Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Setting Up the XBMC Remote On Your Android Smartphone

In my post describing how to set up a Yatse remote on your Android smartphone, I opined that the Kodi/XBMC offering was a little trickier to set up. Nonetheless, I've found persevering with the setup to be a worthwhile experience and, despite some minor shortcomings, I've found that the XBMC remote is more reliable on my Samsung Galaxy Advance than Yatse.

In order to control Kodi/XBMC via any remote control, you must first make some adjustments to the host machine. The following instructions are taken from my setup using 13.2 Gotham & my Samsung Galaxy Advance (as the remote):

  1. Start Kodi/XBMC, navigate to SYSTEM and select Services
  2. Select the Webserver menu option:
    • Check the Allow control of XBMC via HTTP option
    • Set the - Port option to 8080 (this should be the default value)
    • The - Username & - Password options can be set to any value you choose (but you'll need to remember them)
    • Leave the - Web interface option as default.
  3. Select the Remote Control menu option:
    • Check the Allow programs on this system to control XBMC option
    • Check the Allow programs on other systems to control XBMC option
  4. Select the Zeroconf menu item and check the Announce these services to other systems via Zeroconf option.

Now we need to allow the remote control access to Kodi/XBMC (via HTTP) via the firewall (because you do have it enabled, don't you!). Both Yatse & the XBMC remote controls are web-based controls; that is, they send their commands via the local area network to the PC hosting Kodi/XBMC (as opposed to an IR or bluetooth remote). Open a terminal and do:

sudo ufw allow proto tcp from to any port 8080 && sudo ufw allow proto udp from to any port 9777

This is really two commands rolled into one. If you prefer, you can do each separately:

sudo ufw allow proto tcp from to any port 8080

Followed by:

sudo ufw allow proto udp from to any port 9777

Note, that you may need to change your IP range depending on your hardware. You can check that your firewall has updated its rules using:

sudo ufw status

And then restart your firewall (perhaps not entirely necessary) using:

sudo ufw reload

Now we can set up the remote! If you haven't already, download the XBMC remote from the Google Playstore.

  1. Start the XBMC remote app on your Android smartphone.
  2. From the app home screen, tap your phone's menu button and select Settings
  3. Tap Manage XBMC Hosts.
  4. Tap your phone's menu button and select Add Host.
  5. In the Add new host dialog:
    • Name of this instance: - anything that will identify your host. XBMC can manage multiple hosts, so this is simply a name that tells you which host you are connecting to.
    • Host or IP address: - I had no joy using host names - use your IP address. If you don't want to use ifconfig (from the terminal), from the Kodi/XMBC home screen select the System info sub-menu option from the System option and look under the Summary option.
    • HTTP API port: - leave this as the default 8080 (unless you've changed it for some reason)
    • Username: - You set this earlier (I did tell you to remember it!)
    • Password: - this is the password that you set for Kodi/XBMC and not your host password.
    • EventServer port: - leave as the default 9777 value (unless you've changed it for some reason
    • Leave all other settings at their default values and tap OK
  6. Tap your smartphone's back button
  7. Tap your smartphone's back button (yes, for a second time)

You should be able to connect to your host by tapping the smartphone's menu button & selecting Switch XBMC or from the right-hand applet on the XBMC remote's home screen.

On balance, I like the reliability and stability of the XBMC remote over Yatse, but Yatse is more configurable and looks great. In the end, this is a matter of user choice, but XBMC is free and there are no paid for upgrades.

Sources & References:

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