OpenElec Linux Distribution System

Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center (OpenELEC) is a small Linux distribution built from scratch as a platform to turn your computer into a Kodi (previously XBMC) media center. OpenELEC Linux Distribution System is designed to make your system boot fast, and the install is so easy that anyone can turn a blank PC into a media machine in less than 15 minutes.

OpenELEC Linux Distribution System


What is OpenELEC Linux Distribution System?

Home Theatre PCs are known to be hard to install and configure, and it can take a massive amount of time to keep them running. OpenELEC, on the other hand, is designed to be as lightweight as possible in terms of size and complexity, meaning your HTPC becomes no harder to configure than your satellite box or DVD player. With its small footprint, OpenELEC is also ideal for today’s small form factor systems, so you won’t need a big desktop computer in your living room!

What hardware does OpenELEC run on?

As it is designed to be lightweight, OpenELEC uses very little system resources for processor or memory. With support for Intel’s HD Graphics, NVIDIA’s GeForce & ION platform, AMD’s Radeon & Fusion platform as well as Broadcom’s Crystal HD chip, OpenELEC can support high definition content on machines with low-powered processors by offloading video content to the supported graphics cards and decoders.

OpenELEC supports a wide range of graphics cards, making it possible to convert your new and not-so-new computers into full-featured home theater systems. This means you can now build (or buy) small, silent, even fanless machines to be effectively used as your media center.

If you don’t have any suitable hardware or you’d just like to buy a pre-built system, look no further. We have a list of online shops, who sell prebuilt systems and suitable hardware to run OpenELEC – just head over to the Buy A System page.


What makes OpenELEC Linux Distribution System different?

You could install Windows or your favorite Linux distribution on your computer and then Kodi on top – and it would work – but it wouldn’t be as fast or as easy as OpenELEC. OpenELEC is built from the ground up specifically for one task, to run Kodi. Other operating systems are designed to be multi-purpose, so they include all kinds of software to run services and programs that won’t be used. OpenELEC, however, only includes software required to run Kodi. Because of that it is tiny (roughly 150MB), it installs literally in minutes, and, it can boot extremely quickly in 5-20 seconds, depending on the hardware type used.

Unlike other Kodi solutions, OpenELEC is not based on Ubuntu. In fact, it’s not based on any Linux distribution; OpenELEC has been built from scratch specifically to act as a media center. That means it doesn’t include drivers for things that just won’t be used like 3G cards and graphics tablets, for example.

openELEC Setting

OpenELEC Features

  • Movie Organizer and Player: Organize your movie collections. Play your videos and scrape relevant info, subtitles, and fanart. All video info is shown via themes you like.
  • TV Show Management: Manage your TV series and keep track of your favorite episodes. Descriptions, actors and other info available via online scrapers.
  • Picture Browser: Watch all your photos with OpenELEC manually or use a handy slide show. Zoom and/or rotate your pictures for the best presentation.
  • Music and Audiobook Player: Audio files in many different formats can be listened to via the Music section. Artist’s photos & album covers are available as Kodi fanart.
  • TV and Personal Video Recorder: Watch your favorite TV channels. Browse through the TV listings and record your favorite TV broadcasts. Watch recordings when you like.
  • Easy expandable with Addons: OpenELEC can be enhanced via numerous add-ons, which cover a wide range of areas such as skins, tools and also even domotica.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
 Open source code
Lacks features outside of media playing, making it a poor choice for a typical home or office desktop operating system
Completely free to download and install, though donations can be made via PayPal or Flattr
Uses a very small amount of system resources for operation, making it the obvious choice for machines that are going to be used for nothing but media
Since it uses fewer resources, it’s great for smaller machines that have smaller power supplies and graphics cards. It’s also ideal for quiet machines that won’t need fans since the hardware won’t be working hard enough to generate large amounts of heat
Furthering its performance on smaller machines is the operating system’s ability to offload video processing from the processor to other hardware, such as the graphics card or other decoders
Boots incredibly fast, often between 5 and 20 seconds

System Requirements

Processor x86 or x86-64 processors such as Intel Pentium 4/ Pentium M, AMD Athlon 64 / Opteron, or newer CPU (that support SSE2, which all CPUs made within the last 10-years does).
RAM 2 GB or More Computer for multipurpose use.
Operating System Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10

Technical Specification

Software Name OpenELEC for Windows
Software File Size 213 MB
License Free
Languages English, Italian, Chinese, German, Polish, Japanese, Spanish, French
Developer OpenELEC Team



OpenELEC Linux Distribution System is designed to be managed as an appliance: it can automatically update itself and can be managed entirely from within the graphical interface. Even though it runs on Linux, you will never need to see a management console, command terminal or have Linux knowledge to use it.