Kodi Subtitles | All You Need To Know

Kodi subtitles make it easier for viewers to understand the content they are watching. These subtitles come in handy, especially when watching foreign shows or if you have a hearing problem.

Some video addons have pre-installed subtitles functionalities, but most Kodi add ons lack this capability. Kodi supports the download and use of subtitles, but you need to enable them via the device’s settings.

Here’s a quick guide on how to add Kodi subtitles, also known as captions, on all supported devices and versions of Kodi.  

Why You May Need Subtitles On Kodi When Watching Movies And TV Shows

There are several reasons why you may need to activate Kodi subtitles. Examples include:

  • Viewers who understand English as a second language can follow the dialogue using subtitles.
  • Accents or background noise can prevent a viewer from comprehending dialogue in the movie or show; subtitles helps viewers understand the video content even better. 
  • Viewers with learning disabilities, attention deficits, or hearing loss can follow the dialogue using Kodi subtitles.
  • Viewers in sound-sensitive environments can comfortably watch videos with subtitles. 
  • With the help of Kodi subtitles, viewers can understand and enjoy watching foreign movies/TV shows. 

How To Get Subtitles On Kodi

Kodi has inbuilt support for subtitles, but you must enable the functionality to view the subtitles when watching a movie/TV show. 

Here’s how to activate subtitles on your Kodi device:

  • On the Kodi home screen, click on Settings on the upper left part of the screen.
  • Select the Configuration menu.
  • Click on Player Settings.
  • You’ll see a list of preferences; click in Language.
  • Change the subtitles heading to Original Stream’s Language.
  • In the change font option, select your preferred font or leave it at the default font, which is Arial.
  • Select the Download Services.
  • Set the subtitle language preferences to your preferred language or ignore to keep English as the default subtitle. You can also choose to add more languages.
  • Select the location where you want the subtitles files stored on your device.

How To Add A Subtitle Add-On

Even after enabling subtitles on Kodi, they won’t magically appear while playing media content. You have to manually download subtitles addons for the subtitles to be visible while streaming videos. 

There are many official and third-party subtitle add ons that you can use, but it is advisable to stick to official subtitle add ons.

When it comes to downloading and installing subtitle addons, you don’t need to install a new repository. 

A Kodi repository is a specific location where you can access and find addons to install. The pre-installed Kodi repository or standalone subtitle addons will work just fine. 

Here’s how to add subtitle addons on Kodi:

  • From the Kodi home screen, click on Add-ons.
  • Select the subtitle browser represented by an open-box icon. 
  • On the options listed, choose Install from Repository (this is the official Kodi repository).
  • Click on Subtitles from the list. 
  • Choose your preferred subtitle service provider.

Configuring Subtitles Settings

For addons subtitles to work correctly, you need to configure subtitles settings. These settings include:

Auto-Download First Subtitle

This setting automatically downloads the first subtitle when you’re streaming a movie or TV Show, and it’s usually disabled by default. For this setting to work efficiently, you have to download and install a subtitle addon. 

OpenSubtitles is a great place to start, given that it has a vast library of subtitles. 

After installing the subtitle addon, head over to Kodi settings and then enable the ‘Auto-download subtitles’ setting. 

You can learn more about how to use Kodi here.

Pause When Searching For Subtitles

When this setting is enabled, it automatically pauses video playback whenever you search for subtitles on the internet. Sometimes, it can be pretty inconvenient when you have to wait for subtitles search results before watching the video content. 

Kodi enables this feature by default; therefore, you’ll need to head over to Settings to disable it. 

Default TV Show Service And Default Movie Service

With this setting, you can assign a specific subtitle addon to movies or TV shows. For instance, let’s assume you have two subtitle addons, namely OpenSubtitles and Subscene. 

If you want to assign Subscene only to fetch movie subtitles, you’ll need to set it as the Default movie service. You can also go ahead and select OpenSubtitles as the Default TV show service. 

In that case, whenever you play movies, Subscene will fetch the subtitles from its server. But when you play TV shows, OpenSubtitles will fetch subtitles from its server. 

For this to work, make sure you download and install the subtitle addons on Kodi before modifying this setting. By default, this setting is set to ‘None.’ Therefore, all you need to do is change it to your preferred subtitles provider. 

Follow the procedure below to change the Default TV Show Service and Default Movie Service settings on Kodi:

  • Launch Kodi and select Settings.
  • Under System, settings click on Player.
  • Ensure you’re on the Standard window. This is usually indicated at the bottom left corner of the screen next to the cog icon.
  • Click on the Language option.
  • Select Languages To Download Subtitles For under Download Services and choose your preferred subtitle language.
  • Click on Default TV Show Service and select your preferred subtitle provider.
  • Click on Default Movie Service and select your preferred subtitle provider.

Kodi will activate the changes when you go back to the home screen.

How To Enable Automatic Captions On Kodi

The process of manually changing subtitles from settings can be a bit overwhelming. To enable automatic subtitles, you need to install the Autosubs service on Kodi. Follow the step-by-step guide below to do just that:

  • Launch Kodi and click on Add-ons.
  • Select the Add-ons browser.
  • Click on Install From Repository.
  • Select Services.
  • From the list of options that appears, click on AutoSubs and Install.
  • Once Autosubs installation is complete, go back to Kodi and play any media file. 
  • A Subtitle Selection Dialog box will pop up whenever media is playing

Installing Autosubs will save you the hassle of going to settings every time you want to change or add subtitles. When selecting a subtitle, ensure that it matches the video quality of your stream, e.g., If you’re playing a 1080p file, choose a 1080p subtitle. 

Best Kodi Captions Add-ons

There are plenty of Kodi addons for subtitles listed on the official Kodi Wiki. Let’s take a look at five of the best.

OpenSubtitles.org

Arguably, this is the best subtitle addon on Kodi. It has a library of over 4 million subtitles in 75 languages, allowing Kodi users to search and download their preferred movie/TV show subtitles. 

With OpenSubtitles.org, you can also check for subtitles ratings before downloading them. 

To use OpenSubtitles Kodi addon, you must first register for an account on their official website. It is not possible to use OpenSubtitles on Kodi without a registered account. 

To register for an account, head over to opensubtitles.org and click on Register. Follow the instructions provided to create a username and password. 

How To Add OpenSubtitles On Kodi

  • From the Kodi home screen, click on Add-ons.
  • Select the package installer option represented by an open box icon.
  • Select Install From Repository.
  • Choose the official Kodi add on repository.
  • Select Subtitles.
  • Choose OpenSubtitles.org.
  • Select the Install button found at the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  • Select OpenSubtitles.org, then click Configure.
  • On the login details window, enter your credentials, and then click OK. 
  • Go back to the Kodi home screen and select Settings.
  • Under System settings, click on Player.
  • Ensure you’re on the Standard window and not the Basic version. This is usually indicated at the bottom left corner of the screen next to the cog icon.
  • Click on the Language option.
  • Select Languages To Download Subtitles For under Download Services and then choose your preferred subtitle language.
  • Click on Default TV Show Service and select OpenSubtitles. 
  • Click on Default Movie Service and click OpenSubtitles.
  • Go back to Kodi and play a movie/TV show.
  • Click on the Subtitles icon. OpenSubtitles will begin to search for subtitles for the movie you’re playing.

XMBC Subtitles 

This is one of the earliest subtitle addons for Kodi. To use this subtitle addon, you must first enable it by following the steps below:

  • Click on System Settings.
  • Select Appearance.
  • Click on Skin.
  • Select Add-on Shortcuts.
  • Click on Video OSD.
  • Select Subtitle Add-on.

You can set XMBC to automatically download subtitles by enabling ‘Auto download first “sync” subtitle’ from Settings. Alternatively, you can activate XMBC during media playback by pressing M, then clicking on the On-Screen Display (OSD) button. 

Subscene.com

This subtitle service has over 50 languages and is one of the best English subtitles providers on Kodi. In addition, it’s one of the few subtitles addons you can access without creating an account. It is pretty easy to install Subscene, as explained in the procedure below:

  • Download the Subscene ZIP file from the internet.
  • Launch Kodi and click on Settings.
  • Select System settings.
  • Click on Add-ons.
  • Select Add-ons browser.
  • From the list of options, select Install From ZIP File. 
  • Click on the Subscene ZIP file you downloaded and install it. You’ll see an Add-on Installed message.

Podnapisi.net

Podnapisi is regularly updated, has an easy-to-use user interface and supports various languages. It makes it easy to search and download a subtitle. Here’s how to add Podnapisi on Kodi:

  • Launch Kodi and click on Add-ons.
  • Select Add-on browser.
  • Select Install From Repository.
  • Select Subtitles.
  • Enter Podnapisi.net, then click Install.
  • Confirm installation by clicking OK.
  • Go back to the Kodi home screen and click on Settings.
  • Select Player Settings icon.
  • Select Language.
  • Choose your preferred subtitle language.
  • Select Default TV Show Service and click Podnapisi.
  • Select Default Movies Service and click Podnapisi.
  • Go back to Kodi and play a movie/TV show.
  • Click on the Subtitles icon. Podnapisi will begin to search for subtitles for the movie you’re playing. 

BSPlayer

BSPlayer is a popular subtitle addon with over 87,000 Kodi users. It is a media player with inbuilt support for subtitles. You can easily search and download missing subtitles using this addon. 

Here’s how to install BSPlayer on Kodi:

  • Download the BSPlayer ZIP file from the internet.
  • Launch Kodi and click on Settings.
  • Select System Settings icon.
  • Click on Add-ons.
  • Select Add-ons browser.
  • From the list of options, select Install From ZIP File. 
  • Click on the BSPlayer ZIP file you downloaded and click Install. You’ll see an Add-on Installed message.

How To Turn Off Kodi Subtitles

Sometimes, subtitles may not serve their purpose, and you may need to turn them off. For instance, if you understand English and watch a movie with English as the primary language, there’ll be no need to view subtitles.

In that case, the best thing to do is turn off the subtitles because they’re unnecessary. 

Also, when subtitles don’t match the dialogue on a movie or TV show, they may not be necessary. To turn subtitles off, follow the steps below:

  • Launch the Kodi home screen and click on Settings.
  • Select Player Settings.
  • Select Language.
  • Choose your preferred subtitle language.
  • Select Default TV show service and click None.
  • Select Default movies service and click None.

How To Uninstall Kodi Subtitles

To remove a Kodi subtitle you don’t need, you have to uninstall the subtitle addon. Follow the procedure below to uninstall a Kodi subtitle addon:

  • Launch Kodi and select the Add-ons tab.
  • On the left-hand menu, click on My Add-ons.
  • Select the Kodi subtitle addon you wish to uninstall and click Uninstall.
  • Follow the instructions provided to uninstall the Add-on.
  • If you receive an error or Add-on Cannot Be Uninstalled message, close all media tabs and try again. Ensure that the Kodi subtitle addon is not running in the background when you delete it. 

Captions With Tracking/Sync Issues

There’s no standard regulation of what the optimum speed for subtitles should be. But, the recommended speed is 160 to 180 words per minute or 12 to 15 characters per second of audiovisual content. 

That’s the speed set by most subtitle providers when generating subtitles.

Kodi subtitle tracking issues arise when captions are generated rapidly, making it difficult for viewers to keep up. Alternatively, the captions may load slowly, eventually failing to sync with the dialogue. There’s no sure way of fixing subtitle tracking issues on Kodi.

It is advisable to use the subtitle offset feature to time the subtitle if it doesn’t match the dialogue for the best results. 

Here’s how to fix subtitle sync issues on Kodi: 

  • Launch Kodi and open the video you want to sync the subtitle.
  • Click on Settings.
  • Under the Audio and subtitle settings, click on Subtitle Offset.
  • You should see a screen with a slider. 
  • When the subtitle is slower than the dialogue, move the slider to the right.
  • When the subtitle is faster than the dialogue, move the slider to the left.

If this doesn’t work, you may consider turning off the subtitle option or try a different subtitle provider. 

How To Enable Captions Within Individual Add-ons

Some addons come with their own inbuilt subtitles capabilities. Therefore, you don’t need to add subtitles to Kodi manually. You only need to enable the subtitles from Kodi’s settings. 

Here’s how to go about this: 

  • Launch Kodi and click on Add-ons.
  • Select the addon with inbuilt Kodi functionality.
  • Click on the Subtitles section.
  • Select Enable Subtitles.

Kodi Subtitles Not Showing/Working

First of all, ensure that you’ve enabled subtitles from Kodi settings and you’re connected to the internet. The process may vary depending on the build, but the steps are pretty straightforward for most builds. 

Here’s what to do: 

  • Launch Kodi and click on Add-ons.
  • Select the addon with inbuilt Kodi functionality.
  • Click on the Subtitles section.
  • Check to see if subtitles are enabled or disabled. 
  • If disabled, you’ll need to enable them. 

How To Install A Subtitle Addon From An Unofficial Kodi Repository

You can install a subtitle addon from a third-party Kodi repository the same way you would on an official Kodi repository. The only difference is when selecting the Install From Repository option, you’ll choose the third-party repository instead of the official Kodi repository.

Malicious Captions

Hackers can use malicious captions to compromise your device while you’re streaming content. Even trusted subtitle databases such as OpenSubtitles.org are vulnerable to this attack. 

In such cases, hackers may manipulate shared online repositories by installing malicious code. 

The malicious subtitle can be automatically downloaded to a Kodi device without requiring any user interaction. When you install an infected subtitle file, the hidden malicious code runs as you play a movie or TV show. When that happens, the attackers can take complete control over your device without you noticing. 

Updating your Kodi application to the latest version minimizes the risk of possible attacks. Alternatively, you may install a malware security VPN like CyberGhost to protect your data and improve security.

Kodi Subtitles Conclusion

It’s best to install at least three subtitle addons; if one fails, you’ll have an alternative. Also, if one subtitle doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can switch to another subtitle. 

That said, OpenSubtitles is a great option as the primary subtitle addon because it has a huge library of subtitles and supports many languages. 

Also, please remember to enable subtitles from Kodi settings before installing subtitle addons.