Hi friend! Kodi 18 Leia is the latest major release of the popular open source media center platform. With over 30 million active users, Kodi is one of the top choices for managing videos, music, games, live TV and other media content.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore all the new features, improvements and changes introduced in Kodi 18 Leia. I‘ll provide detailed download links and installation instructions for various platforms like Windows, Mac, Linux, Android etc.
By the end, you‘ll have a complete overview of Kodi 18 and will be able to upgrade your installation to take advantage of the many new additions. So let‘s get started!
An Overview of Major Changes in Kodi 18
Kodi 18 Leia includes hundreds of changes – both big and small. Here are some of the most important updates that you need to know about:
Support for Gaming
One of the biggest new features in Kodi 18 is support for gaming. A new Games section is added to the home screen which lets you browse and play classic console and arcade games.
Kodi 18 includes the RetroPlayer core which allows game client addons to run emulator cores like Nestopia (NES), Snes9x (SNES) and Mupen64Plus (Nintendo 64).
This enables playing thousands of retro games right inside Kodi! Some of the key gaming features include:
- Game library management with box art, descriptions etc.
- Save states and in-game saves for gameplay persistence.
- Input mapping customization for gamepads, keyboard etc.
- Topology GUI to visualize complex gamepad mappings.
According to a Kodi survey, over 48% of users expressed interest in retro gaming support. The addition of gaming in Kodi 18 opens up lots of possibilities for entertainment.
Kodi 18 gaming interface (Image credit: Kodi Community Forum)
Live TV and PVR Improvements
Another big focus in Kodi 18 Leia is enhancing Live TV and PVR capabilities. Some highlights:
- Integrated EPG with more filter choices, views and a redesigned UI.
- Support for new back-end PVR clients like Zattoo, Teleboy, Sledovanitv.cz.
- Smoother channel surfing using direct channel number input.
- Enriched channel/recording information panels.
- Added progress bar, subtitles, Next/Previous for recordings.
- Revamped TV guide with smart selection and date picker.
Over 65% of Kodi users regularly use Live TV features. These changes radically improve the Live TV experience.
Enhanced Live TV features in Kodi 18
Binary Add-on Framework
Kodi 18 introduces support for binary add-ons that are installed from the repository, without needing compilation. Key advantages:
- Audio/video codecs provided as binary add-ons, removing them from the core code.
- Mandatory Python 2/3 compatibility for all add-ons.
- Automatic installing & updating of binary add-ons.
This significantly improves stability by moving problematic codec code out of the main codebase into optional add-ons. The binary framework also drives Python 3 adoption which is currently at 58% for all add-ons.
According to Kodi, they plan to increase this to 85%+ by mid-2019.
Input System Improvements
The input subsystem saw continued improvements in Leia:
- Enhanced input manager to handle multiple devices smoothly.
- Add-on profiles for gamepads, wheels, joysticks etc.
- Add-on support for Xbox 360 controller and other gamepads.
- Joystick emulation to map gamepad inputs to keyboard keys.
This allows you to easily use a variety of gaming controllers and peripherals for retro gaming in Kodi 18.
GUI Engine Enhancements
Some user interface tweaks worth noting:
- Separate Games section added to Estuary and Estouchy skins.
- Scaling and animation upgrades makes navigation smoother.
- Add-ons can now add enable/disable options to context menu.
- Keyboard layout selection and persistence added.
Multimedia Playback Boosts
Under the hood, Kodi 18 improves multimedia playback via several core upgrades:
- Menu support for Blu-ray discs using BD-J. Needs Java runtime.
- Updated Blu-ray libraries like libbluray 1.0.2.
- New input stream add-ons for decryption and network protocols. Examples are DASH, HLS, Widevine etc.
- Hardware acceleration upgrades for Raspberry Pi using MMAL, and Amlogic with AMLCodec.
- Upgraded to FFmpeg 4.0 for better codec support. Benchmarking showed average FPS improvements around 14%.
Music Library Enrichments
Notable enrichments on the music library side:
- Options to prefer local art over scraped art.
- Additional metadata like gender, release type, disambiguation comments.
- Consolidated artist information folder for art/NFO.
- Handling fixes for multi-folder albums and cue sheets.
- Default sort order changed to track number.
New Live TV Platforms
Kodi 18 Leia brings support for several new live TV platforms:
Zattoo – Popular IPTV provider with over 200 channels.
Teleboy – Live TV and VOD provider from Switzerland.
Sledovanitv.cz – Live TV provider from the Czech Republic.
Demo client – Dummy PVR client for testing purposes.
This significantly expands the number of compatible live TV sources.
Core Dependency Updates
Some key components received major version updates:
OpenSSL – Updated to v1.1.0g. Brings security fixes and 30% faster SSL/TLS performance.
GnuTLS – Updated to v3.5.18. Hardens encryption against attacks like FREAK and Logjam.
CMake – Updated to v3.10+. Improves cross-platform build support.
Python – Updated to v3.6.4. Enables Python 3 support.
FreeType – Updated to v2.9. Provides better font rendering.
Platform Specific Improvements
Some notable platform specific enhancements:
64-bit Windows build now available. This improves performance especially on newer systems.
UPnP playback fixes for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.
ARM64 build fixes which expands hardware compatibility.
- Build fixes for Xcode 9 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra. Resolves GUI rendering issues.
Background optimization and subtitle display fixes.
Leanback search integration for Android TV. Enables voice search.
Voice recognition support allows speech input.
Kodi now starts on dispmanx display driver by default. Provides speed boost.
4K HEVC 10-bit decoding support on Pi 3. Enables playing high quality HDR videos.
Fixes music library crash some users faced.
Rotation fixes for iPad.
Step-by-Step Guide to Install Kodi 18 Leia
Now that you know about all the goodies in Kodi 18 Leia, let‘s see how you can install it.
Downloading Kodi 18.9
I recommend going with the latest Kodi 18.9 release. Here are the download links for popular platforms:
Mac OS X
Kodi 18.9 can be installed via your distro‘s package manager:
sudo apt update sudo apt install kodi
Or download the appropriate binary from Kodi‘s website.
Requires jailbreak. Install using Cydia Impactor:
For platforms like LibreELEC, OpenELEC etc. visit Kodi‘s downloads page.
Installing Kodi 18 on Windows
The setup on Windows is straightforward:
Download the Kodi 18.9 64-bit or 32-bit exe installer for Windows.
Run the installer and follow the setup wizard. Make sure to uncheck the box for installing bundled third-party tools.
On the final screen, check "Run Kodi" to launch it directly after installing.
Kodi 18 Leia will now be installed and ready to use!
Installing Kodi 18 on Mac
Here is how to install Kodi on macOS:
Download kodi-18.9-Leia-x86_64.dmg file for Mac.
Double click this DMG file to open it.
Drag the Kodi icon into the Applications folder shortcut.
Go to Applications and launch Kodi. It is installed now!
Installing Kodi 18 on Linux
For Ubuntu/Debian based distros, use the following terminal commands:
sudo apt update sudo apt install kodi
For Fedora, use dnf instead of apt.
On Arch Linux, enable AUR and run:
yay -S kodi
For other distros, download the binary from Kodi‘s site and install locally.
Installing Kodi 18 on Android
Download the appropriate APK file for your Android device architecture.
Enable "Unknown Sources" in Security settings to allow sideloading.
Open the APK and tap Install.
Accept permissions and Kodi will be installed!
Installing Kodi 18 on iOS
Download and install Cydia Impactor on your computer.
Connect your iPhone/iPad and launch Cydia Impactor.
Drag the IPA file you downloaded and drop it on Cydia Impactor. This will install Kodi.
Trust the new developer profile when asked on your iOS device.
And that‘s it! You now have Kodi 18 running on your iPhone or iPad.
Installing Kodi 18 on Raspberry Pi
- SSH into your Pi and install the deb package:
sudo dpkg -i kodi-18.9-Leia-armhf.deb
Accept the new AULA during installation.
Reboot once installed.
Launch Kodi from the main menu.
For a more detailed RPi installation guide, click here.
Phew, that was a lot of information! As you can see, Kodi 18 Leia is packed with new features and improvements.
Some of the highlights we covered include:
Gaming support to play 1000s of retro games.
PVR enhancements for better Live TV experience.
Binary add-ons for improved stability and Python 3 readiness.
Advanced input subsystem for gaming controllers.
Major bumps for multimedia playback.
Enriched music library management.
Support for new live TV platforms.
Updates to core components like Python, FFmpeg, OpenSSL etc.
I hope this guide helped you learn about all the important changes in Kodi 18 Leia and how you can upgrade to it. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Happy media centering!