Ogg videos on RPi/Kodi

I recently wanted to play an OGG video on my Raspberry Pi with XBMC (which has been renamed to Kodi recently). Unfortunately, it didn’t work out of the box. This is how I solved the problems.

Problem 1: Ogg video file not recognized.

If you try to open your file by using the file browser in Kodi’s video section, it won’t be displayed. This is because Kodi assumes that files with the *.ogg extension are audio files.

Solving this is easy: Simply rename somefile.ogg to somefile.ogv (somefile.ogm is also possible). For the sake of completeness: Your Ogg audio files can have *.ogg or *.oga as file extension.

Although you can also change the way Kodi detects files and make *.ogg a video file extension, I do not recommend this. That extension is much more common with audio files and renaming Ogg videos to *.ogv makes audio and video files distinguishable by just reading the filename.

Now you can see the Ogg video file in Kodi’s file browser. You hit enter and …. have another problem.

Problem 2: Ogg video file playback is audio-only

Now the file actually plays and you can hear the sound, but there’s no video. This is probably because the RPi’s GPU does not know how to decode the video. GPU accelerated software codecs are only available from start_x.elf.

Open /etc/profile/ and append /opt/vc/bin to your $PATH:

# Set our default path
PATH="/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/opt/vc/bin"

Then add this to your /boot/config.txt:

start_file=start_x.elf
fixup_file=fixup_x.dat

That causes the RPi to load testing versions of the GPU firmware. These enable potentially unstable/not-fully-tested/hacky functionality - currently, using these files instead of the usual fixup.dat/start.elf will cause extra video codecs to become available.[1]

Note that you should set your GPU memory to at least 128 MB:

gpu_mem_256=128 # If you have 256 MB RAM (Model A)
gpu_mem_512=128 # If you have 512 MB RAM (Model B)

Et voilà. Kodi is now able to play Ogg video files (hopefully)!