Do you need to control Kodi remotely, but are not happy with the default remote control option? Many alternative Kodi remotes are out there, falling into different categories. So let’s take a look at what Kodi remote solutions are available.
The 8 Types of Kodi Remote
The Kodi remote you’re already using is one of these standard types. But which one is it, and what is on offer if you decide to switch?
- MCE Remotes: Devices compatible with the Windows Media Center Edition (a variant of Windows 7) standard can be used on Kodi.
- Wireless and Bluetooth remotes: Various wireless and Bluetooth remotes are available that should run with Kodi.
- CEC-Compatible remotes: With an increasing number of HDTVs, the remote can actually control Kodi!
- Game controllers: Whether you’re running Kodi on your game console or not, a controller can be used if compatible.
- Smartphone or tablet: This will typically be through an app, although Kodi can display a remote interface over HTTP.
- Home automation: Voice-controlled home automation solutions can be used to control Kodi.
- Voice control: Some apps have been developed that provide enable voice-based navigation of Kodi.
- Keyboard: Finally, you have the option of a traditional keyboard.
Let’s look at these Kodi remote alternatives in depth.
1. MCE Remotes
If you’re looking for a dedicated, low-cost option, MCE-compatible remotes are your first port of call.
Typically shipping with a USB infrared receiver, MCE remotes almost always work out of the box. Additionally, their functionality is included in all-in-one remotes, so if you have one of those for your TV, you’ll find this works with Kodi.
2. Wireless and Bluetooth Remotes
Many media centers come with wireless (RF) or Bluetooth remotes, or at least the option to use them. If the device you have installed Kodi on has such a remote, then you should be able to use this.
These remotes—such as the Rii Backlit Air Mouse 2.4G MX3 Pro—are ideal for navigating the menus, selecting media to watch, and so on. Sadly, inputting text can be slow, even with the onscreen keyboard, but this is a small price to pay for the convenience of a good remote control. However, more recent remotes often come with a built-in keyboard.
Meanwhile, if such devices aren’t included or supported out of the box, find out if a USB port is free. If so, you may be able to connect a wireless or Bluetooth remote that ships with its own (pre-paired) dongle.
3. CEC-Compatible Remote
Now, this one may surprise you. If your HDTV has HDMI-CEC (or simply CEC, or some other similar title) functionality, you may be able to use your TV remote to control Kodi.
You’ll need to check the TV’s documentation here, in order to find out where to enable it. Note that different manufacturers have given this technology different names, based on the “Consumer Electronics Control” abbreviation. Googling your TV model name, and the term “+CEC” will help here.
For many people, this will be by far the most convenient option. It keeps control of your media center with the same device you use for your TV. Fewer remote controls always makes for a simpler life.
4. Game Controller
It really doesn’t matter what sort of game controller you’ve got. If it has a USB cable, it will almost certainly work with Kodi. Your controller might be an old Xbox or Xbox 360 controller, a PS3 or PS4 controller, or even a Nintendo Wii controller. It can even be a controller styled in tribute to a retro gaming device.
Once connected, you may need to do some configuration. In Kodi, go to Settings & System Settings and select Input & Configure attached controllers. Here, you’ll find the controller mapping window. Click Select to start, then press each button (or move the thumbstick) as it is highlighted on screen. Soon you should have configured the controller to work with Kodi. Note that if you make a mistake, you can Reset and redo the process.
5. Smartphone or Tablet
Looking for something a little more convenient? Kodi offers an official mobile app for Android and iOS, and with this you gain full control over your media center. (You might be interested to know that mobile app remotes for Windows 10 Mobile and Ubuntu Touch are also available). With a touchscreen remote, you can even enter text more easily, as it is sent via your device keyboard.
Even if you don’t use the official app (there may be compatibility issues), third party options are available too. And if you’re still having problems, there is also a web interface that you can use instead. Although slower than an app (imaging a web page that reloads each time you tap on it), the web interface nevertheless makes a convenient remote if installing an app isn’t an option.
6. Home Automation Control Systems
Several professional-level products have been produced that have Kodi functionality. These are not dedicated to Kodi, however. Rather, these systems are capable of controlling other technology around the home.
Kodi’s developers have been working for several years to integrate the technologies with Kodi, and are often used in conjunction with a dedicated mobile app. Devices from Allonis, Total Control, Control 4, iRidium Mobile, and Crestron all fall under this category.
Further details and an up-to-date list of system providers can be found on the Kodi wiki.
7. Voice Control Apps
Some voice control options are also available for remote controlling your Kodi media center. These currently come in the shape of third party mobile apps, although there is every chance a home automation system could introduce voice commands in future.
Rather than wearing out your thumb, a voice control app will let you instruct Kodi what to do. Want it to launch YouTube? Not a problem: just ask! Apps like Yatse and Unified Remote on Android are particularly good at this, so look at these first. For iOS, consider Blue Remote for Kodi.
Note: At the time of writing, if you have installed Kodi on an Amazon Fire Stick, the Voice Remote is incompatible with Kodi.
Last but not least, you could just use a keyboard. You’re thinking of a typical USB keyboard, aren’t you, with a long cable trailed across the floor. This is an option, but it’s not exactly ideal. Other keyboards are available.
We’ve already looked at Wi-Fi and Bluetooth remotes, but there are some brilliant wireless keyboards that work in the same way.
After all, it’s difficult to use Kodi without inputting text. You can’t search without one, or install (legal) third-party add-ons. Sure, the on-screen keyboard is adequate, but that’s about as good as it gets.
Perhaps you want a keyboard and mouse combination, with a built-in touchpad. Or a handheld keyboard the size of a standard remote. Whatever your preference of size and connectivity, a keyboard should be on your wishlist.
Not Happy Controlling Kodi? Swap Remotes!
With so many remote control options available and compatible with the majority of Kodi systems, it shouldn’t take long for you to find the remote solution to suit you. It WILL be one of those listed above; so just make sure you configure Kodi to use external remotes.
Image Credit: BrianAJackson/Depositphotos