Kodi is a software media player designed for home theater PC use. It’s an open source project that runs on Linux, Windows, OS X, Android and iOS operating systems. Kodi features a 10-foot user interface for use with television sets and remote controls. It allows you to play music, movies, view pictures, record live TV, and it’s highly customizable. Kodi was previously known as XBMC, so if you see any references to it, don’t worry – you’re looking at the right software.
The real power of Kodi comes precisely from its customizability, which ranks among the greatest in the open source community. With add-ons, you can make interface changes, add minor enhancements, or extend Kodi with completely new functions. There are several ways to install the add-ons. You can point to the add-ons repository via the “Get Add-ons” option, or download the .zip file and click the “Install from zip file” option. Alternatively, you can use one of the add-ons presented here that was made for this very purpose.
And now, here’s a selection of 20 great Kodi add-ons.
1. TuneIn Radio
TuneIn is a very popular radio and podcast service. It features 100 000 radio stations and over four million podcasts, and it’s likely you already know it and use it on your smartphone or tablet. This unofficial plugin allows you to use it in Kodi.
2. CU LRC Lyrics
CU LRC Lyrics is the official lyrics script for Kodi. It does exactly what you think it does, and if you want lyrics with your music, it’s essential. It supports both regular and LRC lyrics, and it can search synchronized/un-synchronized lyrics that are embedded as well as those from files, or scrape them from third-party sources.
3. Addon Installer for Kodi
If you prefer to manage everything plugin-related from one centralized interface, Addon Installer is probably the first thing you should install. It lets you browse, install and update various other plugins, provided they’re available in its repositories.
The video counterpart to the lyrics add-on, this plugin searches Open-subtitles for the appropriate subtitle. If you’re not a fan of OpenSubtitles or cannot find what you need there, there are various other official subtitle add-ons: Podnapisi, Subscene, Titlovi, Divxplanet…
5. Yahoo! Weather
Unsurprisingly, this plugin shows the weather forecast, courtesy of Yahoo’s weather service. Once again, there are other contenders among the official add-ons: Met Office, Oz Weather, Weather China, etc., which are sure to weather you through any forecasting needs.
7. Back Row
Back Row is one of many official skin add-ons for Kodi, focused on providing a domestic cinematic experience. It’s a mature project that has been improved over the years by the community. Of course, this is just a suggestion – you can always browse the Skins category to find other beautiful skins for Kodi.
8. Rom Collection Browser
This add-on enables you to browse your ROM collection and play emulated games. There’s little setup required – just point it to your collection and you’re set. The features are as you might expect: import games to local database, scrape art and information online, filter by various parameters, even display cabinets and marquees.
Maybe you find watching game-play more relaxing than playing the games yourself? Or perhaps you’re interested in seeing what the best Linux games look like? Twitch is the premier video game streaming service, and this add-on enables you to watch your favorites in the same manner as you’d watch any other video content – using Kodi.
If you’re a fan of Japanese animation, Kodi has got you covered. AnimeFTW.tv features over 750 anime titles in their effort to provide the best collection of anime to discerning viewers. They offer high-quality streams using both DivX and H264 codecs, and have over two terabytes of series, OVAs, and movies available.
Despite the wealth of content addons of every kind, it’s still possible that you might not be able to find what you want. Links perish quickly and without warning, and the advertised high-quality stream can turn out to be a barely-watchable-quality stream. In that case, taking the matter into your own hands is the only solution, and a torrent client is one of the most valuable tools. Transmission-XBMC could be described as somewhat basic in regards to its features, but it has all you need, and you can rest assured it won’t spy on you or spam you with ads, like some of its competitors.
Formerly known as LetMeWatchThis, and currently known as both 1Channel and PrimeWire, the site is one of the oldest and largest of its kind. The focus is mostly on movies, which number at over 60,000, but there are plenty of TV shows as well (more than nine thousand titles). It’s a good starting point or fallback, but keep in mind that the links are provided by the users, so the video quality varies and broken links are common.
Much like 1Channel, Genesis is a compilation of movie and TV shows links. Unlike 1Channel, however, it doesn’t provide simple access to just one site. Instead it scrapes many of them, including 1Channel (PrimeWire), in an effort to combat the ever-present link decay. Judging by how popular it has become, it seems safe to say it succeeded in this mission.
There’s one form of content that hasn’t been mentioned yet – live TV streams. It’s perhaps the natural progression – we went from wanting a more convenient way of watching Internet videos to wanting films and TV shows, only to finally return to TV programming, but without the traditionally imposed limits. Geographical differences and channel packages are meaningless in the face of Internet. Finding content, however, is a problem. Add-ons like Phoenix help solve it by providing lists of streams. Each list features tens or hundreds of channels, ranging from news to sport to entertainment.
16. Playlist Loader
Playlist Loader covers one area that Phoenix does not. Custom lists have been popping up everywhere – on Reddit, on forums dedicated to Kodi and its add-ons, as link dumps mysteriously pasted on completely unrelated sites, etc. Playlist Loader is a convenient method of adding these online lists, as well as your own local ones.
17. TV Guide
Since it’s very likely you’ll use Kodi to stream live television, it makes sense to have a TV guide. It saves you from switching between channels all day, as well as switching away from Kodi. Named for its function, TV Guide is an add-on that gives you an overview of what’s currently on TV.
Navi-X utilizes an approach that could be described as a hybrid between Genesis and Phoenix / Playlist Loader. It’s a content aggregator that utilizes both scraping and user contributed playlists. The range of content is the widest of any of these – it features everything from movies and TV shows to live streams to podcasts and every other sort of multimedia content you can imagine. Navi-X is one of the oldest and best known Kodi add-ons.
The last of the trio of older Kodi add-ons, IceFilm provides a service very similar to 1Channel. It features movies and TV shows, but also music concerts and even stand-up comedy. It numbers over 77,000 videos, complete with metadata and posters. It’s a welcome backup to 1Channel and a strong competitor to newer alternatives.
It’s quite appropriate that the last entry on the list should be a catch-all content provider. Digital redundancy is a good thing, though we don’t appreciate it fully until our favorites get hit with DMCA notices. Cliq features live streams, movies, TV shows, cartoons, sports and everything else one might think of when it comes to streaming entertainment. In short, this add-on makes Kodi awesome.
SEE ALSO: 10 Best Google Chromecast Alternatives
Which Kodi addons do you use? Can you recommend some other useful add-ons for Kodi? Let us know in the comments.