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Kodi (formerly known as XBMC) is a hugely popular open-source media player that acts as a central hub for all your home entertainment.

Since 2013, it’s been available on the Android operating system. And it’s not a stripped-out, featureless app — you get the full Kodi experience right from your Android smartphone or tablet.

In this article, I’m going to give you five reasons why you need to install Kodi on your Android right now.

Note: The user interface is exactly the same as the one you’ll get on a computer. Therefore, the app is easier to use on tablets with larger screens, rather than on phones.

1. Live TV Channels

Are you fed up of paying extortionate prices for cable or satellite television?

The prices might not be so bad if the services had content worth watching, but it seems 90 percent of the channels are either reruns of shows that weren’t very good in the first place or glorified 24/7 ad networks.

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If you’re a TV junkie, the ability to get free live TV How to Watch Live Broadcast TV Using Kodi and NextPVR How to Watch Live Broadcast TV Using Kodi and NextPVR Watch and record broadcast TV, free of charge, using your PC. It's perfectly legal, and a free Windows program called NextPVR makes the process (relatively) simple. Read More directly on your Android device — no matter where you are in the world — is comfortably the best reason for downloading the app. You’ll be able to get content from all the major networks plus a wide variety of cable channels, including Comedy Central, The History Channel, PBS, Adult Swim, and A&E.

There are lots of great live TV plugins to choose from, but some of the most popular ones are Phoenix, USTVnow, cCloud TV, and Channel Pear. If you’re not sure how to install plugins, check out our extensive guide How to Set Up Your XBMC/Kodi Media Center How to Set Up Your XBMC/Kodi Media Center Discs on your shelves. Files on your computer. Websites around the web. You, the modern media consumer, don’t get your entertainment from just one place: you get it from many different sources. Read More .

2. Make Use of an Old Android Device

The Kodi app is not available on Roku. Its absence is possibly the only downside of using the excellent streaming devices. It is possible to install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV (UK), but the process is a little complicated for the average user.

Amazon Fire TV Amazon Fire TV All-new Amazon Fire TV Now Supports 4K Ultra HD Buy Now At Amazon

Instead, why not use an old Android device that’s gathering dust in the back of a cupboard? Remove the SIM card, and you can turn it into a dedicated server for your entertainment. Just buy a Micro-USB to HDMI cable (if your device supports that), and you’ll be able to connect it straight to your TV.

3. Watch Your Media, Save Memory

You’ve been able to watch your own TV shows and films on Android for a long time. Just connect the device to a computer, then drag-and-drop the content you want. Unfortunately, HD videos use a lot of memory. If you’ve got a small device, you’ll quickly hit your limits.

Of course, there are file manager apps The 7 Best Free File Explorers for Android The 7 Best Free File Explorers for Android There are a bunch of file management and file exploring apps out there for Android, but these are the best. Read More that allow you to stream network content from a computer directly to your Android screen. But there is no other app that does it all so beautifully and effortlessly as Kodi.

All you need to do is add your computer or NAS drive as a source. Kodi’s wiki explains the process in simple terms. You’ll be watching your favorite shows in bed on your tablet in no time!

4. Live News

Why do so many cable companies bundle the international 24/7 news channels into their most expensive packages?

Probably because news and sports channels are the two main reasons so many people remain reluctant to cut the cable. No one has a TV subscription just to watch Orange is the New Black or Breaking Bad — that stuff is all available elsewhere.

worldnewslive-bbc

Kodi makes it easy to access 24/7 news channels from around the world without paying a cent. All you need to do is find the appropriate plugin How to Watch the News Online Using XBMC How to Watch the News Online Using XBMC Read More .

5. Display Your Photos

For most people, the smartphone camera has replaced the traditional camera 10 Simple Tricks to Boost Your Smartphone Photography 10 Simple Tricks to Boost Your Smartphone Photography There are a few tips that are especially useful when you're taking shots with your phone; they'll help you take your pictures from "blah" to "fantastic" in no time! Read More as their main way of taking snaps.

However, very few of us take the time to manage our smartphone’s photo library How to Make Google Photos Work for You with These Tips How to Make Google Photos Work for You with These Tips Google Photos could be the much-awaited solution to manage all your photos. But is it the best among all online photo sharing sites? Read More . If you’re anything like me, you’ll have your best photos mixed in with memes, screenshots, and random photos of things you wanted to remember.

Kodi is a great solution. You can use it to create slideshows of all your favorite moments, and those slideshows will never be cluttered with other photos. You can even share those slideshows on your network so they’ll be available on your desktop Kodi app.

Why Did You Download Kodi?

Do you run Kodi on your device? What have you found to be the biggest benefit? Why would you recommend the app to your fellow readers?

What about the other side of the coin — is there anything you hate about the product? Would you change anything? What do you find frustrating?

I’d love to hear all your thoughts and opinions. As always, you can get in touch via the comments section below.

Originally written by Justin Pot on January 9th, 2013.

  1. Sebastien Retail
    October 31, 2016 at 6:34 am

    I have various devices running kodi. Mini atx in living room for for large videos of 30 gb. 2 r2B on TV for lighter videos and pictures. And just event lyrics on my old Samsung S5 mini. It works great. And I use it for music. Through Bluetooth I can output sound to my beats XL which goes around the house or even garden or garage. The phone only has the built in memory. Nothing else needed. The library auto updates and allows me play almost any song on my lan or NAS. Some flac files don't play though.
    I really think it's a brillant lightweight low consumption setup which allows me to keep most kodi turned of until I really need them on a big screen.

  2. Kvnrdrguez
    October 30, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I use KODi for free TV on my android,PC, and firestick.

  3. Larry Virden
    October 30, 2016 at 9:54 am

    So space is tight on my devices. Can this app replace other common apps?

  4. Andy Betts
    October 27, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I'd use Kodi if it supported Chromecast. There's a workaround, but it's a real pain to set up.

  5. John Bonjovi
    October 27, 2016 at 8:00 am

    The article says it was written today but the comments are dated 2013?

    • Dan Price
      October 27, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Hi John,

      The article was updated a few days ago to reflect more recent info.

      You can see the note of the final line of the article giving a hat-tip to the original author.

      Thanks.

  6. Ryan Stewart
    July 5, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    The problem with xbmc on android is there is no hardware decoding for most boxes meaning HD video won't play without studdering. It is very unstable and prone to crashing at the minute but it's still in development and improving with every release. The commenter who said it's limited to tegra chips is wrong, development is actually on an amlogic chip.

    Other than that you can get a build that uses an external player such as mxplayer to play videos if all else fails.

    Good article by the way! however I can remember xbmc being able to browse the web lol!

  7. Doug Prag
    January 17, 2013 at 4:05 am

    able to dl on my mid 729b w/ics but it crashes after the initial set up. not sure if it is a space thing as it takes up nearly a gig or if it is just a compatibility issue. the mid has a lot of apps that just don't work on it. I'll keep trying

    • Doug Prag
      January 18, 2013 at 2:33 am

      anyone know if this program works for the hp touchpad? I can try that instead.

      • Albert Harris
        January 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm

        Doug ...... have been playing with the unofficial XBMC build from the XBMCANDROID / XDA Developers teams this morning and seems alot more stable on my HP TouchPad than the official builds. For some reason they continually would lock up or never play anything. Plus this comes with alot of the more popular repos and video addons preinstalled. The Touchscreen UI is alot more tablet user friendly as well. You can read about it and get it here:
        http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2105075
        I'm using the Neon Device version and it's working great so far.

  8. prasanth vikkath
    January 16, 2013 at 4:22 am

    XBMC oh my favorite Software..... I have started using it in my android

  9. Duane Arsenault
    January 15, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I'll have to check this out tonight...I'm in Canada but interested to see what's out there. Is the content ip specific? If I use a US server can I watch US content?

    • Justin Pot
      January 15, 2013 at 10:48 pm

      The content in the (legal) plugins pulls from sites that may or may not be region locked. Hulu, for example, is locked down, so you can't use it. So your mileage may vary, but if you can't access a site using your browser you also can't access it using XBMC.

      To make things fair, I won't be able to watch Hockey Night In Canada online this weekend and you will. Jerk.

  10. Daniel Affourtit
    January 15, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Will this work on Google TV devices?

    • Justin Pot
      January 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      I don't know enough about Google TV to say, but my suspicion is that if this were possible you'd need to jailbreak the device to even try.

  11. Hank Lambert
    January 15, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Very nice. I just installed XBMC remote and XBMC on my Asus Transformer TF300T. After a week, it has become my only media player on my tablet.

    • Justin Pot
      January 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      Glad you're enjoying it.

  12. Igor Rizvi?
    January 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Daily show,most definetly :))

  13. Eric Brewer
    January 12, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Might want to mention that it's limited to tegra chips right now. Or at least that's what it said when I tried to install it.

  14. Keith Swartz
    January 12, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    This is a good pro-android read.

  15. Dale C. Scheetz
    January 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    The version on the website is for Frodo and doesn't work on my Transformer. However Amazon has a version that runs fine. I'm still trying to set up my account ;-)

    Dwarf42

    • Nathan
      January 12, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Amazon definitely does not have a version of XBMC. Nor does XBMC require anyone to set up an account. Amazon does have a version of the XBMC remote control, but that's not XBMC.

  16. Verb Washington
    January 11, 2013 at 3:09 am

    Sounds great, but when I installed it on my Acer Iconia A500, it opened to an error dialogue box: This XBMC package is not compatible with your device. Please check the XBMC Android wiki for more information. Having read through the wiki, I found nothing that would provide insight into my particular situation. Is it not yet ready for tablets?

    • Justin Pot
      January 11, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      Yeah, it doesn't work on everything yet. Not even close. But they're working on it, so at the very least it's something to look forward to.

    • Eric Brewer
      January 12, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      The problem that I ended up having is that it only supports certain hardware chips. I think it's minimum is tegra 3 or something like that.

  17. Brandon Brown
    January 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    This solves half my problem but now that I've finally built the media server of my dreams I really need to find a way to stream my videos when I'm not at home.

    • Dave Lokey
      January 11, 2013 at 2:13 am

      brandon, you could always use Plex media server for that particular feat. i recently installed in and it works great. i do love XBMC though, i have it setup on all the TV's in my home!

  18. Jackie Parkins
    January 10, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    I just downloaded and installed the Windows version (for Windows 7), and most of the videos were very bad quality and really choppy. I added the Free Cable add-on but found it almost useless. Am I missing something?

    • Justin Pot
      January 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      What channels were you trying to watch? Free Cable is only as useful as the shows that are provided, and some networks are less generous than others. I regularly use it to watch all kinds of things, though...

      And it's never choppy, even on an ancient computer. At least for me. Weird.

    • Nathan
      January 12, 2013 at 9:48 am

      If you happen to see this and you installed XBMC 12 Frodo, try switching your audio the Directsound. The default WASAPI can be problematic for many.

  19. Sofia Flores
    January 10, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    What is the theme on the screenshot under the section "Beautiful Organization For TV Shows and Music"?

    Thanks.

  20. Anonymous
    January 10, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    More technology to compete with cable / satellite TV. I love it

  21. Todd Troutt
    January 10, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Excellent! Gives me another good reason to upgrade my crappy smartphone...

  22. John Schmitt
    January 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    XBMC is the bomb!! Love it on a Windows box! I can only imagine how great it'll be on a tablet!!

    • Justin Pot
      January 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      The touch controls aren't perfect but it's nothing a theme can't fix. Looking forward to someone making one just for tablets.

  23. Scott Macmillan
    January 10, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    This isn't the best for those of us in Canada.We are still restricted on media content and sites such as Hulu are a no go.

  24. PMG India
    January 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I appreciate your article, it's real and intellectual!!!

  25. Ryan
    January 9, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks for the great article! I will have to try this on my rooted/rom'ed Kindle Fire.

    • Justin Pot
      January 9, 2013 at 11:27 pm

      Let us know how it works!

  26. Rickster
    January 9, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    When will this build finally work on any of the Google TV devices such as the Sony NSZ-GT1?

    • Justin Pot
      January 9, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Finally? XBMC for Android wasn't even announced that long ago. Patience, friend. Patience.

      • Ibrahim the Eritrean
        January 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm

        Looks really great, Justin, and thanks! ---- By the way, are you Canadian and will this really work out here in Canada (- I know Hulu won't)?

        • Justin Pot
          January 9, 2013 at 11:24 pm

          I'm from Canada but I live in Colorado these days. XBMC will work in Canada, but anything region blocked will not. Don't worry: there are Canadian plugins for XBMC as well. You might have to do some digging but they exist.

        • tegert
          January 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm

          Justin your a twat

        • Justin Pot
          January 13, 2013 at 9:57 pm

          Tegert: it's spelt "you're", as in "Justin, you're a twat".

          "Your" is possessive, so your sentence didn't work unless you meant to point out the "a twat" that I own. in which case thanks: I've been looking all over for my a twat.

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