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TECH TALK – THE TRUTH ABOUT KODI (XBMC)


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Author: Peter Dobson

Kodi is a free, open-source home theater software that runs on multiple platforms including  Linux and Raspberry Pi. It can be used to stream media from the internet or play local files. Kodi is source-agnostic, and it has a ton of official and unofficial add-ons to stream everything from Netflix to torrents to live sports.

The world of KODI software is an amazing world. Formerly known as XBMC, it was orginally developed as a  media player for the first generation Xbox, which came into circulation in the early 2000’s.

Jump forward 13 years and it has changed in name from XBMC to KODI.

KODI source code is distributed as open source which in simple terms means for the most part, it is free to distribute, use, and even improve upon if you have the know how.  In my experience open source software is the most functional, feature rich software, (once it’s been released and improved upon) and quite often well written about.

Many people may, and have associated KODI with being an illegal, or if not illegal, on the edge of copyright legalities. This of course is not true and the existence of KODI is no more illegal than owning a computer, which is also a tool for piracy  with the right mindset.

Addons and plugins

It’s the add-ons and plugins that make KODI what it is. KODI features several open APIs (Application Programming Interface) that allow third party developers to create capabilities which extend KODI with a multitude of add-ons, – Audio/video  streaming, plugins for online sources, skins/themes, screen-savers, web scrapers, web interfaces and more.

KODI has integration with online sources for both free & permium streaming content, and offers  include commercial video, free educational programming and media from individuals and small businesses.

Web Scrapers – Meta data extraction

The term web scraper is exactly that, scrapping the web (or scouring if you like) a built in option that scrapes the web for album art, cover art. Various web addresses  are searched  to also obtain synopses, reviews, titles, genre classification and other similar data. All this art and information is displayed in a feature rich display to accompany any audio /video stream you may be watching. One such source is fanart TV. Check it out HERE.

Live TV with EPG and PVR

From version 12.0, KODI has a native Live TV with EPG (Electronic Program Guide) and DVR (Digital Video Recorder) GUI feature. This enables video capture and playback to and from an HDD with PVR client addon.

As stated earlier, KODI is available on most platforms including Linux. Run your KODI system on the Raspberry PI, the tiny credit card sized computer that turns any TV into a smart TV.

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Click the image to learn about the Raspberry Pi

We have put it through its paces using ADSL2 ,  with a constant speed of 15 MB/s. It’s been impressive, the content in HD is outstanding due to fantastic video streaming compression technology that exists today. In saying that though there has been occasions where buffering has caused pauses at certain times of the day, mostly during NZ peak internet hours.

Before we start there are certain pieces of hardware we recommend you have to make navigating your Raspberry Pi  easier.

A) A wireless keyboard and mouse. (two types available)

A separate keyboard and mouse as pictured.

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Wireless keyboard and mouse by Microsoft (separate units)

Or an integrated Keyboard/Mouse in one unit.

Logitech-TK820-keyboard
Wireless keyboard with integrated mouse by Logitech.

These units you can easily pick up for less than $50.00

B) A hard wired ethernet connection to the Raspberry Pi

ADSL Modem
ADSL modem ports for hard wiring network devices

 

Here’s what to expect from KODI add ons: –  Let’s crank up KODI

Kodi Splash
The Kodi splash screen

The splash screen is displayed for a few seconds, it then displays a menu of installed apps,, links to live television stations from around the world, and various other apps allowing the viewing of TV shows etc.

Loaded apps
Loaded apps

Here we can see just a small portion of the apps on the unit. You may recognise Film On. –   It’s greatest attraction in New Zealand is all the FTA TV channels from Britain streamed live.  Many streams have existed in the past that were available for our Ultraplus units, however over time they died. The Film On source  has had constant up time.  The quality has been very good, and the buffering negligible.

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Film on app – Featuring Britain’s BBC channels
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Film on app – Featuring Britain’s ITV channels

The British channels are live and free –  streaming to your TV. There is even an EPG, with “now” and “next” programming. Or you can download the FTV add-on which gives you a full EPG similar to a Sky or Freeview box.

So if we now click on say ITV1, lets see what happens

ITV loading
Loading ITV from the UK
ITV 1 Live
ITV 1 live from the UK – with the EPG showing

Within seconds the channel loads and opens up.

Australia TV some in HD!

Kodi OZ TV
Australia channels – Live and Free

What about US television? Sure why not!

USTV Now
USTV now app – allows you to watch US major networks

This add on requires a sign-in process as it’s probably a service for US ex-pats. Part of the sign up process requires that you tick a box that you are a US citizen.

All the major US networks that are free to air in the US, are available to watch.

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Inside the USTV now app

You will receive your Raspberry Pi and KODI pack with at least the following addons: (you will get more)

Exodus + Kodi

Exodus: Add on combines both GoTV and GoMovies into one simple to install plugin. Many sources are used for the video content and playback is shown in a style not too dissimilar to Netflix. Exodus Kodi plugin offers HD playback, content downloading, easy to interface, pause/resume playback, etc. Exodus is definitely one of the best Kodi addons in 201

icefilms

ICE FILMS: An addon for all of the film buffs out there, Ice films uses direct download to serve up movies straight to your Kodi machine. Over 70,000 films exist on the Icefilms website, this provides the content for the addon. Icefilms also includes music concerts and stand-up comedy. The content is streamed directly from Icefilms website and does not require downloading

 

Turks

UK Turks – Your source of 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s TV shows from the UK and US. All seasons in chronological order.

Phoenix

Pheonix  Access an almost limitless database of media sources including TV shows, films, sports, and pretty much anything else you can think of. A number of great features are included in the plugin, including search, show tracker, live TV, no ads, etc. Overall this is quickly becoming one of the top Kodi video addons.

Velocity

Velocity: The Kodi Velocity add-on from the BlazeTamer repo has been released and brings a whole new multi-source movie and TV shows  for Kodi users

navix

Navi-X  The oldest and most trusted add-on for Kodi, used by millions of people worldwide. You’ll find everything from live television to your favourite movies and television shows,

Questions? Contact us

Want to purchase the Raspberry Pi running Kodi. Click here

Jump in, and be entertained

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