Some people might be wondering where Kodi came from all of a sudden. It’s like this amazing software just appeared out of nowhere. But the truth is that it’s an open source media player that has been around for quite a while. However, it was formerly known as XBMC.
The XBMC Foundation is still behind the software, but they decided to rebrand it with a catchier name. The foundation is a non-profit technology consortium and they initially release the media player as the Xbox Media Center, which is where the foundation got its initials from.
Essentially Kodi is an application that functions as the software for a home theater entertainment system. Once installed on compatible hardware you essentially have a completely free way to interact with locally stored media. Or with media streamed over the Internet.
Many advances have been made in recent years to bring the software to ever more platforms. That means you’re no longer tied to clunky and difficult to navigate menus that come with most home entertainment systems.
In this article, we are going to focus on using the player on a Windows PC, with detailed instructions on how to do that. We also give you a great alternative to the Windows version, which has become quite a popular alternative.
So, let’s take a closer look at how to get up and running.
Kodi For PC Installation Instructions
One of the great things about open source software is that there are hundreds and even thousands of developers who donate their time. They make improvements and submit them to the public. But they also make new versions available so that the software can be installed on different platforms.
That means, that Kodi is not just available as an app on an iPhone or Android device. There is a fully functioning version available for Windows PC. And this is what you need to do:
- Head over to the official Kodi download page and select Windows
- When the download is complete, double click the installer file
- Follow the simple onscreen instructions to install it in a preferred location
- When the installer is complete just click on “Finish”
- You can now launch the application and start using it to play local or remote video and audio
We’ll take a closer look further down how to use the software, but that is really all you need to do. Now for some people, the large interface on the native Windows version might not be that appealing. And if you’ve used the mobile app then you might prefer that.
The good news is that we have a simple solution to get the app running on your PC.
Kodi Mobile App On PC
Most people these days use their smartphone or tablet most of the day. You’ve probably become fully accustomed to using mobile apps, that when you see desktop versions or web interfaces they seem completely alien. Even unintuitive.
If you don’t like the desktop Kodi version then there is a way to get the app running.
Kodi App On Bluestacks:
- Download and install the latest version of the Bluestacks emulator
- Launch the installer when the download is complete
- Follow the simple onscreen instructions to install in a preferred location
- Use the Bluestacks search feature to find the Kodi apk
- Download and install the app
You can now use the Android version of the app right there on your desktop. It works and responds exactly the same and this will mean less of a learning curve or adjustment.
Kodi App On Nox App Player:
- Download and install Nox App Player
- Once the download is complete run the installer
- Follow the onscreen instruction
- Enter your Google account details, as these will be used to set up Google Play
- Once installation is complete, launch Nox App Player
- Launch the Google Play Store and search for Kodi
- Install the app and you’re ready to go
Both options work equally well and will give you full access to the mobile app version. The only difference is that you have to use your mouse to click on the app screen. But you also get the advantage of a much bigger screen size on your computer. So you can enjoy your favorite movies in a much better resolution.
If you want to run Kodi on a Windows desktop or laptop then you’ll need to at least have Windows Vista. Anything prior to that, like Windows XP, is just not going to work. Even Vista is going to show slow and sluggish behavior as it isn’t fully capable of hardware decoding. That means that all video has to run through the main processor which just slows everything down.
Windows 7 and 10 are much better options as they support full hardware decoding of video. That makes even full HD or 4K streamed video play seamlessly. The only thing that can cause stuttering or slowness will be your Internet connection speed.
To get the best results you’ll also need some reasonably powerful graphics cards. Two of the most popular are ATI and NVIDIA. On the ATI side the minimum one would be the R420, but you’ll get much better results with an R700 or later model. A 6th series NVIDIA will be compatible, but can still show signs of buffering and slowness. It would be much better to have a series 8 version installed.
Other than that, you’re pretty much good to go. If you plan to stream high-end video then you will need to make sure that you have some decent Internet speeds as well.
What Is The Buzz All About?
For those new to the app you might be wondering: What is Kodi all about? Is it really that much better than other entertainment system SW?
To answer that you should at least give the Kodi media center a try and compare it something like you Blu Ray player menus or maybe your smart TV system. You’ll quickly notice that from a usability point of view it is so much more flexible than anything else available.
But there is something much more important about the Kodi app. Because it is open source it is free and fully compatible with many different streaming services. Most other home cinema systems will be restricted to just one provider. Or maybe just the couple of main ones like Netflix, iTunes and Amazon Video.
You won’t be able to connect to other stream servers without some major hacking that just isn’t worth it.
Once you have Kodi installed you’ll see that there are two main ways to play video and audio. Either from local files on your computer or network drive. Or you can connect to a streaming server on the Internet.
We’ll take a closer look at how to use it on the next section.
What that means is that as long as you have a decent Internet connection and you locate a suitable free or paid for streaming service, then you can watch movies and TV shows to your heart’s content. Now we have to mention that there are some copyright issues with some of the streaming services. So be careful how you use it.
The whole legality of the media center is covered below as well.
So, the buzz is all about getting a free open source media center that can connect to many different sources. It plays extremely high quality video and audio. And it is so easy to use as well.
How To Use Kodi
OK, so you’ve followed the above steps and are ready to go. The SW has launched and you’re ready to test it out. But what exactly do you do?
The first thing on screen is a carousel type screen which is where most of the action really takes place. It’s very simple to navigate and you should play around with the functionality a bit to get started.
Your first option is to launch a file stored on your hard disk or even a disk drive. This is really simple and involves navigating in a file browser that you would be used to. This is also where you can launch DVD or Blu-ray disks.
The other option is to stream content from the Internet. Here the trick is finding a good source of quality content that you’re interested in. You simply click on the video add-ons and the click on “Get More”. The resulting screen will have a long list of video sources that you can browse through. It’s like finding a good TV channel really.
Once a video has launched you will have some controls to pause, start stop and skip to sections. These are very intuitive and you’ll be used to them from many other media players.
And that’s basically it. You do have to be careful with add-ons as not all the content is licensed. More on the legal side of things in the next section.
Are There Legal Issues?
The software itself is perfectly legal. You won’t be doing anything illegal by downloading it or using it to play video or music that you have legally obtained. So, if you have some CDs or DVDs at home and want to play them through Kodi, that’s perfectly fine.
A lot of the add-ons where you can stream video are also perfectly legal. In fact. You could create your own TV style channel with your own video productions. Then you could make it available for streaming, similar to the way podcasts work. Nothing wrong with that and many people do it.
The problem really comes down to streaming unlicensed content. For example, if you set up a stream to play a copy of a blockbuster movie then you making it available are breaking the law. But also, the person viewing it.
So, if you see add-ons with latest TV shows and movies for free, then it’s likely they are not licensed. You won’t be stopped by the Kodi app, and common sense will have to help you judge a situation. But streaming copyright material that is not licensed is illegal and you need to be careful about it.
What Other Platforms Is It Available On?
The great thing about open source systems is that there are hundreds or thousands of developers constantly working on improving it. If you were to find a great new feature to add, you can submit it to the community and if accepted it will be integrated. But this also applies to making software available on different platforms.
The trend today has been for many new systems to be released on Apple’s iOS to see how it’s received. If it’s a success there then it’s ported to Android. If you’re lucky it will also make it to Windows mobile and that’s mostly where it ends.
The reason for this is that there is an increasing trend to consume data, information and media on mobile devices. As a result, there is often no desktop version available.
But with open source systems there are developers at hand that are willing to bring it to all possible platforms. For Kodi that means:
- Mac OS
- Raspberry Pi
What other software do you know of that works on so many different platforms? And in addition to that it will work on many smart TV platforms as well.
Kodi is a fantastic solution to bring a very easy to use and scalable media center to any possible device in your home. Mobile, desktop, laptop or smart TV, everything is pretty much covered. It’s a great way to play all types of video and audio that you have on your computer.
But you can also stream video from anywhere in the world. There are many add-on streams available that allow you to watch anything and everything. And the best part is that it’s all completely free of charge.