Hail and Welcome! Unboxing Vero 4K+, First Thoughts and Progress!

So, LONG time Kodi user and dev here, but I’ve only been lurking on the OSMC forums until now. Back on December 13th, I finally bit the bullet, so to speak, and ordered a Vero 4K+.

If you’re thinking that two weeks is a long time to wait on shipping, you’re right… though it’s nobody’s fault but my own. I made a tiny mistake in the ordering process (which they caught), and ended up having to go back and forth with support until the 19th when we finally sorted out my mistake, and they shipped it out that day!

Being in the States, I had to deal with the inevitable customs headaches (which were a bit unnerving), but the process went something like this…

My Vero departed the OSMC facility on the 19th.
It arrived at Langley HWDC on the 20th, and departed the same day.
Arrived at ISC Chicago IL on the 22nd where it began the customs headaches. At this point, the OSMC shipping tracker drops off and I have to rely on the frustratingly inaccurate USPS shipping tracker.
Clearing customs took two days, and I got no updates until 1am on the 24th. At that time, it was listed as clearing the Champaign IL USPS Distribution Center.
At 11am it reached the Chicago IL Distribution Center.
No record was posted of when it left Chicago, but at 1pm on the 25th, it reached the Omaha NE Distribution Center.
Usually, when things hit Omaha I receive them withing 24 hours. In this case, I received it at 10am today (half an hour ago).

So… the shipping process wasn’t as bad as it could have been! The only two headaches were the actual process of clearing customs (and waiting for my first stateside update), and for some reason sitting in Omaha for two days before being sent to my local post office (I live a few hours from Omaha).

On to the actual unboxing!

For starters, between the awesome guys at OSMC and the… less awesome guys at USPS, there’s NO way this thing could have been damaged in transit. It arrived in a nesting-doll-esque set of boxes in boxes. For starters, the OSMC guys packaged it like pros. What they shipped it in was a moderately sized shipping box (about four times the size of the actual product packaging) packed with a TON of packing peanuts and “fragile” markings. Given it had to go trans-continental, that level of packaging is definitely appreciated. The guys at USPS apparently didn’t think it was sufficient, and proceeded to add ANOTHER box with packaging… and then put the whole thing in a USPS shipping bag. OK, that’s a bit overkill, but whatever.

After digging through the layers of boxes, I finally got the actual product out and my first thought was “wow! This thing is tiny!” I mean, I’d read the product stats, and a few unboxing posts, but nothing prepares you for how incredibly compact this thing really is. The below picture is next to a Roku remote for scale. Remember, that box has the actual device, remote, and various accessories in it.

Upon opening the box, my next thought was that the level of professionalism and attention to detail in this thing is incredible. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this doesn’t look like just another cheap entertainment gadget. Over the years, I’ve bought three Rokus, two Amazon Fire TVs, an AppleTV, and built three custom HTPCs, and the only one that comes even remotely close to the attention to detail in product packaging is the AppleTV… but this still looks (and feels… and will perform) better.

Once unpacked, the box contains the device itself, which I still can’t believe is so small, a region-specific power adapter, remote, remote dongle, an HDMI cable, and an infrared receiver extension kit. Not pictured but also included is mounting hardware for the device itself should you wish to mount it to a TV or whatever.

And now… on to the fun part! I’ll update you with my thoughts on the actual setup and configuration shortly. For now, I’ve gotta get this thing plugged in!


OK, an hour later and the initial setup is complete! Right out of the box, I’ve got to say that this feels nice. I’ve built HTPCs for myself and friends using both OSMC and LibreELEC numerous times. I’ve built them using various Raspberry Pi models, ODROID, and actual 64-bit HTPC builds. Out of all of them, this is BY FAR the best feeling with no tweaks. It only makes sense, given that it’s specifically built to run OSMC, but it’s remarkably snappy and even the remote feels nice.

My only initial hardware gripe is the same one I have with virtually every HTPC I’ve built, but it’s sort of a “duh” thing. I really wish someone would build a remote that’s as simple and intuitive as the Vero remote, but with a backlight! I spend most of my time working on/using an HTPC in the dark and, while I know I’ll get used to the new layout in time, it’s really annoying not knowing which button is where day one. I hit home instead of back at least a dozen times during initial setup.

That said, the initial setup itself went without a hitch. Nothing I haven’t seen before, same as any other OSMC install. When I hooked everything up, I forgot to plug in the Ethernet cable and, of course, OSMC threw a fit about not having Internet access. So… I plugged it in and waited. It took all of five seconds for OSMC to detect that the cable was plugged in but, for some reason, it decided it didn’t want to actually connect for almost a minute. Given the complexity of my home network, I’m chalking it up to a hostname conflict on my part, and not the fault of the device. I gave the Vero the same hostname as the Raspberry Pi it’s replacing, which has a static IP. I haven’t yet re-assigned the IP to the Vero, so I’m guessing it was balking about having two devices with different hardware addresses but the same hostname. Regardless, it did finally connect so no big deal.

Once initial setup was done, I went about running the initial update. My Vero shipped with OSMC 2018.08-1, while the current release is 2018.10-1, so I knew right off the bat that upgrading would be necessary.

This has always been a sticking point for me with OSMC on Raspberry Pi devices. Upgrades never seem to work quite right… they always freeze if I run them from the OSMC interface. Over the last few years, I’ve concluded that the biggest reason for this is the perpetually under-powered state that my Raspberry Pi devices run in. For some reason, I can never seem to get the right power adapter, so the interface always ends up being sluggish due to sub-optimal power.

Thankfully, the OSMC ships with a power supply that’s actually MADE for it, so it works beautifully. The download went off without a hitch, I was prompted to exit OSMC to run the upgrade, the upgrade completed and the device rebooted. The first button I pushed post upgrade, however, caused an immediate sad face as the device crashed. Oops. However, it automatically restarted and no more issues post-restart.

I’ve been a Linux developer for close to twenty years, and I’ve seen my share of creative causes for system failures. The way that this particular crash occurred, though I haven’t actually dug into the logs yet, felt like a race condition of sorts. Like the interface was finishing loading before the underlying system had completely caught up from the upgrade. Regardless, I’ve done a ton of configuration and tinkering since then without even the slightest hesitation from the device. Note to self, when you do upgrades, don’t rush into the interface… give the system a few moments to settle down.

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Known issue, nothing to worry about and should be fixed when osmc moves to kodi v18.

Thanks Tom.


Good to know that it’s not just me!

Since my last update, I’ve setup my basic environment, tweaked a few things (I spend a TON of time on the command line… don’t judge), and started the VERY long process of migrating all my movies to the new hard drive I have connected to my Vero.

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Got my first batch of movies migrated and imported, got a MariaDB server setup and properly handling everything. So far so good!

Thanks for your post.

I’m glad things have arrived in good condition and you’re pleased. I will pass your feedback about the packaging on.

Customs clearance times in the US should improve shortly. We are now sending electronic customs advice with shipments from 1st January which should expedite delivery significantly. The STOP act requires us to pass this information to US Customs and Border control in advance.

The sad face on update is indeed a race condition caused by two calls to reload the skin before the first has finished. This should now be fixed, so you shouldn’t see this after the next update.

Do let us know if there’s anything we can do for you



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It’s been two weeks since I received my Vero, so I thought it was high time I posted an update. I’ve been doing a ton of work over the last two weeks towards building out my system. I suppose that before I get into what I’ve built, a little bit of background is in order.

Most users probably get into Kodi for the express purpose of building a home theater system. For me, my Vero will serve a bit broader purpose. You see, I’m taking the idea of cord cutting a bit further. Over the last few years, I’ve been progressively downsizing my life. I’m currently shopping around for a school bus which meets my needs and will be converting it to an RV of sorts. Once converted, this will become my full-time home.

As I’ll be living in a more or less perpetually transient state, the idea of building an HTPC was appealing. More than that, I wanted a single system to be the heart of my RV. As such, my Vero will be serving as a media center, file server, and system monitor and hub for all the RV systems. This will (eventually) include controlling lighting, handling the RV security system, monitoring water and waste tanks, etc. With that in mind, on to the progress!

The last time I posted, I had done the basic Kodi setup and was working on processing my libraries. At the time, I was using the Eminence skin, set up similarly to my old Raspberry Pi build. Unfortunately for me, I ran into a few issues with Eminence, including one that resulted in a screwed up library import, and ended up going back to the drawing board. I’m now using a custom fork of Eminence and no more problems!

Regarding the actual Kodi configuration, I’m not doing anything spectacularly unique at this point. The unique stuff is all under the hood. One of the most significant driving forces to my purchasing a Vero was the ability to do more with it. As nifty as Raspberry Pi is, it is also a severely limited platform. That said, the following functionality has been built and is working as expected:

  • Transmission (duh, OSMC makes this one stupidly simple)
    • Both my laptop and phone can send torrents and magnet links directly to the Vero for processing
  • Full-scale web server
    • Stack is a reasonably traditional LAMP stack
    • NGINX is running as a reverse proxy
    • The bus runs an internal network with DNSMasq handling routing; all systems in the bus are accessible on a pseudo-TLD (.bus). I know it seems like overkill, but there’s a method to the madness.
    • Currently, the network is hosting four websites in addition to the Kodi web interface. A fifth will go live once I’ve decided on which hardware I want to use to monitor tank levels.
  • Calibre instance running as a headless server with a custom frontend (85K books and counting!)
  • Network file server
  • Custom backup scripts that sync the entire device (and attached media) to a backup system transitionally every day

It’s amazing to hear what other people do with their Veros, the idea of using it as a smart home hub is amazing and it’s something I wanted to do as well.

Unfortunately I would have to wire the sun shade I want to command wirelessly to an Arduino or a raspberry with an expansion board and I’m worried about screwing something up badly.

Keep us posted!

That’s actually one of the things that mine will eventually control. In my case, however, I don’t need the additional middle step. Although, I do have both Artuino and Raspberry Pi boards around if it becomes necessary for one step or another!