Kodi – The four letter word that evolved to be the world’s most notorious Media Centre, ever. Over the years, Kodi has become a well known utility in the digital industry as the all-in-one solution to bring all of your media content together in one place.
As home media centres become increasingly easier to use, Kodi is reaching greater numbers of mainstream users. Having said that, Kodi’s notoriety didn’t come overnight – it’s a double edge sword of owning an open source platform that literally hosts millions of media content from music, movies, TV shows, live sports, to many others. We’ll give you a thorough explanation on what Kodi is all about, whether it’s illegal in the eyes of the law, and how you could be using it as an all-in-one hub for all of your media content.
What Is Kodi?
The short answer: Kodi is simply a free, open source media centre software that can be used to centralise your media content on virtually any device such as an Android phone, home PC, and everything else in between.
The long answer: Originally launched in 2002 as XBMP (Xbox Media Player), it eventually evolved to the better known XBMC (Xbox Media Centre) not long after in 2004. It slowly took another 10 years, but by 2014 – XBMC rebranded to the media centre we all know and love, Kodi. The name change helped establish it as a multifaceted media centre in its own right, no longer carrying a name associated with Microsoft’s old console. Ever since then, it has grown exponentially to become one of the most popular media centre’s anywhere.
As a multifaceted media centre, Kodi is a highly customisable software with a large variety of skins to change its appearance, and plug-ins that allow users to access media content streams via online services such as Amazon Prime Instant Video, Crackle, BBC iPlayer, Pandora, Spotify, Youtube and countless more. The open source nature of Kodi allows a healthy environment for third party developers to modify and create useful and integrated tools for Kodi.
However, at the same time because of its open source nature – some third party developers have long been creating plug-ins to facilitate in unauthorised access to copyrighted media content. Due to this, Kodi has attracted negative attention from the availability of these plug-ins on its platform. As the official developer’s of Kodi, the XBMC Foundation has not endorsed any of these uses and has taken steps to disassociate the Kodi project from these illegal products which included threatening legal action against those using the Kodi brand to promote them.
What Can I Do With Kodi?
The basic features of Kodi essentially allows you to organise your own music, photos, movies, and TV shows stored on one device which can then be played on another device. With additional plug-ins, you could also use it to stream and record live TV, access electronic programme guides, stream radio stations, view weather forecasts, install softwares such as IRC Chat or email clients, and even use a smartphone app to act as a remote control for Kodi.
Kodi is incredibly versatile when it comes to handling media files, supporting a long list of formats which makes it the perfect home media centre. The official list of supported file types can be found at the Kodi Wiki, but we’ve included a summary below for easier reading:
● For Videos: Kodi can add posters, fan art, trailers, video extras, and more to each of your video items. Supports popular formats such as H.264, ISO, WMV, and many others.
● For Music: Kodi allows users to tag different tracks and compile songs into a smart playlist. Supports popular formats such as MP3, AAC, AIFF, and many others.
● For TV Shows: Kodi can add posters, tags and even provide show descriptions and actors.
● For Pictures: Showcase your pictures in slideshow with many available affects such as panning/zooming and “Ken Burns”. Supports popular formats such as JPEG, GIF, PNG, and many others.
● For streaming and recording Live TV: Install a suitable Kodi plug-in such as MediaPortal, MythTV, TVheadend, and NextPVR that has this feature.
Kodi’s interface is specifically designed with Home Theatre in mind. This means that Kodi is usually best viewed on a large-screen TV while sitting comfortably on your couch 10-feet away, rather than on a tiny display while you sit on your home desk. Therefore, the best way to interact with Kodi is via a remote control, rather than a computer mouse. The way you should think of Kodi is that it’s your ultimate DVD-player/set-top-box.
Why Use a VPN or Smart DNS With Kodi?
The reasons people use Kodi coupled by either a VPN or Smart DNS is mainly to bypass specific geo-restricted content from Kodi add-ons. So if you’re thinking of streaming content from providers outside your locality, you’ll definitely want to have a VPN installed. For example, say you were in the US and wanted to use BBC iPlayer on your Kodi, you’ll need a VPN connection to the U.K before the add-on decides to grant you access. Plus, using a VPN provides an extra layer of security!
Besides using a VPN, you could also have our Smart DNS instead which gives you the same functionality to bypass specific geo-restricted content. However, it works slightly different than a VPN in that it doesn’t provide that extra layer of security. Nevertheless, a Smart DNS has the advantage of being able to route specific geo-restricted content from multiple countries all at the same time. So say you wanted to watch content from BBC iPlayer (U.K) and USTVNow (U.S) – usually you’ll have to connect to a U.K VPN for BBC iPlayer and switch over to a U.S VPN connection to watch USTVNow. However with our Smart DNS, you could access both at the same time without the hassle of switching VPN connections.
Learn why MyTelly (Smart DNS) is different than a VPN here
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How Can I Install Kodi On My Device?
Kodi is supported by a wide range of devices such as your usual desktop computer, smart tablets and phones, tiny set-top-boxes, and much more. Kodi has detailed step-by-step Wiki instructions for the devices it supports to get you up to speed.
For the purpose of this guide, we’ll be providing additional instructions on how to setup Kodi on your device with our services. Kindly follow any of the guides below for your relevant device:
Add-Ons: What Is Recommended?
Disclaimer: This guide is for educational purposes only. My Private Network does not support piracy and bears no responsibility for what you decide to do with the information provided in this article. In addition to that, My Private Network does not host, develop, or produce any of the Kodi software mentioned within this article.
Now that you’ve successfully installed Kodi on your device, it’s a good time to decide what kinds of services you’d like to install on it! We’ve summarised our best “legal” selections for streaming movies, TV shows, sports events, and music below:
iPlayer www (BBC player)
The unofficial BBC iPlayer app for free live and catchup TV from the UK. You’ll need a VPN connection to the U.K in order to access their content. Whilst you do not need a BBC account to start streaming, signing in to your account allows Kodi to fetch all your personal configurations like favourites or recommendations. Don’t have an account with BBC iPlayer? Learn how to sign up here.
The free iTV app for live and catchup TV from the UK. Update: Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the iTV app is working on Kodi any more with a VPN or Smart DNS. We highly recommend that you check out Zattoo instead.
The unofficial UKTV Play app for live and catchup TV from the UK is an ad-free supported streaming service.You’ll need a VPN connection to the U.K in order to access their content.
Zattoo Box is the official Zattoo app for Kodi which offers free live TV available in the Switzerland, UK, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, and Sweden. Whilst Zattoo is available for free, you’ll need to create a free Zattoo account in order to access it. Zattoo offers over 190 channels for free users on it’s ad-supported platform, but you could always upgrade to a paid subscription to avoid seeing ads. Don’t have a Zattoo account yet? Sign Up here. Update: We highly recommend using Zattoo if you’re interested in UK channels from BBC iPlayer and iTV. We’ve tested them to be working fine on Zattoo with our services. Connect to our Switzerland (CHE) VPN to access Zattoo’s larger content library.
The unofficial USTVNow app for live and catchup TV from the US. You’ll need a VPN connection to the U.S in order to access their content. Free users can access 6 channels (ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, PBS, and My9) but you can upgrade to their paid plans for up to 24 channels. Don’t have an account with USTVNow? Sign Up here.
PopcornFlix offers a broad collection of movies from the U.S for free. There is an international version, but the collection is much less. You’ll need a VPN connection to the U.S to get full access to their larger content library.
Crunchyroll is a paid service that offers on demand streaming for Anime content from the U.S. The international version has less content but is accessible anywhere around the world. You’ll need a VPN connection to the U.S first to access their larger content library. Don’t have an account with Crunchyroll? Sign Up here.
Youtube as we know it, is the most popular streaming platform in the world.
NFL Game Pass
NFL Game Pass is the go to app for everything football on Kodi. The paid service offers the International NFL Game Pass version for non-US subscribers which avoids blackouts. Due to blackout restrictions, it’s better to connect to a VPN country outside of the US in order to watch full live games. Don’t have an NFL Game Pass subscription yet? Learn how “hack” NFL Game Pass for cheaper subscriptions and avoid blackouts.
ESPN offers live stream of multiple major sports such as college football, NBA, NCAA Basketball, NHL, and MLB. ESPN requires an American cable provider subscription in order to access their content. You’ll also need our VPN connection to the U.S to use ESPN.
NBC Sports coverage includes NBA, NHL, MLB, Formula 1, football and the Olympics. NBC Sports requires an American cable provider subscription in order to access their content. You’ll also need our VPN connection to the U.S to use NBC Sports.
UFC Fight Pass
UFC Fight Pass is the go to app for everything UFC. A paid UFC subscription is required in order to access their content. You’ll also need our VPN connection to the U.S to use UFC Fight Pass. Don’t have a UFC subscription yet? Sign Up here.
NHL.TV is the go to app for everything hockey. Due to blackout restrictions, it’s better to connect to a VPN country outside of the US in order to watch full live games. Don’t have an NHL.TV subscription yet? Sign Up here.
Fox Sports Go
Fox Sports Go is another great addition for streaming sports. They provide live streams for some of the biggest sporting events including football, soccer, basketball, baseball, and many more. Fox Sports Go requires a paid subscription from an American cable provider in order to access their content. You’ll also need our VPN connection to the U.S to use Fox Sports Go.
MLB.TV is the go to place for everything baseball. MLB.TV requires a paid subscription in order to access their content. You’ll also need our VPN connection to the U.S to use MLB.TV.
NBA League Pass
NBA League Pass is the go to place for everything basketball. The paid service offers the International NBA League Pass version for non-US subscribers which avoids blackouts. Due to blackout restrictions, it’s better to connect to a VPN country outside of the US in order to watch full live games. Don’t have an NBA League Pass subscription yet? Learn how “hack” NBA League Pass for cheaper subscriptions and avoid blackouts.
Sportsnet Now is a Canadian streaming service and is another great addition for streaming sports. They provide live streams for some of the biggest sporting events including baseball, basketball, ice hockey, American football, and many more. Don’t have a Sportsnet Now subscription yet? Sign Up here.
SHOUTcast 2 is a free radio streaming service with more than 50,000 internet radio stations.
Spotify (previously known as Spotimc)
Spotify is one of the best music app in the world. With a library of millions of songs, this is one music app you can’t miss. Spotify requires a paid subscription in order to access their library. Don’t have a Spotify subscription yet? Sign Up here.
Apple iTunes Podcasts
Apple iTunes Podcasts is a free streaming service for audio and video podcasts.
The Photos App allows users to show their Apple Photo App library on Kodi. After reading the library, users can browse categories as you would on your Mac computer.
Is Kodi Legal?
The simple answer is, yes. Kodi is an open source software designed to stream content on a range of devices. In it’s released state, it’s 100% legal. However, over the years people have been using it for more malicious reasons. For example, there exist such a thing as “Kodi Boxes” which are sold by developers that have customised their boxes to access pirated Premier League football streams. It has even prompted the UK government to issue a warning on illicit streaming devices and caused Kodi to crackdown on illegal add-ons.
Just last year, Brian Thompson, the now infamous Kodi box seller pleaded guilty to charges for selling the devices and advertising them for sale. These so called “Kodi boxes” allowed users to not just access pirated sporting events but also movies and TV shows.
So it’s also very important for you to do some research on the add-on you’ll be using – it’s still a perfect software for a media centre but just be careful to not use it illegally by trying to access pirated streams.
We hope you found this article informative and useful. Please feel free to share it with your friends or family that wants to get the best out of Kodi too!
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