Linux Project: Home entertainment on a single board computer


Hi Guys!

I wanted to do this for a long time but its is finally becoming a possibility now. So to begin with, I am planning to setup a home entertainment system using ODROID XU4.

For those who dont know it, its a octa core exynos soc based single board computer. and here is the plan:

The setup:
  2. abgn wifi for ODROID
  3. 16G Class 10 microsd and 256G Intel SSD in USB3.0 case
  4. Full HD TV
  5. Sound bar connected to TV over optical cable. Also supports bluetooth.
  6. ASUS RT-N66R
  7. Home Gaming RIG
  8. SGS6 as remote etc...
  • The ODOID will be connected to the home network over 5/2.4GHz networks and will be connected to the TV over HDMI
  • 16G microsd will have OS and pre reqs and the 256G drive will be connected to the board over usb3
  • Audio will be from the optical that is connected to TV. so HDMI will handle both sound and video.
  • TV will also have PS4 connected and will play my humongous collection of BR discs
  • Will have Kodi for home media server
Operating System:
  • I am a little against android but may want to configure a dual boot between linux and android.
  • Will run customized Linux where I would build everything from scratch. I just dont want to pick an image and use it. it would have customized iptables, initram and almost everything that can be customized with things like anonymous surfing etc...
  • I want to do the same with android too. but that is second priority.
What I want to do:
  • This entire setup will replace chromecast for watching movies over internet/netflix/youtube/others
  • Music can be stored on the drive to work as music server
  • Emulaters for playing games using xbox360/xbone/ps4 controllers and all the emulators till ps2. I want to play from super mario till Tekken 6 on this one. Game ROMs will be stored on the SSD
  • probably steam if I could get steam for linux arm
  • Future NAS Server
So, what do you think of the plan and please give me some suggestions and ideas.


Better you stay away from arch linux ...heard there are some issues with it ...which linux are you planning to implement ?


^ Kali comes with lot of network scanning tool etc... I dont think I will need them since I want this to be an entertainment system rather than a hacking tool.

I would stay away from wifi if you want to stream. Gigabit is the way to go. Dual booting seems a good idea. When you want to watch movies on kodi you can use HDMI CEC to control kodi with your remote TV


^Yep, he meant gigabit Ethernet :)

btw, I installed the xbmc game station turbo image on the odroid to test it out. its really frustrating that the applications on ARM are soo un stable. everything just hangs with a blank screen all the time. I tried installing other distributions too and its the same everywhere.


odroid xu4
was trying to compile the new 4.2 kernel yesterday on the odroid itself, it simply failed. :(

from what I understood, many kernel features are not enabled in the distributed kernel images. most of the times even the exynos specific features are not enabled. time to get the datasheets for odroid soc and then recompile the kernel.


from what I understood, many kernel features are not enabled in the distributed kernel images. most of the times even the exynos specific features are not enabled.
I remember reading same, however I thought things may have changed now.

XU4 has nice hardware :woot: However it's not famous as Pi or even BeagleBoards, that's why things move very slowly.


Initially installed kodi and retroarch on debian on the odroid xu4. later figured out that the drivers are so shitty that everything was running on cpu and not using any of the neon extensions of the chipset. tried to compile the vanilla kernel with proper flags enabled. couldnt figure out the bsp for booting so gave up.
later installed ubuntu and ran my personal website for a couple of months. the thing for some stupid reasons kicks off the fan and is too noisy. especially during night time.
Was trying to setup my personal mail server (like clinton) but again its too complicated to debug and I dont have so much time to figure out all that stuff. currently it is in a state where it doesnt even boot. Have a rpi3 lying around which I am not getting time to play with. probably setup all the stuff on it.

My router has nas server and its much easier (plug and play) than using this odroid.

bottomline, dont think about xu4. locked boot loader, noisy fan and shitty drivers.


I used a RPi2 for over a year+ as the primary HTPC for my living room and it worked near damn perfect
Only reason I switched to a NUC subsequently was because of a new 4K TV

Some learnings:
a) You are better off keeping any file serving needs on a separate SBC - You want to keep all CPU cycles dedicated to Kodi
b) Since you seem to have multiple SBCs (and I think odroid has GbE), you are best off with the odroid as your NAS running openmediavault (2+ years on OMV after initially playing around with Ubuntu server and FreeNAS)
c) The RPi3 is best suited for Kodi simply because the large community base ensures that Kodi bugs are squashed quickly
d) If you need nothing else on the HTPC, stick to OpenElec - Kodi 16.1 will work flawlessly - just use the precompiled binary, no need to self compile
e) If you do however need any sort of basic scripting or run any other binaries on the HTPC, stick to OSMC (pre compiled again for the Rpi) - Since you do prefer tinkering, this is probably the better choice as osmc unlike openelec is near full blown linux implementation

Very IMP
f) Keep your testing server (e..g your email project) separate from from your production systems (NAS/HTPC) on a 3rd testing SBC (even the original Rpi will do for that)- Move them to the production NAS only when it is working perfect - Do try keeping any other production binary not on the HTPC

g) I am not sure if your sound system supports DTS/AC3, if it does, keep your kodi audio settings to passthrough for all supported formats and AC3 transcoding for unsupported formats
h) Get a USB IR sensor (they are super cheap on ebay) - Kodi with an IR sensor works perfectly as a HTPC
i) Try using NFS shares from your odroid NAS rather than SMB - Keeps CPU usage low on both ends
j) If your TV supports 120hz natively (and not marketing BS like motion 120 or 200) then set video playback refresh rate adjustment on - most video encodes are 24p and your TV will be able to play them back without any pulldowns (much nicer videoplayback without any jerks/judder)
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