Kodi has slowly but surely made an impression in the context of TV and movie streaming. If you have abandoned physical media and started digitizing your movie and music collection, you might have definitely heard mention of Kodi. For those unaware, Kodi is a platform that lets you play videos, music, podcasts and other digital media files from the internet, local storage or a home network.
Here’s what you should know about the media server that’s quietly grown to dominate home streaming.
What Actually is Kodi?
Kodi (formerly named XBMC) is a free and open-source cross-platform software media player designed specifically for HTPCs (Home theater PCs) enthusiasts and TV audiences. Although it was originally created for the Microsoft Xbox, called Xbox Media Center (XBMC), Kodi has continued to evolve, spawning a community of its own and becoming one of the most popular home streaming tools around.
The service has actually been available since 2002 when it was known as the XBMP – Xbox Media Player. It quickly evolved to become Xbox Media Center (XBMC) in 2004 and was later renamed to Kodi in 2014 by XMBC Foundation, responsible for the service. Since then, it has come a long way with thousands of add-ons, skins, builds, and wizards available for this software.
What Can Kodi Do?
Essentially, Kodi is a platform for accessing all of your digital audio and visual content in a single, convenient place. It can operate as an all-in-one hub for your film, music, and television content and offers a way to store and watch that content around the home.
Kodi allows you to stream pictures and import images into a library and start a slideshow, among other features. As a player, Kodi is incredibly versatile, supporting just about any file format for audio and video, making it a great central hub for shows and music bought from multiple sources. Kodi also works with TV shows, allowing you to store your favorite programming in the service. And just in case it’s live television you’re after, Kodi lets you stream and record live TV from its software.
Hence, you will be able to watch live tv, sports, movies, tv shows, and so much more, all FOR FREE using the Kodi application. Better yet, it works across just about every major operating system and across hundreds of devices.
How does Kodi Work?
Kodi comes with its own user interface and works with both local and network storage services you’re already using. Kodi includes different sections such as audio, video, and image formats, audio visualizations, favorites, playlists, slideshows, and weather forecasts. There are also some countless plug-ins and third-party add-ons you can use to enhance your Kodi experience.
For those unaware, Add-ons are packages that add features and functions not normally included with Kodi. Kodi allows you to add plug-ins, a software component which can be added to a Kodi to add specific features such as YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, or any other capability to the software.
What’s compatible with Kodi?
It’s widely supported, with installs available for almost any device, including your TV, laptop, smartphone, home PC, tablet or Amazon Fire TV Stick. For those who want Kodi to be the center of their home network, it can also be added to set-top boxes.
The media center software is easy to download, and compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, BSD and even Raspberry Pi computer. Kodi is also compatible with several different remote controls. For those who wish to use Kodi on their TV but don’t own a smart TV can still get it by downloading it onto a cheap media player, such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick, which runs Android.
For those using iOS, the process is slightly more complicated: iPhone users will need to make sure their phone is jailbroken before downloading it. There’s also no Windows Phone version at present, and currently no sign of one coming from either official developers or third parties.
How do I set up Kodi?
Kodi has a handy Wiki that gives you a step-by-step guide on how to get its service up and running. But first, you will need to ensure you are running a device with one of the aforementioned operating systems installed.
Simply download the software and boot it up. You will then be tasked with adding content to the service.
Is Kodi legal?
Yes, Kodi is legal as long as you are using it to play files you own the copyright for. However, Kodi can technically be used to house illegally obtained copyrighted content, and extensions can be used to access and distribute pirated content.
Lately, Kodi has been drawing criticism from due to its software being able to be easily manipulated to grant users access to the content of questionable origin. People are selling Kodi boxes by adding illegal third-party add-ons. For those unaware, a Kodi box is actually just Android TV device that ship pre-loaded with the Kodi software. While the Kodi software itself is not illegal, its open-source development platform is the one to create third-party plugins and add-ons that can be used for illegal activities.
Although it is legal to buy Kodi boxes and watch free content, it becomes illegal when a box is used to stream subscription channels for free. It is also illegal to buy or sell these modified boxes.