Update to LibreElec 9.2.8 with Kodi 18.9 (Leia) on Wetek Openelec Box (aka Wetek Play 1)

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Published on - last updated on January 19th 2023 - Listed in Kodi Multimedia


A couple of years ago I bought a multimedia/media center box: A Wetek Openelec box. This is basically the same device as the Wetek Play (1), just with a different branding on the box.

Wetek Openelec / Play 1 box

Although I replaced that box with the successor model (Wetek Play 2), I kept the older Play 1 in my office. I mainly used this box on very rare occasions or to check the door using the Surveillance Cam add-on for Kodi.

Last release: LibreElec 9.0.2 (Kodi 18.2)

As the years passed - and Wetek disappeared from the market, unfortunately - I updated LibreElec on the box a couple of times. But once I installed LibreElec 9.0.2 (with Kodi 18.2), this turned out to be the final official LibreElec release. From the official LibreElec download site:

But wait, there's a fork!

During my Christmas holidays, I did some research and stumbled upon a discussion in the LibreElec forums, which seems to be an unofficial update of LibreElec for the Wetek Play 1 device. After reading (almost the whole) thread, the feedback sounded pretty good so I decided to give it a shot.

The LibreElec fork itself is based on the last official release, 9.0.2, and is intended for older media boxes with AMLogic processors. The Wetek Play 1 uses the AML8726-MX processor, also known as Amlogic Meson 6. Although hardware support (in the Linux Kernel) for Meson 6 is not great, the developer (@dtech) still managed to get a working LibreElec update released.

The fork's release is currently LibreElec 9.2.8, which includes Kodi 18.9 (the last Kodi Leia release) and can be downloaded as SD card image (img.gz file) or as update package (tar file). The dedicated download page also shows additional information about the release.

LibreElec 9.2.8 on Wetek Openelec (Play 1)

I decided to make a clean sweep and use a new microSD card for the installation. After I downloaded the LibreELEC-WeTek_Play.arm-9.2.8.img.gz file, I also downloaded the official LibreElec SD Card writer tool (LibreELEC USB-SD Creator) and launched it (requires sudo to write to the SD card). However instead of choosing a version, the [Select file] button should be used to select the previously downloaded img.gz file:

After the data was written on the microSD card, the card was inserted into the Wetek device (on the right side there's a microSD slot) and the device booted from the SD card.

Note: The instructions from dtech mention the "toothpick" method in order to boot from the SD card, but that was not necessary in my case.

Testing LibreElec 9.2.8 on the Wetek Play

As I decided to go with a "clean" and new OpenElec, obviously previous configurations, playlists, add-ons, etc. are gone (not really gone, as they are still on the internal NAND memory, just not on the SD card). But this also allows to do a thorough test of the LibreElec fork. The following was successfully tested:

  • Network access using wired connection, both with DHCP and static address
  • Access SMB share in local network and use as source
  • Build local media library (TV Shows + Movies)
  • TVHeadend DVB-C Tuner setup *1
  • Play Live TV *2
  • Remote Control (Wetek Play Remote) *3
  • Install an (official) add-on (Keymap Editor)
  • Play video *4
  • Changing skins (tested with Amber and Confluence skins)

Some additional notes on the tests:

*1: After the initial TVHeadend setup (wizard), the TVHeadend HTSP Client add-on was unable to connect to the TVHeadend server (access denied). I was required to create a user in the user interface (http://ip.address:9981) and use this user credentials in the TVHeadend HTSP Client add-on configuration.

*2: Some TV channels appeared to have lagging issues after a few seconds. Not sure if this is related to the updated LE version or a problem in the tuner settings.

*3: Some remote control buttons needed to be (re-)configured. First the "Joystick support" was disabled (Add-ons -> Add-on browser -> My Add-ons -> Peripheral libraries -> Joystick support), as it could interfere with remote controls. Then the Keymap add-on was installed, to change button mappings (specifically for the Context Menu, Go to Favorites and the Mute button).

*4: The video player in the newer Kodi release seems to be missing the control buttons (stop, play, rewind, forward, etc) when a video is paused. I was unable to find the reason (or the related settings) yet. 

TL;DR: It works!

Even though LibreElec 9.2.8 (with Kodi 18.9) is not the newest available version, it is still great to have this unofficial update available. There are clearly some improvements and fixes in the background. And the best thing: Everything works. However the Wetek Openelec / Play 1 box can sometimes be laggy and slow. But this is not due to the update but, as mentioned before, due to lack of hardware support of the Amlogic Meson 6 SOC (and the slow 32-bit dual-core processor, compared to today's processors).

A few screenshots from the updated box (with the Amber skin):

Wetek Play 1 still getting updates!

It is meanwhile September 2022 and several months have passed since the original blog post. The Wetek Play 1 is still getting love and updates from the developer dtech. The latest release is LibreElec 9.2.8.6. I've just successfully updated the Play 1 (using the tar file, uploaded into the "Update" folder in the Samba share).

Libreelec 9.2.8.6 on Wetek Play 1

January 2023: Fixing the Remote keys

As mentioned in the comments, some of the keys on the Wetek Remote did not work. Especially the often used "Favorite" key (the star key on the Remote) would not have any effect.

dtech, the developer and brains behind these new releases for the Wetek Play 1, just created version 9.2.8.7 which should contain a fix for the Remote. Note that as I am writing this, 9.2.8.7 is in a development/snapshot branch and not yet officially released.

I used the tarball for the update and placed it on the device's Samba share, inside the "update" directory:

After a reboot of the Wetek Play 1, the tar file is extracted and the update is installed. This can be verified under the System Info:

The Remote Control now definitely works much better and the "star" key to open the Favorites now works, too! 

Once again, thanks and kudos to dtech!


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Comments (newest first)

ck from Switzerland wrote on Feb 24th, 2023:

Yes, I can confirm this. The device is pretty weak (CPU wise). The Play 2 is definitely a better device, but also outdated compared to todays processors.


Bart van Dam from wrote on Feb 24th, 2023:

Thanks so much for all the help. I managed to update the device. Unfortunately, de Wetek Play doesn't seem to be powerful enough to use for my iptv subscription. The device freezes when trying to go to the tv channels. Thanks a lot anyway


ck from Switzerland wrote on Feb 24th, 2023:

Bart, this seems to be the problem:
> When I boot from SD card I get the options update from ADB, update from EXT and update from cache
Looks like your Wetek Play 1 boots from Android rather then directly booting LibreElec. The device should boot directly from the SD card with LibreElec so you can update it using the update files (tar file for example).
To make your Wetek Play One boot LibreElec directly from the SD card, read the description on libreelec.dtech.hu:

If you want to boot the device from your bootable media, you need to perform

the toothpick method first: Disconnect the power plug, insert the prepared boot

media, and then press and hold the reset button*. Reconnect the power jack while

holding down the reset button, then release it after about 3-5 seconds**.



* The reset button on MXQ and M8S+ is located behind the A/V connector, but on

the Mecool and WeTek devices, the reset button is located behind the hole on the

bottom of the device.

** If the Android recovery menu appeared, you pressed the button for too long.


Bart van Dam from wrote on Feb 24th, 2023:

I have managed to access a usb drive attached to my openelec player en copied the .tar file there. The problem is that .tar is not recongnized by de SD card boot menu wheb wanting to install a update package using 'apply update from EXT' I habve also tried a .zip. This one is recognized, but wont install. Is there an option that works?


Bart van Dam from wrote on Feb 24th, 2023:

Sorry to bother you again, but I can not get to this install file after I uploaded it to the Update directory. When I normally boot to the openelec installation, there is no option to update. When I boot from SD card I get the options update from ADB, update from EXT and update from cache. None of them seem to be able to point to the file in the Update directory. What am I doing wrong?


ck from Switzerland wrote on Feb 23rd, 2023:

Bart, download the .tar file. Then copy it to your existing LibreElec installation on your Wetek Play 1. You can use the internal File Sharing (Samba) Server of LibreElec and place the tar file in the "Update" directory. See screenshots above.


Bart van Dam from Amsterdam wrote on Feb 23rd, 2023:

Hi,
Thanks so much for this info. I followed the steps in downloading the LibreELEC-WeTek_Play.arm-9.2.8.7.img.gz and putting this in an SD
But when I boot to this disk i het te option to install update from sd, but this disk then seems to be empty. How do I update ?


ck from Switzerland wrote on Jan 19th, 2023:

dtech, awesome, thank you so much for the update! I successfully tested the snapshot version 9.2.8.7 and the remote control works much better, including the star key to open the Favorites! Thank you!


dtech from Hungary wrote on Jan 19th, 2023:

Hi!

Instead of the inherited settings of the remote control, I created a completely new one, so all buttons now work. With the exception of one button (enable/disable mouse) it is exactly the same as the one I used in my WP2 version.
Layout: http://libreelec.dtech.hu/remote.conf/5F5E-WP2/remote-control-modified-funcions.png

So far, only a snapshot image has been created, but I would be happy if someone could test it:
http://libreelec.dtech.hu/snapshots/20230118_master_a602c4f/

Thanks,
dtech


ck from Switzerland wrote on Oct 24th, 2022:

Hi Graham. I actually have the same problem with the star/favourite key.


Graham from United Kingdom wrote on Oct 16th, 2022:

Great article, Claudio. I've installed onto the NAND and all is good except I had no luck remapping the remote's star key to open favourites and the power button doesn't start or shutdown. Please email me your gen.xml file (or post it here)

Many thanks


Peter from wrote on Aug 8th, 2022:

If you have already LibreELEC installed, you can update your device (no need to flash again the SDCard).

If you have SSH access to the device is as easy as going to the /storage/.update folder, download or copy there the latest release from the fork and reboot the device. Once restarted it will install the new update and since its just a fork it will work out of the box.


agarciaexposito from Install image from SD Card to internal memory (eMMC or onboard NAND Flash): wrote on Jan 27th, 2022:

Copy from: http://libreelec.dtech.hu/
Install image from SD Card to internal memory (eMMC or onboard NAND Flash):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you want to install the firmware into the internal memory, you need to
log in to the device via SSH and run the 'installtointernal' command.
The default password for the root user is 'libreelec'.


Zilog from Ireland wrote on Jan 19th, 2022:

Thanks! Stumbled upon your post as I was wondering what to do with my old Wetek Play 1.
Cue several hours down a rabbit hole later! LibreELEC 9.2.8 can be installed on the NAND too by using the .tar and updating, but only works by following method here:
https://forum.libreelec.tv/thread/17626-wetek-play-1-cant-update-to-9-0-2/?postID=135503#post135503

Also tried recent(ish - 2017) Enigma2 image, OpenATV, which seems to work well. Find it very easy to navigate using the remote, with some remapping, and the BlueHD skin. I use an Enigma2 box for normal TV viewing, so am reasonably familiar with it. SD card image for the Wetek can be downloaded from here:
http://images.mynonpublic.com/openatv/6.0/index.php?open=wetekplay

Hope your post and the above help keep a few out of landfill!