Android

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Home icon grey.png   ▶ Devices ▶ Android
Looking for information on the XBMC remote control app for Android? See Official XBMC Remote/Android.
Attention talk.png Read this page and still need help? Check out the XBMC for Android support forum.

XBMC for Android is a full port of the complete XBMC application to Google's Android operating-system. With the Android NDK (Native Development Kit for Android) XBMC runs natively under Android as a Native Activity application. The initial aim for the Android port is to get XBMC working on inexpensive Android set-top-boxes. Phones and tablets have limited support as well.

Contents

1 Main topics

Other Android-specific wiki pages for topics, guides, and advice. For everything else standard XBMC pages will normally apply.

icon HOW-TO:Install XBMC for Android
Installing applications on Android is quite easy compared to many other platforms, although it is somewhat different from other platforms. On this page we list the steps needed for basic installation an uninstallation.
icon Android FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions for Android.
icon Android hardware
For most high-definition videos (1080p or higher resolution), hardware video decoding is necessary for smooth video playback on Android devices. And this article contains a list of SoC chipset hardware, (SoC stands for "System on a Chip" which contain the CPU plus GPU and VPU circuits combination, and is also known as a "chipset"), as on Android platforms this SoC chipset is what can playback common video codecs smoothly using XBMC/Kodi.

The fact is, while some devices might be able to smoothly decode standard-definition videos and even some 720p or higher resolution videos using only software video decoding with raw CPU compute power, offloading a large part of video decoding tasks to an integrated VPU (Video Processor Unit) that is optimized specifically for this job is considered essential for most Android devices to be able to smoothly playback high definition videos.

icon Developing XBMC for Android
Team-XBMC ported XBMC Media Center software to Android in 2012. XBMC is a huge open source project and it takes loads of people working together to maintain it for all platforms, that is why Team-XBMC is always on the lookout for C/C++ programmers to volunteer in assisting us with the development of XBMC. Whether you have contributed to the XBMC project in the past or not, please consider doing so now.
icon How-to's
icon Tips and tricks
Boost performance, troubleshoot, enhance, and more.
icon Helpful applications
icon Device specific info
icon Touch controls
Touch screen devices, such as those for Android and iOS, have a number of default functions and can also be modified using a touchscreen.xml keymap. The ability to change these controls with a keymap file was added in XBMC v13 "Gotham".
icon Random notes

2 Requirements

Attention.png NOTICE:
It is highly recommended for users to not make any purchases in anticipation of running XBMC/Kodi on Android without first researching the device you want to buy. Before you do buy, make sure multiple people have verified that it works! If in doubt, do not buy that hardware!
  • Due to the fractured nature of the Android operating system ecosystem and diversified hardware devices with poor usage of standard APIs by manufacturers, it makes it very hard to give exact minimum requirements, so instead the basic set of requirements includes:
    • Android 4.4 operating-system or later is recommended, though Android 4.0 or later is supported by XBMC 14 (Gotham), however the newer Kodi 15 (Helix) and later will require at least Android 4.2 or later version of the operating-system.
    • x86 (Intel) or NEON compatible ARM processor, (for example: Nvidia Tegra 3 and newer are fully supported by XBMC/Kodi, while Tegra 2 and older Tegra probably will never be supported because its processor lacks NEON instruction set compatibility).
    • Hardware decoding support in XBMC/Kodi is likely a must for high definition video playback (720p or higher resolution). Do not expect XBMC/Kodi to work properly on any device until someone knowledgeable have specifically already tested it and can confirm working hardware decoding support for that device. For more details on hardware video decoding support, see Android hardware.
  • The main aim for the Android port of XBMC/Kodi is to foremost target media-players/set-top-boxes/sticks that connect to a large screen television and uses a standard remote control as its main interface device, (that is the same market as for HTPC). However expect the initial tablet/phone/touch/mobile/etc support to eventually improve with time.

3 How-to's

Assorted how-to's related to the video library that have been added to the wiki:


HOW-TO:Add local media sources on OUYA
Ouya has a bit different setup than normal Android devices with XBMC for adding local media, but is roughly the same.
HOW-TO:Change settings folder for Android
As of v14, Kodi supports a backdoor to specify the location of your settings folder, which includes the userdata folder and add-ons.
HOW-TO:Install CyanogenMod on OUYA
This is a guide to installing CyanogenMod 11 to the OUYA, which effectively updates the OUYA to Android 4.4 (Kitkat). This is required for running Kodi v15 and later on the OUYA, as the normal OUYA OS, which is based on Android, no longer meets the minimal install requirements. Kodi v14.2 and earlier versions of XBMC will continue to work on the original OUYA OS.
HOW-TO:Install Kodi for Android
Installing applications on Android is quite easy compared to many other platforms, although it is somewhat different from other platforms. On this page we list the steps needed for basic installation an uninstallation.
HOW-TO:Install Kodi on Fire TV
This page describes some of the methods to install Kodi onto an Amazon Fire TV (box) or Fire TV Stick. The Fire TV uses Kodi for android and does not require root. All Fire TV products allow sideloading, so no hacking or modification is required to install Kodi.
HOW-TO:Install Kodi on OUYA
OUYA uses Kodi for Android. The current version is Kodi v14.2 Helix.
HOW-TO:Use external players on Android
To use an external player on XBMC for Android you simply need to make a playercorefactory.xml file in the userdata folder.

4 Tips and tricks

  • Note: Remember that hardware video decoding, which will be required on most devices for smooth video playback, requires XBMC v13 or higher.
  • Avoid using wireless. A lot of Android boxes and "sticks" have weak wifi, even those that advertise as being wireless-n. It may be possible to use a USB-to-ethernet dongle on some devices, or even a USB wifi adapter that has a better wifi radio than what is built-in.
  • Switch to a different network protocol to see if that has any effect, i.e. SMB/CIFS, NFS, FTP, WebDAV, etc.
  • Try sharing the media on another device to rule out a device-specific (or network) issue.
  • Turn off thumbnails, XBMC -> Settings -> Video -> File and deselect 'generate thumbnails'.
  • H.264 videos encoded with Hi10P profile will not work on most Android hardware as some (most?) ARM processors are not powerful enough to software decode it, and no hardware decoders exist for it. As faster ARM CPUs come out this will get better, but don't expect miracles from the average Android box.
  • If RSS feed is enabled, disable it in settings. This can make the main menu a bit faster.
  • Running out of disk space storage, or want to try tweaking caching and other performance settings to achieve faster response times? See HOW-TO:Reduce XBMC disk space for help on modifying how XBMC handles images.

4.1 Helpful applications

Some helpful XBMC related Android applications, as suggested by the community. This list should not be seen as any kind of official endorsement by XBMC.

Name Description Requires
root?
Link
Link2SD Good for moving the userdata to the external SD card, in case you are getting low on internal memory. Yes link
full!screen If you are using XBMC on a Android 4.3 or lower, you can use full!screen to hide the "nav buttons", allowing for full screen playback of videos. (Note: XBMC on Android 4.4 should support immersive mode, allowing this switch to full screen to happen automatically) Yes link
Multilanguage Keymap Redefiner Remap keys on the Android level without having to use Kodi keymaps ? link
Startup Manager (Free) Allows delectable software to open at startup. ? link
CatLog Useful for sending system logs to developers when trying to troubleshoot issues. If someone asks you for a "Log Cat" or a "crash log", this application will get that log. Yes link
Ted (Text Editor) Free and open source text editor that is useful for editing various files, such as keymaps and advancedsettings.xml No link
XBMC Launcher Set XBMC (and various forks) as a Launcher without having to mod the APK ? link
XBMC Updater Easily update or install XBMC without having to manually sideload No link

5 Device specific info

Here are a few device-specific guides/help areas that the community has provided.


Attention.png NOTICE:
These pages are maintained by the community and should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation. Device pages are made when there's a bunch of useful information for a particular device, and someone takes the time to make that page. Keep in mind, some devices simply don't need a page of specific information, but are still excellent devices.

Do not use this page as a guide for what to buy to run Kodi. Disclaimer


Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV is an Android-based (Fire OS) set-top-box that contains a very powerful ARM processor (that can even handle some of the more heavy XBMC skins). Fire TV stands above some of the other Android-based offerings due to Amazon's strong product support and because it contains more remote friendly versions of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other video service clients, making it a good pairing with XBMC/Kodi.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Amazon Fire TV Stick is a newly announced low cost Android-based (Fire OS) set-top box in a HDMI-stick format. Amazon Fire TV Stick contains a little less powerful ARM processor but technically provides all the same features as its big brother, Amazon Fire TV.

Both Amazon Fire TV Stick and the original Amazon Fire TV stands above some of the other Android-based offerings due to Amazon's strong product support and because it contains more remote friendly versions of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other video service clients, all this should make it a good pairing with XBMC/Kodi.

Google Nexus Player
Nexus Player is an x86-64 (64-bit Intel Atom CPU) based Android digital media player co-developed by Google and Asus. Running the Android 5.0 "Lollipop" operating system, this Nexus Player was the first device to employ Google's Android TV platform.
MK808B Plus
MK808B Plus (not to be confused with the very different MK808 or MK808B), is a small ARM-based Android "stick" hardware that uses an Amlogic S805 SoC chipset. MK808B Plus is also able to run XBMC/Kodi on Linux using unofficial third-party firmware images of example OpenELEC.

While the integrated WiFi support in it is not great, but for about $35 USD, the MK808B Plus is a fairly decent 1080p set-top box device for cheap that can decode all the most popularly used video codecs today, including HEVC (H.265).

Nvidia SHIELD Console
Nvidia SHIELD Console is an upcoming next-generation Android-based set-top box and game console that will contains a very powerful ARM processor, (and should be able to handle the most heavy of XBMC/Kodi skins). It will be one of the first Android-based which features high-fidelity audio support, HDMI 2.0 output, and is built to handle Ultra HD digital media playback and output in 4K resolution at 60 Hz, including 60 frames per second decoding of the more recent HEVC (H.265) and VP9 video codecs.

Running the Android TV operating system (based on Android 5.0 "Lollipop") on a Tegra X1 SoC (System on Chip), the Nvidia SHIELD Console will stand above most of the other high-end Android-based hardware offerings not only because of its graphics and audio capabilities, but also because due to Nvidia's strong product support. It will come with remote friendly versions of Netflix, Hulu, Google Play Movies, YouTube and other video service clients, with many supporting videos in 4K (Ultra HD) resolution.

Adding to that its comes with Nvidia's gaming ecosystem capable of running all graphically intensive AAA ("triple A") games for Android in 1080p at 60fps, as well as supporting Nvidia's low-latency GameStream technologies for GeForce-equipped PC game streaming, and Nvidia's GRID cloud game-streaming service.. All this making it a very good pairing with XBMC/Kodi.

ODROID
ODROID-X is a series of powerful ARM-based single-board computers (developer boards), manufactured by Hardkernel Co., Ltd., an open-source hardware company located in South Korea, capable of running Android or Linux. XBMC/Kodi should work on Hardkernel ODROID-X, X2, U2, U3, XU, XU2, XU3 and XU3 Lite.

The ODROID-X series was primary designed to act as a development platform for developers wanting to prototype embedded systems based on Samsung Exynos 3, 4, and 5 series of System-on-Chips (SoC), but have since also been made popular for multi-purpose use by low-power device enthusiasts and hobbyist alike, including those using it for as HTPC (Home Theater PC) for XBMC/Kodi.

OUYA
OUYA is an Android-based game console and set-top-box that contains a relatively powerful ARM processor that can handle most heavy XBMC skins, in addition to outputting video in Full HD (1080p). The first version of XBMC to officially support the OUYA was v13 "Gotham" which can easily be sideloaded. Two unofficial versions are also available; "XBMC for Ouya" (an unofficial build submitted to the Ouya Store by Ouya themselves (which lacks DTS and AC3 audio decoding support due to licensing issues) and "SPMC" (a fork of XBMC released by XBMC developer Koying that have Ouya support but must be sideloaded).
Pivos XIOS DS
Pivos XIOS DS is an ARM-based media player set-top box that can run Kodi on either Android or Linux. This Pivos XIOS DS was the original reference hardware target for the XBMC/Kodi for Android port development. Pivos XIOS DS performs roughly at the level as a jailbroken ATV2, but also comes with USB ports, micro-SD card, and doesn't need to be jailbroken.
Pivos XIOS XS
Pivos XIOS XS (or "XIOS XS Media Play") is an ARM-based media player set-top box that can currently run XBMC/Kodi on Android, and in the future might also be able to run XBMC/Kodi on Linux using unofficial third-party image firmware, similar to its predecessor Pivos XIOS DS.

This Pivos XIOS XS and its predecessor Pivos XIOS DS doesn't need to be jailbroken and was previously both reference hardware target for XBMC/Kodi on Android development. While Pivos XIOS DS only had a single CPU core and performed roughly at the level as a jailbroken ATV2, Pivos XIOS XS have a dual-core CPU which can perform about twice as fast as its predecessor. Both also come with comes with USB ports, micro-SD card, Ethernet port, integrated WiFi, and a remote control.

SolidRun CuBox-i
CuBox-i series (which includes CuBoxTV) is SolidRun's second-generation family of multi-purpose ARM-based mini-computers that is capable of running either XBMC/Kodi on Android or on Linux, both using firmware images provided by SolidRun development team and third-parties of which many comes with XBMC/Kodi pre-installed.

With its hardware built around SolidRun MicroSOM platform the CuBox-i series uses scalable and open source friendly Freescale i.MX6 family of SoC (System-on-Chip) ranging from a single to quad ARM Cortex-A9 processor cores, 2D/3D hardware graphics processing unit, video decoding and encoding acceleration hardware, and HDMI 1.4 1080p 3D output support.

WeTek Play
WeTek Play is an ARM-based media player device that can currently run either XBMC/Kodi on Android or on Linux, both using official first-party firmware images provided by WeTek development team which comes with XBMC/Kodi pre-installed. WeTek Play is also one of the first XBMC/Kodi based set-top box devices that have support for integrated DVB TV-tuners, which are currently fully functional via plug-and-play under Android and Linux in combination with Tvheadend PVR backend or VDR PVR backend and its matching PVR client addon for XBMC/Kodi.
X86 hardware
Devices with an x86 processor (a "desktop class"/"normal" computer) are the most stable and developed option for an XBMC HTPC. Using an x86 computer provides a great amount of flexibility and can be made from spare parts, old laptops, or new dedicated hardware.

6 Random notes

Feel free to place various notes, tips, and links here. As this section of the wiki gets more organized, those notes will be properly sorted. Consider this like a dumping ground for when you're not sure where to put something.

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