Video management

From Official Kodi Wiki
Revision as of 16:07, 7 December 2015 by Slchorne (talk | contribs) (made <prep> section smaller, to fix embedding in other pages)
Jump to: navigation, search
Home icon grey.png   ▶ Video library ▶ Video management

To use your video files with "metadata" like summaries, cast info, DVD covers, thumbnails, and more, you need to add those video files to the video library.

See Adding videos to the library for just the basic topics on adding videos.

1 Preparing files

To use your video files with "metadata" like summaries, cast info, DVD covers, thumbnails, and more, you need to add those video files to the video library.

There are a couple of important parts to getting things imported into your Kodi library. First, the metadata for the video file should exist someplace (the metadata are things like the title of the show, the plot description, the season and episode number if the video file happens to be an episode of a TV series, the actors, the director, cover art and episode art, etc.) The second part is naming the video files so the file gets matched up with the metadata available online.


Kodi uses plugins called scrapers to pull information from a video file and coordinate it with a source of metadata available someplace on the internet. For a TV show the scraper basically looks for the show name, season number, and episode number. The default scrapers look at TheTVDB.com (for TV shows) and TheMovieDB.org (for Movies).

If some video file is not scraping properly, the first step is to go to the website of the scraper you are using on that source and see if the video is already listed there. If you can't find an entry on one of those two sites for the video you're interested in, you can hunt for different scrapers which search other websites for metadata (and go through the same process of making sure your show is listed there, then naming the video files to match). Alternatively, you can create new entries on those sites with some basic information about your show, and then let the scrapers do their work. This is nice, because it means that other people will benefit from your work, and may contribute additional information about the show over time. Adding info to a site like TheTVDB.org is easy, but make sure you read the site rules before you start adding.

If none of that works, you can create .nfo files for each video by hand so that Kodi will bypass the normal looking online for information about your show. This is the least attractive option, though. It's a lot of work, and it doesn't benefit anyone else the way creating entries on the metadata sites does.

1.1 Naming files

Kodi has the ability to display information and artwork for your video collection. As this information and artwork comes from third-party sites, video files must be placed in a certain folder structure and named correctly so accurate matches can be made with those third-party sites. These pages describe the Best Practice methods to use for the most reliable scraping process.

1.2 NFO files

NFO files are used to populate the music and video library using locally stored information. They are helpful if data for your particular title does not exist, such as for home movies and sporting events. They can also be used to control the search behaviour of scrapers when problematic and ambiguous titles prevent your preferred title from being fetched.

2 Media sources

Media Sources are virtual links to the content you wish Kodi to use. When you enter any of the Videos, Music, Pictures or the Filemanager, you will see an entry for "Add Sources". When you first start with Kodi you should at least add one source, like a drive or directory on your Kodi device to get you started.

2.1 Adding video sources

The Source is the main folder on your hard drive which contains your collection of Movies or TV Shows or Music Videos or Music. These four classes of media cannot be mixed in the one Source. Once the Sources are set up, Kodi can perform the appropriate actions to display your media. There is no limit to the number of Sources that can be added to Kodi for each media class.

3 Media stubs

If you have a collection of DVD's and Bluray disks but do not want to rip them to a hard drive, then a Media Stub File allows you to add the collection of disks to the Kodi Video Library. It is a simple text based file that is added to your Source in exactly the same way as any other Movie or TV Show, which is then scanned or scraped into the library.

4 Internet streams

Various internet video and audio streams can be played back in Kodi as if they were locally stored on your media center by using STRM files. As long as the format and streaming-method (network-protocol) is supported by Kodi, stream can be added. These are basic text files that look like <name>.strm and contain a URL to the internet stream. STRM files can also be added to the video library and can have cover art, summaries, etc.

Some internet sites may have an add-on available that can also access these media streams, rather than having to manually create STRM files. See Add-ons for more information on how to find and install add-ons.

5 Setting content and scanning

The Source is the main folder on your hard drive which contains your collection of Movies or TV Shows or Music Videos or Music. These four classes of media cannot be mixed in the one Source. Once the Sources are set up, Kodi can perform the appropriate actions to display your media. There is no limit to the number of Sources that can be added to Kodi for each media class.

5.1 Incorrect and missing videos

No scraper is 100% accurate. Errors arise from either mistakes by the user, inherent limitations of the scraper, and/or errors at the site of the information provider. If you have followed the guide, the errors you encounter will be minimal. For those errors that do occur, this page will help correct them. Sorry, but we cannot fix stubborness or laziness for those that refuse to fix their file naming problems.

5.2 Custom video entries

Need to add videos such as home movies or other videos that are not normally found by Kodi's scrapers? This page will show you a few solutions on adding custom videos, such as home movies, clips, special editions, and more.

5.3 Updating or removing videos

This page details the available methods to add, modify and remove videos from your existing video library. These instructions also apply to Music Videos

6 Grouping media

6.1 File stacking

This page will describe the Kodi best practice to name Movie files and create the folder structure to save them in. Your movie folder and files will be placed within your Source folder.

6.2 Movie sets

A Movie Set, also known as movie collection, film or movie series, film or movie franchise, and cinematic universe is a collection of related films that are part of the same fictional universe. The normal scraper sites include metadata for Movie Sets which is scraped by Kodi and creates the Movie Set in your library. Movie sets are versatile and can be created to suit your own preferences as they are easily edited in Kodi using the built in sets editor or by using NFO files.

6.3 Video library tags

Since v12 Frodo, Kodi supports "tags" which can be applied to movies, TV shows, and music videos. They are meant to supplement Movie sets which are (by design) limited in their usage. A movie or TV show can have multiple tags attached and a tag can contain multiple tags. They can be used as keywords, categories, filters, or whatever you want. Movies and TV shows can have multiple tags. Tags can be used to filter and navigate the library. Tags can be edited and managed directly from the Kodi GUI.

6.4 How to separate the library (cartoons, documentaries, anime, etc)

A commonly asked question is how can the Movie Library or TV Show Library be separated so not every Movie or TV Show is in one big section.

It is possible to create Main Menu items in addition to the items that appear on the default Main Menu. For example, adding Home Movies, Kids Movies or Cartoons menu items. Kodi can already filter and separate library items using a number of methods. Combined with a skin that supports Custom Home Items, the library and main menu can be laid out to meet your requirements.

This same idea can also be applied to add-ons, programs, and anything else you might want to place on the home screen.

6.5 Playlists

  • Basic playlists - Kodi supports both basic playlists and smart playlists. A basic playlist is a normal text file that lists one or more media files (Audio or Video), and plays them in succession. You can either create your own or use existing playlists from other sources, such as a playlist generated from Winamp, iTunes, or other sources. Basic playlists can be created and edited directly from Kodi's GUI.
  • Smart playlists - Kodi supports smart playlists for all types of media (excluding pictures), which essentially use a set of rules to limit the results from the databases. This means that to be able to create a smart playlist in the GUI, music/video must first be added to the libraries using a scraper addon or by creating NFO files. Smart playlist can be created either by using the built-in GUI smart playlist editor accessible from the Playlists section, or by creating an XML file with the extension XSP (XBMC Smart Playlist).

6.6 Linking movies to TV shows


6.7 Video nodes

Video nodes are defined views that are used to organize your media from the videos menu. Title, Director, Year, Studios, Countries, Genres are examples of Nodes. These Nodes can be customised using an XML file which gives flexibility in how you display your media. Custom nodes will work with any skin, but for ease of use a compatible skin is preferred.

7 Alternative guides

7.1 Video guides


8 See also