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What is Kodi? | PCMag.com

Perhaps you have recently seen the name Kodi online and wondered what it is about. Kodi is a free open source software for managing your local collection of movies, TV shows, music and photos. You may even remember the old Xbox Media Center (XBMC).

Kodi relies solely on your existing media. So you do not have to subscribe to video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu or music streaming apps like Spotify and Pandora. Instead, Kodi's utility provides support for many file types and compatibility with many different devices. The following is a complete explanation of the popular media manager and its legality.

Which devices are supported by Kodi?

You probably own at least one device that supports Kodi, as this free software is available for Windows. MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS and even Raspberry Pi (RPi) devices. For more information about installing, updating, and using Kodi, see our feature. On some platforms, such as MacOS and Windows, getting started with Kodi is as easy as downloading the installation package. Installing Kodi on an iOS or RPi device is a bit more involved.

You can synchronize your media libraries with multiple Kodi devices using supported add-ons or a local area network. If you want to set up a dedicated media player with your Kodi library in each of your rooms, nothing stands in your way.

Kodi is an open source software developed by the nonprofit XBMC Foundation. Many of their features and add-ons are controlled by the community. In practice, this means that Kodi sees frequent updates. For more information on each new release, visit the official Kodi blog. If you're interested in developing features for Kodi, you can download the very latest builds. However, most users want to keep the stable versions. The latest stable version of Kodi is 1

8.3 (Leia), but you can download developer versions of Version 19 (Matrix).

How is Kodi used?

Kodi effectively puts the content in the foreground and centers it ideally for home theater PCs (HTPCs) or other devices connected to projectors or speakers. It also hides a surprising number of personalization and configuration options in its menus, though you do not have to delve deeply into those settings to realize its full potential. Since Plex has discontinued support for HTPCs, Kodi may be the best option for such setups. If you do not know, Plex is a media server that is popular with cable cutters and easy to set up and use.

On the left side of the interface is a vertical menu of all content, including movies, TV shows, music, radio, and photos. It's set up like any other file manager so it should not be too difficult to learn all the organizational tricks. There is also a universal search bar to search for local media files, installed add-ons or content from YouTube or TheMovieDB (via add-ons).


If you want to use Kodi in a HTPC setup, you'll appreciate the easy-to-access power settings in the main interface. The settings also contain other system information, such as: For example, the battery level, connection information and an overview of resource usage. The system clock in the upper right corner ensures that you do not lose track during a movie marathon.

Navigating the Kodi interface is straightforward, and the dark color gradients and permanent menus help you to organize and consume content intuitively. However, it is better to navigate with a remote than with a keyboard and mouse. Kodi supports RF remote controls, game controllers, smartphones and tablets.

What content can I use with Kodi?

The Kodi homepage promotes users in a prominent manner that no content is directly provided or provided for the use of pirate or illegal streams with its software provided by third party add-ons. The software does not differentiate between legal and illegal files. However, you are responsible for any illegal content that you receive. A legitimate use of Kodi would be to organize collections of DRM-free media or play a DVD. In terms of flexibility, it is comparable to the VLC player.

Adding local content to your library is a straightforward process. All you have to do is click on a specific content type in the menu on the left, for example: For example, choose movies or music, select files, and then add a source (the location of the file containing your content). You must also provide a name for the source and the type of content Kodi should search for in that folder. Note that when importing some types of content, such as As music, tags are required. Therefore, make sure that your library is well organized before you start importing. If you insert a disc, it should be displayed in the menu.


Most mainstream streaming services do not provide Kodi add-ons. So you can not import or enhance content from major players like Netflix, HBO, Amazon or Hulu. Some services like Dazn, Pluto TV, PS Vue and Fox Sports work with Kodi, but you still have to pay for the service itself. The majority of video add-ons only play short clips or a selection of episodes from channels such as the DIY network, ESPN or the ABC family.

Is Kodi legal?

Yes. If you download and use Kodi as intended to manage and play back your media files, this is completely legal. The software is free, open source and as secure as any other trusted program installed on your device. The add-ons included in the official Kodi add-on repository (which are natively available in the Kodi app) are also fine. Kodi also officially opposes piracy.

Nevertheless, Kodi can be used to illegally access copyrighted content using third-party add-ons curated by external organizations. One such third party group is called TV Addons and hosts a collection of unofficially supported Kodi apps, of which a minority have access to copyright infringing streams. While some people may use Kodi for illegal purposes, this does not mean that Kodi itself is illegal.

While the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) defended TV addons, there was a strong case that no bug was committed by television addons for pure hosting [these apps] downloadable online. "Kodi has turned to the service and tweeted," Let's hope that TV add-ons will be shut down, regardless of the fact that they bring all misery. "Despite the support of the EFF were the add-ons Phoenix and ZemTV (previously on TV Addons were hired recently, allegedly due to copyright infringement claims.


Kodi developers are trying To distance themselves from these illegal plugins, Trusted Reviews says some Kodi Skin developers have bundled utilities with their installations looking specifically for these problematic extras. In short, this installation package called KN Addon Caretaker reviews the add-ons. Ons of the user on the basis of a database to ensure that they are all legitimate.

Another possible legal reason concerns Kodi boxes in which it are preconfigured hardware devices on which Kodi is installed software. Kodi boxes are legal as long as they use official add-ons or legitimate third-party add-ons. You can purchase a Kodi box to avoid tedious setup of the software on a device. However, these fields exceed the legality limit if they are configured to work with third-party add-ons that allow access to illegal streams and content. Note that there is no official Kodi box.

Can Kodi Replace Cables?

With Kodi, live television is possible, even though it's cumbersome to set up and not very intuitive. If you choose this project, you will need to set up a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) back-end, a client, and a front-end (front-end), as detailed in the Kodi wiki.

Kodi offers two of the three things needed to watch live TV stations; the front-end interface (Kodi itself) and a PVR client (an integrated Kodi add-on). This leaves only the PVR backend (hardware). Some companies, such as SiliconDust, sell CableCARD-compatible TV tuners that convert encrypted digital cable signals into a recognizable format. However, this requires an existing cable subscription. A technician of your cable provider must also configure your CableCARD. Alternatively, you can buy a PCI tuner for your computer and get local channels out of the air for free. Both methods are legal, though a CableCARD compliant device will likely run you somewhere in the $ 100 to $ 200 range.

Another add-on, Pluto. TV, streams live channels over the Internet for free. Recently, [Plex announced that it will be available through Kodi for free and without a premium subscription. Premium Plex subscriptions open live TV and DVR features.

How do I customize Kodi?

One of the simplest ways to change the look of Kodi is to switch to a new Skin in the Surface Preferences. The two standard skins are visually similar, but one is optimized for touchscreens. The skins are created by the community, but that does not mean they are half-baked. In the Kodi forums, there is documentation and support for each of them.

Community created and Kodi approved add-ons are another way to get the most out of the software. Any add-ons you've already installed will be sorted by content type in the left main menu, while the add-on browser will categorize downloads based on their usage. For example, there are add-ons that let you change the appearance of the interface, associate subtitles or text with your content, or add new options to context menus.

 Kodi 19659002] The Profiles section is also helpful because you can set up one or more password-protected user accounts here. There are no special settings for parental control. However, you can control the content sources and lock the settings for the accounts you create. With Kodi, you can also easily choose between the "Standard", "Advanced" and "Expert" settings via the user interface.

Do I have to use a VPN with Kodi?

Whether you need to use a virtual private network (VPN) Kodi depends on how you want to use the software. If you only use Kodi to manage your local media libraries, no VPN is required. However, once you use add-ons that use your network connection, a VPN can help your ISP (or someone else) stop spying on your traffic.

However, a VPN does not protect you from every security threat. For example, a VPN does not prevent you from downloading malware that pretends to be a legitimate third-party add-on or forwarding your credentials to phishing sites that have real-looking sign-in pages. The latter is a real problem as many Kodi add-ons are not first-party stores.

There are no VPN apps in Kodi's official collection of add-ons. Therefore, it is best to run a VPN on the device where you have Kodi installed. You can easily find a VPN running on Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, or Linux-based devices. Installing a VPN on these devices protects all outgoing Internet traffic. However, the few video streaming services available as add-ons can be problematic because video streaming services constantly block VPN traffic.

Need Cable Cutter Kodi?

Cable Cutter [19659029] does not need to download Kodi; Instead, it is useful for users who want all the local content to be organized in a user interface and available on multiple devices. This also does not help those who have invested in streaming services because it does not provide new content retrieval capabilities and can not be integrated with sites like Netflix, Amazon, Spotify or HBO. However, if you plan to set up a home theater PC, Kodi offers a full-featured, free multimedia experience. Just make sure that you are content on the right page!

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