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The Ultimate Guide to Kodi for Streaming Fans

Kodi 300X152

This Kodi Guide will show you how to stream more, for cheaper and easier!

Normally, you may spend around a hundred dollars per month for a bunch of cheap channels that you couldn't care less about.

For the ones you actually care about, you’re probably stuck watching commercials for a third of the time. That’s not right!

Kodi is a popular streaming program that is installable on almost every device on the market. Whether it be a PC, Mac, Android device, Apple TV or Raspberry Pi, you can rest assured that you can enjoy the streaming benefits of this program.

Whether you’re a tech guru or you’re a complete novice when it comes to technology, our simple guide will help you get started and streaming in no time.

What is Kodi?

Kodi is a media player dating back all the way to 2002 when it was first called the Xbox Media Player, or XBMP for short. As the name suggests, the media player was created for the first generation Xbox video game console. A year later, the words “media player” were tossed to the side and renamed to the Xbox Media Center, a more appropriate name for its capabilities.What Is Kodi

However, the media center wouldn’t remain on the Xbox platform forever, and in 2008, the program was renamed to XBMC. This was done to remove the Xbox name, while still retaining some of the branding that its longtime users have come to know.

In 2010, the XBMC team added a key element that Kodi users may not appreciate today, but one that helped simplify and popularize the media center’s capabilities. This advancement is known as the Add-on Repository. As user add-ons began to grow in popularity, there wasn’t a source where to get them all from. The team created an official repository in which users could finally download all of their favorite add-ons directly from the developers themselves.

Finally, in 2014, the XBMC program was renamed to Kodi, following legal disputes about its name and Xbox origins. Many old-school users still use the XBMC name for nostalgic purposes, but after the name change, Kodi’s developers began to streamline the user experience which has allowed for it to become more user-friendly, and hence, extremely popular.

Not too long ago, all you would hear about is Netflix. Many people were thrilled that they could ditch their cable companies and replace them with an $8 per month subscription to Netflix. But is Netflix still the answer to every cord cutter’s dreams?Kodi Popularity

What once started as a fantastic service, Netflix users have lately complained on many forums and blogs that the selection isn’t what it once was.

This is because Netflix struck many video streaming deals with studios when they didn’t know the real value and popularity of online video streaming. Once Netflix began to gain notoriety, studios began to demand more money or left to form their own streaming services. Another negative was that certain countries didn’t have access to certain movies or shows in their regions which led to a split community.

"You should get Kodi” is now a very popular term for that very reason. Why pay for a service like Netflix that doesn’t have all of the shows and movies that you want? Particularly in countries like Canada have about 55% of the content that the United States has access to. Sure, you can bypass this by getting a VPN that works with Netflix, but who wants to pay to subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and HBO Now, just to have access to all of the movies and shows they want to watch?

Kodi offers its users almost every movie and TV show ever created under one roof. It also provides its users the ability to stream live sports, live TV shows, and many more features - all for free.

While the program is completely free, it has packages that you can purchase for a monthly fee that can enhance your viewing experience.

In short, yes!Kodi Legality

This is where the gray area around the program exists. Kodi itself is a media center that allows users the ability to install various add-ons and plugins. Depending on the add-on you install, you may have the ability to stream certain media sources and that is where the question of legality is raised.

Kodi, in itself, is 100% completely LEGAL. The issues with copyright or legality begin once you use certain add-ons that allow you to access live streams of sports, or watch movies for free. By streaming content that you have not paid for, you may be breaking the law regarding copyright infringements.

Depending on your country and its laws, there have been a few reports where users have received a notice of copyright infringement from their internet service provider (ISP) because of their streaming activities. One way to avoid legal trouble is to purchase subscriptions add-ons that broadcast certain over-the-air channel packages for a monthly fee.

However, many of Kodi’s users still choose to stream their videos illegally. We do not condone any illegal streaming; however, we would recommend that you protect yourself and your internet connection.

How to Avoid Getting a Warning Letter with a VPN

To avoid getting a warning letter from their ISPs, many Kodi users have begun to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which allows the user to hide their identity and online activities.

There are plenty of VPNs out there for Kodi, and you may wish to check our best Kodi VPN list to find the most relevant one at the time of reading, for a quick overview, see the latest rankings below.

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. PrivateVPN
  4. CyberGhost
  5. IPVanish

How to install Kodi

Now comes the fun part: installing Kodi on your device. As mentioned in the introduction, one of the great benefits of the software is that it is installable on almost every device out on the market. Whether you’re looking to use your existing computer, or if you have an Amazon Fire TV stick, or someone got you an Android box last Christmas, you can rest assured that Kodi will run flawlessly on your device.

It is important to keep in mind that most devices have different operating systems so installation on some platforms may be easier than for others.

To make this process a bit easier, we’ve constructed a guide for every platform that runs Kodi. Just select the device that you wish to use to watch all of your favorite movies and shows and we’ll help get you started.

On Windows

To install Kodi on your Windows computer or tablet, head on over the official Kodi download page and select the Windows icon. Once you have selected the icon, you should see the following image below:

Kodi Windows Installation

From this point, you will have to follow two easy steps to complete the installation:

  1. Ignore the Nightly version, and instead, select from one of the release options. If you are using a Windows mobile device, such as a cellular phone or tablet, select the Windows Store. Otherwise, if you are using a PC, select the Installer (32bit) option to get started.
  2. Once the installable .exe file has been downloaded to your computer, double-click to open the program.
  3. Click the Next button to go to the License Agreement page.
  4. Once there, you may choose to read the agreement and select “I Agree” if you would like to proceed with the installation.
  5. The next screen will simply ask you to install the necessary add-ons.
  6. Now the next screen offers users the ability to choose where they would like for Kodi to be installed. If you wish to choose a different location than the default provided, select the Browse button and choose the new location. Otherwise, hit Next to proceed if you would like for Kodi to be installed in the default location (new users should opt for this option).

And that’s it! Kodi will begin to install and you will be able to install all of your favorite add-ons to start your new streaming experience. Please visit our Multimedia Junkies Kodi Guide to continue with the setup.

On Mac

To install Kodi on your Mac computer, head on over the official Kodi download page and select the Mac icon. Once you have selected the icon, you should see the following image below:

>Kodi Mac Installation

From this point, you will have to follow two easy steps to complete the installation:

  1. Ignore the Nightly version, and instead, select the Installer from the Release category.
  2. Drag Kodi into your applications folder to begin the installation process.

And that’s it! Kodi will begin to install and you will be able to install all of your favorite add-ons to start your new streaming experience.

On Linux

Installing Kodi on your Linux device varies greatly from how you would install the program on a Windows or Mac device.

Kodi 17 Krypton, the newest version of Kodi, is included in the Ubuntu repository. Therefore, installing the latest Kodi version should be pretty straightforward and easy to install if you do it in Ubuntu or an Ubuntu-based distro.

You are going to open the terminal using Ctrl + Alt + T with your keyboard. Next, you will need to type in the four lines of code below:

  1. sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
  2. sudo add-apt repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa
  3. sudo apt-get update
  4. sudo apt-get install kodi

If you followed these instructions carefully on your Ubuntu distro, you should now be able to use Kodi on your Linux device.

On Amazon Fire TV Stick

Installing Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick as Amazon runs a closed operating system called “Fire OS”.

  1. Go in your Fire TV Settings/Developer Options and enable the Apps from Unknown Sources.
  2. Return back to your home screen and go into the search area and type - ES Explorer – select the Explorer and install it by clicking the “Download” button.
  3. Start the ES Explorer app and input the address into the Download Manager – http://mirrors.kodi.tv/releases/android/arm/kodi-17.3-Krypton-armeabi-v7a.apk and rename it to KODI
  4. Click the Download button and begin downloading KODI.
  5. After the download is complete you will proceed into the installation screen. Click the install button and allow Kodi to install fully before you proceed.
  6. Exit to your home screen and make sure you have Kodi listed in your apps section. Launch Kodi and make sure that it is working properly.

On Raspberry Pi

Installing Kodi on a Raspberry Pi will require a few things before you can make it work. Some of the things you’re going to need are a Raspberry Pi Model B+ or later, you will need an HDMI cable, 2A USB power adapter, and a MicroSD card (8 GB or more recommended for a smooth experience).

If your Raspberry Pi is running with the Raspbian Jessie operating system, you can install Kodi with a few small, short codes and it will make your life a lot easier. Therefore we recommend installing Raspbian Jessie then proceeding with installing Kodi.

After installing Raspbian open the terminal window and enter the following:

  1. sudo apt-get install kodi
  2. sudo nano /etc/default/kodi
  3. Change the ENABLED setting to 1.
  4. Press ctrl-z to complete this with a save and exit for all your changes.

Now you can run Kodi with a mouse click on the desktop, or opening the terminal center and typing in: kodi.

On Android Devices

Our tutorial will show you how you can install Kodi on your Android box in less than 5 minutes so you can quickly enjoy all of your favorite movies, TV shows, live sports and many more forms of audio & video media.

There are many Android TV boxes on the market that already have Kodi and its many add-ons pre-installed. However, there has been a crackdown on some selling platforms to remove these devices that come pre-loaded with the software. Instead, users may be required to install Kodi themselves. Don’t worry though, this short guide will help you get started quickly.

What’s the best Android box?

There are hundreds of boxes and devices that are being sold with the Android operating system. So which one is the right one for you?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question as many Android boxes that you find on websites like Amazon, can run Kodi and stream videos very well.

Here is a screenshot of the search results you will get when typing “Android box” on Amazon:

Android Multimedia Box

As you can see, there are about 12,000 results for these search terms so it is best to read through some of the user reviews and make your decision from there.

How to Install Kodi on any Android Box

If your Android box does not come with Kodi pre-installed, there is no need to worry as the installation process is extremely easy.

  1. Open the Google Play Store application.
  2. In the search bar, simply type Kodi.
  3. What you will want to do is select the first option that is developed by the official developers, the XBMC Foundation.
  4. Once you visit this next page, just hit the green Install button and you will have the latest stable version of Kodi installed on your Android device.

Kodi Remotes

From a Smartphone

One of the great things that smartphones do is that they eliminate the clutter from our lives. Remember the calculator? Who buys those things anymore when you’ve got an app on your phone? Similarly, your smartphone is now able to replace that remote in your house so say goodbye to having to buy those batteries over and over again.

Best Kodi Remote App for Android

Here’s some great news: you don’t have to look for any 3rd party remote apps because the developers of Kodi have developed an official remote app for Android devices. Just open your Google Play Store and download Kore by the XBMC foundation, and not by Synced Synapse.

Here are some of Kore’s features:

  • Control Kodi with complete ease
  • Choose from several themes that are visually appealing
  • See what’s currently playing, as well as any relevant information
  • Download subtitles to display on-screen
  • Send YouTube videos to your Kodi display

How to setup Kore Kodi

Step 1: Preparation

Make sure that your device has Kodi currently running, as well as the Kore app on your phone.

Next, make sure that both your phone and your Kodi device are connected to the same network. This app will not work as a remote if it is connected to your cellular data services and must be connected to the Wi-Fi network.

Step 2: Connecting Kore and Kodi

Once you open the Kore app for the first time, you will be prompted to add a media center. Simply hit the Next button and the application will begin searching for your Kodi device.

This process should take a few seconds and you should be greeted with the screen, “Media center found”. Simply select your Kodi device and proceed to the Next button.

Note: if you have more than one Kodi device, you must do these steps for each device on separate occasions.

And that’s it! Your Android smartphone is now able to control your Kodi device with absolute ease.

Didn’t Work?

If your smartphone was unable to connect to your media center device, you may need to enable a few options on Kodi in order for it to recognize other programs and devices.

Scroll to and select the Settings tab (may be located under the System area in older Kodi versions), and then select the Services option.

You will then have the option to select Remote Control and you must allow both options. If the remote connection did not work for you previously, chances are that your Kodi settings did not allow for other systems to have control over your Kodi program.

Remote Control Settings

Best Kodi Remote App for iOS

While the iOS platform doesn’t have the same Kore remote that the Android platform enjoys, the iOS still has an official Kodi remote called Official Kodi Remote by joethefox.

Here are some of Official Kodi Remote’s features:

  • Control Kodi with complete ease
  • Choose from several themes that are visually appealing
  • See what’s currently playing, as well as any relevant information

How to Install and Configure Official Kodi Remote App for Kodi

Step 1: Preparation

Make sure that your device has Kodi currently running, as well as the official remote app on your phone.

Next, make sure that both your phone and your Kodi device are connected to the same network. This app will not work as a remote if it is connected to your cellular data services and must be connected to the Wi-Fi network.

Step 2: Connecting Official Remote and Kodi

Once you open the app for the first time, you will be greeted by a blank page. Make sure to click the Add Host button to begin connecting the two devices.

The next screen will ask for many complicated options that involve Host and MAC addresses. No need to worry, however. Just simply press the option; “Find Kodi”, and it will automatically fill in this information for you.

Once you hit Save, you should now be able to use the remote.

Didn’t Work?

Just as with the Android remote guide, your Kodi installation may be preventing your smartphone from being discovered.

Scroll to and select the Settings tab (may be located under the System area in older Kodi versions), and then select the Services option.

You will then have the option to select Remote Control and you must allow both options. If the remote connection did not work for you previously, chances are that your Kodi settings did not allow for other systems to have control over your Kodi program.

Remote Control Settings


From a Web Browser

While most Kodi users tend to use the program on their big screen televisions, there are times where you will need to access it through your computer. This can mean anything from enabling playback to scheduling a future viewing while you’re at your computer to actually streaming content on your own computer from your Kodi device.

This may not be an overly popular feature, but having additional features never hurts.

How to Control Kodi Using a Web Browser

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select Service Settings
  3. Select Control
  4. Select Allow remote control via HTTP

Note: The default values for username and port should be “kodi” and “8080”.

How to Find the IP Address of your Kodi Device

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select System Info
  3. Select Summary

Here you will see your IP address which you should write down somewhere for the next step.

Connecting Through Your Web Browser

Open your browser and, in the address bar, type in:

http://kodi-IP-address:port

Of course, replace the word ‘port’ with 8080 and the ‘kodi-IP-address’ with the IP address you wrote down in the previous step.

Best Kodi Remotes

One of the many complaints people have with their Kodi boxes is that it is impossible to type long movie or television titles with the remote. This is because the user must scroll to each letter individually, click enter, and then continue scrolling to the next letters. This is very frustrating, but it is a problem that is easily solvable with some help from the best kodi remotes available.

Solution 1: Kodi Remote with Mini Keyboard

Kodi Remote

While still retaining the same minimal size as a regular remote, the FeBite MX3 Pro remote also features a slick, backlit wireless keyboard on the back of the remote. This makes it easier to type in the names of your favorite movies and shows, without having to struggle with a regular remote.

One of the added benefits is that this unit comes with a tiny wireless USB dongle that can plug into your Android device, Smart TV, HTPC, Windows & Mac computers, and many more devices. You don’t need to program the remote anymore, just a simple plug and play for close to $15.

The only negative of this unit is that its mouse controls are a bit slow and stiff, so if mouse function is something you desire, then the next solution may work better for you.

Solution 2: Mini Wireless Keyboard Controller

Kodi Controller

If you prefer something with a bit more size than a small remote to type with, then the REIIE H9+ Wireless Mini Handheld Remote Keyboard is the perfect option for you.

While the FeBite MX3 Pro remote includes a limited mouse feature, this handheld device includes a touchpad that is perfect for navigation like a mouse with the touch of a fingertip.

Just like FeBite remote, this keyboard utilizes a wireless USB dongle that uses 2.4GHz wireless technology so that you can sit back on the couch and not worry about any cables. Just plug the USB dongle into your Kodi device that has a USB port and you’re able to use it instantly.

Playing Content

Music

Before we play music from Kodi, we first need to know how to install the music into the Library.

Step 1

In the Home menu, select Music and then Enter files section.

Kodi Music Step 1

Step 2

Once you’re in the browser, select the Add Music option.

Music Step 2

Step 3

Once the window opens up, select Browse, or you can manually search and add your source with the box and type in the path there.

Music Step 3

Step 4

In this new window, choose the path where your music files are located and select the OK button on the right.

Step 5

After you hit OK you will be asked if you would like to add your media source to the library, if you hit YES, it will upload all the music files in that folder, if you hit NO, you can manually select the media files you'd like to upload through the Music File Browser.

If you did hit YES it will scan your library and when it's completed you can check your library for all your files. You can sort them in the Menu with the Categories section (ex. Categories-->Artist).

Once you have uploaded your music, you can now listen to all your songs and have them neatly organized in one place.

Videos

One of the great things about Kodi is its ease of use to playback videos. In this short breakdown, we will walk you through Kodi’s on screen display so that you can become an expert in just a few minutes.

In order to use the on screen display to perform various playback functions, simply hit Enter or M on your keyboard, or the OK button on your remote. Once you do this, the following display should show up:

Videobar

Below we will post what the corresponding numbers and letters represent:

  1. Previous
  2. Rewind
  3. Play/Pause
  4. Stop
  5. Fast Forward
  6. Next
  7. Scrub bar (touch/clickable)
A. Subtitle downloader (via add-on)
 B. Video settings
 C. Audio and subtitle settings
D. Bookmarks
 E. DVD Menu (if playing back a DVD disc or ISO)

Photos

Just like with music and videos, Kodi allows you to view all of your favorite and most memorable pictures. You can view these from:

  • Your computer’s file sharing systems
  • External HDD’s, Cameras with USB port, USB keys
  • Cards readers (depending on the device)
  • Phones with USB cable
  • Photos stored directly on the hard drive of the Kodi device
  • CD/DVD/Blu-ray (depending on the device)

Improving playback performance

Is your video playback experience experiencing buffer problems? If you’re a frequent Kodi user, chances are that you’ve had your popcorn or your chips set up, and you were ready to watch a movie, only to experience the classic buffering problem.

Not to worry, though. We’ve got you covered in this next part of our guide.

Clear Your Cache

Whenever you are streaming videos using Kodi, or any other website for that matter, the RAM on your device will typically save a few seconds of the video. This is done to keep your video playing smoothly in case you happen to disconnect from the internet.

Out of the box, Kodi will only store 60MB of cache. For those reading this guide that do not understand this unit of measurement, it essentially means that Kodi will barely store any cache as 60MB is a tiny amount of video data.

How to Clear Your Cache

There are many program add-ons that Kodi users will recommend, however, we’ll stick with the most commonly used, Maintenance Tools, as it still works till this day.

In order to install Maintenance Tools, you must first add the Fusion Repository. If you have already installed plugins like 1Channel and Exodus, then chances are that you already have the Fusion Repository on your system.

Once this is complete, you will need to follow these instructions to install the add-on:

  1. From the Kodi home screen, go to Programs and select Get More
  2. Scroll through the list to find Maintenance Tool and select it
  3. Click the install button and wait for the success notifications

Now, follow these easy steps to clear the cache, using this add-on:

  1. From the Kodi home screen, go to Programs and select Maintenance Tool
  2. Select the General Maintenance icon
  3. Select Clear Cache

Congratulations! You have now cleared your cache and you should be able to enjoy less buffering.

Kodi Builds

Kodi builds are versions of Kodi that are community-developed and often come with themes that will change your skin, and also come with a large number of the most popular add-ons.

Kodi builds are compilations of add-ons for easier download capability so you don’t have to download each add-on individually. Even though you may find a build you like, it doesn’t always mean it’s up-to-date with the current Kodi version, so always check your builds before downloading and make sure they are compatible with the up-to-date version.

Even though they sometimes are behind a version or two, they are still extremely helpful for your Kodi experience. We recommend grabbing a Kodi build because it will eliminate a lot of time from the bare bones installation. We'd recommend checking out this kodi builds post for the latest information on which one to chose.

Kodi Skins

Kodi comes with a skin installed when you first download it called Confluence, and even though it’s the default skin, it’s also one of the better ones out there.

However, if you’re still interested in changing Kodi’s default look, you can follow the very simple steps below:

Open Kodi > System > Settings > Appearance > Skins > Get More

Here you will find a great selection of skins to choose from. Let’s take a look at some more skins below and go through the positives and the negatives so you can pick the best skin for your Kodi experience.

1. ReFocus

Refocus

ReFocus is one of the more beautifully designed, rich skins available and offers a ton of customization options. You are able to customize everything from the home items, touch support, skin widgets, artwork downloader, and much more!

2. Aeon Nox

Aeon

Aeon Nox is one the most popular skin in the community, and is second only to Confluence, the default skin.

With its lightweight layout, it runs well on all Kodi-capable devices and doesn’t use many of the system’s resources.

It also has a very elegant look to it, but also has an easy customization feature if you’d like to change the layout to one that best suits you.

3. Eminence

Eminence

Eminence is a very sleek looking skin, and somewhat resembles the Netflix layout. Eminence is one of the more simple skins out there as it doesn’t have a lot of customization options.

Its simplicity is appealing to those who don’t care to customize their layouts and want to jump right in to their preferred viewing experience. If you enjoy clean layouts and do not care for customization, Eminence is the perfect skin for you and one that we highly recommend.

4. Xperience 1080

Xperience

Xperience 1080 is a panel based skin that is full width. With its very clean layout and similarity to the X-Box One screen, it’s very user-friendly and is used by many in the Kodi community.

Its features include: customizing the home items, horizontal menu, TV shows logos, and some other small features as well. The major drawback for this skin is that it offers very partial touch support.

Written by: Peter Selmeczy

Peter is a full-time tech enthusiast and gadget geek. When not working, you'll find him playing with Lego or tinkering away on an RPi.

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