EDITORS NOTE: The Beta version mentioned in this blog post is now OpenELEC stable version 7.0, available here: http://openelec.tv/get-openelec/category/57-raspberry-pi2-builds

OpenELEC is popular software that can turn your Raspberry Pi into dedicated media center. However, we often hear from disappointed customers who discover that OpenELEC’s developers intentionally rejected Bluetooth audio support. But it looks like this stance is softening and OpenELEC’s current beta version supports Bluetooth audio. It works great on the Pi2 with Plugable’s USB2-BT4LE adapter and on the Pi3 using its built-in Bluetooth adapter.

In this post I’ll show how to use Bluetooth audio with the OpenELEC beta. Its interface isn’t super intuitive, so I’ve included a lot of screenshots. Click a link below to go to the corresponding section.

Download and Install the OpenELEC Beta

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1. Download the beta version of OpenELEC for the Raspberry Pi.

2. Decompress the image and install on a microSD card.

3. Plug the card into your Pi, connect the Pi to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and start it up.

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4.OpenELECT will expand the file system, then will take you through a series of setup screens. At the last one, click Next to go to the Home screen.

Enable Bluetooth Audio

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1. Select System in the main menu, then select OpenELEC in the sub-menu.

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2. Select Services in the menu on the left, then select Enable Bluetooth. The circle to its right will turn blue.

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3. If you want to use Bluetooth to transfer music files from your phone, tablet, or Bluetooth enabled-computer, select OBEX Enabled. You can also set the destination for your transferred files.

Connect your Bluetooth headphones or speaker

1. Make your headphones or speaker discoverable. If you aren’t sure how, check the owner’s manual for instructions.

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2. Click Bluetooth on the left of the OpenElec screen. Bluetooth will start scanning and should show your headphones or speaker along with any other nearby Bluetooth devices. If you don’t see your audio device, try turning off Bluetooth on any Bluetooth device you previously connected them to, so they won’t automatically connect there.

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3. Click the name of your device, then select Trust and Connect in the screen that appears. OpenELEC will connect your device.

4. Click the Home symbol at the lower right to return to the main screen. In the main menu there, select System, then select Settings from the sub-menu.

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5. In the menu on the left, select System, then in the next screen to appear, select Audio Output. Click Audio Output Device.

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6. In the window that appears, select PULSE: Default, Bluetooth Audio (PULSEAUDIO). Your Bluetooth headphones or speakers should now play audio.

Using Bluetooth to Transfer Files from Another Device

This shows how to transfer music files from a Windows computer. The OpenELEC operations for other devices will be similar.

1. In Windows, click the Bluetooth icon in the system tray, then select Show Bluetooth Devices to open the Manage Bluetooth Devices window. This makes your computer discoverable to OpenELEC.

2. Click Bluetooth on the left of the OpenElec screen. Bluetooth will start scanning and should show your computer along with other nearby Bluetooth devices.

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3. When it finds your computer, click the device name and select Trust and Connect.

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4. Windows will display a notification that says “Add a Device.” It only stays for a moment before fading, so watch for it and click it as soon as it appears.

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5. Windows will display a window with a passcode. If it matches the one shown in OpenELEC, click Yes.

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6. A similar screen will be displayed in OpenELEC. Click Yes.

7. To transfer files from the Windows computer to OpenELEC, click the Bluetooth icon in the system tray and select Send a File.

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8. Select your OpenELEC device as the transfer location.

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9. Navigate to the folder with the files you want to send and select them. Click Next.

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10. In OpenELEC, click Yes to accept the transfer.

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11. The file will be downloaded to the /storage/downloads folder or whatever folder you selected above for OBEX Upload Folder.

Connecting a Mouse or Keyboard

You can also connect a mouse or keyboard using the same Bluetooth settings screen used for Bluetooth audio.

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1. Make your keyboard or mouse discoverable. Go to the Bluetooth screen with System > OpenElec > Bluetooth. OpenELEC will scan for Bluetooth devices and should show your keyboard or mouse. Click your device, then select Trust and Connect.

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2. Your keyboard or mouse should connect and be ready for use.

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3. Some keyboards require a PIN code. If this is the case for your keyboard, OpenElect will display the RequestPinCode screen. If you see this, type in any desired PIN code, then press Done. Type the same pin code on your keyboard and press Enter. If the two codes match, your keyboard will be connected.

I hope this blog post has been helpful! If you have any questions or comments, please post below or contact us directly at support@plugable.com. Thanks!


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