Kodi is still one of the most powerful media center applications around, and it works on everything from powerful media PCs to small Raspberry Pis. But if you have multiple TVs in your house, wouldn’t it be nice if they all stayed in sync?
By default, if you have multiple Kodi machines, they won’t recognize each other. Episodes you watched on one TV won’t show as “watched” on another. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if your bedroom Kodi box knew what you watched in the living room, and vice-versa? Would it be nice if you could stop watching a movie in the living room, and resume watching right where you left off somewhere else in the house?
Well, it’s possible—it just takes a bit of setup. Here’s how to do it.
What You’ll Need
The core of the synchronization magic we’re about to undertake is a MySQL database. Don’t panic if you’ve never used one before! It does require a little technical know-how, but we’re here to guide you every step of the way. If you follow along closely, you shouldn’t have any problems.
What we’re going to do is install a free version of MySQL server, then instruct all your Kodi machines to use a database on that server as its library (instead of a separate database on each individual computer). From that point forward, when Kodi checks to see if you’ve seen a specific TV show episode or movie, paused media, or set a bookmark, it won’t just be answering for the specific media center you’re standing in front of, but for all media centers in the house.
For this project, you’ll need the following:
- More than one media center with Kodi installed (they’ll all need to be the same base version of Kodi—we’ll be using v17 “Krypton” in this guide).
- A free copy of MySQL Community Server—the Kodi wiki recommends grabbing version 5.5 instead of the newer 5.7, so that’s what we’ll be using for this tutorial.
- An always-on or nearly-always-on computer to run the MySQL server on.
You can install the MySQL server on any computer that will be consistently on while you’re using the media centers. In our case, we’re going to install MySQL on the same always-on home server that we store our movies and TV shows on—that way, any time the media is available to Kodi, so is the database.
Step One: Install the MySQL Server
For this tutorial, we’ll be installing MySQL on a media server running Windows 10. Our installation instructions should match for any version of Windows. For other operating systems, please consult the MySQL 5.5 Manual.
The installation of MySQL is straightforward. Simply download the server installation app and run it. Accept the license agreement and the “Typical” installation. When it’s finished, make sure “Launch the MySQL Instance Configuration Wizard” is checked, and click Finish.
The MySQL configuration wizard will launch and present you with the option to select between Detailed and Standard Configuration. Select Standard Configuration and click Next.
On the next screen, check “Install As Windows Service”, name it MySQL—or, if you’re running multiple MySQL servers for some purpose, give it a unique name—and check “Launch the MySQL Server Automatically” to ensure the MySQL server is always on when you need it.
On the next screen, check Modify Security Settings, plug in a new root password, and check Enable root access from remote machines.
Click through to the final screen and press Execute to let the wizard set everything up with the parameters you’ve specified. When it’s finished, move on to Step Two.
Step Two: Set Up Your MySQL User
Next, it’s time to create a user account on the MySQL server for your media centers. We’ll need a bit of command line work for this. To start, run the MySQL Command Line Client—you should have an entry for it in your Start Menu.
When the console opens, enter the password you created in the previous step. You’ll then find yourself at the MySQL server prompt.
At the prompt, type the following commands, pressing Enter after each one, to create a user on the database server:
CREATE USER 'kodi' IDENTIFIED BY 'kodi';
GRANT ALL ON *.* TO 'kodi';
The first portion of the first command creates the user, the second portion creates the password. While identical login/passwords are generally a huge security no-no in this case we’re comfortable using a matching pair for the sake of simplicity. A MySQL database, on a private server, that tracks which episodes of Dexter you’ve watched is hardly a high risk installation.
That’s all you need to do in the command line for now—though we recommend keep the command prompt open for the MySQL server, however, as we’re going to check in later and take a peek at the databases once Kodi has created them for us.
We have one final task…
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