Do you know what KODI (formerly XBMC) is and what you can do with it? No problem, we will tell you all about this on this page. KODI has unprecedented many possibilities.
What is Kodi?
Kodi can best be described as a home theater app. It started life in 2002 as an Xbox Media Player and quickly evolved into the Xbox Media Center (XBMC). It was eventually transformed to Kodi in 2014.
Kodi is a program that allows you to play music and video files and is basically a media player. However, Kodi is very extensive and has many more options than, for example, a Windows Media Player, similar to Kodi.
There is one important difference that opens up a world. Kodi has the option to install add-ons. An addon is an extension of the existing functionality of the media player Kodi. The addons are created and developed by the Kodi team, but external developers can also make Kodi addons and plugins.
You can download all these addons and install them within Kodi. Each of the addons gives a new possibility to the media player. These free add-ons allow you to watch movies, series and sports from all over the world. This is what makes Kodi so popular!
KODI has long been called XBMC and was originally intended for the XBOX (XBOX Media Center). But nowadays it can be installed on almost anything.
Where is it used for?
Kodi is a great application for watching and streaming movies, music and series! The special thing about Kodi is that you can also provide this player with so-called add-ons additions that run via an internet connection.
They are websites with music, video and live channels. By entering the url you can view the content and link it to your Kodi. All for free! And downloadable for several operating systems including Windows, Mac and Android.
These add-ons are made free of charge and voluntarily by various enthusiastic programmers and are kept up-to-date or renewed.
Via several add-ons Kodi can link to legally accessible video and music, such as YouTube, Dumpert, music services such as Qobuz, Deezer and many more!
If you are looking for a Kodi add-on, make sure you check in advance whether the add-on is still working / is online. If the add-on is offline, you cannot install the Kodi add-on.
You can also upload your own photos, movies and music and watch them on your TV with KODI. Think of the holiday photos or your own playlist with your favorite music. There are really so many options with this application. It turns your television into a complete media center.
Why you should use Kodi
Kodi’s main selling point is probably that it allows third party developers to add content.
Since community can add add-ons, this means it has an impact on all the benefits the app offers.
How to install Kodi?
If you want to use the app on a computer or smartphone, you just need to download and install the application from the web or the app store. Sideloading makes it more complicated to get the updates, so we suggest downloading it from the app store.
Using Kodi for the first time
When opening Kodi, you will be looking at the main interface of Kodi, but will see there is no content yet. There is no wizard to walk through and get to know the application, but don’t worry, we’re going to explain how the application works.
The left bar of the application shows shortcuts to different media classes such as movies, TV shows, music and more. You can add and remove shortcuts so the menu fits your needs. This can be done in the settings menu where you can find the main menu items.
The first use
Once you’ve installed Kodi on a suitable device, you’ll see an English-language user environment. However, you can also use the program in the language you prefer.
- Choose the tool icon in the top left to access the Settings.
- Navigate to Interface / Regional and change the language to your choice under Language.
- Within a few seconds Kodi now activates the chosen language.
- You return to the previous screen by pressing the right mouse button or Escape.
- If you have a remote control, you usually press the Back button.
From a practical point of view, it is wise to change some settings in advance. This prevents, among other things, that you have to deal with a faltering image or that you cannot find newly added videos.
Within the settings go to Player / Videos and choose the section Adjust display refresh rate. Confirm with Always. That prevents Kodi from using an incorrect refresh rate, causing the images to stutter. Return to the settings and go to Media / Library. For both Video Library and Music Library, activate the switch behind Update Library at startup.
Now new movies are also visible in Kodi when you start the program. Have you connected the machine directly to a receiver or soundbar? In that case it is smart to take a look at the audio settings.
From the settings go to System / Audio and choose Device for sound output the correct device. In addition, check the number of channels, in case you want to listen to movies with surround sound from more than two speakers.
Most modern receivers and sound bars can decode surround formats with their own hands, such as dts and dolby digital. In that case, activate the switch behind Allow transit. Choose Standard on the left and indicate if necessary per surround format whether you want to outsource the decoding to the amplifier.
Before you get started with Kodi, it is important that the media files are stored somewhere on a computer. This can be any system, as long as the PC or laptop is connected to the home network. So copy music files from an MP3 player and snapshots from the camera to the computer.
Kodi is not just able to index the content of mobile devices, so you should also store valuable data from a smartphone or tablet on a computer. For optimal results, it is nice if the folder and file name contain the title of the film or series, where series also have a season and episode number.
It is important to store films and series in separate (umbrella) folders. This is because Kodi can retrieve additional information about the titles later in this article, causing descriptions and images to appear in the catalog.
Are your media files stored on different computers, while you want to play them from one user environment? No problem, although it is a condition that you share the media folders with other systems in the home network.
You can easily arrange that in Windows. In Windows Explorer, right-click on the media folder and choose Properties. Click the Share button. Now click on the arrow and select your name or, if necessary, the user account of another family member.
It is important that you log in the systems with the correct user account to enable folder sharing. For convenience, you can also select Everyone, so that any system with any user account within your home network can access the folder. Confirm with Add / Share / Done / Close.
In the main window you will see categories such as Movies, Series, Music, Pictures and Videos. The content of this is still empty. Kodi first wants to know where (s) the files are stored.
It does not matter whether the files are on the current PC or other system on the network, as long as you have shared the folder. You can also easily add the contents of a nas to Kodi.
If the films are stored on another PC, laptop or nas, choose Windows network (SMB). Then click the system name and browse to the folder containing the media files. Confirm with OK and come up with a name for this media location.
Behind this folder contains the option Movies. Select Settings for Preferred language and close the window with OK. Once you confirm with OK / Yes, Kodi will add the titles to the library.
Adding series works almost the same as adding movies. From the main window, go to TV Shows / Add Videos and find the correct media folder. It is important to indicate in the Assign Content window that the folder contains series. This allows Kodi to retrieve interesting data about the media files from the web.
After adding movies and tv shows, Kodi’s main window suddenly looks a lot more colorful. The program shows the covers of the titles. Would you like more information about a particular film?
Select an image, open the context menu (for example with the right mouse button) and choose Information. When using a remote control, you usually press i or info to view additional information.
Among other things, you will read a brief description and see how the film has been assessed by the audience.
You can also see which actors and actresses participate. You can also play a trailer. Would you rather show movie information directly in the menu?
In addition to movies and tv shows, you may also want to add music to the media library. In the main window, navigate to Music / Files / Add music and select the folder with audio files with Browse. Confirm with OK and give this media location a name if necessary. Choose OK / Yes to integrate the files within Kodi.
Album covers are now visible in the main window. Kodi organizes the music library based on the metadata (tags) of the available music files. If this information is incorrect, Kodi may not recognize the music correctly.
With a specialized program such as MusicBrainz Picard or Mp3tag you can adjust the metadata of audio files if necessary.
Is the use of Kodi legal or illegal?
Whether you are thinking about using Kodi or have used it for some time already, at some point you will be suspicious about the legality of the app. How is it possible that it is so easy to have access to your favorite movies and shows?
Fortunately Kodi is fully legal. The same goes for the official Kodi add-ons, including Youtube.
Still, where the answer is not that simple anymore is when you use add-ons that are developed by third parties.
Kodi is an open-source app. This allows third party developers to add content to the app. But some of this content is situated in a legal gray area. When a user streams copyrighted content, this will cause legal issues. But besides these legal issues, there is security aspect as well. These add-ons may expose you to spyware or other online safety issues.
If you want to avoid these threats and legal issues, the best thing you can do is make use of a VPN service.
Why You Need A VPN To Use Kodi Safely
Kodi is very versatile, constantly updated by users and developers, and very popular for streaming online content. But Kodi’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness.
Here is the main reason for this:
Much of Kodi’s features are made possible thanks to plugins made available by third parties.
This makes it hard to know if the movie you are watching or music you are listening is streamed by a trustworthy third party.
However no one wants to end in a legal suitcase after having watched a movie or having streamed some music.
The laws on copyright are not always clear, change a lot and differ from the location you live. So even someone in Europe is doing nothing illegal by streaming copyrighted content, the same does not always go if you live in the States.
We don’t promote illegal activities, but of course we want to ensure your online safety and freedom. This is why we can recommend masking your online identity when using applications like Kodi.
This may offer other benefits as well.
For example, sometimes it may occur that if you stream lots of movies, series or music, that you ISP will limit the speed of your internet connection, or worse, terminate your contract.
A VPN service provides more benefits besides online anonymity. You will be able to access content that may otherwise be blocked from your location. All you need to do is to access a server on the location where the restriction is not in place.
Is the app safe to use?
The official apps offered in Kodi’s won’t bring you any legal issues. The uncertainty lies in the use of third-party add-ons. These may contain malware or spyware.
Therefore, it is recommended to use a reliable VPN service and protect your device.
A Virtual Private Network encrypts your connection and gives you online anonymity and adds to the safety of your online activity.
Using a VPN for using Kodi
How to choose the right VPN?
Using a VPN is highly recommended if take online safety high into account and want to use apps like Kodi.
However there are numerous VPN services, so which one is the best to use with Kodi?
Fast internet speed is a very useful requirement when you intent to stream. Another requirement is the capacity of the server. Basically it works best if they are on several locations. A VPN will help you access content that is geo-restricted. The VPN will need a server located in the country where the content is found.
Most VPN services offer a 24/7 customer service or even live chat. Also make sure the service you want to try out has a free trial so you can test your VPN before committing to the long term.
Top VPNs for Kodi – short description
NordVPN offers several great features to enable streaming of content via Kodi. Thanks to more than 2,900 servers in more than 50 countries, plug-ins for every specific region are available. Furthermore, this provider offers excellent uptime, so that the connection rarely drops and they also have impressive speeds.
Customer service is among the best of all VPN providers and you can find guides to get you started. Thanks to the huge amount of features that keep your Internet sessions completely private and anonymous, NordVPN is one of the best providers in terms of security.
ExpressVPN is lightning fast. In addition, the provider has servers in more than 90 countries, a no log policy, a “kill switch” that immediately ends the session if the VPN connection drops, and a DNS leak protection system.
If you have a question or if a problem needs to be solved, please contact customer service. This customer support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has a lot of knowledge so that your problem is solved quickly. These benefits combined with the affordable plans and a 30-day money-back guarantee make ExpressVPN one of the best VPNs for Kodi on the market!
IPVanish is another good VPN you can use to watch content via Kodi. This service has all the security features you would expect from a top quality VPN. IPVanish can be installed on different platforms and has clear manuals so you can easily use the more complicated functions.
Furthermore, it is one of the fastest VPNs available, and its more than 1,500 servers allow you to watch content via Kodi wherever you want, regardless of whether this content is geolocation-restricted. This serves comes with a 7 day money back guarantee.
PrivateVPN also has all the features you need to stream content via Kodi. The provider has a huge network of servers in more than 56 locations and this number is still increasing. In addition, your data is well encrypted and no logs are kept, so you are not bothered by the weaknesses in Kodi’s security systems.
VyprVPN has the patented Chameleon protocol. Thanks to this protocol, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for third parties to view your data. This means that you are completely protected against curious people who are interested in your activities. But this VPN has much more to offer.
Massive servers, excellent speeds, responsive customer service and a 3-day trial give VyprVPN a place in our top five VPNs for Kodi.