If you‘re looking to cut the cord on cable and watch free live TV and sports, the Chains TV Kodi addon is an enticing option. With over 800+ live channels across multiple countries and tons of live sports, Chains TV offers an impressive selection similar to cable or satellite TV.
But is it legal and safe to use? How do you get it installed and streaming smoothly? This complete 2023 guide will teach you everything you need to know about using Chains TV.
By the end, you‘ll learn:
- What is Chains TV and how it works
- How to install Chains TV on any Kodi device
- Configuration tips for best performance
- Legal concerns and safety risks to consider
- Troubleshooting guide for any streaming issues
- Best alternative addons if Chains TV isn‘t working
- And much more to become a streaming pro!
Let‘s dive in…
What Exactly is Chains TV Kodi Addon?
Chains TV is a third-party addon for the Kodi media center software that offers free live TV and sports streaming.
It provides access to 800+ live channels spanning multiple countries like the US, Canada, UK, France, India, and more. It also has a huge selection of live sports across leagues like the NFL, NBA, NHL, soccer, cricket, boxing, and others.
Some key details on Chains TV:
- Provides primarily live TV and sports streaming, no on-demand video
- Not available in the official Kodi addon repository
- Available on any device running Kodi 19 Matrix or Kodi 18 Leia
- Completely free but works better with Real-Debrid premium service
- Streams are a mix of SD, 720p HD, and 1080p Full HD quality
According to the Chains TV website, they pull streams from various online sources and aggregates them into their addon. The streams are a mix of publicly broadcast channels along with pirated live TV and sports feeds.
This leads to the biggest downside of Chains TV – its questionable legality since many streams likely violate copyrights. We‘ll dig more into this issue later.
But first, let‘s walk through how to install Chains TV on your device.
Step-By-Step Guide to Installing Chains TV Kodi Addon
Chains TV isn‘t found in the default Kodi repository, so it must be installed from an external source. Thankfully, the process is quick and easy.
It works the same whether you‘re using Kodi on a Firestick, Android TV box like the Nvidia Shield, or even Linux, Windows, iOS, etc.
Here‘s how to get Chains TV installed:
Enable Unknown Sources in Kodi
Since Chains TV is a third-party "unofficial" addon, we first need to enable Unknown Sources in Kodi:
- Open Kodi and click on the Settings icon (looks like a gear)
- Select System Settings
- Choose Add-ons on the left sidebar
- On the right, enable Unknown Sources
- Confirm you want to enable when prompted
This allows Kodi to install addons from outside repositories rather than just the default Kodi ones.
Add the Chains TV Repository
Next we‘ll add the Chains TV repository source where the addon is stored:
- Go back to System Settings and click File Manager
- Select Add source
https://unhingedthemes.github.ioand click OK
- Enter a name like "ChainsTV" and click OK again
This adds the repository URL as a media source in Kodi.
Install the Chains TV Addon
Now we can install Chains TV from the repository:
- Return to the main Kodi menu then click Add-ons
- Choose Install from repository
- Select Chains Repository
- Click Video add-ons
- Select Chains TV
- Choose Install
After a few seconds, you‘ll get a notification that Chains TV was installed successfully.
And that‘s it! The entire process takes under 5 minutes start to finish.
Configure Chains TV Settings (Optional)
Chains TV will work just fine out of the box with default settings. But you can optionally update a few settings to optimize streaming:
Enable Auto-Update so Chains TV automatically updates to the newest version
Increase Timeout to 30 seconds to allow more time for finding stream links
Enable Hardware Acceleration for faster stream decoding and playback
Now let‘s dive into actually using Chains TV to watch some free live TV and sports!
How to Use Chains TV for Live TV Streaming
Using Chains TV is straightforward thanks to its intuitive interface organized into streaming categories.
Here‘s an overview of how to use it:
Launch Kodi and click Add-ons
Select Chains TV
Browse categories like USA TV, UK TV, Sports, Entertainment, News, etc.
When you find a channel you want to watch, open the stream options
Select a stream source and preferred quality (SD/HD/FHD)
Give the stream 10-20 seconds to start playing
Use the Back button to return and browse other categories
Within just a minute or two, you can be watching live TV channels from major networks, local stations, cable favorites, and more.
The Video On Demand and Catch Up sections provide access to shows that have already aired. However, I‘ve found their selection pretty limited compared to addons focused on VOD.
Where Chains TV really shines is the huge amount of live sports coverage. You can watch NFL games for free without an expensive NFL Sunday Ticket subscription. It‘s a sports fan‘s dream!
Now let‘s dive into the controversial question – is using Chains TV actually legal and safe?
Is Chains TV Legal and Safe to Use in 2023?
The biggest controversy around addons like Chains TV that offer free live TV streaming is whether they are legal to use. The answer lies in a gray area.
On the illegal side, Chains TV likely streams at least some copyrighted content without permission. Networks are very protective over their live broadcasts. There‘s a reason you have to pay for services like Sling or YouTube TV.
However, Chains TV states on their site:
"We as a service do not host or upload any of the content you may find here. This is an index of streams already found on the internet. We simply find these links and organize them for the end user."
This pushes the legal boundaries but doesn‘t outright violate copyrights themselves. It‘s a fine line.
You could make the case some streams are perfectly legal, like free user-generated content, news, and publicly broadcast channels.
In the end, it‘s impossible for them or users to know the exact source and permission status of each stream. The legality of using Chains TV resides in a gray area.
From a safety perspective, the addon itself does not contain any malware according to scans on VirusTotal. However, free live streaming addons tend to have lower safety standards than official Kodi offerings.
The best way to use Chains TV safely and avoid any legal issues is to:
- Only watch content you‘re sure is free from copyrights
- Use a quality VPN like IPVanish to stay anonymous
- Research the source of live channels you stream from Chains TV
- Avoid pirated movies, shows, and sports – streaming them directly can get you in trouble
While streaming live events carries less legal risk than video downloads, it‘s impossible to be 100% certain of what‘s permitted with Chains TV. Use your best judgment and stay safe.
Now let‘s look at squeezing the best streaming performance out of Chains TV.
Configuration Tips for Optimal Chains TV Streaming
Chains TV offers pretty solid streaming with default settings. But you can optimize performance and troubleshoot issues using these tips:
Use a Fast Internet Connection
Slow internet speeds are the #1 cause of buffering. Try to use the fastest available speeds, especially for HD/4K streams:
- Minimum 10-15Mbps for SD quality
- 25Mbps for smooth HD streaming
- 50+ Mbps recommended for 4K and multiple streams
Connect wired if possible or be close to your WiFi router/extender. Testing at SpeedTest.net verifies your speeds.
Enable Real-Debrid for Faster Streams
While 100% free, integrating a Real-Debrid premium account improves Chains TV streaming drastically:
- Unlocks higher quality streams like 1080p Full HD
- Minimizes stream buffering for smoother playback
- Provides higher bandwidth CDN streaming not throttled by ISPs
You can add your account in Chains TV settings. Real-Debrid costs a few bucks a month but can be shared with friends/family to save money.
Use a Quality VPN Service
Benefits of pairing a VPN with Chains TV:
- Encrypts all streaming traffic to keep it private from your ISP
- Hides and changes your IP address to avoid throttling or blocking
- Adds a layer of security when using questionable streaming sources
- Keeps your identity protected in case of any legal issues
Top-tier VPNs have super fast servers optimized for HD streaming. Configure your VPN app to auto-connect on your device for hands-free protection.
Tweak Kodi Settings for Better Performance
Adjusting a few Kodi settings can also optimize streaming:
Set Buffer Mode to 2 in Chains TV Settings for extra buffer but increased latency
Increase Read Buffer Factor to 10 or higher in Kodi‘s Player Settings
Enable Zeroconfig Networking in Kodi Services for multicast support
Toggle Adjust Display Refresh Rate for smoother playback
Take the time to dive into the various Kodi and Chains TV settings to customize your setup.
Pair With External Players
If you want smoother playback or added features, try streaming with an external player:
Use the VLC media player for increased codec support
Try MPV for advanced streaming options and keyboard shortcuts
For powerful upscaling and zoom, use MPC-HC player
In Chains TV settings, you can set a preferred external player. They integrate seamlessly.
Optimizing your setup with faster internet, Real-Debrid, VPN, tweaked Kodi settings, and external players will allow Chains TV to shine with lag-free HD streams.
Troubleshooting Guide: Fix Chains TV Buffering, No Streams, and Other Issues
No addon is perfect, so you may occasionally run into problems like:
- Chains TV streams buffering frequently
- Getting error messages like "No streams available"
- Certain channels not working or missing
- General laggy performance
Before giving up on Chains TV, try these troubleshooting steps:
Update to the Latest Version
Addon issues are often fixed in newer versions. Update Chains TV to the latest:
- In Kodi, go to Add-Ons and select Chains TV
- Choose Check for Updates and install if available
Keep the addon updated for the best experience.
Clear Cache and Force Stop
Large cached data or memory leaks can slow down performance. Clear the cache and force stop:
- Highlight Chains TV and hold down the OK button
- Select Information | Clear Cache to wipe the data
- Go back and choose Force Stop
Then restart Kodi fresh for improved speeds.
Use a Different Stream Source
With free streaming addons, certain sources work better than others. When issues arise:
- Try different stream providers by opening the context menu
- Test alternative countries and languages to find better sources
- Enable Pre-Terminate option to quickly switch streams
Finding the best combinations takes some trial and error.
Restart Your Internet Connection
If all else fails, restart your network connection and Kodi device:
- Unplug your modem and router for 60 seconds to reset connectivity
- For Fire TV/Stick, hold Select + Play simultaneously to reboot
- For Android, close background apps and swipe Kodi away in recents
- On desktop PCs, restart the computer fully
Allowing everything to refresh often resolves elusive issues.
Still having problems after trying these troubleshooting steps? There could be larger issues like ISP throttling or infringement crackdowns disrupting streams.
When that happens, it‘s time to explore some alternative addons.
Best Alternative Kodi Addons for Live TV and Sports
While Chains TV offers an impressive selection, stream reliability suffers at times. Don‘t waste time fighting with it – instead install one of these great alternative live TV and sports addons:
1. The Crew
The Crew is arguably the most popular and reliable all-in-one addon for Kodi right now. It offers a robust collection of live TV, sports, movies, shows, and more.
💡 Super-fast stream loading from debrid services
💡 Excellent live TV and catch-up from countries worldwide
💡 Nice HD quality across most content
Overall, I find The Crew provides better up-time and smoother streaming than Chains TV. It‘s become my go-to addon.
2. Rising Tides
For rabid sports fans, Rising Tides is a top option focused solely on live sports. It‘s packed with streams from every league imaginable in HD quality with minimal buffering.
💡 Every sport imaginable – NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, soccer, MMA, boxing, cricket, rugby, and more
💡 Robust RedZone-style NFL coverage during season
💡 Available in multiple languages like English, Spanish, German
Rising Tides is now my favorite addon just for live sports thanks to its depth of coverage.
Another great all-around option, Ghost offers a balance of US and UK live TV, 24/7 channels, sports, and VOD movies + shows.
💡 Excellent channel selection for US and UK
💡 Nice entertainment section for shows and movies
💡 Solid lineup of sports channels and PPV events
While not focused solely on live TV like Chains TV, Ghost is a worthy jack-of-all-trades alternative.
Redux is a newer addon gaining popularity thanks to its integration with Real-Debrid and Trakt. It scrapes quality links with fewer dead streams than most.
💡 Real-Debrid supported for premium streaming
💡 Nice lineup of live TV, catch-up channels, and 24/7
💡 Trakt sync keeps track of your shows and watch progress
Redux puts a modern spin on live TV streaming through Kodi. Definitely worth a try.
Don‘t settle for subpar streaming if Chains TV disappoints. With so many quality addons available in 2023, you have plenty of alternatives. Try a few to find your new go-to!
Wrapping Up: How to Master Chains TV and Live Streaming on Kodi
I hope this complete guide has taught you everything needed to install Chains TV and unlock free live TV and sports streaming using Kodi.
While Chains TV offers an impressive channel selection, be mindful of potential legality and safety issues when using third-party addons. Protect yourself with a quality VPN.
Optimizing your setup with faster internet, Real-Debrid integration, adjusted Kodi settings, and external players will take your streaming to the next level.
If Chains TV falls short, awesome alternatives like The Crew, Rising Tides, Ghost, and Redux can fill the void.
The world of free live TV streaming evolves quickly. Keep learning and experimenting with new Kodi addons to enhance your experience.
Now grab the remote, fire up Kodi, and let Chains TV provide a cable-cutting live TV extravaganza!