(Pocket-lint) - If you've ditched traditional cable and are looking to set up your on home media center, look no further than Kodi.
The service has been around since 2002, when it was known as XBMC. You can use it to access streaming media content, like videos and music, as well as use it to store or watch that content at home. Plus, it works across a range of systems and devices. Here's everything you need to know about it, including why it's perfect for cord cutters.
What is Kodi?
Software media center
Kodi is described as an open source software media center that allows you to access all sorts of content and play that content your device, whether that be a TV, laptop, phone, tablet, etc. It has an easy-to-use interface, works with both local and network storage services, and can even be expanded by connecting to third-party add-ons.
Run it anywhere
You can run Kodi on a range of operating systems, including devices powered by Android, iOS, Linux, MacOS, Windows, and even Raspberry Pi. It'll also run on televsions, set-top boxes, and streaming media devices. Kodi also comes with support for "hundreds of remotes", so it likely supports yours, which makes it ideal for the living room.
Store and play content
No matter the device, you'll see the same Kodi interface, which lets you choose Pictures, Videos, Music, and more. Just select what you want and then upload the content. It can be stored locally or on a network drive. Kodi will then sort all your content and make easy to find and play on any device that has the Kodi software installed.
What can you do with Kodi?
Music, video, and images
If you want to find and play music, Kodi supports a range of formats, including AAC, MP3, and OGG. It offers features like smart playlists and the ability to tag different songs.
In terms of finding and playing video, it supports ISO, 3D, H.264, and other formats. You can import films, or you can stream content over the internet with Kodi. If you choose to import films, Kodi can organise it and add related art, posters, trailers, video extras, and more. Kodi can do this to TV shows as well. It allows you to store them and then tag them and fetch posters. It will even serve up TV show descriptions and information about actors.
Kodi will further let you import images into a library. So, if you want to stream your pictures, you can use Kodi to start a slideshow.
Stream and record live TV
If you just want to access live TV, Kodi lets you stream live TV, as long as you enable a backend service that supports it, such as MediaPortal, MythTV, TVheadend, NextPVR, Goodfellas 2.0, and BBC iPlayer.
Kodi offers a personal video recorder, too, so you can record and store live content. Just connect the feature to a backend TV server. It works with several; you just need to choose one that supports your operating system and your device. See this handy Wiki guide from Kodi for more information about what you can do.
Add-ons and apps
Kodi also works with add-ons, which are all designed to enhance the experience of the service. Simple add-ons include screensavers, while others can be channels like ABC Family and DIY Network. There are also apps to stream podcasts, like the Apple iTunes Podcasts, and for accessing social media, like the Twitter Feed add-on.
How do you set up Kodi?
We recommend using Kodi's Wiki Quick-start guide for a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to set up the service. Just keep in mind it is meant to be used in the living room, so you can always link your remote control to Kodi and use that to get the service up and running. That said, iOS devices are the most difficult to run it on.
Check this Wiki guide for a full list of support devices.
Should cord cutters try Kodi?
Kodi allows you to ditch your cable subscription. You can use it to stream and record live TV, download and sort media content, and tap into backend services, add-ons, and apps, all of which expand what you can do with Kodi. If you’re looking for a way to access and play everything from movies and TV shows to photos and music, to all the devices in your home, Kodi is perfect for you. So, yes, cord cutters should try it.