The First Beta for Kodi 19.x “Matrix” Is Finally Here

  • Kodi 19.x Beta 1 has been released, and the media player has now taken its final form.
  • It’s all about testing and fixing bugs now until the project reaches the first stable release.
  • The help of the community in testing Beta 1 and reporting any bugs is invaluable for the project.

The next major release of the Kodi media streaming suite is approaching, as we are now out of the “Alpha” and into the “Beta” stage of the development process. This also marks the first point where we can actually suggest that you may grab the “Matrix,” install it and use it as your daily driver. Sure, there are still some rough edges that need ironing out, but hands-on testing and bug reporting are crucial at this stage.

The release of the first Beta means that this version contains all the new features that are to be incorporated in the 19.0 “Matrix,” so it’s basically just about hunting bugs from now on. The most important things that are coming with Kodi 19.x are the following:

Code

  • Deprecation of Python 2 and passing to Python 3 addons.
  • Cover all Linux distros through a single binary

Audio/Music

  • Improvements covering multi-disc CD sets and box sets.
  • Metadata improvements such as better handling of album release dates, album durations, etc.
  • New fullscreen/visualization settings.
  • New Matrix-inspired visualization; support for file tags over HTTP(s).

Music Videos

  • Improved links with the music library to, for example, fetch related album/artist information, display both videos and albums when searching, display more linked information in info dialogs, etc.
  • Improvements around the grouping of all music videos by artist (vs. album only).
  • Enhanced .nfo handling for multiple performers.

Skin/Look-and-Feel

  • Multiple improvements to Estuary, particularly around music and music videos, including a redesign of the fullscreen/visualization music window.
  • Additional metadata display; new “Now Playing” view; chapter information for music videos
  • Enhanced “now playing” and “next item” views.
  • A generally improved “out of the box” behavior with regard to music and video library artwork.

Games

  • Improved game controller support on iOS.
  • Improvements to image quality in Pixel Art games.

Playback

  • Software decoding of AV1.
  • Subtitle improvements with new dark grey color and selectable opacity.
  • Ability to provide a subtitle URI (URL, local file, etc.).
  • Static HDR10 and dynamic Dolby Vision HDR support (platform- and client-dependent).

PVR

  • A host of improvements, including PVR reminders.
  • TV/Radio channel groups, home screen widgets, and dynamic PVR categories for Estuary.
  • Enhancements to the Group and Channel manager.
  • Navigation/usability improvements such as context menus, selection persistence, and EPG controls
  • Info dialog enhancements.
  • Improvements to PVR handling via the API.

Security

  • Various improvements to user information, e.g., the security implications of enabling external interfaces or a prompt when enabling a broken/deprecated addon.
  • A requirement for a web interface password by default.
  • New origin enforcement for addons and dependencies, so third-party addons can’t overwrite code of other, unrelated add-ons.

It took the Kodi team a full 18 months to bring all of the above onto Beta 1, after three Alpha releases and a lot of hard work with code testing and debugging. If you are a fan of the project, your help with testing and bug reporting right now is invaluable, as open-source projects like Kodi don’t have the resources to employ large teams of testers and thus rely on community contributions.

If you’re a new-comer to Kodi, you may want to wait for the actual release of 19.0 “Matrix” so as not to get disheartened by stability issues. If you understand that and still want to help out, go ahead and register yourself as a tester.

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