Within the community there seems to be quite a few people that don’t quite understand what Kodi actually is. On a daily basis I check Facebook Groups and my Twitter feed and the majority of questions being asked are basic questions that a tiny bit Googling would help you resolve, but having been in a similar situation when I first started using Kodi I thought that I’d try and explain exactly what it is, what it does and the potential it has for anyone thinking of using it.
And don’t forget, if there’s anything you want to know that isn’t here, just visit http://www.kodi.tv
What exactly is Kodi?
Simply put Kodi is an open source media player, once installed it allows you to play your media, be this Video, Music or Pictures.
The main difference from other media players is Kodi’s interface and functionality. Everything is kept simple and organised, but does require a little bit of tweaking on your part. Kodi allows you to create folder references to where your data is stored (whether this be locally or on a network) and these can be categorised into ‘TV Shows’, ‘Movies’, ‘Music’ or ‘Pictures’. Once these are added the system will automatically scan them for content and will do so periodically to keep things updated.
Once this is done Kodi will create additional relevant menu items (TV Shows, Movies, Music) accordingly so that your files can be browsed more easily.
Another feature is that Kodi allows for 3rd party Addons to be installed which can further enhance the user experience. These Addons can be for theme changes all the way through to media providers allowing you to stream content directly from the internet.
Going further Kodi can be setup to be used to interact with a PVR setup allowing you to watch and record live TV.
What are Addons?
Kodi allows for third party repositories to be installed, these repositories offer addons which can be installed, similar to Apple’s and Android’s App Stores. There is a vast number of Kodi Repositories out there and once installed there’s an even vaster amount of addons available to install.
Addons range in their functionality, you’ll find ones that will let you check you internet speed, post your log file on line and then others that will let you watch online content like YouTube. What you’ll also find is a number of addons that will let you watch full movies, tv shows and tv stations.
Is Kodi Legal?
Kodi itself is legal, it’s just a media player. It’s when you venture into the Addons that thing’s potentially start becoming less legal, but just to be clear, this still doesn’t stop Kodi from being legal.
There are a number of addons out there that provide playback of full movies and TV shows, these generally full into a grey area. The makers of these addons generally don’t host or distribute the files you are watching and as such technically there is very little difference from browsing the sites that they crawl and scrape in your internet browser.
If you’re watching live TV through Kodi then potentially what you’re doing could be illegal. Certainly within the UK at the very least you’ll need a TV license if you’re watching any live TV. If you’re watching live streams from Sky or Pay per View events, without a legitimate subscription to that service, well I’m sure you already know the answer.
What does Kodi Run on?
One of the greatest things with Kodi is that it runs on so many devices. It will run on anything running Windows, Linux, Mac, Android or iOS. Popular and inexpensive devices to run it on currently include Android TV Boxes and Raspberry Pi’s.