Kodi is an open-source home entertainment software that is distributed free of charge. It was originally developed for the Xbox platform, and given the name Xbox Media Center, (XBMC). Since then, it has greatly grown in fame and become very popular in recent times.
The technology was developed in 2003 and continually continues to evolve. It is managed by the XBMC, which is a non-profit foundation. Since its inception, Kodi has been shaped, modified and upgraded by more than 500 developers and more than 200 translators.
The software is powerful enough to turn any device that is installed with it into a streaming platform. It is bit different than other streaming boxes and helps you stream videos either from your hard disk or from the internet. It even allows you to stream live TV for free if you combine it with some third-party IPTV add-ons.
These add-ons can be pre-installed, or you can even do it on your own.
What Is A Kodi Box?
Being open-source, you can expect Kodi to support almost all devices.
You can have it on Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android, iOS and even Raspberry. There is also further support for Apple TV, Nvidia Shield, and Google Nexus Player platforms.
Running Kodi however takes over your machine, and therefore some people prefer a separate platform dedicated to it, and that’s why the fully loaded Kodi Box was developed.
The Kodi Box is simply a dedicated device for running Kodi.
Here, I shall take you through the Kodi Box review and give you some important knowledge and information concerning the software.
Sometimes you may need a VPN connection for Kodi. For example to unlock geo-restricted content or hide traffic from a nosey ISP. However, I will tell you more about the usefulness of a VPN in a little while.
What Does The Kodi Box Do?
It is designed to be a digital set-top box or streamer, which allows Kodi users to pull content straight to your living room. The software can also be installed on a multi-purpose device that is connected to a bigger screen for a comfortable display.
What Can The Kodi Box Play?
With it, you are automatically given the power to stream content from either the Internet, a home network or local storage.
One major difference with other TV streamers like Chromecast 2, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV is that Kodi is not held back by licensing or a curated app store. This means that there is a wide range of apps made from even anonymous developers all over the world, and you can watch whatever you want.
What’s more, Kodi has a specially designed user interface that enables you to easily browse through content. The UI was even dubbed “10-foot UI” by its developers, because of its ability to be read from a theoretical distance of up to 10ft away.
The range of available built-in codes allows you to browse videos, photos, and podcasts in a quick and effortless manner.
Do I Need A VPN For Kodi?
For the software to work on any system, you don’t have to use a VPN.
However, some apps and streaming services usually use geo-restriction for their content. Sometimes you may need to access this content, and you find that it’s not available in your location.
This is where VPN for Kodi comes in. Using a VPN will unlock that content, by enabling you to connect to a server located where the content is available.
On the other hand, you may be concerned about your ISP being snoopy, or just about your internet identity. Using a VPN will encrypt your data and enhance your online security.
You definitely need a VPN if you download content protected by copyright. The VPN will keep your identity anonymous protecting you from legal issues.
Here is a summary of why you may consider using a VPN with Kodi;
- To unblock geo-restricted streaming services. Examples are Hulu Plus, BBC iPlayer, ESPN, Channel 7, Fox and many other global TV channels.
- Evade geo-restrictions placed on shows like HBO’s Game of Thrones, Netflix’s House of Cards, Arrow, NBC Parks & Recreation, Person of Interest etc.
- Enable installation of blocked add-ons like Netflix XMBC.
- Evade NSA, GCHQ and Mossad surveillance plus snooping from other state agencies.
- Gain access to P2P & Torrents without getting tracked & receiving copyright notices.
- Stop ISPs from conducting DPI (deep packet inspection) and track your browsing activities.
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How To Add Channels On the Device
Kodi is specially designed for you if you love films, sports, movies and TV shows. This is because it is basically a ‘Watching platform’ that can be modified and tailored to suit your needs and preferences. This can be done by the use of a wide range of community-developed add-ons.
On the device, you can watch videos from your local storage or with a TV tuner, you can watch live TV.
However, to add more functionality to your Box you need add-ons. These add-ons let you access free online services like Twitch, YouTube, paid services like NHL.tv and Plex and even other services like NBCSN and ESPN3 which require cable logins to work.
You can even access your Netflix account. The services you can get on the device through add-ons are virtually unlimited and therefore I’ll show you a simple way to install add-ons.
You may find some pre-loaded Kodi Boxes available. However, these pre-loaded Kodi Boxes are now facing legal action, for example, in the UK.
Most of the time, Kodi doesn’t have a pre-stored channel library, just like most open-source projects. This will, therefore, mean that you will have to install your own add-ons based on what you are interested in, or what you generally want to watch.
In this section, I shall take you to step by step on how to freely add channels to your Software.
- Step 1 Launch the Kodi Player
- Step 2 On the left side of the system, there’s the ‘Main Menu’. From here, click on “Add-ons”.The simplest way to install your preferred add-ons is to ‘Install from repository’. Click on the button.
- Step 3 Here, you get a large number of categories. You can start with the Video Add-ons.
- Step 4 You can scroll till you find an add-on you are interested in adding. For this tutorial, let’s work with Fox News.
- Step 6 Click on the add-on. From here, you can ‘Install’. This installs the add-on. And you can now open it or view from the list of add-ons.
Most of the add-ons can be configured. Sometimes, for addons like Netflix, you will be required to log in to your account.
To open settings, you can right click to be the option.
Select “Settings” and the settings window for your add-on will appear.
I can’t really explain every setting in this review, because every add-on has different settings.
However you can change anything that you think will improve your experience.
Installing More Addons From Third-Party Repositories
The official Kodi repository won’t surely offer you everything you want. This may be because an add-on is very new, the developer has not yet submitted it to Kodi, or because it’s a piracy app that cannot be endorsed.
You can install add-ons from third-party repositories.
- The first thing you need to do is to enable “Unknown sources”. This can be found from “Settings”.
- Open “System Settings”
- Enable “Unknown Sources”
- You then need to download the ZIP file for the repository you want to browse and make sure it’s saved somewhere on the same computer as Kodi.
- Head back to the Add-ons section in the main menu, this time select Add-ons in the sidebar to bring up the Add-ons screen. You’ll find a box at the top-left.
- Select this box and you’ll be brought to the add-on browser, from where you can install ZIP files.
- Select the “Install from zip file” option to browse to and install the ZIP file you downloaded earlier.
- You can now install add-ons from your new repository using the “Install from repository” option.
Kodi Add-ons Worth Checking Out
Whether you want to get access to your Netflix account, watch animations or listen to radio, there’s an extension designed for you.
I have put together a small list of the best Kodi add-ons you can install on your fully loaded Kodi Box 2020. Most of the add-ons I have listed here are available directly from the official repository.
The few that are not there can be easily found with a little help from Google.
- Exodus: Avails a wide range of videos, both legal and illegal
- Salts: The add-on uses content drawn from different websites in order to keep-up with readily available HD content
- Phoenix: This add-on offers one of the most comprehensive list of movies and tv shows available. It maintains a large and constantly updated list of content.
- YouTube: Avails YouTube on Kodi. From there you can watch an unlimited number of videos.
- UK Turks Playlist: Offers a wide variety of content. You can watch cartoons, documentaries, comedy and even fitness shows.
- PlayOn: This app acts as a portal to a variety of paid for streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and many others.
- Navi-X: This acts as a gateway to user generated playlists of content from around the web.
- iPlayer: This is especially for UK users. It offers a great way of watching shows that air on the BBC.
How To Update the Software
Keeping your Box up to date ensures that you do not get left behind with some desired apps or in the discovery of a glaring security hole.
Some forms of Kodi stay up to date automatically, and therefore updating may not really be required. However, you may find yourself in the need of updating your device or software.
With some internet and a few spare minutes, you can get Kodi v18 Leila up and running on your device easily. Here’s how.
Updating Kodi On Android
Updating the software on Android is an absolute cakewalk. Just like most of the other android applications, Kodi is available on Google Play Store.
To get your latest version of the app, you just need an internet connection, and if your automatic updates are turned on, it will automatically update itself.
If not, you can:
- Open Google Play Store
- Navigate to ‘My Applications’
- Select ‘Update’ beside the Kodi app.
Remember that if you need Chromecast, this step will also update the Chromecast built on the Android version of Kodi.
Updating Kodi on Windows or Mac
Getting the latest version of Kodi on your Windows or Mac computer is also incredibly easy.
Though you can’t update the software from within Kodi, all you need to do is download and run the Leila executable file. This will overwrite your existing build.
Updating Kodi on Amazon Fire TV Stick
This will require you to first format your Fire TV, and then install the update to the device. It may not be the most effective procedure, but at the long last it’s worth it.
Updating Kodi on Raspberry Pi
This process is far more unpleasant.
Unlike Android, Mac and Windows, you can’t just install the software update. With this device, you will have to completely wipe your Pi SD card and then install Leila fresh.
Updating Kodi on Linux
Of all devices that run Kodi, Linux is the easiest one to update. All you need to do is open the Terminal and run the following commands
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
Sometimes, this may not work especially if additional packages are required. In this case you can use the following command
Sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
Is Kodi Legal?
Being one of the most powerful pieces of entertainment software and having the ability to bring you a wide range of services from the web, it’s understandable to ask if Kodi is legal.
In its simplest form, the answer is yes.
Kodi is basically a smart piece of streaming software designed to offer you a range of services. In its most basic form, the software is anything but illegal to use.
However, just like a browser or any computing tool, one may decide to use the software for some less cut and dry purposes.
With Kodi being open-source, you can be able to install a variety of add-ons, and some of this add-ons may not be legal.
Some add-ons enable you to watch content that is not legal, making them illegal.
However, it’s just the same as how you can use your browser to access pirated content, only that Kodi is more organized and dedicated to streaming.
If this is how you want to use Kodi, we strongly recommend you yo protect yourself through a VPN connection
Naturally, the developers have distanced themselves from the misty world of add-ons.
They maintain that the software is in itself just as legal as any web browser. In April 2014, Kodi’s developers released a statement that read, “In conclusion, Kodi in its unaltered form is perfectly legal, but certain add-ons do blur things.”
If you are already using free streaming services, then Kodi with add-ons is no different.
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