues with video or audio over ethernet.

    1. Keeping local files will always be a race against storage costs, time to download and curate (PLEX config, etc), and bandwidth vs subscriptions. I see streaming services fragmenting more, with Disney and HBO and STARZ pulling out of Netflix and Prime to get their fingers in the pie. I quit cable over $80/mo. I’ll quit streaming over (aggregate) $80/month also, and choose one or no streaming services.

    2. Streaming Services for the longest time looked like they might replace local file collections for me, but that started changing when I realized how fleeting the access to media they provide really is.

      The first time one of your favorite TV Shows that you like to re-watch from time to time just up and vanishes from your streaming service of choice it just feels like an annoyance, but as soon as you start looking for it you see it everywhere.

      Netflix Germany for example just gets rid of some indie films before I had a chance to get to them in my watch queue a mere 3 months after they add them, or offers the Doctor Who reboot, but dropped the first 5 Season from it, so you can’t properly re-watch it.

      But it’s not just indie films or older TV Shows, it’s even Blockbuster Movies. For example, I didn’t bother with the Hobbit in Cinemas, I wanted to wait for it to hit streaming and marathon it. First one came to Netflix, second one came to Netflix, but by the time they added the third one, they had dropped the first one, and right now for legal streaming in Germany I can watch the first 2 on Amazon Prime, but not the third one, and Netflix is just the third one.

      And don’t get me started on Marvel Movies. There are noticably less than one third of them on there right now.

      Considering that on top of that more and more content providers announce that they will pull their complete catalog to start their own services, streaming seems less and less attractive.

      I almost exclusively use it as a preview for the content I want to acquire now. If something was good enough to watch but not to re-watch, streaming did its job. But if I even remotely suspect that I might want to re-watch something later, or marathon something that is released in chunks over time I will acquire it so I can do so on my own terms, in my own time.

      1. Nothing beats a physical copy, which you can rip and store in your own NAS or regular hdd.

    3. Most of the stuff I’m interested in watching come straight from YouTube.

      1. Which can also be saved locally if you wish to watch again later or if you want to watch where there is no internet access.

        1. And this is exactly what I do. Just to address @riddick’s survey, I gave my perspective.

    4. Yeah man, overall, I seldom ever download anymore. It’s mostly pointless now, for most of the reason you stated (which I also follow, in my own way). Using PSVue and a few other commercial services through a couple of Kodi boxes has eliminated my need to download much, and further eliminated my need for Cable TV services –I’ve gone totally IPTV now, trading out part of what I used to pay for Cable TV for more bandwidth and to eliminate the otherwise imposed data-cap ($50 per month for unlimited, above the cost of a 250Mbit connection that previously capped out at 1TB per month). My average bandwidth usage is now around 1.5TB-2TB per month.

    5. Actually, there’s evidence that the increasing fragmentation of streaming services is starting to cause an increase in, *ahem* “collecting files”. Basically, people will only pay for one or two services and just “collect” the rest. So there’s still a place for these devices and apps, and probably will be for the foreseeable future.

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