Best Linux Media Center Distros for Your Home Theater PC

There are many Linux media centre distros available, and some do more than one thing. Which one is the best? Which one offers the greatest value? Which one is the most comprehensive?

As a subset Linux family of operating systemsLinux media center distros allow you to run Linux on your computer without the need for a CD or hard drive.

They install software on an operating-system partition and run Linux. Without further ado, let’s delve right into the list in this article.

1. LinHES

LinHESThis personal computer can playback media files, datastores, and audio without the need for special software or hardware. It also features a full-featured audio player, a video player (with 4 built-in video encoders), as well an optional media server.

LinHES - Linux Home Entertainment System
LinHES – Linux Home Entertainment System

LinHES is just the latest in a lineage of computers that includes the original PAL and NTSC-based HP300 and ASUS’s P5BA. As a strong candidate for media consumption, LINUX HOME ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM, LinHES has been designed to playback just about any media files and datastores by ensuring prior compatibility for the majority of media files you’ll encounter.

2. OpenELEC


OpenELECOpen-source media centre distribution, based on Linux kernel. Designed for tablets, smartphones, and other limited hardware.

It includes a built-in HD and music player, as well as an equalizer. OpenELEC is a Linux distribution that is optimized to work with low-end hardware. It’s available in two versions, the OpenELEC EditionThe WeTek E3D3T World Edition.

The main goal of OpenELECIt is designed to be portable and easy-to-use for Linux enthusiasts. It’s designed from the ground up for ease of use. It includes a built-in HD Player, music player, equalizer, and equalizer.

OpenELEC - Embedded Linux Entertainment Center
OpenELEC – Embedded Linux Entertainment Center

OpenELECContains installation candidates to install Freescale iMX6 and Raspberry Pi devices. OpenELEC is a long-term solution that Linux enthusiasts can trust. It’s based on the Linux Foundation’s Embedded Linux foundation, which is a well-established community of Linux enthusiasts.

OpenELECIt is similar to OSMC. Its name refers to Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center. Hence, like OSMC it’s a Linux media center distro for embedded devices. OpenELEC offers greater device compatibility.

3. RetroPie

For the technically-minded RetroPieIt is one of the most prestigious. Linux HTPCThere are many distributions. It offers a wide range of classic arcade games and modern classics.

As a platform – for what are majorly veteran gamers – RetroPieYou can be sure that your user base is well-defined. They are often people who like retro games and so, they settle for. RetroPie.

RetroPieOver the years, it has included a lot of real games. This is especially true for some of RetroPie’s newest and most exciting additions. RetroPie started as a fork off the excellent N64 emulator. The focus was on games.

RetroPie - Retro-gaming on the Raspberry Pi
RetroPie – Retro-gaming on the Raspberry Pi

RetroPie is a Raspberry Pi-based operating system. It has been running for about a year. Raspbian, the most popular Debian Linux distribution on the Raspberry Pi, is the operating system.

RetroPie can be used as a media center that allows you to play back videos, listen to music and watch movies. RetroPie was originally designed by a former employee at Nintendo to replace the N64 emulator.

The original name of the platform was Nintendo 64 Emulator. It was released in 2012. Its two greatest strengths are its ability to emulate the N64 on a Raspberry Pi, and its ability to run Kodi addons. This makes it a great media center without breaking your bank.


What is the definition of “What exactly is it?” OSMCWhat makes it so special? There are many Linux operating system options available for Raspberry Pi users.

Though it’s not the most advanced, it’s still a great alternative to the more traditional Linux distros like Ubuntu and Arch Linux. OSMC is heavily inspired from Fedora and Arch Linux, but has its own unique twists.

OSMC Media Center
OSMC Media Center

OSMCA Linux distribution developed and designed by Open Source Media Center. It’s designed to present an alternative experience to the traditional Linux distributions.

What is the answer? OSMCWhat is the difference between it and other Linux distros? OSMC is a Linux Operating System designed to further add to the options that cater to the Raspberry Pi family of devices but don’t serve those devices exclusively.

OSMCIt can also run on the most recent Apple TV boxes as well as hardware that they own, including Vero, Vero 2, Vero 4K, and Vero 3K.

5. LibreELEC

The LibreELECOperating system is one of the most favored. Linux HTPC distros out there, and in this tutorial, we’ll be taking a look at what exactly makes it stand out from the crowd.

If you’re an avid media consumer looking for an alternative to the likes of Linux MintOr Ubuntu, LibreELECThis may be the OS that you are looking for. You can customize the Linux options above to your liking. However, nothing beats a system made from scratch, especially one that is exclusively for Kodi.


LibreELEC is a Linux-based OS that is designed to be a “Just enough OS to run Kodi“. Compatibility for a wide variety of devices including Raspberry Pi and AMD-powered devices, WeTek streaming box, Amlogic devices and Nvidia HPPCs.

6. GeeXbox

Another contender is also on this list GeeXbox, is a real player who has earned his spot in the HTPC world. As it appears, we’ve added GeeXbox to this list of media centers.

GeeXboX Media Center Distribution
GeeXboX Media Center Distribution

As a new Linux-based platform for gaming, GeeXboxIt can be used to play many different games and is easy to install. The GeeXboX Linux media centre is a free and open-source project. It’s a Linux-based HTPC/game console that offers great flexibility.

7. Sabayon

Contrary to some of the other contenders on this list Sabayon doesn’t advertise itself as a Linux HTPCDistribution distro is still an attractive option, but it certainly has the appeal of traditional distribution.

With a simple kernel command, you can immediately start using it. MPlayer and the built-in Software Center can be used to install almost any software. Sabayon Linux is forked from Gentoo Linux, a very popular Linux distribution that is used by several members of Ubuntu’s release engineering team.

Sabayon Linux
Sabayon Linux

Gentoo LinuxIt is a well-known Linux distro that has been around for many years. For the uninitiated: ChromeOSGentoo is also used, which speaks to the popularity Gentoo as a base system.

SabayonThe collaboration between the Sabayon and GNOME developers and the Ubuntu development team resulted in the creation of the system. It is highly configurable and has its own set of applications and features.

8. LinuxMCE

LinuxMCEThis Linux distro was created by an IT consultant. It can be used with all major Linux distros. This system can be installed on a desktop as either an OS or virtual machine.


The MCESoftware allows you record and stream video, as well as web content. The best way to use LinuxMCEIt is possible to use a virtual machine. The MCE software is easy to use, and it’s easy to get started. It’s a very good choice for home entertainment as well hence its popularity.

LinuxMCEThis portable Linux software can be used in virtual machines to help you create your own Linux OS. It also includes a personal video recorder (PVR), and an extensive home automation system. The LinuxMCE’s Media Center Edition has a 10-foot-long user interface for HTPCs.


Find a Media CenterIt is possible to have a distro that ticks all the boxes, but it is not easy. However, it does require a lot of effort. This is about the same effort that the distributions on this page have satisfied to our satisfaction.

These distros will save you the time, configuration, or complex repository management that you’d otherwise have to worry about if you had to get all the tools that are commonplace in these distros on a mainstream distro from the Linux ecosystem.

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