For quite a while I have been using an I7 laptop running KODI, with the HDMI port connected to my A/V receiver and TV as a HTPC.  This tied up the laptop for only this use because of the power cable for the laptop was run in behind all my furniture.  Plus this laptop has a hardware bug on the motherboard that requires some finagling with the battery and power adaptor in order to get the battery to charge.  So for quite a while I have been searching for an easy replacement that would be small enough to hide in my  stereo components and still handle my video, picture and music library and the occasional stream as well.

I had tried a WD TV media player, an Intel NUC with a Celeron processor, and PI's 1-3.  As the videos became higher resolution and with better compression, and with product obsolescence, all these options ended up being used for other things instead of my HTPC.

With the release of the Pi 4, I figured that this would finally be the SBC that would free up my laptop for actual use.

 

I bought a Pi4 with 4 gig of memory from a local supplier (https://www.buyapi.ca/ ) and installed Raspbian and Kodi on it.

 

I went to the Amazon, and purchase a 2 pack of cases, because I also had a Pi4 2 gig on the way from the Element14/Hackster.io Connecting the World contest.

I already had a wireless keyboard/trackpad that I would use to control the Pi from the comforts of my couch.

 

Unfortunately, the default install of Raspbian and Kodi would not function properly with my 4k encoded video files.  I could hear the audio, but no video was being display.  After much googling, I found that the Pi 4 cannot do the video decoding (x264 or x265) with raspbian.  However, on a soda pop fueled late night link clicking session, I stumbled upon a post that suggested LibreElec (https://libreelec.tv/ ) was in beta testing of a release to do this decoding.

I downloaded and wrote the LibreElec image to a SD card and plugged it in and fired it up.  I setup my NAS location and fired up one of my 4k videos and it worked properly for that video.  However, I had another video that had some pixelation and what seemed to be frame syncing issues every now and then.  All my music (mp3's, ogg vorbis, flac) of various bit rates and quality work as well.  An interesting thing with the music is that the low end/bass seems to be more 'present' than when I was using my laptop, even though I set the audio settings to be identical.  I am not sure if this is due to the HDMI port difference on the Pi and my laptop or the differences between Raspbian and LibreElec's audio drivers for Linux.

 

I also told dougw about LibreElec and you can see his progress in his post:The Ultimate Armchair ARM Computer

 

Next steps for me: First, get an actual 4k tv and HT receiver so I can actually see my 4k videos in 4k instead of downconverted to 1080p...