Kodi, the media player system does not really need an introduction but if you are unaware, Kodi is an open source media center software or home entertainment system, previously known as XBMC (Xbox Media Center). The very powerful software has the ability to open almost all types of audio, video and image formats, plus it lets you stream movies, live TV, shows, sports and more. Also, it lets you organize all your media in a streamlined way and supports various official and third party add-ons (all thanks to an amazing community) that surely enhance its functionality, making it much more than just a simple media center software. However, if you have just started using it on your Mac or PC, chances are, you’ll know that it’s not the most easiest software to use.
The various options and features can be a little overwhelming. So, if you’ve used Kodi in the past, only to let it go because you found setting it up tough, well, we are here to your rescue. We bring you a complete step-by-step guide on how to use Kodi on your PC or Mac in the best way possible:
So, let’s begin with installing Kodi!
Install Kodi on Your Device
The good thing about Kodi is that it’s available for almost all platforms you can think of, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS (jailbroken devices only), Raspberry Pi and more.
You can just head over to Kodi’s official download page, where you can download a build for any of the aforementioned platforms. Also, at the time of writing, the latest stable build of Kodi is v16.1 Jarvis, while Kodi is already testing v17 Krypton for next year (Yes, Kodi builds are named after various pop culture entities), which is available as a beta release.
We will be showing you the Kodi setup on a Windows PC but you can expect it to be almost identical to other platforms. When you install Kodi for the first time, there will be no content whatsoever, so you will have to set things up manually. So, let’s get going, shall we?
How to Use Kodi
Kodi’s interface might not seem very easy or modern but it certainly is very functional. The home page of Kodi features sections for Pictures, Videos, Music, Programs and System. You can simply hover over each of these sections with your computer’s mouse for more options like files, add-ons, system info, settings and more.
On the bottom left corner of the home page, you will find the favorites button, which shows the add-ons that you have and your favorites, which are add-ons or media that you have added to favorites. Also, you will find a shutdown button, which lets you exit Kodi or power off system, reboot or put it to sleep or hibernate. You can even set a custom shutdown timer.
When you enter any of the sections, you will find a back and home button on the bottom right and a sidebar on the left, which lets you select the view and other miscellaneous options.
If you are someone who loves using keyboard shortcuts to navigate, you will find Kodi very easy to navigate with a keyboard. Plus, there are a number of cool keyboard shortcuts that Kodi supports.
Options and Settings
Create Locked Profiles
The Kodi home page features the various sections and sub-sections for Pictures, Videos, Music, Programs and System. Before you head over to the Settings page and play with the various options, you should create a profile or just set a lock on the Master profile, so that no one else gets access to your private content collection.
You can do this by going to System->Profiles. Here, you can enable the login screen and set the lock preferences of a profile.
Choose Settings Level
Once done, you can head to the System->Settings and enter any of the available options and select the “Settings Level”. The levels range from Basic, Standard, Advanced to Expert. We’ll recommend you to set it to “Expert”, to make sure that all of the options are visible to you.
Check out all Settings
Then, you can head over to the various Settings options. Here’s what each of options offer:
Appearance: Here you can change the skin of the Kodi interface to totally revamp its looks.
You can choose from available skins or download new ones. Also, you can change the fonts, startup window, sounds, edit the RSS Feed that scrolls down at the bottom, change the language & region, screensaver and more.
Video: As the name suggests, Video packs in various options for video playback, the video library, acceleration, subtitles, discs and accessibility. Each of these options pack in a plethora of options to play with.
TV: Like Video, you can configure the various TV settings like playback, parental control, recording, power saving and more.
Music: The Music options lets you set up the library the way you want. Plus, you get a number of advanced playback options, file lists and more.
Pictures: Here, you can change the file lists settings and configure the way slideshows are shown.
Weather: You can simply choose a weather service to show you info in the Kodi main page. Keep in mind though, that you will have to install a weather add-on first. We will recommend the Yahoo Weather add-on.
Add-ons: If you plan on using Kodi extensively, you will be visiting the Add-ons Settings page all the time. Here, you will find options to install the various add-ons from ZIP files or repositories.
Services: Want to stream your Kodi content to a TV or want to control your Kodi system via your smartphone? Well, you will find all the options for that here.
System: The System Settings pack in a lot of important actions. Here, you can configure the video & audio output, set up a master lock, enable power saving mode and more.
All of these pages pack in a ton of options that you can play with and if you are someone who loves to tinker around with video & audio playback settings, you are going to have a lot of fun. Now that you are well accustomed with various Kodi settings, let’s get the content, right?
Access Locally Stored Media in Kodi
If you a have a lot of music, videos, TV shows, podcasts etc. stored locally on your device, you can easily access it on Kodi and also organize it better. Firstly, you will have to add all your media to Kodi. Here’s how to do it:
1. Hover over the Pictures, Videos or Music section from the home page and click on Files.
2. Then, just tap on “Add Music” or whatever section you selected.
3. Enter the path where your media is stored on your device.
4. Once you have added a path, all the media from that folder will available for you to play in Kodi. While you can add as many paths as you want, we will recommend you to store all your media files in unified single folders for a better organized experience.
Although accessing your local media from Kodi is cool, the real fun lies in the various Kodi add-ons and repositories. So, here’s how you can install them on Kodi:
Install Repositories and Add-ons in Kodi
I know you must be wondering, what exactly is a repository? Well, repositories are a group of add-ons that can be installed in Kodi, so that you can access the various add-ons it offers with ease. Kodi offers its very own official add-on repository, plus you can always install various third party repositories and add-ons.
Official Add-ons can be installed and enabled in Kodi directly. On the other hand, unofficial add-ons can be installed through different sources or repositories that you will have to add manually or through ZIP files that are available to download.
Install Official Kodi Add-ons
First, let’s talk about how you can install the official Kodi add-ons like YouTube, Dbmc for Dropbox, Trakt, Vine etc. Here are the steps to do it:
1. You can just head over to Settings->Add-ons. Here, click on “Install from repository”. Then, click on “Kodi Add-on Repository”.
2. Here you will find different types of add-on categories like look & feel, music, lyrics, videos, subtitles and more.
3. You can just head to an add-on type, for instance, you can just click on Video Add-ons and click on an add-on of your choice and the hit “Install“, after which the add-on will be downloaded and you should get an “add-on enabled” notification.
Once you’ve installed the add-on, you will find them in their respective sections, like YouTube will be available in Videos->Add-on page.
While there are a ton of great official add-ons, there are some great unofficial ones too, which make Kodi’s complexity worthwhile. So, let’s take a look at how you can install third party repositories and add-ons:
Install Third Party Unofficial Kodi Add-ons
Some of the best unofficial Kodi add-ons are part of repositories like Fusion, Xfinity, Superrepo and more. So, first let’s see how you can install a repository in Kodi. Well, to install a repository, you will have to add its source and every source comes with its own unique link, which you can easily find through a Google Search. For instance, we are going to show you how you can install the Fusion repository:
1. Head to System->File Manager and double click on “Add Source” .
2. Enter the source link of Fusion, which currently is ” http://fusion.tvaddons.ag” and enter the name for the repository you want.
Note: Keep in mind that the links for different sources keep on changing, so you will have to check out the active links to add a source.
3. Now, you can head to Settings->Add ons and click on “Install from ZIP”, here you can check out the sources you have added. Click on “Fusion” or whatever name you gave to the source. Then, check out the various repositories and add-ons available through it.
4. We’ll recommend you to first install the Add-on installer add-on from “start-here”, as it brings a number of cool add-ons that you can install. You can just click on an add-on or repo to install it. Once the Add-on installer is installed, you will see a notification. Also, you can install a repository from the “xbmc-repos” folder.
5. To install an add-on from a repository, you can just click on “Install from Repository” and head to the repo you want to install the add-on from.
Different sources have differently styled names for add-ons & repos but they are mostly self-explanatory, so you should not have a problem. Once you have added various repositories, you can just head to the add-ons option Music, Videos or any other section, click on Get more and you should see all the add-ons available to install from the official & unofficial repositories.
Some add-ons are also available as ZIP files on the web. So, you can just download them and then, install them from the “Install from ZIP” option.
Well, now you can check out our list of the best Kodi add-ons, install them and watch all your favorite TV shows, live TV, movies, sports and more, on the go. Cool, right?
Note: Some unofficial Kodi add-ons are illegal and some just fail to work at times because of geo-restrictions. In that case you can use a VPN app on your device.
Use Kodi from your Phone
Kodi brings a great media center experience and chances are, you would not always want to control it via the usual mouse and keyboard combo, right? While Kodi supports TV remotes, game controllers and more such devices. The good news is, you can control Kodi with your phone. The official remote app from Kodi available for Android and iOS lets you do that.
1. To use it, you will first have to go to Kodi Services Settings. Here, go to Remote Control and turn on the option that says “Allow remote control by programs on other systems”.
2. Then, go to Webserver and enable “Allow remote control via HTTP”.
3. Also, head to Zeroconf and enable “Announce Services to other systems”.
4. Once done, you can open the remote app and make sure your Kodi system and smartphone are connected to the same network. Tap on “Next” and the Kodi remote app will start looking for media centers.
5. If the media center is found, you can just select your system and start controlling Kodi on your phone. The app will present you a remote, which works flawlessly.
The Kodi remote app even lets you see all the music, videos, pictures and other media inside your Kodi system. Moreover, you can even check out all the add-ons installed in your Kodi system.
Note: In case the app fails to identify the Kodi media center, you can just tap on Next and configure things manually. You can just enter the media center name and in address, enter the IP address of the system running Kodi. When it comes to the username, password and port, you can find them in Kodi’s Webserver options in Services Settings.
Well, now you have set up Kodi, installed various add-ons and repositories and you even know how you can control Kodi from your phone. So, how about streaming your Kodi system from your device to a TV via Chromecast?
Stream Kodi to TV via Chromecast
Well, if you are using Kodi on a PC or Mac, you can use the Google Cast Chrome extension to stream Kodi on a TV easily. If you are using Kodi on your Android smartphone, you can use the Google Cast app or LocalCast app to stream Kodi to a TV. We have already published a detailed article on how you can stream Kodi from Chromecast to a TV, so you should definitely check it out.
SEE ALSO: 10 Best Kodi Skins To Revamp the Look
All set with your Kodi configuration?
Once you have set up Kodi on your device, make sure to install the Backup Add-on, so that you can take your profile to any other system you want. Also, after you are accustomed to Kodi, you should check out our article on the various Kodi tricks. Well, we hope our guide has helped you set up your Kodi configuration but if you have any questions or doubts, feel free to let us know about it in the comments section below. You can surely expect a swift reply from us. However, if you still find Kodi complex and tough to use, you can check out some Kodi alternatives you can use.