What is Kodi? Everything You NEED to Know about The TV Streaming App
If you’re trying to build the ultimate home theater system, all the hardware in the world can’t do you justice without some excellent software to go with it. If you’re looking for the best way to watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, and catch all of your favorite sports, Kodi is the app for you.
Kodi is free, open-source software, designed with home entertainment in mind, and it’s been around for nearly two decades. Although it was initially intended for the Microsoft Xbox, its original title, Xbox Media Center (XBMC), continued to evolve and grow far beyond the Xbox platform. The team behind Kodi has built a community of their own, made up of fans and developers.
Unlike other streaming software companies like Android TV or Plex, Kodi gets managed by the non-profit XBMC Foundation, and it’s continuously modified and upgraded by countless scores of coders and developers around the world. You can now customize Kodi by installing addons or builds, and they’re free.
Kodi isn’t just built for computers, either. It works on nearly every gadget in your house, from a smartphone to an Amazon Fire TV Stick. To prove it’s customizable and intuitive, we’ve got guides on everything from the best Kodi boxes and Kodi addons to the best Kodi skins and VPNs.
Please note that many addons contain content that isn’t officially licensed, and accessing it could be illegal. In short, if the content is free, but looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
A word of caution: Before we go into the finer details, we should probably warn you that anything you stream on Kodi is visible to both your ISP and the government, which could put you in legal hot water. The only surefire way to combat this is to connect to an excellent VPN service whenever you use Kodi.
What Is Kodi?
Everyone has to start somewhere with Kodi, so don’t worry if you feel in over your head. The Kodi community is super helpful and reliable for troubleshooting, but if you’re curious how Kodi works, we’ve got you covered.
What Can You Watch on Kodi?
Kodi turns any computer, smartphone, or tablet into a digital set-top box or streamer, giving users the ability to stream files from the internet, a home network, or local storage. Unlike other TV streamers such as Apple TV, Chromecast 2, and Amazon Fire TV Stick, Kodi isn’t held back by licensing or a curated app store, so it lets you download a range of community-made apps or addons, and watch whatever you like.
Kodi’s purpose-built UI also makes browsing through your content simple. The software features what its developers call a “10-foot UI”, meaning it is readable from a theoretical distance of up to 10ft away – and thanks to a range of built-in codes, users can browse videos, photos, and podcasts quickly and easily. On smaller devices, Kodi offers a similar experience but can get hooked up to a bigger TV for big-screen viewing.
What’s Compatible with Kodi?
Kodi is available on almost every device. The media center software is easy to download and compatible with OS X, Linux, Windows, Android, and even the Raspberry Pi series if microcomputers. For those using iOS, the process is slightly more complicated: iPhone users need to ensure their phone is jailbroken before downloading Kodi unless they use Cydia Impactor. This downloadable macOS app allows iOS users to install third-party (non-App Store) apps.
Is Kodi Legal?
You can learn more about the specifics of Kodi’s legality in our Is Kodi legal guide, but in a nutshell:
Kodi, when running official apps, is not illegal. Just like third-party torrent sites, they’re not unlawful either, but what you do on them can be unlawful.
For a device to become “illicit, it means it gets used for watching shows and other content “without the copyright owner’s permission.” This action occurs via hardware, software, or viewing the content at a friend’s house.
Illicit streaming devices are boxes or USB sticks you plug into your TV that were tweaked to access any content you haven’t paid or had the approval to watch.
Important: As briefly mentioned above, please note that many addons contain content that isn’t officially licensed, and accessing such material could be illegal. It is the user’s responsibility to comply with all applicable laws in their country regarding use. 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.