Remote controls are so 1950. If you have a Kodi media center and an Amazon Echo, you can play all your favorite movies and shows with a well-placed voice command…if you’re willing to do a little setup.
The Amazon Echo is, in our opinion, one of the coolest parts of a smart home. Controlling your lights, blinds, and TV with your phone is cool, but controlling them with your voice is truly the future. I was skeptical, but quickly became impressed—and hungry for more.
Being able to turn my TV on is cool, but what I really wanted was to be able to control my media center. I wanted to be able to say “Play the next episode of Friends” and have it search my library, see what I watched last, and start playing the subsequent episode. And after a bit of searching, I found that one enterprising programmer named Joe Ipson had already done just that.
This takes a little bit of setup, and it looks very intimidating at first. You’ll need to create a web server, push some code from GitHub, and do a little work from the command line, but you don’t need to be a programmer to get this up and running. Ipson has done almost all the heavy lifting, and you just need to copy his code, edit a few parts, and upload it to the right place. If you follow this guide to the letter, you should be up and running in no time.
NOTE: We’re using Amazon Web Services for this tutorial, since it’s the most reliable. If you’re a new AWS user, Ipson says you should be able to run the skill for free for about a year, after which you’ll be charged less than 20¢ per month. If you want something truly free, you could set it up using Heroku instead, replacing steps two, three, and four of this guide with the Heroku instructions in Ipson’s documentation. It is, however a little less reliable, and some requests may time out when you use it. We recommend AWS if you want the best experience possible—it’s well worth the meager 20¢ per month.
In order for this to work, Kodi will need to have a server accessible from the web. Thankfully, this is built into Kodi, though you may need to forward some ports on your router and perform some other tasks before it works smoothly.
Open Kodi on your media center and head to System > Services > Web Server. Enable the web server if it isn’t enabled already, and give it a username and password. Be sure to use a password you don’t use for any other service.
You will also need the public IP address for your home. However, since this can change, we highly recommend signing up for a dynamic domain name using a service like Dynu. Follow our guide here before continuing if you don’t already have one.
Lastly, you’ll need to set up port forwarding for your Kodi box. This will differ from router to router, but you can check out our guide here for more information. Just forward any external port to the local IP address of your Kodi box (in my case, 192.168.1.12) and local port (8080 by default).
NOTE: while Kodi’s local port is 8080 by default, you can change it to whatever you want—or you can forward it to a different external port to make sure there are no complications (since other apps may ask for port 8080). I’m using 8080 in this tutorial, but if you use something different, just replace all instances of port 8080 with the external port you choose here.Read More...
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