What Is Kodi & Why Should You Use It? – The Best Guide to Learning the Basics of Kodi in 2020!

We understand if you’re feeling overwhelmed by Kodi, and we can’t blame you for that. The truth is that we’re talking about a complex application here, with all kinds of useful features available. However, to understand everything this application can do, you need to invest some time in learning the ropes. And of course, this begins with understanding what Kodi is and what it can do.

The chances are that you already know that Kodi is an application that organizes your media collection. This means that you can use it to store your movies, photos, and music. Also, you can use Kodi to play all those files. However, we’ve barely scratched the surface here of numerous possibilities and handy features.

TechNadu’s editorial team has been using Kodi for years now. With this said, we know all about its ins and outs. This is the reason why we’ve wanted to publish this guide – so we can share our knowledge with the rest of the Kodi community.

Further Reading: Beginner’s Guide to Kodi / The Ultimate Kodi Guide

Also, one more note. We’re written this guide for complete Kodi beginners, where we explain everything from scratch. In case you have some experience with using Kodi, take a look at the following table of contents – using which you can jump to the segment you’d like to learn more about.

What Exactly Is Kodi?

Kodi Video Addons UI Screen

At its core, Kodi is a home theater software. This means that it’s designed to play your family movie clips, commercial movies, music, photos, TV shows, and more. As such, it can be installed on a wide range of devices. This includes computers, smartphones, tablets, media streaming devices, and even compatible smart TVs.

There is also another way to look at Kodi. You probably already have a selection of media files stored on your computer. However, these files might be stored in different locations. For example, you keep your music in one folder, your movies in another, and your photos in some third-party application.

Well, Kodi can replace all of those applications. Instead of having your media library scattered all over your computer, you can keep all your files (and play them) within Kodi. Sounds interesting, right? Well, keep on reading to learn more.

Tip

To learn more about Kodi, we recommend visiting its official website (https://kodi.tv). This is from where you can download Kodi as well. Make sure to do so only from the official website, as third-party sources can often bundle malware. And remember that Kodi comes free-of-charge, so you can avoid Kodi-like apps that might come premium priced.

What Can Kodi Do?

Kodi Addons UI Screen

Over the years, Kodi grew into an ultra-powerful application. Initially, it was used to store and play media files. However, this is now a home theater software that can act as your family’s entertainment hub. With this said, here’s everything that Kodi can do.

  • Import & Organize Media Libraries: Kodi allows you to import all kinds of media files. These could be stored on your computer, a Web location, or on an external drive. The application can import all those files, add metadata, and allow you to create playlists and organize your library in more ways than one.
  • Play Videos, Music & Photos: With each new year, Kodi upgrades its media playback capabilities. Aside from being able to recognize and play all of the standard file types, Kodi also works well with exotic file types. This applies to movies, photos, and music.
  • Watch Live TV: By integrating Kodi with a backend service like MediaPortal, MythTV, NextPVR, or TVheadend, you’ll get to use it as a PVR. This means you’ll get to watch and record live TV without leaving Kodi’s interface.
  • Access Media Streaming Libraries: Thanks to a huge number of addons, you can add new types of media streaming services. Plenty of individual TV networks offer Kodi addons, and these come completely free of charge.
  • Play Retro Games: The latest version of Kodi lets your play retro games. Thanks to plenty of emulators, you can use all kinds of game controllers to play these.

The short answer is – yes, Kodi is perfectly legal and safe to use. If you decide to install third-party Kodi addons, you need to be sure that you’re streaming from legitimate and legal sources only. Doing otherwise might get you in trouble. And now, let’s explain this more comprehensively.

  • What’s LEGAL About Kodi: This application is 100% legal – as long as you don’t use it for copyright infringement. It means that storing and playing the movies, photos, and music you own won’t get you into trouble. There’s also a huge selection of addons at your disposal – also legal and safe to use.
  • What’s ILLEGAL About Kodi: Installing addons that are related to piracy is illegal. The majority of third-party addons that you can find online are illegal, as opposed to those that you install from Kodi’s own (official) repository.

We have to admit that Kodi comes with a reputation of being an “illegal” app. That’s because we often hear about Kodi-related piracy, all kinds of prison sentences, and individuals being persecuted. However, keep in mind that all of those stories are related to individual developing piracy addons.

Further Reading: Kodi Developers Warn Against Installing Third-Party Repositories / MPAA & ACE Aggressively Expanding Their Efforts of Fighting Kodi-Related Piracy

Tip

If you’re still hesitant about using Kodi, we’ll offer you a set of helpful resources. More precisely, we recommend reading our guide on how to use Kodi legally. And also, you’ll want to read more about the legality of buying Kodi boxes.

Why Are Kodi Users Advised to Use VPNs?

Using ExpressVPN With Kodi

When reading about Kodi, you’ll often encounter messages related to the necessity of using a VPN service. There’s a good reason for that, so let’s explain what VPNs have to do with Kodi – and whether it’s wise to use them.

  • VPNs Unblock Geo-Restricted Content: The majority of Kodi addons (yes, we’re talking about the legal ones) are geo-restricted. For example, if a TV network comes from the USA, its Kodi addon is most likely restricted to that country only. When using a VPN, you get a new IP address, so you can overcome these limitations.
  • VPNs Help With ISP-Induced Throttling: Without a VPN, your Internet service provider will see everything you do online. So, if you’re on a capped plan, your Web connection speed might be throttled if you’re “caught” streaming media. No matter if your ISP is throttling you or not, using a VPN is the best way to remain private.
  • VPNs Keep Your Safe & Private: VPNs don’t only hide your Web traffic from your ISP. They hide you from anyone else on the Internet. Therefore, using Kodi and a VPN alongside is a good solution for media streaming. However, using a VPN outside of Kodi is the best way to block Internet trackers.

As you can see, there are numerous benefits to utilizing a VPN service – especially if you’re a Kodi user. So, to help you get started, make sure to learn more about VPNs as well as to understand what VPNs can do. Finally, you can then proceed to learn about the best VPNs for Kodi.

Tip

There are hundreds of VPNs out there. So, if you need a bit of help in choosing the best one based on your needs, don’t forget to consult our VPN Buyer’s Guide. And once you’re finally ready to start using this technology, check out how to set up a VPN on Kodi.

What Are Kodi Boxes?

Kodi boxes are devices that are compatible with Kodi. We’re talking about media streaming devices here, which you can connect to your TV. This is perhaps the easiest way to get started with Kodi and create your home entertainment hub.

These days, the most popular Kodi boxes run on Amazon’s FireOS and Android TV. So, they are usable for more than just running Kodi. No matter if you pick a FireOS or Android TV box, you’ll get access to an App Store that comes with thousands of individual apps.

To see some of the best options right now, we’ve produced a dedicated guide on the best Kodi boxes. That’s where you’ll find plenty of safe options that support Kodi natively.

However, keep in mind that there are legal and illegal Kodi boxes – depending on whether they come with Kodi pre-loaded or not. Continue reading to learn about the differences between these two.

Is It Legal to Buy a Kodi Box?

When talking about Kodi boxes, we’re talking about two types of hardware products. There are significant differences between these in terms of their legality. With this said, here’s what’s crucial to keep in mind.

  • LEGAL Kodi Boxes: Any device that can run Kodi is a “Kodi Box.” For example, this could be Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, Nvidia’s Shield TV, and other Android-powered set-top boxes. They come without Kodi, so you need to install this application on your own and then add your media library.
  • ILLEGAL Kodi Boxes: There are individuals selling “preloaded” Kodi boxes. These are Android media streaming devices that come with Kodi pre-installed. They also come with pre-installed addons, and we’re talking about illegal addons here. In the past, the most popular options were TickBox TV and Dragon Box – both of which have suffered pretty serious legal consequences.

You can see that it’s crucial to understand the differences between legal and illegal Kodi boxes. These could be really useful devices, so there’s no reason to be afraid to buy or use them. However, always make a well-informed decision.

How to Install & Update Kodi?

Updating Kodi on macOS

As you can imagine, the first step to using Kodi is installing it on your preferred device. This application brings incredibly wide compatibility with different platforms, systems, and devices, as described below.

How to Update Kodi?

Updating Kodi requires you to re-install Kodi. This means that new file versions will replace the obsolete ones. Differently said, you need to go through the installation steps you took the first time you installed Kodi.

For more information, make sure to read our guide on how to update Kodi.

How to Create a Media Library in Kodi?

Once you install Kodi on your device of choice, you will be greeted by its UI. However, the application will be empty in terms of its content. Therefore, your next step is to populate its library with the content you own. So, let’s take a look at how to create a Kodi media library.

  • First, organize your videos into folders and then import those videos to Kodi. Use the provided link to learn how that’s done.
  • The same applies to music. Since this application works with a huge variety of music files, you can even play some ‘exotic’ file types. Here’s how to add music to Kodi.
  • Kodi users can also create rich photo libraries and use Kodi to preview them. Learn how to add photos to Kodi.

How to Fix Common Kodi Errors?

In general, we don’t expect you to face a lot of issues with Kodi. The application is highly polished and works great, even on older machines. However, certain problems may arise, just like with any software. In case you’re having any issues with these, here’s what you need to know:

  • First, make sure to clear Kodi’s cache. Use the provided link to learn how to install an addon named Indigo. This is a very helpful maintenance tool used for clearing the cache.
  • Next, there’s also a well-known ‘Failed to Install a Dependency’ error. This one usually happens when installing third-party addons. Use the provided link to check the solution.
  • In case you can’t find a solution using our previously mentioned articles, we have another resource for you. Read our Kodi Troubleshooting Guide, where you’ll find a bunch of fixes for the most common issues with this application.

What Are Kodi Addons?

Kodi Interface Showing Video Addons Installed

You can think of addons as apps that run within Kodi. These can do all kinds of things. For example, you can stream media from the Web, watch live TV programs, do maintenance tasks, or use addons to install other addons.

How to Install Kodi Addons?

These are several ways to install Kodi addons – depending on their source. We have “official” addons that come from Kodi’s own repository, and there are “unofficial” addons that can be downloaded and installed from the Internet.

  • Official Kodi Addons: You can install Kodi’s addons by going to Add-ons > Download (using the application’s main menu). Select any category you’d like, and then select an individual addon. This will open its overview, where you’ll find its ‘Install’ button as well.
  • Unofficial Kodi Addons: These come from the Web, which means you need to download them to your computer (they come as ZIP files). To install one, go to Add-Ons > Open Box icon > ‘Install from ZIP file.’ A good example of an unofficial (yet legal) addon is Indigo.

Tip

Before you download and install addons, you need to make sure that your Kodi accepts third-party software creations. So, make sure to know how to enable unknown sources on Kodi. This applies to unofficial addons only.

What Are The Best Kodi Addons Right Now?

We highly recommend you check the best Kodi addons you can find at the moment, where you’ll find dozens of recommendations. However, we’ve also published articles that deal with specific types of Kodi addons, as you can see below.

How to Uninstall Kodi Addons?

Even when you think that you’ve found the perfect Kodi addon, you can still find something better around the corner. This is why it’s important to know how to uninstall addons, so they don’t take precious space on your device’s hard drive.

With that said, here’s our guide on how to properly uninstall Kodi addons.

What Are Kodi Repositories?

The most important piece of information when installing third-party addons is a Web address (URL). That’s because you instruct your Kodi to use a certain URL to look for a ZIP file. This URL and the ZIP file act as a repository – a place that hosts numerous addons.

Even though they are a complete necessity when installing addons, repositories tend to change over time. They can stop working, forcing you to look for an alternative. This is why, here at TechNadu, we want to bring the latest and the most up-to-date repositories. So, go ahead and check out some of the best repositories for Kodi – recently updated.

What Are Kodi Skins?

Changing Skins on Kodi

As their name implies, skins bring a fresh coat of paint over your default Kodi UI. And since Kodi is based on open-source code, third-party developers are free to contribute. However, what’s important to understand here is that Kodi’s skins can change the application’s UI completely.

When you install a new skin, you will see a completely different menu, different ways of presenting artwork, and more. And we have to admit that third-party developers can be incredibly creative. With this said, here’s our guide on the best Kodi skins.

What Are Kodi Builds?

When you install a build – you automatically install a custom skin, along with dozens of addons. However, the problem with Kodi builds is that they’re illegal. That’s because they come with addons that serve pirated content, leading to copyright infringement.

We strongly and highly recommend you stay away from Kodi builds. Remember that it’s your responsibility to use Kodi safely and legally. Using a build isn’t a way to go.

What Does the Future Hold for Kodi?

In the end, you must be wondering what to expect from Kodi in the future. Well, Kodi v18 Leia has been released a while back, and we’ve received a series of incremental updates in the meantime. And as you might expect, Kodi 19 is already in development – and you even download its very early build, if you’re feeling adventurous.

So far, we know that Kodi 19 will be codenamed ‘Matrix.’ The application will also bring native support for tvOS, which is something that’s non-existent right now. However, not much is really known about Kodi 19, and we’re sure that plenty of surprises await.

You’ve finally reached the end of our guide on what is Kodi. We hope that you’ve managed to learn the basic yet highly important things about this application. In case you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to post a comment below. And of course, enjoy using Kodi!

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