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When building the ultimate home theater system, all the hardware in the world can’t do you justice without some excellent software to go with it. If you’re looking for the best way to watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, and catch all of your favorite sports, Kodi is the app for you. In this article, we will discuss what Kodi is and everything you need to know about the app.
What is Kodi?
Kodi is free, open-source software designed with home entertainment in mind, and it’s been around for nearly two decades. Microsoft originally developed the software for the original Xbox and called it the Xbox Media Center (XBMC). The program continued to evolve and went far beyond the Xbox platform after Microsoft abandoned it. The non-Microsoft team behind what is now called Kodi has built a community of their own, made up of fans and developers.
Unlike other streaming software companies such as Android TV or Plex, Kodi is managed by the non-profit XBMC Foundation. The software is continuously modified and upgraded by countless scores of coders and developers around the world. You can now customize Kodi by installing add-ons or builds, and they’re free.
What Does Kodi Do?
With all the things that Kodi does, it’s probably easier to describe what Kodi can’t do, and that is Kodi does not provide you with any content. This means that you will need to provide all media (music, shows, movies, etc.).
Users often install Kodi on their devices to stream the content they want. For example, let’s say you have a website you’d like to stream content from, but your Firestick doesn’t offer support and isn’t compatible with that website. All you need to do is install Kodi on your Firestick, add the website, and stream through the Kodi app.
Not just websites but other digital services can be added too (referred to as add-ons)! While Kodi doesn’t offer its own content, it does give you the option to stream your media in one place on nearly any device.
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Benefits of Kodi
Kodi isn’t just built for computers; it works on nearly every gadget in your house, from a smartphone to an Amazon Fire TV Stick. This alone makes the app a valuable source for audio/video entertainment. You can find a variety of Kodi boxes, which are actually not dedicated to Kodi but run Kodi well and often carry precompiled add-ons for it, such as NVIDIA Shield Android TV and pendoo (R) Android TV Boxes.
You also have the option to sideload Kodi on Amazon Fire TV Cube, but it contains no precompiled add-ons, of course.
Since Kodi is a multimedia manager, you can listen to music, watch family videos, enjoy YouTube, obtain movie reviews and information, get sports scores, watch some national news, and much more. Kodi also lets you organize your media, depending on the type. Create favorites, playlists, movie directories, and many other benefits.
A word of caution:
Anything you stream on Kodi is visible to both your ISP and the government, which could put you in legal hot water. The only surefire way to combat this is to connect to an excellent VPN service (like ExpressVPN) whenever you use Kodi.
Kodi’s Key Features
Kodi turns any computer, smartphone, or tablet into a digital set-top box or streamer, giving users the ability to stream files from the internet, a home network, or local storage. Unlike other TV streamers such as Apple TV, Chromecast 3rd Generation, and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, Kodi isn’t held back by licensing or a curated app store. The software lets you download a range of community-made apps or add-ons and watch whatever you like.
Kodi’s intuitive user interface (UI) also makes browsing through your content simple. The software features what its developers call a “10-foot UI”, meaning it is readable from a theoretical distance of up to 10 feet away. Thanks to a range of built-in codes, users can browse videos, photos, and podcasts quickly and easily. On smaller devices, Kodi offers a similar experience but can get hooked to a larger TV for big-screen viewing.
Is Kodi Legal?
When running official apps, Kodi is not illegal. Like third-party torrent sites, Kodi apps are not unlawful either, but what you do on them can be illegal.
For a device to become illicit, it must get used for watching shows and other content without the copyright owner’s permission. This action occurs via hardware, software, or when viewing the content at a friend’s house. Illicit streaming devices are boxes or USB sticks you plug into your TV that were tweaked to access any content you haven’t paid for or had the approval to watch. We always recommend using a VPN like ExpressVPN when streaming content online for digital safety.
For additional information, check out the article discussing Kodi’s legality.
Many Kodi add-ons contain content that isn’t officially licensed, and accessing such material could be illegal. It is the user’s responsibility to comply with all applicable laws in their country regarding use. Alphr.com does not condone and is not responsible for the infringement of any intellectual property or other third-party rights and shall not be liable to any such party due to any such content being made available.
What can you watch on Kodi?
Kodi puts you in control, meaning you can install pre-included and third-party applications that offer a variety of streaming sources and content. There are actually numerous third-party apps offering movies, TV shows, sports broadcasts, YouTube content, social media content, and more.
For the most part, you can watch just about anything you want. However, bear in mind the legalities of watching such content, as well as how you obtain them. If you have paid subscriptions to select providers, an app that lets you watch content from that provider may be legal. It just depends on the terms and conditions of the subscription source, such as YouTube, Netflix, and CBS All Access, to name a few.
What is compatible with Kodi?
Kodi is available on almost every device. The media center software is easy to download and compatible with OS X, Linux, Windows, Android, and even the Raspberry Pi series of microcomputers.
For those using iOS, the process is slightly more complicated because the Kodi app doesn’t exist in the App Store. iPhone users have two options; they need to ensure their phone is jailbroken before downloading Kodi unless they use Cydia Impactor. This downloadable macOS app allows iOS users to install third-party (non-App Store) apps. However, bear in mind the legalities of using such applications on an Apple device.
Can I replace my TV service with Kodi?
As we’ve explained above, Kodi does not provide any content, so technically, no. Kodi cannot replace your cable service by itself, but because Kodi can house all of your favorite streaming services in one simple app for use on nearly any platform, it can be a great solution to finding your favorite shows and movies more easily than having to sift through several programming options.
Is Kodi safe?
This is probably one of the more frequently asked questions. Those of us who lived in the days of Napster and Limewire understand there are certain risks to downloading content onto your devices. While Kodi itself isn’t dangerous at all, it can depend on what you’re doing. We recommend using a VPN like ExpressVPN when streaming to stay safe
Downloading add-ons from trusted developers is a good place to start in regards to Kodi’s safety. As with anything internet-related, your system is only safe from malware if you’re taking the right steps to ensure you’re not downloading any malware.
Of course, Kodi provides a comprehensive list of safe add-ons as well as those in the unofficial repositories here. Simply visit the Kodi Wiki to research an up-to-date list of all add-ons that the developers recognize as safe, but do bear in mind, these add-ons are not crafted by the XBMC Foundation.