What Is Kodi? | All You Need To Know

You probably remember Kodi from when it was launched under the name Xbox media center (player) in 2002. But the name only lasted for two years; in 2004, it was renamed Kodi. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Kodi.

Kodi Explained

Kodi, developed by the XBMC foundation, is a free, open-source media software that allows you to store all your entertainment media content under one roof. Let’s say you have a Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify account that you have downloaded separately. 

Kodi will compile all the different downloads from each site, analyze them and then group the content into specific sections, e.g., songs and movies. 

After compiling, you will be able to access all your content from a centralized entertainment center.

Also, you can play unsaved content straight from the source, as it does not need to be pre-downloaded. For example, you can easily sign in to your Netflix account by just clicking on the Netflix icon on Kodi’s interface.

By doing this, you will stream your television shows directly from the Kodi platform instead of exiting the platform and logging on to the Netflix official app. 

The best part is, you can access this content from almost all your devices, such as laptops, phones and TVs as Kodi is available for multiple hardware and operating-systems. Please remember, Kodi does not have its own content; it is just a platform to host the content you already have.

For a better viewing experience, consider downloading add-ons to access content from online streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix.

How Kodi Works? 

Kodi supports almost all audio and video formats available. When it comes to music, this media software can play AAC, AAG, and Mp3 formats. It can also add cover art to the tracks, incorporate their lyrics and create tags for the playlists.

For video content, Kodi can play ISO, 3D, and H264 formats and stream and record movies and TV shows. However, you will need to purchase backend software before being able to record live TV. A backend software interfaces with your TV tuner card to decode the channel signals for the live show you want to record. 

Also, Kodi lets you stream pictures. It can even compile them and create slideshow videos depending on the arrangement of the pictures you upload.

To top if off, you can use Twitter Feed-on app to keep an eye on social media.

How To Customize Kodi? 

If you are using a laptop or TV to access Kodi, chances are you may want to change the default interface as it is more inclined towards smartphones. Changing the user interface on Kodi is easy – you only need to follow the steps below:

First, you will need to click on the icon labelled Skins. Here, you will find the different interfaces and add ons to choose from. These add ons are made by independent developers since Kodi is 100% open source and non-profit.

Open source means that Kodi’s source code is freely available on the internet and can be modified or redistributed by any developer. The good thing is, Kodi scrutinizes these add-ons before allowing them to be displayed on their official site. 

If you intend to use Kodi with your family or friends, you will appreciate that it lets you set parental controls. You can do this by locking specific content or limiting the amount of time you spend on it per day.

Given that not every user is tech-savvy, Kodi created different difficulty levels in regards to its settings. These levels include:

  • Basic
  • Standard
  • Advanced
  • Expert

However, if you are willing to improve your tech skills, there are plenty of videos on the Kodi official site that explain how to go about the set difficulty levels of customization.

Kodi Add-ons 

Add-ons are basically extra features that do not come with the official version of the software. They improve your overall user experience.

Over the years, Kodi developers have come up with an impressive repository with all the official add-ons, all of which are legal. However, since Kodi is free to air, several independent developers have their own add-ons that can be supported with Kodi.

Kodi “repo” or repository is a “hub” that contains different Kodi addons, separated into different categories.

The problem is that not all of them are legal.

The official Kodi add-ons include the following categories; a web interface, gaming, lyrics, video, audio, weather, etc.

Since there are a huge amount of different add-ons, feel free to checkout or article Best Kodi Addons for more information.

For instance, there is a category of add-ons known as Kodi Skins that gives users the ability to change the basic UI of the software. You can customize your Kodi skin or use it as is.

There’s also the Scraper add-on that enables users to import detailed media information from any random internet resource. The data could be in the form of images, reviews, etc.

As mentioned, Kodi has a repository that contains several add ons separated into different categories. For instance, if you want to watch movies, you just click on the Movie category, and you’ll find relevant add ons with movie channels. You actually don’t need to install individual add ons; instead, you can install the Kodi repository.

Kodi Build

Kodi build allows a user to install skins, repositories, setting, add-ons, etc. in one click. It basically helps users to save a ton of time on browsing different addons, etc. on the web.

Kodi Wizard

In short, Kodi wizard allows the user to install a list of multiple builds in one click. Kodi wizard may also include tools that can help users with installing Android applications, speed test, buffering, etc.

Remote Controls That Work With Kodi 

Kodi designed its platform so that it can be controlled by a majority of the remote controls available in the market. This is because it comes equipped with a 10-foot interface that makes it a perfect addition to your living room; chances are your current TV remote will be able to control it. 

The availability of a 10-foot interface means you can still control Kodi via a certified remote even when you are 10 feet away. The interface is so meticulously arranged that you can easily note what is happening on the screen, even at a 10-feet distance.

To put things into perspective, all Media Center Edition (MCE), Consumer Electronics Control (CEC), and Radio Frequency (RF), apple TV remotes can work with Kodi. Moreover, even game controllers, tablets and smartphones can work as Kodi remote controls.

Pros Of Kodi 

Here are some reasons you’ll love Kodi. 

Streams Live TV 

Kodi is capable of streaming live TV, but it will require some effort on your part. First, you will need to connect the PVR to your backend TV server to stream live TV. It is important to note that the PVR you choose depends entirely on the type of TV tuner card that you are streaming with. Lucky enough, Kodi outlines where each PVR goes.

After connecting, press Play, and Kodi’s personal video recorder functionality will begin to record.

Easy To Use

With Kodi, you don’t need prior tech experience because the whole interface is pretty straightforward. To get started, you need to download the official version of the software from the most appropriate location.

For example, Android users can download it from the Google Play Store.

However, Kodi is not available in the official Apple store. Although it is still possible to install Kodi on an iPhone, you may have to use third-party apps or other unconventional means. 

In some cases, downloading and installing third-party apps to your iPhone can compromise your device’s security.

After installation, you will need to give the Kodi app storage permission to access files on your device. If you do provide consent, a default Kodi home screen will appear.

Kodi automatically scans and groups your media library into categories such as movies, songs, podcasts, recorded TV shows, etc. You can then slowly keep adding content to the set categories.

Find more information about How To Install, Use and Update Kodi.

No limitations 

Kodi does not have limits on the number of third-party add-ons you can download. This means you do not have to be limited to the available options on their official site. However, they recommend specific add-ons as the developers do not support pirated content. 


With Kodi, you can use almost any remote control to operate it, including remote control applications. This makes it convenient, especially when you love your original TV remote.

It Is Legal?

Contrary to popular belief, it is legal to use Kodi as long as you don’t download a third-party add-on that violates copyright laws. But, this cannot happen if you stick to the add-ons offered by the Kodi software.

Also, it is illegal to upload copyrighted media on Kodi. In as much as this might not have any criminal repercussions, it is advisable to be careful as some of the copyrighted material may contain viruses.

To get around Kodi legal troubles, many users recommend using a VPN. Using Kodi with a VPN prevents your Internet Service Provider, government agencies and other parties from accessing your private information and internet activity.

Kodi Is Compatible With A Lot Of Devices

Kodi is supported on almost all operating systems available in the market. Examples include:

  • Windows Operating System
  • Linux Operating System
  • Android
  • macOS
  • iOS
  • Raspberry Pi

You need to know that not all devices from each of the aforementioned operating systems support Kodi. For example, only Android devices that run on Android 5.0 and its subsequent versions can successfully run Kodi.  

To download Kodi on iPods and iPhones, you may need to have the device jailbroken. Otherwise, it will take you a long time to install and set it up. Also, Kodi only works on the first, second, and fourth-generation Apple TVs. Installing or using Kodi on a third-generation Apple TV is virtually impossible.

When it comes to laptops, your mac needs to be running on the Mac OS X 10 7 software or any newer version, and your Windows computer should be operating on the window vista software or recent versions.

For Kodi Media Player to run on a Linux device, the device will need 4GB of space and an Intel Pentium 4 graphics card or any of its subsequent versions.

Inexpensive Streaming Devices

In short, Amazon Fire Stick and Amazon Fire TV are among the best streaming devices that can run Kodi. Both Fire TV and Fire TV Stick have powerful operating systems based on Android and they are inexpensive, make them a popular choice among many users.

Roku is also inexpensive, but unfortunately you cannot install it on Roku device.

Kodi Is Free

Kodi is packed with a lot of cool features designed specifically with convenience in mind. It is not every day that you find good non-profit software with your best interest in mind while maintaining legality.

Cons Of Kodi

Kodi has amazing features, but it has a few flaws, as discussed below.

Does Not Incorporate Some Streaming Apps

Kodi does not come already equipped with common streaming applications like Hulu streaming service and Home Box Office (HBO). This may be quite disappointing for some users, considering that some of these streaming apps are popular. However, you can always download an add-on which will, in turn, allow you to download these applications.

Does Not Automatically Add Music Tags

To listen to music conveniently, you need to add tags on all your song files manually. Tags help group your playlist according to certain characteristics, for example, the genre.

Kodi will list all these songs together, forcing you to group the playlists manually. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Kodi

If you have questions about this XBMC Foundation developed software, don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions users ask about Kodi Media Center.

Do Cord Cutters Need Kodi?

Viewers who switch from pay-TV subscriptions to internet-based streaming services, popularly referred to as cord-cutters, need Kodi. Mostly because it is an excellent tool with many features suitable for a wireless connection. Generally, Kodi makes it easier to have all internet-based streaming services under one roof.

Can Kodi Replace Cable?

Given that Kodi does not come with its own content, it cannot fully replace cable TV. However, it can record and stream Live TV as well as any content that you had previously downloaded, so that’s as close as it gets. But if you are not keen on watching random TV shows, you will love Kodi’s features as all your entertainment content will be available under one roof.

How Can I Prevent Kodi From Buffering?

The first thing you need to do is make sure your internet connectivity is at least 5mbps for download content and 10mbps for live content. Also, the buffering could derive from the original source of the content you are streaming, but not Kodi.

Why Some Kodi Add-On Not Working?

There are different reasons a Kodi add-on may fail to work. For example, if you have internet connectivity problems, some add-ons may not function properly. The best thing to do when this happens is to check out the troubleshooting tips provided by Kodi.

Is Kodi Media Player Secure?

Yes. Kodi is secure when you use the official plug ins (add-ons). However, if you choose third party add-ons, they should be verified by Kodi developers before installation.

Also, using Kodi with a VPN prevents your Internet Service Provider, government agencies and other parties from accessing your private information and internet activity. Basically, a VPN hides your IP address.

What Hardware Do I Need To Access Kodi?

You can access Kodi on a wide variety of devices, such as Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, etc.

What Makes Kodi Different From Other Media Players?

Kodi lets you have all your media in one location. You can easily watch Movies, Live T, Music Videos and even listen to your music collection all under one roof. This software also comes with a wide range of plugins (Add-ons) you may install to improve the user experience.

How Can I Find More Help And Information About Kodi?

There’s lots of information about Kodi on the internet; you just need to know where to find it. For example, Kodi’s website has a Wiki section that contains everything you need to know about this open-source software.

Another option is the Kodi forum. Here, you’ll interact with lots of like-minded community of users and browse tons of information about this software.

Is Kodi Legal?

Yes. Kodi is a legal open-source media player. But it is illegal to use Kodi to watch copyrighted content, which is punishable by law regardless of your location.

Can I Download Movies TV Shows On Kodi?

Yes, even though Kodi is primarily used to stream movies, TV shows and music, it is possible to download your favorite content and watch it later.


Kodi basically combines your media and streaming software into one platform to ease your access to the content. You can simply describe it as a free, open-source, software media center.

Unlike mainstream services such as Amazon Fire TV stick, this open-source media center software is not limited to licensing. This means you can safely watch or listen to everything you wish on the platform.

However, it is advisable to install a great VPN service to hide your IP address before you start using thrid-party addons.

Despite being a free platform, Kodi offers outstanding features and commendable customer service.