Have you tried watching a TV show in Kodi only to find an odd scraping error or nothing happening at all when you click on the episode? Many Kodi users have encountered these types of issues lately. The underlying cause is a technical snafu with how Kodi addons scrape show metadata from the popular TVDB database.
In this guide, I’ll explain what’s going on and – more importantly – walk you through multiple methods to get your favorite TV shows streaming again in Kodi.
The Nitty Gritty on CDATA and Kodi TV Scrapers
To understand what’s broken here, we need to quickly cover how Kodi addons work under the hood. Most Kodi addons rely on a process called web scraping to pull show and movie metadata (info like titles, descriptions, episode lists) from online databases like TVDB.
This scraper code uses something called CDATA, or character data tags, to handle special formatting and characters in the text metadata. Think of CDATA markers like highlighted or bolded text – they call out important content.
Recently, TVDB introduced pagination in their API for TV shows with over 100 episodes. This allows neatly separating and loading large episode lists in chunks rather than all at once. Unfortunately, a bug introduced in the pagination system caused TVDB to incorrectly format or omit key CDATA tags for those large shows.
When Kodi scrapers now try to pull this metadata, the missing CDATA sections cause failures parsing and displaying the content. With many popular shows spanning 100+ episodes, this quickly became a widespread issue affecting thousands of Kodi users.
According to a recent TVAddons survey, over 85% of respondents have experienced TV show scraping failures recently within addons like Seren, Venom, The Crew, and more. Out of the 185 shows reported as not working, 96% have over 100 total episodes – pointing directly to the CDATA pagination bug.
Why Should You Care?
If you‘ve tried watching shows like The Simpsons or NCIS in Kodi only to have nothing happen on click, or find missing episode lists and metadata, then you‘ve likely run into this issue firsthand. The end result is not being able to reliably watch your favorite TV programs.
The good news is developers are quickly rolling out fixes. But it helps to understand the CDATA root cause so you can correctly interpret any error messages and better troubleshoot going forward.
Status of CDATA Fixes in Top Kodi Addons
Here is a snapshot of where things currently stand for the top addons in resolving the TVDB CDATA scraping bug:
|The Crew||Yes (v2.1.5+)|
As you can see, Numbers and The Crew have already pushed updates to address the issue. But popular addons like Seren and Venom have yet to fully resolve it. Thankfully, there are still ways to get your shows streaming again even in affected addons.
Top 3 Methods to Fix Kodi TV Scraping Errors
Based on the above information, here are solutions that should get your TV entertainment working once more:
1. Update Relevant Addons
The Crew and Numbers were quick to release updates with corrected TV scrapers that account for the new TVDB pagination and formatting.
Updating to the latest version of these addons will fix any CDATA-related scraping errors. You can install or update them via:
Be sure to clear your addon cache after updating to refresh your shows with proper metadata. You can usually find a "Clear Cache" option under the Tools or Settings sections of the add-on.
2. Use TV Calendar Sections
Some addons provide the ability to browse shows based on their air date rather than relying on full metadata scraping.
For example, Exodus Redux has a "TV Calendar" section under TV Shows. Rather than pulling up all metadata on a show, you simply pick the air date of a new episode releasing to watch it.
Sections like this can work around any lingering CDATA scraping issues while developers work on permanent addon-side fixes.
3. Try the UnlockMyTV App
For Fire TV, Firestick, and other Android-based devices, installing the UnlockMyTV app provides a great standalone option for TV shows.
This aggregates links from various streaming sources into one easy-to-use interface. And it pulls show info from alternative databases – avoiding TVDB entirely.
You can install UnlockMyTV on most Android devices by following this simple guide:
It makes for a quick and reliable TV show solution while Kodi scrapers get sorted.
Interpreting and Troubleshooting Kodi TV Errors
Don‘t panic if you still see metadata scraping errors even after updating your addons. Here are some steps to help troubleshoot:
Clear your addon cache to refresh with new data
Check for addon updates if errors persist – a new fix may have been pushed
Note the exact wording of any error messages and search online for solutions
Common errors related to CDATA issues include:
Failure parsing JSON from TVDB
NULL episodes or missing metadata
Failure getting episode listing
Try a different addon if one isn‘t working – Numbers or The Crew are good bets
Still not working? Try using a TV Calendar or external app as discussed above
While this CDATA bug caused some headaches, Kodi developers were quick to address it in many popular addons. And workarounds like TV Calendars and apps like UnlockMyTV help ensure you can keep streaming shows in the meantime.
As always, comment below if you have any other fixes or addon recommendations for getting TV entertainment running smoothly again!