Kodi's home screen
|Stable release||Kodi v14.1 Helix|
|Written in||C++ core, with Python scripts as add-ons from 3rd parties|
|OS||Android, Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, Windows, iOS|
|Available in||60+ languages to date|
|License||GPLv2 or later|
| General topics
Kodi media center, formally known as XBMC Media Center, is an award-winning free and open source cross-platform software media player and entertainment hub for digital media for HTPCs (Home theater PCs). It uses a 10-foot user interface designed to be a media player for the living-room, using a remote control as the primary input device. Its graphical user interface (GUI) allows the user to easily browse and view videos, photos, podcasts, and music from a harddrive, optical disc, local network, and the internet using only a few buttons. The Kodi project is managed by the non-profit XBMC Foundation, and developed by volunteers located around the world. Since its creation in 2003 more than 500 software developers have contributed to Kodi, and around 60 developers on regular basis. Also 200-plus translators have worked to expand its reach, making it available in more than 72 languages.
Kodi (then called "Xbox Media Center") was originally created as a media center application for the first-generation Xbox game console (no longer supported) but is now officially available as a native application for Android, Linux, Mac OS X, iOS, and Windows operating systems, running on most common processor architectures.
1 Video demos
Check out this excellent introduction video by Lifehacker.com:
- Additional video demos
- Kodi beginners guide - an introduction and tour by Kodi.tv forum user fredphoesh
2 Overview of features
XBMC/Kodi can be used to play almost all popular audio and video formats around. It was designed for network playback, so you can stream your multimedia from anywhere in the house or directly from the internet using practically any protocol available. Use your media as-is: Kodi can play CDs and DVDs directly from the disk or image file, almost all popular archive formats from your hard drive. Kodi will scan all of your media and create a personalized library complete with boxcovers, descriptions, and fanart. There are playlist and slideshow functions, a weather forecast feature and many audio visualizations. Once installed, your computer will become a fully functional multimedia jukebox.
Add-ons are packages that add features and functions not normally included with XBMC/Kodi. Add-ons are developed by people on Team XBMC/Kodi and third-parties. XBMC/Kodi has a growing list of community driven add-ons for online content like YouTube, Hulu, Grooveshark, Pandora Radio, as well as skins (themes) and more available from a common official repository, while still enabling third-party developers to also host their own unofficial repositories for add-ons that any user can choose to add themselves if they like.
For additional information about specific add-ons, see Category:All add-ons.
2.1 Language support
Kodi includes full support for many different languages by default. Kodi's structure is such that if the language is not available, or not up-to-date, it can be made by signing up at Kodi Main Translation Project (Frodo), Currently the existing supported languages are Afrikaans, Basque, Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Catalan, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, American English, Esperanto, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Maltese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Ukrainian.
3 Hardware requirements
XBMC/Kodi needs a 3D capable GPU graphics hardware controller for all rendering. The required 3D GPU chips are common today in most modern computers, and even some set-top boxes. XBMC/Kodi runs well on what (by Intel ATOM standards) are relatively underpowered OpenGL 1.3 (with GLSL support), OpenGL ES 2.0 or Direct3D (DirectX) 9.0 capable systems that are IA-32/x86, x86-64, or ARM CPU based.
When software decoding of a Full HD 1080p high-definition video is performed by the system CPU, a dual-core 2 GHz or better CPU is required in order to allow for perfectly smooth playback without dropping frames or giving playback a jerky appearance. XBMC/Kodi can however offload most of the video decoding process onto GPU and VPU hardware that supports one of the following types of hardware-accelerated video decoding: Android StageFright and MediaCodec API, Intel's VAAPI, Nvidia's VDPAU, AMD's XvBA, Microsoft's DXVA, Apple's VDADecoder/VideoToolBox, or OpenMAX. By taking advantage of such hardware-accelerated video decoding, XBMC/Kodi can run well on many inexpensive and low-power systems which contain a modern GPU and VPU.
4 Official versions of Kodi
Full featured versions of Kodi are available on a number of operating system platforms. Team Kodi strives to keep a consistent feature set and include the full Kodi experience for all versions, even those on low-powered devices.
- KodiBuntu (formally XBMCbuntu) is a free Ubuntu-based Linux distribution with Kodi for Linux already installed and pre-configured, providing a complete packaged media center software suite for all IA-32/x86-based personal computers. KodiBuntu is based on Lubuntu instead of Ubuntu Desktop.
- Kodi for Android is a full port of the complete Kodi application to Google's Android operating-system, was first announced and its source code released publicly on 13 June 2012. This is a full port of Kodi's C++ and C source code with all its dependencies to Android with a build-system that was designed to handle multiple processor architectures, like ARM, MIPS, and x86 with the Android NDK (Native Development Kit for Android) without using a single line of Java, and the Kodi.APK is running natively under Android as a Native Activity application.
- Kodi for iOS, which is a full port of Kodi to Apple's iOS operating-system, was first announced and released publicly on 20 January 2011. It supports both 720p and 1080p hardware accelerated video decoding of H.264 videos, and is compatible several Apple's iDevices that uses Apple A4 or higher SoC processors with a jailbroken iOS operating-system.
- Kodi for Linux is primarily developed for Ubuntu Linux. Third-party packages for most other Linux distributions are however available, and it is also possible to compile Kodi from scratch for any Linux distribution as long as the pre-required dependency libraries are installed first.
- Kodi for Mac runs natively on Mac OS X with Intel processors with hardware video decoding for H.264.
- Kodi for Windows runs natively on Windows Vista and higher. It is a 32-bit application but runs on 64-bit Windows and hardware as well, however it is not yet optimized for that architecture so there is no performance gain when running on 64-bit Windows. 1080p playback can be achieved on Windows based computers either via software decoding on the CPU if it's powerful enough, or by hardware accelerated video decoding.
5 Third-party forks and derivative work of Kodi
Because of its royalty-free cross-platform nature, with XBMC/Kodi's core code being written in C++ (ANSI standard), possibility for easy rebranding by ODM/OEM with customization of the interface look and feel using skins, and simple addons (plugins) from third-party developers available via Python scripts for content extensions, many systems integrators have created modified versions of Kodi together with a JeOS that are mostly used as a software appliance suite in a variety of devices including smart TVs, set-top boxes, digital signage, hotel television systems, and network connected media players.
- See: History of Kodi
7 XBMC Foundation
The "XBMC Foundation" is the non-profit organization that oversees the XBMC/Kodi project and is registered in the US.
9 Programming and developing
XBMC is a non-profit and free software community driven open-source software project that is developed only by volunteers in their spare time without any monetary gain. The team of developers leading the development of XBMC, "Team-XBMC", encourage anyone and everyone to submit their own source code patches for new features and functions, improve existing ones, or fix bugs to the XBMC project.
XBMC's source code for all its supported platforms is made publicly available by Team XBMC under the open source GNU General Public License Version 2 license. The group currently maintains a Git repository for this source code.