What is Kodi? What are its features?
Kodi is an open source media player that has been making bold headlines in the recent months–both for good and bad reasons. However, Kodi has existed since 2002, when it was known as Xbox Media Player. In 2014, it was renamed Kodi by the maintainer XBMC Foundation. While the Xbox Media Player was launched for the first-generation Xbox game console, now it’s available for Android, macOS, Linux, BSD, iOS, tvOS, Windows, etc.
It’s a centralized media center that lets you store all your content at a single place and gives you the ease to access it virtually from anywhere. It should be noted that Kodi doesn’t provide media itself; the users have to provide their own content or point it manually to online media. It has been designed by keeping the TV audience in mind who accustomed of enjoying the digital content–this interface is also called 10-foot UI.
Kodi platform supports almost all audio and video file formats. This gives you the flexibility to run old and newer files with equal ease. With the help of numerous plugins, you can stream content from tons of free video services like YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
Apart from playing the common media formats, Kodi also supports slideshows, weather forecasts reporting, audio visualizations, etc. However, unlike other solutions like MythTV and Windows Media Center, it doesn’t come with an internal digital TV-tuner backend for Live TV functionality. With the help of a suitable add-on, you can get started with TV streaming on Kodi.
Audio and video playback in Kodi
As said above, Kodi brings a wide-ranging support to your entertainment world. Apart from the traditional file-types, Kodi can also play media from SMB/SAMBA/CIFS shares, NFS, WebDAV or UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) shares. Kodi can also upscale all the standard definition videos to 720p, 1080i, and 1080p resolutions. Moreover, you also get the facility to stream video from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc., with the help of add-ons.
Kodi’s video library organizes the video by the information, which can be obtained via scrapers, associated with them. In the library view, you can browse and sort the content by Genre, Title, Year, Actors, Directors, etc.
For playing video, Kodi uses a video player named DVDPlayer. It’s Kodi’s homegrown, cross-platform player, which is based on FFmpeg. Its notable feature is on-the-fly pause and playback of DVD movies directly in ISO, IMG, RAR, ZIP, etc., formats.
For audio playback, Kodi’s PAPlayer comes into the picture. This player’s notable features are on-the-fly resampling of the audio frequency, gapless playback, crossfading, etc.
What Are Kodi Add-ons?
For any software, Add-ons are the functions and features that don’t ship with the base package. Kodi add-ons are developed by Team Kodi and the third-party developers. You can easily find add-ons for different services. Kodi provides tons of add-ons from its repository. The users are also free to install third-party Kodi add-ons. There are different kinds of add-ons available. The different add-on categories are Gaming, Lyrics, Video, Audio, Web Interface, Weather, etc.
Kodi skins are add-ons that you can install to change the basic UI and appearance of your media solution software. You can also create your skin, modify existing skin, and share it via different public websites.
The scraper add-ons let you import the detailed information of a media from various internet resources. This information can include titles, genres, reviews, posters. etc. The web interface add-ons allow you to browse your Kodi media library from a remote location.
Kodi ships with powerful Live TV and DVR/PVR (video recording) features. With the help of third-party Kodi backend add-ons or DVR device, one can watch Live TV, listen to the radio, perform recordings, and other TV functions. For the lesser tech-savvy users, the first time setup of Live TV and recording could be cumbersome. On Kodi’s website, there’s a detailed guide to help the enthusiasts. Once you’re done, you can find TV-related add-ons to leverage all the features.
In the recent times, Kodi has become increasingly common, thanks to the exploding sales of “Kodi Boxes,” which has prompted many people to cut the cable cord completely. A Kodi Box is a standalone device that can be connected directly to your monitor or TV. These boxes come with pre-installed apps and you can get your entertainment hub running in no time.
Is Kodi (and Kodi Boxes) legal?
Kodi is a fully-legal software; It’s as legal as your web browser. If you’re calling Kodi illegal as it’s being used to stream pirated content, you should also call browsers illegal as they are used to download pirated content and watch them on such websites.
However, Kodi is attracting bad publicity due to the third party add-ons that are being used to connect to access subscription streaming services for free. A large number of Kodi Boxes, which are totally unaffiliated with official Kodi Team, are being sold with add-ons that link to pirated streams. But, if a Kodi Box doesn’t ship with add-ons that promote pirated streaming, then it’s legal to use such box.
In the past, on many occasions, Kodi has made it clear. “Kodi does not provide any media itself. Users must provide their own content or manually point Kodi to third-party online services. The Kodi project does not provide any support for bootleg video content,” Kodi’s official website states.
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