Unless you are technically inclined, it may take some convincing to get you to come around to Kodi. While it’s not a complicated program, the Kodi app can befuddle beginners.
That’s due in part to the fact it’s an open source media player. This opens the door do Kodi add-ons and hundreds of sources for content. Our guide will help you get started with those as well, but first, we need to cover the basics for Kodi beginners.
What is Kodi?
While we mentioned Kodi being open source that is only part of the story. Kodi, formerly XBMC, sprang to life on the Xbox way back in 2002. The program has undergone significant changes over the years and is now known as Kodi. Today it is handled by the XMBC Foundation a non profit technology consortium.
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Our guide covers the program on a smartphone, but the Kodi app is available for multiple operating systems and hardware platforms. That includes Android, iOS and Windows-based devices along with computers running the Mac OS X or Linux. You can install Kodi on the Fire TV Stick or other Amazon Fire devices as well.
Table of Contents
Once you fire Kodi up for the first time, you are taken to the main menu. It’s easy to navigate whether you are tapping or clicking with a full menu on the left and content on the right. On the first install, prompts will appear for media. This is where you can add content from your device to the Kodi app, and it’s a fairly straightforward process.
On the left side, there are sections for Movies, TV shows, Music, Music Videos, TV, Radio, Add-ons, Pictures, Videos, Favorites, and Weather. While a few of these may sound redundant, have no fear as you can customize this section to a degree later on.
The one thing you will quickly notice is that there is nothing there. No matter which section you select, you are going to come up empty. That’s because the Kodi app is a media streamer, not an app like Netflix or Terrarium TV. There is no content hosted on the app; it is simply an amazing media hub.
Adding content to this free and open source media player is simple, and you have a lot of options to choose from. For now, we’re going to focus on localized content whether it’s stored on your handset, in the cloud or on your home network.
Do you want to add digital media files from local and network storage media? Well, it’s only a few clicks away. You can select a folder where your media is stored on your handset or slate from the section on the right. Once added, you can adjust the settings to scan the folders for new media on startup automatically.
If you want to change things later on or dig around a little, you can always go back the settings menu on the main screen. The file manager is accessible from there along with network settings in the system tab.
Now, here is where things get interesting. If you are not using Kodi to stream media from your home network or shoot videos from your handset to another device, you can still have some fun. That’s because the Kodi app has some wonderful add-ons.
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This is where the fun begins, especially if you enjoy tinkering with your technology. As the name implies, Kodi add-on “add” additional functionality to the application. When you go to the Add-ons tab, you will see an installation icon at the top along with an icon for settings. Below that there is a row of sections for each type of Kodi add-on.
For now, we are going to focus on the Video Add-ons section, but we will touch on a few others as well. One of the big draws of the Kodi app are the free movies and TV shows. While some are in that “grey” area, there are plenty of options that are freely available.
If you want to check some easily accessible content, you can do so without adding a repository. While we won’t list all of the options available, here are a few standouts we think anyone can enjoy.
- Bob Ross – YouTube
- Buzz Feed
- Classic Cinema Online
- Comingsoon Trailer
- Giant Bomb
- NPR Music Videos
- Sky News
Keep in mind, some of the add-ons present today may be gone tomorrow. If you are a media freak, you will want to check this section frequently.
Additional Add-ons for Kodi
Not everyone chooses to stay glued to the TV. If you prefer to stream video music, that’s an option, or you can use add-ons like The Music Source for Kodi, Rave Player, JukeBox Hero, and BeatZ. Those are all fan favorites, but we don’t think you will have any trouble finding something on your own.
As for the programs add-ons, they are self-explanatory along with the photo add-ons. Assuming you are running Kodi on a mobile, the app tab gives you access to all the applications currently installed on your mobile handset or slate.
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Using Kodi Repositories for Add-ons
If you couldn’t find what you were looking for through the usual means, Kodi repositories are a fine alternative. Actually, they are the preferred way to go by many Kodi users and for a good reason. You will want to proceed with caution however and only download files from trusted sources.
While Kodi app addons are essentially mini apps, repositories are places where they are stored. While the main draw of these containers is finding new goodies, they are also a great place to find old versions of favorites like Kodi Exodus.
In this example, we are going to show you how to install a repository for Kodi. The process should work the same for most depots, and we are using the file manager method this time around.
From your main screen, you will want to click the gear to get to your File Manager. Once inside, you will click on Add Source which brings up a new window.
When you click on None, you will be able to enter a path to a repository manually. This is where you will type the URL of the repository you want to access. We used addons4kodi, but there are dozens of options available at any given time. They tend to come and go, however, so it pays to use more than one.
In the blank section below your source you can rename it, so make it something simple unless you like long URLs.
If everything goes as planned, you will see your source available in the left pane, so it’s time to go back to the home screen and then to the Add-ons tab. Once there, click on the Gear icon and ensure you have “Unknown Sources” ticked. This lets you install applications on your device that would normally be blocked. If you are good to go, hit the Package Installer icon.
Now you will want to select Install from Zip File, then choose the file you need. You will see a repository loaded if you are still on track. Once you click through a few more areas, you should see a zip file similar to the one shown in the screenshot below. Tap on that, and you will get a quick message to let you know it was successfully installed.
Unfortunately, we are still not quite done as now we need to install it again. It sounds strange, we know, but it’s a necessary step with the Kodi app.
Now you want to click on Install from Repository, and then select the one you need. In this instance, it’s Incursion which brings us to a Video add-ons folder. Click on the Install tab and wait. This should go fairly quickly, but that depends on your device and connection. Give it a minute and don’t get too impatient as you will get a message letting you know once things are completely installed. Go back to the main screen and select the Kodi Add-ons tab. You should see your video add-on ready to roll and loaded on the screen.
What you do from here is up to you, but you should have no problem navigating Exodus or various Kodi app repositories if you follow our tips.
We won’t waste too much time here as we could devote another guide to the array of settings at your disposal in Kodi. Instead, we are just going to key in on a few we feel are a bit more important than the rest. Below are all the settings sections available from the main menu of the Kodi app.
- Media Player Settings
- System Settings
- Media Settings
- Interface Settings
- PVR & Live TV
Player settings allow you to adjust the way your media is played. This includes discs, photos, music, and videos. Common options like skip delay, next track, and change disks are all present along with language and accessibility settings.
The media settings deal with your library directly and cover the same areas. Options vary by section whereas the services section is more straightforward. Your web server access, weather information, and UPnP/DLAN settings can be adjusted here. This is also where you enable AirPlay support for Kodi as well.
The interface, skins and profile sections are easy to navigate, and you should have no problem picking your way through those sections. Systems settings covers everything else including internet access for Kodi, audio, display, inputs, power saving and add-ons.
Kodi App Customization
When you have a gadget that allows you to show off your personality, it’s a great thing. That’s one reason Android is so popular as you can drop widgets anywhere you’d like and customize your home screen to your heart’s content. Well, we’re pleased to say the Kodi app offers up a nice degree of customization.
One of the easiest ways to customize Kodi is through altering a few settings from the Interface or Skins sections.
General options enable touch mode and allow you to make a few mild alterations as do the main menu items. The artwork is where you can choose a “fan pack” and really change up the look of this media streamer. You can also set a background or choose weather icons if you want to go all out. We dig the HD animated Kodi Icons for weather but to each his own.
The easiest way to switch things up is to click on Estuary from the Skins tab. This is where you can find new designs which completely alter the look of Kodi in some cases. If you want to go down the rabbit hole, click Get More, sit back and pick the style that best suits you.
While we only touched on a few of the key areas of Kodi, it’s a deep program that can keep you busy tweaking settings for weeks. Just remember, Kodi is a media hub. You need to feed it content from your end unless you are content using an add-on as the app itself doesn’t host content directly.
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