Welcome friend! If you‘re new to Kodi, you‘ve come to the right place. This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know to become a Kodi expert.
What is Kodi and Why Use It?
Kodi is a free, open-source home theater software that serves as a centralized hub for all your digital media. Originally created in 2002 as the Xbox Media Center (XBMC) for the original Xbox console, Kodi has since evolved into a cross-platform application available on a wide range of devices.
Here‘s a quick rundown of what makes Kodi so powerful:
Consolidates All Your Media – Movies, TV shows, music, photos, and more all together in one place. No more jumping between apps.
Plays Any File Format – Kodi supports virtually every video codec and audio format you can think of out of the box. No need to convert files.
Highly Customizable – From skins to tailored add-on selections, you can customize the look and feel of Kodi. Set it up just the way you like.
Big Screen Experience – Kodi transforms any device, big or small, into a feature-packed home theater for an immersive viewing experience.
Tons of Add-ons – Access to unlimited streaming content like movies, live TV, sports, and more through community-created add-ons. Expand Kodi‘s capabilities.
Free and Open Source – Kodi is 100% free software maintained by a worldwide community of developers and contributors.
With the ability to organize your personal media library, customize the interface, install helpful add-ons, and play any file format, it‘s easy to see why Kodi is so useful!
Now let‘s dive into how to install Kodi and start using it.
How to Install Kodi on Popular Devices
Since Kodi is open source software, you can install it on a wide variety of devices like Windows PCs, Amazon Fire TV, Android mobiles, iPhones, Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi, and more.
Here are some quick installation guides to get Kodi up and running on the most common platforms:
Install Kodi on Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Cube, & Fire TV
Over 40 million Fire TV streaming devices have been sold to date. Installing Kodi on Fire TV models is quick and easy:
- Open the Amazon Appstore on your Fire device
- Search for "Kodi"
- Select the official Kodi app
- Click Download
- Once installed, Kodi will appear on your Fire TV home screen
That‘s all there is to it! Total installation time is under 5 minutes.
Kodi works great on all Fire TV models including the Stick, Stick 4K, Cube, and Fire TV edition televisions.
Install Kodi on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV
Yes, you can absolutely run Kodi on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV too!
Here‘s how to install Kodi on iOS:
- On your iPhone or iPad, open the App Store
- Search for "Kodi"
- Install the official Kodi app for iOS
- Accept any prompts to allow sideloading
- Kodi will now be available to open on your device
For Apple TV installation:
- On your iPhone, install TestFlight from the App Store
- In TestFlight search for Kodi and install
- Open TestFlight on your Apple TV
- Select Kodi and download
- Kodi can now be launched on your Apple TV
It may seem like a lot of steps, but Kodi will be up and running on your Apple devices in no time.
Install Kodi on Android Smartphones and Tablets
With over 3 billion active Android users worldwide, chances are you have an Android mobile device you want to use Kodi on.
Here‘s the quick process for installing Kodi on Android:
- On your device open the Google Play Store
- Search for "Kodi"
- Install the official Kodi app
- Open Kodi from your apps drawer
And that‘s it! Just a few taps and you‘ll have a powerful media center on your Android smartphone or tablet.
Install Kodi on Windows PC
For Windows users, setting up Kodi just takes a few clicks:
- Go to the official Kodi website at kodi.tv
- Hover over "Downloads" and select Windows
- Click on the big blue "Download" button
- Once downloaded, run the Kodi installer .exe file
- Accept the prompts to install Kodi
- Launch Kodi from your Start Menu or desktop shortcut
It‘s that easy to get Kodi running on your Windows 10, 8, or 7 machine.
Install Kodi on NVIDIA Shield, Chromecast, & Android TV Boxes
Android TV powered devices like the NVIDIA Shield, Xiaomi Mi Box, and various generic Android TV boxes also fully support Kodi.
To install Kodi on Android TV:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android TV device
- Search for "Kodi"
- Select the official Kodi app and click Install
- Find Kodi on your Android TV‘s home screen and launch it
Most Android TV boxes and HDMI dongles like the Chromecast with Google TV also allow easy installation from the Play Store.
Install Kodi on Raspberry Pi
The credit card-sized Raspberry Pi is a popular choice for DIY media centers. Setting up Kodi on a Raspberry Pi takes just a few minutes:
- Download the LibreELEC or OSMC disk image for Raspberry Pi from the official Kodi site
- Flash the image onto your microSD card using software like balenaEtcher
- Boot up your Pi with the new Kodi image on the SD card
- Kodi launches automatically on start up!
LibreELEC and OSMC provide optimized Kodi experiences on the Pi.
Install Kodi on Linux
Since Kodi originated from the Linux-based XBMC project, it runs great on all Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, Fedora, etc.
To install Kodi on Linux, open your terminal and enter:
sudo apt install kodi
This downloads Kodi from your distro‘s repositories for easy installation.
Once installed, you can launch Kodi directly from your app menu.
With Kodi available on so many platforms, you can set it up on all your devices for seamless media playback no matter where you are.
How to Use Kodi: Add-ons, Skins, and Settings
Now that you have Kodi installed, it‘s time to unlock its full potential. Let‘s explore Kodi usage including managing your media library, installing add-ons, customizing the interface, and adjusting key settings.
Add Your Media to Kodi
Start by adding your personal media files like movies, TV shows, music, and photos to your Kodi library. This neatly organizes all your media in one place for quick access.
Here is how to add videos to your Kodi library:
- In Kodi, click on "Videos"
- Select "Files"
- Choose "Add videos"
- Navigate to the folder location on your device or network where your video files are stored
- Click on the folder then select "OK" to add the video files to your library
Follow the same steps to add music by clicking on the "Music" section instead of videos.
For photos, access the "Pictures" menu option.
Kodi makes adding your media a breeze. Supported video formats include MKV, AVI, MP4, ISO, and more. Audio formats like MP3, FLAC, M4A, and OGG are supported. Kodi handles images in JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF, and additional formats.
Once added, your entire media library is neatly organized for quick browsing and playback directly within Kodi.
Must-Have Add-ons to Install
The real power of Kodi comes from installing add-ons that provide access to a universe of streaming content.
While Kodi itself only plays your personal media files, add-ons give you on-demand access to movies, TV shows, live sports, music, podcasts, kids content, fitness videos, and pretty much anything else you want to stream.
There are thousands of great add-ons available but some top choices include:
- The Crew – Movies, TV shows, live sports, documentaries, and more
- Seren – Feature-rich 4K streaming
- Venom – Large catalog of movies and shows
- Tempest – Anime, Asian content, manga, and live TV
- The Oath – Reliable source for movies and TV
- Numbers – Perfect for live sports and events
- iPlayer WWW – Streams BBC television and radio
See our guide to The Best Kodi Add-ons for additional top recommendations.
Here is the quick process to install any Kodi add-on:
- Click the Settings gear icon in Kodi
- Select "File manager"
- Click on "Add source"
- Enter the exact URL for the add-on‘s repository
- Give the media source a name like "TheCrewRepo"
- Return to the main menu and open "Add-ons"
- Choose "Install from zip file"
- Select the repository you just added
- After it installs, go back to Add-ons and click "Install from repository"
- Choose the repository
- Select the desired add-on
- Click Install and wait for the "Add-on enabled" notification
Once installed, the new add-on will appear in your Add-ons menu ready to use!
Add-ons are what really unlocks unlimited streaming capabilities within Kodi. Install a few great ones to get started.
Customize the Interface with Skins
Out of the box, Kodi uses the Estuary skin. But the look and feel of Kodi are easily customizable using different skins.
Kodi skins allow you to change the overall interface layout and design to your liking.
Some excellent skins to try include:
- Arctic Zephyr 2 – Sleek, polished design
- Aura – Shifts visual style based on media type
- Xonfire – Inspired by Netflix and Hulu
- Mimic – Integrates key artwork and descriptions
- Embuary – Simple, easy to navigate
- Kodi Flix – Mimics the Netflix interface
See our guide to The Best Kodi Skins for more great options.
Here is how to change the Kodi skin:
- Click the Settings icon (gear) in Kodi
- Select "Interface settings"
- Click on "Skin"
- Choose your desired skin
- Confirm the change to apply the new skin
Now Kodi will take on the new look and feel provided by the skin. Try a few to find your favorite interface style.
Key Settings to Adjust
Under the hood, Kodi is highly customizable thanks to its extensive settings menus.
Here are some key settings to adjust:
Change scrapers – Improves media title and description accuracy
Enable UPnP – Streams media from other local devices
Adjust cache – Clears cached data to free up space
Enable audio passthrough – Enhanced audio formats to sound system
Set up user profiles – Separate settings for each user
Modify skin settings – Further customize skin appearance
Adjust library settings – Control media library scanning
Take time to dive into Kodi‘s settings to tailor it to your needs. Tweaking these settings enhances the overall experience.
Troubleshooting Common Kodi Problems
Like any software, you may occasionally encounter issues with Kodi. Here are some troubleshooting tips for common problems:
Kodi crashes or won‘t open – Try reinstalling Kodi, clear cache, uninstall problematic add-ons
Videos not playing – Ensure correct video codecs are installed, re-add media sources
Scrape results inaccurate – Adjust scraper settings, try a different scraper addon
Add-ons not working – Check for outdated add-ons, re-authorize Real-Debrid if enabled
Subtitles not showing – Enable subtitles in playback menu, adjust subtitle services
Library not updating – Set content type properly, adjust library update frequency
Buffering issues – Use wired network connection, enable CDN in Kodi settings, upgrade hardware
Kodi runs slow – Close background apps, clear thumbnails and packages, disable unnecessary addons
Wonky interface – Try a different skin, reset skin settings to default
Technical errors in log – Search Kodi forums for the specific error message for fixes
Kodi is generally very stable, but knowing some basic troubleshooting can help resolve any problems that pop up.
Tips for Power Users
You now have a solid grasp of Kodi basics. Here are some pro tips:
- Install Real-Debrid for faster streaming from file lockers
- Use Trakt to track watching progress across devices
- Connect a VPN for privacy, security, and faster speeds
- Add the Ares Wizard for handy maintenance functions
- Switch between audio tracks and subtitles in playback
- Customize the interface with custom themes
- View the log for helpful diagnostic information
- Create advanced smart playlists and rules
- Use the backup addon to backup your full Kodi setup
- Enable advancedsettings.xml tweaks for optimal performance
- Setup remote control from Kore or Yatse apps
With over 17,000 commits by 230 contributors, Kodi is constantly improving and expanding. Take advantage of all its power user features and settings for the best experience.
Kodi Beginner FAQ
Let‘s wrap up with answers to some frequently asked questions:
How do I use Kodi?
The best way to use Kodi is to install add-ons that provide access to streaming content. Browse categories within the add-ons to find and play movies, TV shows, sports, music, and more.
Is Kodi legal and safe to use?
Yes, Kodi itself is 100% legal open source software. However, some add-ons provide access to pirated content which is illegal. Use a VPN and only stream legally sourced content.
What devices support Kodi?
Kodi runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, NVIDIA Shield, and more. The open source nature makes it widely compatible.
Do I need a Kodi VPN?
A VPN provides privacy, security, and faster speeds when streaming with Kodi. While optional, a VPN is recommended to keep your identity safe and avoid any issues.
Does Kodi work without internet?
Kodi works offline to play media files stored locally on your device or network. However, internet access is required for add-ons that stream online content.
What price is Kodi?
Kodi is 100% free open source software. Optional paid services like Real-Debrid enhance the experience but are not required.
Is Kodi better than Netflix or Hulu?
Kodi consolidates media from many sources. With the right addons, you can access a wider selection of content than any single streaming service provides.
I hope this complete Kodi beginner‘s guide has you excited to start using this incredible media center software! With the powerful capabilities Kodi provides, your entertainment options are virtually endless.
Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions getting started with Kodi. I‘m always happy to help out a fellow media enthusiast!