Introducing Kodi: What it is and why you should care
Today we are going to discuss an incredibly powerful and infinitely expandable media center software called Kodi. If you are into home entertainment (and let’s face it, if you aren’t you are in the wrong place!) you should really consider bringing it into your setup. In it’s simplest form, Kodi is a media player. You simply point it to the digital media files that you have ripped from your media collection (or “acquired” through various other means) and Kodi will scrape it all into a neat looking library complete with fanart and meta info including descriptions, actors, studios, and formats. Kodi is open-source soft software and can’t handle DRM (digital rights management, or in layman’s terms, digital lockouts that keep you from using things that you paid for in the way you want to use them) but can play just about anything else you can throw at it.
The real power of Kodi comes from its add-ons. Built in to Kodi is an extensive repository of little add-ons that enable you to watch shows from various cable networks, play music, stream movies, change Kodi’s appearance with new skins, and more. You aren’t limited to what is in the official repository either. Kodi can install both external add-ons and other repositories. These repositories and add-ons can provide everything from services that aren’t supported by Kodi natively, other skins, adult entertainment, and streaming movies and television from less than scrupulous sites. One word of caution, if you intend to use any of those shady add-ons please be sure to exercise caution. Malicious add-ons do exist and you don’t want to find yourself with a messed up system because of it.
Getting up and running as a media player is fairly easy, but if you aren’t afraid to do some research and get your hands dirty Kodi can do just about anything you need from the main hub of your entertainment system. If you are a cable user there are PVR backends that can bring your live TV channels into Kodi’s interface complete with an electronic program guide, recording options, and scheduling. All your favorite YouTube videos are available with the official YouTube plugin. With a good bit of tinkering, even Netflix and Hulu are available. The sky really is the limit, it all depends on how deep down the rabbit hole you are willing to go.
If you find yourself salivating at the thought of all this power in your living room, luckily for you there are quite a few ways to get Kodi on your TV. Subjectively speaking, the best Kodi experience will come from a full reasonably powered desktop computer hooked to your TV with some type of remote. Kodi isn’t super resource intensive so your old 2.4 Ghz Core 2 Duo should do a pretty good job. If the thought of hooking an entire computer to your TV doesn’t appeal to you don’t worry. Kodi can be installed on a multitude of devices such as the Amazon Fire TV or the Fire TV Stick, most Android TV boxes and sticks, and even the Raspberry Pi.
If you are ready to get this software working for you there are plenty of resources to help you get started. The first places you should go is the official website and the official wiki. For a stripped down simple installation you should look into the Kodi-based OS called Openelec. You can also download Kodi from the Google Play Store.
We at Theaterverse are big fans of Kodi and if you want to hear more about it be sure to keep your eye on us! Do you use Kodi? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below.