What is Kodi, History of Kodi, How it Works and Tricks to get the most out of it
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What is Kodi, History of Kodi, How it Works and Tricks to get the most out of it

Currently, there are many devices from which we play all kinds of multimedia content. And it is that, nowadays, movies, series and videos in general are the most popular content. In this sense, there is a player that has become very popular to play all this type of content, we refer to Kodi. If you have heard about this software and are thinking of starting to use it, then we are going to show you what Kodi is and the steps to follow to start using it .

Surely you have heard about Kodi and the possibilities it offers, but you have never fully understood it or it has given you vertigo to look into this world. If you want to take your first steps to get the most out of this tool, we recommend that you continue reading this article in which we tell you about it.

What is Kodi and what does it allow us to do?

It is open source software, totally free, designed to play multimedia content locally or in streaming and with which we can turn our computer into a multimedia center. It was initially released under the name Xbox Media Player/Center (XBMC) but in 2014 it was rebranded as Kodi.

With Kodi it is possible to play video, music and even images from any medium where we have stored this content. In addition, it is a player that is compatible with the vast majority of multimedia file formats and that has an interface that is easy to use and totally customizable.

The fact that Kodi is open source under the GNU/GPL license allows anyone to access its source code and develop new features or modify it to make it compatible with any operating system. This has meant that, today, the famous media player has compatible versions for Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, Raspberry Pi , etc.

A little history

The birth of Kodi and its origins began in 2002 under the GNU/GPL license. In its early years it was called XBMC (Xbox Media Player/Center) , and it was created as an application that could be installed on the first pirated Xbox consoles with which you could play the multimedia content that you put in its internal storage, as well as manage it. Later it was developed for other platforms, initially computers and laptops, for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Raspberry Pi, Android and Xbox One.

This was precisely the key to its success, since it allows you to view the collection and other multimedia content with the console, computer, portable devices and more. This created the need to change the name in 2014, since it was not only focused on the first Xbox consoles. In its development, a self-executing Linux LiveCD version was even created.

Its possibilities and customization options that make it adapt to the user's needs are enormous, so that it soon achieved recognition and more and more people use it today, with versions in multiple languages. It even has its own sponsors, contributors, and a great community.

Is Kodi legal?

The fact that it is an open source tool has caused a large community to be created around Kodi, which means that many developers have gotten down to work to offer the possibility of adding new functions to the popular player.

However, this is a double-edged sword, as many of them have developed dubious Kodi add-ons. Does this mean that Kodi may be illegal? The truth is that the famous multimedia player as such is totally legal, the problem comes when a complement is developed that can carry out illegal tasks. In this case, the illegality is on the side of the plugin and each user will be solely responsible for its use. Therefore, the legality or illegality of Kodi largely depends on how we use it .

What can we do with Kodi

Once we have Kodi installed on our device and configured correctly, we can start playing video without any problem, however, it is not the only thing we can do with the famous tool. and it is that, in addition, it allows us to stream music, videos, photos, etc, from different storage devices, local, a nas or directly through the Internet. Something that it offers thanks to the fact that it supports different file exchange protocols such as SMB or NFS.

One of the features that many users are attracted to by Kodi is its support for watching TV online or with DVR/PVR , which offers the possibility of being able to record programs. That without forgetting the possibility of expanding its capabilities thanks to the multiple addons developed for the player, such as those designed to be able to listen to the radio from almost anywhere in the world or a bunch of podcasts, play numerous video games, etc.

On the other hand, we can also play different image files , music, online radio stations , podcasts... Adding Add-ons with new functions such as offering weather information or running emulators and video games are other possibilities offered by this complete center multimedia.

Steps to follow to install Kodi

Like any other program, we must know if it is compatible with our devices or our operating system, as well as the minimum requirements necessary for it to work correctly.

Install Kodi on PC

First of all, we must know that to install Kodi on our PC we must check if our computer meets the minimum requirements to be able to install the multimedia player regardless of the operating system we have.

If everything is correct, then the next thing we have to do is download Kodi from the official website of the tool in the version compatible with our system and proceed with its installation. In the event that we are Windows users, it is important to know that we can also go to the Microsoft Store to download the player.

Once downloaded, we double click on the executable that has been saved on our computer and we start the installation process , through which the wizard itself will guide us. The first thing we have to do is accept the Kodi terms of use and once this is done, select the components that we want to install.

install kodi

Next, we can choose the path where we want the player to be installed on our computer and if we want to create a direct access to the tool. Automatically, the Kodi installation process will begin and in a few minutes we will have it installed and ready to start using it . The installation process is similar in any environment, since all we have to do is follow the steps that the wizard itself asks us for and finally, let it carry out the process automatically.

We can also install Kodi on mobile

There are many who use their mobile phones to watch movies or series while they are waiting or on public transport, which is why Kodi is one of the most downloaded apps on the different platforms.

Installing Kodi on Android is a really simple process, since it is installed like any other app. To do this, all we have to do is go to the official Google store, search for the media player app and click on the Install button. We wait for the process to finish and we will have Kodi installed on our smartphone. We can also install the player through the APK that we can download from the official website of the tool.

In the case of wanting to install Kodi on iPhone, things get complicated, since we will need to have a jailbroken iDevice running iOS 6.0 or higher (8.0 or higher recommended).

Minimum requirements to use Kodi

Kodi has been developed for various platforms and supports various video and audio formats. It is integrated into different operating systems, and each of them may have different requirements.

What devices does Kodi work on

As mentioned above, it was initially released under the name Xbox Media Player/Center (XBMC) and was designed to work on the Xbox. However, today the famous player works on almost all systems, Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, Android, iOS , …. Of course, as we have already mentioned, having Kodi on iOS is somewhat more complicated than on the rest of the systems.

But things don't stop there, since it is possible to make Kodi work on certain streaming devices such as the Amazon Fire TV itself and the Raspberry Pi 3 , we can even find certain external projects that have been developed to be able to use Kodi on video consoles like the Xbox 360, Xbox One , the latest PlayStations , or even the Wii .

Minimum requirements for each platform

From the official Kodi page they recommend not making any type of investment in hardware if we intend to have a compatible equipment without first having carried out all kinds of tests to ensure that Kodi works correctly on your device. In any case, these are the minimum requirements for the different platforms:

  • Android : version 5.0 or later is required. At the processor level, an Intel x86 or an ARM (NEON) processor is required.
  • iOS and iPadOS: we need a jailbroken device (iPhone, iPad, iPod or iPod Touch) with an operating system version 6.0 or higher. It could also be used with an iPhone or iPad with iOS 6.0 or higher, without jailbreak and a computer with macOS compatible with Xcode 7 or higher.
  • Apple TV: Apple's 2nd Generation smart TV service is not compatible with Kodi. The 3rd Generation device is also not jailbreakable because it is not possible to jailbreak it. The Apple TV 4 and 5 (HD and 4K) do support the media player.
  • AirPlay : if you want to play content through Kodi and on other devices wirelessly through Apple's AirPlay connection protocol, we will need iOS 8.0 to play images, audio and video, if the device integrates iOS 9.0 we can only use Kodi to play audio via AirPlay.
  • Raspberry Pi: Needs support to play H.264, MPEG-2, and VC-1 codecs.
  • JeOS implementations: These are usually third-party distributions for Linux that are mostly compatible with Kodi.
  • Linux : To run Kodi we will need Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 / Opteron processors or higher, 1 GB of RAM (2 GB for multitasking), a graphics card no older than 10 years, between 4 GB and 8 GB of storage space on disk, although 16 GB is recommended.
  • macOS X : to work with Kodi v17 we will need macOS 10.8 or later, if we have installed Kodi v18 then macOS 10.9 or later is required. At the hardware level, all Macs capable of running macOS 10.8 or later are supported.
  • Windows : you need to install at least Windows 7, although it is recommended to use it with Windows 10. The processor must be a Pentium 4 or higher, a minimum of 1 GB of RAM is needed, 2 GB if we use multitasking mode, it is necessary that be compatible with DirectX 9.0c or later, decoding hardware for 1080p resolutions and between 4 GB and 8 GB of disk space, although 16 gigabytes is recommended.

Supported Formats

In this sense, it can be said that Kodi is compatible with practically all audio, video and photo formats. Among the most popular, Kodi is capable of playing:

  • Physical formats: Blu-ray (unencrypted), CDs, DVDs, DVD-Video, Video CDs (including VCD/SVCD/XVCD), Audio-CD (CDDA), USB drives and local hard drives.
  • Network Protocols: AirPlay/AirTunes, UPnP, SMB/SAMBA/CIFS, AFP, Zeroconf/Avahi/Bonjour, NFS, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, RTSP (RTSPU, RTSPT), MMS (MMSU, MMST), Podcasting, TCP, UDP, SFTP, RTP and RTMP (including RTMP, RTMPT, RTMPE, RTMPTE, RTMPS), DHCP, NTP, WebDAV
  • Container formats: AVI, MPEG, WMV, ASF, FLV, MKV/MKA (Matroska), QuickTime, MP4, M4A, AAC, NUT, Ogg, OGM, RealMedia RAM/RM/RV/RA/RMVB, 3gp, VIVO, PVA , NUV, NSV, NSA, FLI, FLC, DVR-MS, WTV, TRP and F4V.
  • Video formats: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, H.263, MPEG-4 SP and ASP, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), H.265 (from Kodi 14) HuffYUV, Indeo, MJPEG, RealVideo, RMVB, Sorenson, WMV, Cinepak.
  • Audio formats: MIDI, AIFF, WAV/WAVE, AIFF, MP2, MP3, AAC, AACplus (AAC+), Vorbis, AC3, DTS, ALAC, AMR, FLAC, Monkey's Audio (APE), RealAudio, SHN, WavPack, MPC /Musepack/Mpeg+, Shorten, Speex, WMA, IT, S3M, MOD (Amiga Module), XM, NSF (NES Sound Format), SPC (SNES), GYM (Genesis), SID (Commodore 64), Adlib, YM ( Atari ST), ADPCM (Nintendo GameCube) and CDDA.
  • Image formats: BMP, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, MNG, ICO, PCX, Targa/TGA and WebP
  • Subtitle formats: AQTitle, ASS/SSA, CC, JACOsub, MicroDVD, MPsub, OGM, PJS, RT, SMI, SRT, SUB, VOBsub, VPlayer
  • Metadata tags: APEv1, APEv2, ID3 (ID3v1 and ID3v2), ID666 and Vorbis, Exif and IPTC (including GeoTagging) for image formats.

As if that were not enough, it also supports almost all subtitle formats , which allows us to add subtitles to our videos, series, movies, etc. However, if we have any doubts about whether Kodi is compatible with any file format in question, we can always check all the file formats that we can play from the tool.

How Kodi works

It works as a multimedia center that allows us to play almost all kinds of multimedia content . These contents can be stored locally, we can import them from other devices or we can access the repository of available addons and accessories that allow us to access certain streaming television channels, movies, series, etc.

Therefore, Kodi behaves like a pure and simple multimedia player to which we can add content from various sources. In addition, it is a modular application, since it has a large catalog of add-ons or complements that allow you to add new functions and features to the player quickly and easily.

Once installed and configured, it is possible to stream music, videos, photos and other multimedia files, either from a local storage device or directly from the Internet. Thanks to the fact that Kodi supports various file sharing protocols , it also allows us to stream from a NAS or from YouTube.

Set up Kodi and add content

As soon as we install the player, we launch the tool and we will see how its interface appears. Initially, all the options and menus appear in English , but if we click on the gear icon and access the configuration, we can change the language and put everything in Spanish .


The next thing we must do is tell Kodi where we are going to have our multimedia files to play. To do this, from the configuration we select the Collection> Source management option and that is where we can indicate where to go to look for the files depending on the type of content, music, video, photos, etc. Therefore, it will be enough to have the content to play in the indicated paths so that Kodi can play it.

Play video games with Kodi

Many users define Kodi as a multimedia center, technically this includes the possibility of playing video games and since the Kodi 18 Leia version released in 2019 you can run video games and emulators , so if you have an older version you will have to update it.

The essence of playing video games on Kodi is to install retro game emulators and consoles. In the official section of the Kodi website we will find a multitude of emulators that will allow us to play games from: Atari (5300), Super Nintendo, Game Boy Advance, Neo Geo Pocket (Color), PlayStation (1), Sega Saturn, Sega Genesis , Nintendo NES, Nintendo DS, Neo Geo, Sega Dreamcast, ZX Spectrum, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Sega Master System, Nintendo 64, SNK Neo Geo CD, Sega Mega Drive, PSP and Amiga among others. To access the complete list of emulators we have to go to Configuration / Add-ons / Install from the repository / Game Add-ons / Emulators.

video games on kodi

In addition, with Kodi we can install a controller to play your favorite games from 30 years ago with a replica of the NES or Super Nintendo controllers. To do this we will go to Settings and click on System. Then we will select Input and choose Configure Controllers. In fact, we will be able to choose between several controllers that include the Nintendo NES controller and the Super Nintendo controller , follow the steps to configure the buttons and we will be done with this part.

And this is where the controversy surrounding playing video games from other consoles comes in, because it can be considered illegal when playing paid titles without having purchased the game and downloading the rom (the copy of the game) from any website. To do this, the legal option is to transfer the game from your console's cartridges to USB format with the option that Retrode offers us , so we will play the titles of our childhood on our Kodi player.

Installing the ROM that we have created is very simple, we will go to Games / Add games and click on Search, there we will select the ROM in the folder where it is stored. Once this is done, Kodi will ask us which emulator we want to play the chosen title. In this way, the emulators and games that we add will be installed and we will only have to access them from the Games section of the main menu.

Kodi Appearance and Customization

Kodi's interface is quite simple and intuitive to use and highly customizable, both from the settings of the player itself and with the use of different skins. One of the customizable aspects is the home screen of the player. In it we can find some default options, but from Configuration> Interface> Boot> Home screen, we can indicate what we want to find as soon as we open the multimedia player.

Another of the options for Kodi customization that we can find among its settings are the screensavers . To change the screensaver mode, just go to Settings > Interface > Screensaver and choose the one you like best. From the Screensaver mode option, it is possible to download new images. It is also possible to make certain settings, set the waiting time, etc.

But perhaps the most important thing when it comes to customizing the appearance or interface of Kodi are the Skins . Within the configuration option > Appearance > Skin, we can configure the installed skin, theme, colors, fonts, zoom, etc. In addition, we can easily install new skins by simply clicking on the Skin option and then on Get more.

What are Addons and how to install them

Kodi addons are plugins or extensions that add functionality to the player. That is to say, pieces of software developed to add functions to the player that it does not offer by default and that, therefore, allow us to customize the famous player to our liking. Depending on their origin or provenance, addons can be of two types, those that are available from the Kodi repository itself and addons developed by third parties.

Kodi Repository Addons

To install add-ons from the Kodi repository itself , the first thing we have to do is open the tool and then select the Addons menu option. On the left side, the main categories in which all the accessories are organized will appear. However, from the icon with the symbol of a box that appears at the top, we will have access to the addons browser offered by the player itself.

From there, all we have to do is browse through the different categories before finding the add-on we want to install and click on the Install button that appears at the bottom right. Later, we can see all the installed addons from the My Addons option .

Third party addons from a .ZIP file

If what we want is to add a third-party addon from a .ZIP file , Kodi itself allows us this option from the Addons menu. When choosing this option, Kodi will show us a message indicating that, for security, the installation of addons from unknown sources is disabled, so we will have to enable this option, first of all.

This setting is found in settings > system > Addons > unknown sources . There we will find a switch that we must slide to the ON position to activate this option and be able to install third-party add-ons from a .ZIP file.

Best Addons

Some of the best Add-ons that we can find to install on Kodi are:

  • Alfa : it is one of the best addons that we can find if we are looking for movies and series, since we have them in Spanish with a great variety.
  • YouTube : It is the most famous streaming video service in the world and we have little else to add that you do not already know about it. Thanks to this addon we can enjoy it on Kodi.
  • Plexus : if you are into movies and series, but you prefer sports, this is an addon that will be essential for you on Kodi. Thanks to it we can access football matches quickly and easily.
  • Agora : if documentaries are your thing, with this addon we can find the best on various topics such as history, children, the universe, technology, nature, religion, science, biographies, etc.
  • Fusion.org : addon that focuses on anime, although it has more things. it always has content since a lot of users collaborate to make it so. We will have a lot of movies and anime series at our disposal.
  • Pequelandia : just with the name you should already be clear about what this addon is about. Yes, it is totally focused on the little ones in the house with a lot of content for them in English and Spanish. We will have programs and especially ideal series for them to learn by playing and having fun.
  • Musicando : Musicando focuses on music videos, video clips of all kinds of artists and genres.
  • Palatir : This addon is one of the best known. In it we have a large catalog of movies and series of all genres, with different resolutions and server districts for any failure. It is an excellent option.
  • Balandro : in this addon we can find movies and series in Spanish. we also have some that are in Latin or subtitled. It is an addon that is very light, so it is ideal for teams that are somewhat fair in their performance.
  • Tecno TV : here we have a huge number of movies, series and television programs, but practically all of them are for people from South America, although we can also take advantage of it. It's on this list because it has a really big catalog.
  • Mr. Regio : in this case we are also going to find a good number of movies, series and programs, most of them oriented towards health, although there is also a good part dedicated to children's issues.
  • Playlist Loader : in this addon we can load an IPTV M3U list and thus be able to see all its contents. Although it has one or another already pre-installed, we can put all the ones we want.
  • Extreme Sports : in this case what we can see are extreme sports. We will have at our disposal a good number of possibilities, since its catalog is very wide.

Most common problems in Kodi and solutions

Although Kodi is a fairly stable application, it does not mean that it is free of bugs. Any problem or conflict with the system or the local configuration can cause us to run into a problem in Kodi right off the bat . Among the most common we find:

  • Kodi does not start or closes: In this case, perhaps the easiest solution is to update Kodi to the latest version available, or in case we just updated to the latest, go back to the previous one if this error did not occur. With each version of the player it is possible that we will find certain problems, but luckily, it is as simple as installing the version that we want to replace one version with another. However, this type of problem can also be caused by a problem with the Visual C++ Redistibutable package, since it may be necessary for the correct functioning of the version that we have of Kodi. In this case, we must download the latest version of the package from the official Microsoft website and check if the problem is solved.
  • Kodi crashes from time to time: It may be that after a while using Kodi on our computer, the player crashes when we start it or while we use it. In this case, we can try to clean the Kodi cache with one of the many addons that allow us to do so, such as Indigo, Merlin, Exodus, etc. Another option in the event that the player often freezes is to restore the default settings, although we can also try disabling hardware acceleration.
  • The addons do not work: In this case, we can try to update the addon and check if this solves the problem or look for an addon that offers us the same function and with which we do not have problems. In some cases, the fact that an addon does not work can be due to some restriction of our Internet provider, so we can try using a VPN to bypass the possible restrictions.
  • It is not possible to remove an addon: If when trying to remove an addon we find that it is not possible, it may be that the latest addon installed in the player is causing an error as it is outdated or that it cannot be correctly integrated into Kodi. This could mean that we cannot remove other add-ons, in this case, to try to solve the problem we can delete the Addons27.db file inside the Database directory and re-enter Kodi to see if the problem is solved.
  • The search does not work: If we find that all of a sudden Kodi stops searching for files or their dates are incorrect, the first thing we have to do is check the system date and that our equipment is configured correctly. In addition, it is also convenient to check if there are any updates available for our addons, since we may have them obsolete.
  • Error Unable to Create Application: A fairly frequent error is the one that is displayed in Kodi with the message Unable To Create Application. This error usually causes the player to close automatically when we try to start it and can occur right after a Kodi update. It is also a common error in the Windows environment and it is usually solved by deleting the profiles.xml file, since it could be caused by being corrupt. Now, we must bear in mind that this file may be hidden or inside a folder that is not visible from Windows Explorer, therefore, first of all, we must go to the View menu and check the Show hidden files option. Once this is done, we go to the path C:/Users/username/AppData/Roaming/Kodi/Userdata, delete the file and restart the player.

If you want solutions to some of Kodi's main problems, you can also access the help section of its website with various sections, such as its Wiki resources, forums, IRC, Matrix and more.

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