The History of Kodi – How It All Began…
Kodi started life inside Microsoft; it was originally intended for the Xbox and was called the Xbox Media Center (XBMC). Over the years, though, Kodi – thanks to its open-source nature – has evolved and grown well beyond its original purpose. Managed by the non-profit XBMC Foundation, Kodi has been shaped and sculpted by more than 500 software developers.
And the net result is one hell of an entertainment system. Kodi gives you access to EVERYTHING and, because of its software, it can run on a variety of devices from dedicated boxes, PCs and select phones.
What makes Kodi so special – and controversial – is that it is not held back by restrictive licensing pacts. If you want access to something you simply download it and start viewing, though it must be noted: not everything is, strictly speaking, legal – so, always with things like this, you proceed at your own risk.
There are now some legal cases being brought against those that misuse Kodi as well.
“People who are misusing Kodi boxes could be targeted by piracy fighters, according to Echo. “Users of the service – as well as other set-top box software – will find themselves in the middle of a new battle against piracy.”
It added: “But, worryingly for users, a trader is being hauled to court in a potential landmark case over their legality. The Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) said approximately half of its current investigations centered on the devices. It said boxes which are configured to receive premium content for free are illegal.”
Please note that many add-ons contain content that isn’t officially licensed and accessing such content could be illegal. It is the user’s responsibility to comply with all applicable laws in their country in regard to use. RPGEE MEDIA Ltd excludes all liability for such content. We do not condone and are not responsible for the infringement of any intellectual property or other third party rights and shall not be liable to any party as a result of any such content made available. In short, if the content is free, but looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Using Illegal Kodi Add-Ons Could Get You 10 Years In Prison
Stealing copyrighted media is a big deal these days, thanks to the passing of the Digital Economy Act, and could land you in prison for up to 10 years.
Basically, anyone caught streaming illegal material – either via torrents, Kodi add-ons or via the web – could face serious prison time. Scary, right?
Personally, the meat of this is designed to simply scare people, as the people behind the law have confirmed that it will mainly be focussing on people that make a business out of selling and/or pushing illegal content.
Either way, you need to be very careful these days if you’re using illegal Kodi add-ons.
“I’m delighted the Digital Economy Act has become law,” said Matt Hancock, the minister of state for digital and culture. This legislation will help build a more connected and stronger economy. The Act will enable major improvements in broadband rollout, better support for consumers, better protection for children on the Internet, and further transformation of government services.”
Police in Scotland are now targeting “criminal gangs” that are selling media players pre-loaded with Kodi and a variety of illegal add-ons, notes The Independent.
“This is now seen as being normalized,” said Chief Inspector Mark Leonard, Police Scotland’s lead on counterfeiting. “A family will sit and watch one of these IPTV devices.”
Kodi has confirmed that it WILL NOT police its own software, despite numerous court cases being brought against the service in the UK and Europe.
Kodi issued a statement to the media, outlining its position on the matter: “We are developers and not the police, and we have no interest in acting as police for our own software,” said Nathan Betzen, community and project manager for Kodi. Kodi will remain as free and as open as it always has. Feel free to continue using Kodi however you want.”
Kodi essentially believes that it is not responsible for what users do while using its software on account of its open-source nature.
“To us, Kodi is and always will be just a tool, like a hammer, and how you choose to use that tool is up to you,” Betzen said. “We do ask that if you decide to use Kodi in a way that’s illegal, please leave us out of it. People who steal cars don’t tweet a picture of their stolen car to Ford Motor Co. We ask that if you watch pirate streams, that you do not tweet us about those streams.”
List of LEGAL Kodi Add-Ons
If you’re using Kodi a lot, you need to make sure you’re using it in a legal manner, as the service is coming under more and more scrutiny from legal bodies.
No one likes getting sued, especially if it’s for something as trivial as watching Modern Family illegally! If you’re using Kodi you definitely want to make sure you’re using it legally, as the powers that be are starting to clamp down on those that abuse the service.
Fortunately, you can still get plenty of value out of Kodi with legal add-ons – add-ons like the following: Plex, BBC iPlayer, SOUNDCLOUD, OneDrive, and YouTube.
Any add-on that lets you watch HBO shows, movies that are still in the cinema and anything that’s exclusive to Sky – sports, movies, TV Shows – is strictly off-limits. You can of course access all of these things on Kodi, but you do so at your own risk.
Kodi Add-Ons To Avoid
Basically, if something seems too good to be true it usually is. If you’re watching a film that’s only just come out in the cinema on Kodi, chances are you’re breaking the law and leaving yourself open to legal action.
Similarly, with TV shows if you’re watching something that is network-exclusive usually, shows like Sopranos, Game of Thrones and the like, you probably shouldn’t be as this is, once again, not legal.
The Premier League Takes Tough Stance On Kodi
Watching Premier League football on Kodi? The jig could soon be up, as reports suggest new laws will give the Premier League more powers to clamp down on those that are pirating its content.
A new court order will allow for the blocking of servers that are being used to stream matches illegally, meaning an end to free Premier League football on Kodi looks to be here.
Here’s what a spokesperson for the Premier League said on the matter: “For the first time this will enable the Premier League to disrupt and prevent the illegal streaming of our matches via IPTV, so-called Kodi, boxes.”
This move is going to be extremely costly for football fans because it costs close to £1000 a year to watch every football match on TV, using services like BT Sport and Sky.
You’ll Also Need A VPN
And if you’re getting Kodi in 2017 you should probably think about getting a VPN as well. I use PureVPN right now, as it always has amazing introductory offers for new users. PureVPN also has a dedicated Kodi feature as well, making it the #1 choice for Kodi users right now.
The legality of Kodi can be summed up as follows: certain things you can do on there can border on copyright infringement. But this doesn’t make the software illegal, just as searching for a stream of a film on Chrome or Safari does not make Chrome or Safari illegal software. Basically, if you want to stay on the right side of the law make sure you avoid add-ons that appear to be too good to be true (because put simply, they are).
Kodi: How Does Kodi Work?
At its core, Kodi is simply a media center that pushes content to your HDTV. Like Chromecast and Apple TV. But unlike Chromecast and Apple TV, Kodi is completely open-source and malleable; it is designed to be flexible and it works on all major platforms, including Linux and Raspberry Pi.
Kodi: Running Kodi on Android Phone
More recently, community-led projects within Kodi have brought the service to select smartphones and tablets. Android users can now download and run Kodi from the Google Play Store. Not so long ago, a side-load was required.
Apple users can install Kodi on the iPhone, but you will need to jailbreak your phone first.
Kodi: Best Kodi Compatible Devices
Below are some of the most cost-effective and feature-rich options for running Kodi in your home.
- NVIDIA Shield
- Amazon Fire TV
- Gem Box
- Raspberry Pi 3
- Razer Forge TV
- WeTek Core
- Matricom G-Box Q2
Kodi: The Best Option For Accessing Kodi?
Simple: Amazon’s Fire TV Stick – it’s cheap, easy to use and it provides a solid, consistent stream. For me, this is the perfect device for accessing Kodi as not only is it already connected to your HDTV, but it also has a remote which comes in handy when selecting what you want to watch.
You can pick up the Amazon Fire TV for £49.99 on Amazon. For the price, Amazon’s streaming device cannot be beaten. Plus, as a bonus, on top of Kodi, you get access to things like Netflix and Amazon’s ever-improving Amazon Video services, which includes a ton of great content from TV shows to films.
- Navigate to Settings | System | Developer Options. Make sure “Apps from Unknown Sources” is turned ON.
- Download ES File Explorer from the app store.
- ES File Explorer makes it possible to easily download third-party content. Navigate to the left of the program to “Add’ and you’ll be presented with a box to fill in.
- In the textbox marked “Path”, enter the following download address for Kodi: http://kodi.tv/download. Then add the link to your favorites.
- You need to click on the ARM link once – it’s tricky to click on but you’ll get it with a bit of patience.
- Once you’ve clicked on the ARM link nothing will happen. Instead, you need to click on “Open in new Browser”
- Once Kodi is installed, select Open File | Install. A box will appear, asking for permission to install. Agree and then select Install again.
- BOOM! You’re done – you can now stream films, movies and TV shows on your Amazon Fire TV Stick.
How To Use Kodi
Here’s a quick primer on how to watch videos on Kodi:
- Clicking on Video gives you two options. To watch media already saved to your hard disk, click Files.
- From there, using Kodi’s built-in browser to search for files will enable you to view your locally stored media in Kodi.
- If you can’t find all the videos on your machine, your best bet is to place them in an easy-to-find folder, and then add them as a source.
- Adding a video source is very similar to adding one for music. After selecting Add Files, scroll down to the folder you made, and save it as a source. We named our source “Car videos”, and from there it’s easy to navigate to our video of choice.
- If you’d prefer to stream content hosted on the web, instead click Video Add-Ons, and then “Get more…”. The next menu will show you a list of extensions that give you access to even more content.
- After you’ve found one you like, simply click on it and select Install.
- Just like when listening to music, Kodi will provide a set of controls to navigate through your content, and will even display it in the background when you’re on the software’s main screen.
The 6 Best Kodi Addons: Best XBMC Extensions For Films, Sports & More
As we’ve established throughout this article already: Kodi is great for content, all sort of content, whether sports, movies, TV shows or documentaries. If you know what you’re doing you can watch pretty much anything. But the best way to access stuff is via Kodi addons – and these are six of the best of them for 2016:
- Exodus: from the creators of Genesis – no, not that Genesis, the Genesis-addon – this addon is fast becoming one of the most popular means of accessing content inside the Kodi ecosystem.
- Specto: This one has TONS of links, most of which work perfectly. Ideal for TV shows suitable for the entire family.
- Velocity: market-leading stability and a WEALTH of content, as well as a Kids-only service, Velocity is one of the finest Kodi addons in operation at present.
- SALTS: Developed by people that gave us 1channel.ch, SALTS stands for “Stream All The Sources” – and that’s exactly what it does. This is a MUST HAVE addon for anyone that uses Kodi seriously.
- Veetle: This one’s a bit of a mixed bag; it features everything from skateboarding to re-runs of family classics like Full House. Odd, yes. But definitely worth an install if you’re looking for something a little different.
- Phoenix: Phoenix lets users watch pretty much anything in Full HD quality. This is one of the most sought-after addons on Kodi, and for good reason too: it has a team of dedicated developers working on it round the clock to ensure the quality and content is ALWAYS on point. You need this addon in your life.
And this is how you install a KODI Add-On
How to install a KODI Repository
You can opt to install an official KODI add-on or an unofficial one. Or, you can install what is known as a Repository – basically, a collection of various add-ons. Adding a Repository has a few advantages but the main one is that all the add-ons contained within it will be updated automatically.
Here’s a video on How to install a KODI Repository
That’s pretty much it. Simple, right? All you need is a compatible device and a few minutes to set Kodi up. Once you’ve done that you will be in streamer’s paradise, swimming in a sea of content.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.