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Your Kodi media center plays video and music from your hard drive, but what else is it capable of? We dug deep and discovered 10 fascinating ways to make your Kodi media center even better. Behold, some awesome tips for Kodi fans everywhere.

Kodi: Expanding Your Expectations

Whether you have installed Kodi on an HTPC (Home Theater PC), a Raspberry Pi, an Android device, or some other piece of hardware that can be connected to your TV, the chances are that you’re not taking full advantage of this amazing media center software.

Kodi is great for playing videos from your collection of MP4 files; perhaps you’re enjoying some home videos or ripped DVDs that are usually stored on an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) or NAS (Network-Attached Storage), or using it to pipe music around your living room. Kodi (previously known as XBMC) is also adept at displaying your image libraries.

But did you know that you can also use it to watch YouTube, watch live TV, or listen to podcasts? Kodi is capable of far more than even its designers imagined, as the list below demonstrates…

1. View YouTube with Kodi

Recent Kodi releases (or perhaps device-specific releases) may come with YouTube pre-installed. Whether yours has or not, if you’re using a typical Kodi/XBMC remote app, the chances are that there isn’t a keyboard option. This can make searching a little tricky.

While this is an issue across the board unless you hook up a Bluetooth keyboard (or, if you’re so inclined, a USB keyboard), you can use your mobile device to send YouTube videos, Chromecast-style, to your Kodi box. Desktop browser plugins also provide this functionality.

We previously produced a great tutorial detailing how to watch YouTube on Kodi How To Instantly Send Any YouTube Video To Your TV, Using XBMC How To Instantly Send Any YouTube Video To Your TV, Using XBMC Send any YouTube video to your television, instantly. It's perfect for YouTube parties or anytime you want to comfortably watch a video from your couch. All you need to make living room dreams come true... Read More , which we suggest you take a look at. Seriously, you can’t have Kodi without YouTube!

2. Watch Live Broadcast TV

Like El Dorado for cord cutters, watching live TV on your computer without paying a penny to a cable company is a massive boon, and one that can save you a lot of money. Just as long as you keep it legal, right?

You have various options here, from standard live TV streaming How To Stream Live TV To Your XBMC How To Stream Live TV To Your XBMC Watch live, streaming TV on your XBMC media center – without a cable subscription. Here are some add-ons worth checking out. Read More , to using your TV antenna and a TV card with the NextPVR software and your Kodi box 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 .

If you don’t want a PVR (Personal Video Recorder), however, you can use various Kodi add-ons to watch TV shows Watch TV Shows on XBMC With These Add-Ons Watch TV Shows on XBMC With These Add-Ons Do you love TV? Then you also love XBMC, even if you don't know it yet. The ultimate media center software offers a wide variety of ways for you to catch up with your favorite... Read More — legally, of course — in your territory, although these aren’t live.

3. Send Content from Your Phone to Kodi

If you’re not already aware of Pushbullet, the incredibly versatile device bridging service, then you should correct that immediately. While Pushbullet is most commonly used to send data from your PC to your phone and back again, it also has a very useful role in helping you get the most out of your Kodi media center.

So, how does it work? Well, say you’re browsing the web on your phone or PC and spot a video, image, or audio clip you want to view on your TV via Kodi. All you need to do is right-click or long-press the piece of content, and use the “Push this to Kodi” menu item to view it on the big screen. But it doesn’t end there.

Pushbullet and Kodi can also be used in other ways. You might, for instance, like to see phone notifications on your TV, or even automatically pause the movie you’re watching when your phone rings.

Our dedicated guide to using Pushbullet and Kodi together Make Kodi Work for You With a Little Help From Pushbullet Make Kodi Work for You With a Little Help From Pushbullet Send video links to Pushbullet and they'll play automatically in Kodi. If you've been looking for a Kodi Chromecast alternative, this is it. Read More will show you how to do this.

4. Enjoy Podcasts on Your TV

Whether you enjoy video podcasts (no one says “videocast” these days”) or standard audio podcasts, there’s a good chance that you’ve wondered if your Kodi box can be used to subscribe to and download your favorite weekly shows.

Well, it turns out it can — and better still, you can do so without relying on an add-on! Our detailed guide to adding one or more podcast feeds to Kodi How To Add Your Podcast Feeds To Your XBMC Media Center How To Add Your Podcast Feeds To Your XBMC Media Center Get access to your favorite podcasts, video or audio, using XBMC. You don't need any plugin to listen to podcasts, but the method of doing so isn't entirely obvious and the official documentation isn't exactly... Read More should give you all the information you need.

However, should you want to use an add-on, the Apple iTunes Podcasts add-on gives you access to every podcast on iTunes. And there are a lot of podcasts available on iTunes, some good, some bad.

5. You Can Even View BBC iPlayer!

Readers from the UK (and anyone overseas masking their location with a VPN) might be interested in watching TV from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). This can be done on Kodi using the official BBC iPlayer, packaged as an add-on.

Remember, however, that content from the BBC is paid for by a compulsory TV license in the UK, so viewing iPlayer content without paying the license fee is currently a legal gray area. We’ll leave it to your conscience.

6. Get Facebook on Your TV with Kodi

If you ever wanted to view your Facebook photos or share videos to Facebook or Twitter as you watch them, then you need one of the many social plugins for Kodi.

Facebook Media can be used to view your Facebook photos on TV, and continues to be maintained. Our previous guide to social TV with Kodi Make TV More Social With These XBMC Add-Ons Make TV More Social With These XBMC Add-Ons Who says watching TV is anti-social? Add-ons can bring Facebook photos, live Tweets and more to your XBMC setup. Read More has more links and ideas you should check out.

7. The Ultimate Mashup: Reddit & Kodi

If combining Pushbullet’s device-communication sauce with Kodi isn’t amazing enough, you can even bring Reddit content across to your Kodi media center.

Reddit add-ons are available on Kodi, and are designed to deliver the eclectic collection of shared videos from the self-styled “Front Page of the Internet”.

This means you can find any number of videos on pretty much any topic you can think of — at least topics where videos have previously been produced — and enjoy these as they’re piped through the interwebs into your Kodi box.

Check out our guide to installing a Reddit add-on to Kodi Reddit + XBMC = Virtual Crack. Here's How To Set It Up. Reddit + XBMC = Virtual Crack. Here's How To Set It Up. Reddit always finds the best videos; XBMC is the best media center. Combine these two things to browse the best videos on the web right now, from your couch. Read More to find out more.

8. Netflix Options for Kodi

Having all of your most important video streaming apps on the same device is important, and while you might find that your TV, Blu-ray player or games console already has a Netflix app How To Access Netflix On Almost Every Platform Known To Man How To Access Netflix On Almost Every Platform Known To Man I don’t like horror movies. Classic horror I can cope with; I enjoy Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological horror, for instance, but I’m not a fan of scares and gore, as a rule. My wife, on the... Read More , it would be great if your Kodi box did too.

The first Netflix app, known as Flix2Kodi can be seen in action here:

Note that various Netflix add-ons have been attempted over the years. A couple of others are in circulation currently, but Flix2Kodi seems to be the most reliable, and has the longest period of development (it was previously called NetflixBMC until XBMC became known as Kodi).

9. Get the News that Matters with Kodi

How do you like to get your news? Via newspapers? TV news channels? Perhaps you prefer to read your favorite online news sources. Either way, it’s always a prescriptive experience, your news intake always dictated by an unseen editor, a gatekeeper of the facts.

Thanks to a wide selection of news aggregator add-ons for Kodi, however, you can now enjoy news from a variety of online and TV sources How to Watch the News Online Using XBMC How to Watch the News Online Using XBMC Read More , and drill down to gather news on a particular topic or event.

Perhaps you have already read our guide to creating an automated news aggregator that plays videos and podcasts How to Create a Linux Internet TV Station With Automatic Content How to Create a Linux Internet TV Station With Automatic Content Wouldn't it be great to turn on your PC and have automatically playing your favorite newscasts? You could enjoy the first coffee of the day, absorbing your news fix. Sound complicated? It's not. Read More on topics you’re interested in? Now you can incorporate that same idea into your Kodi media center.

10. Yes, You Can Even Play Games!

Playing video games on your TV is hardly revolutionary, but it’s an activity that’s unusual on a media center. However, if you have some controllers connected and configured, you can take advantage of the ROM Collection Browser.

ROM files – of games you already own (obviously!) – should be stored on your Kodi device storage, ready for the ROM Collection Browser add-on to browse the files and launch the games at your command.

If you have somehow watched everything there is to watch on Netflix, and run out of podcasts to listen to, this is the logical next step for your Kodi box.

Share Your Kodi Tips!

These 10 new ways to use your Kodi media center should certainly keep you busy for a while. But have we covered everything? Or is there something we missed? Do you know of other add-ons that can further improve the Kodi experience?

If so, please tell us all about it in the comments below — but please, steer away from illegal streaming and downloading. Because, well, it’s illegal.

  1. Lester Gardner
    June 10, 2016 at 4:49 am

    BBC, a free to air commercial channel, make money off commercials, as with US tv channels,.....there is no theft or abuse of openly included channels included with Kodi ( lately no apps or channels included with Mediacenter Kodi ),....People can be a drab at times. I commend the Writer for this posting

  2. Bbbooey
    June 8, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    You know... telling everyone how to get BBC in America without paying the UK, just because it isn't from America, is like saying it is OK to steal English or other foreign movies online because they aren't American movies. It is just as illegal to watch UK channels in the US, as it is to watch Captain America: Civil War on Kodi with all those add-ons that 99% of all Kodi users are using.

    • Christian Cawley
      June 9, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      I don't believe we've done anything wrong here: we're not in a position to dictate, just as we're not in a position to offer legal advice.

      My suggestion was aimed at licence fee-paying Brits working in the USA. For others, then yes, they have to ask themselves a serious question.

  3. Suleiman
    June 8, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Christian, I know you are being extra careful and you being politically correct when writing things about Kodi. l understand. It can do more than you wrote about it. It is nice reading for someone who is hearing about Kodi today. When it comes to those of us who can't do without Genesis, this writing is was so cute and refreshing. Well your readers now can find out what Genesis is all about. Hey that is a clue that I can share today, ain't that cute :)

    • Christian Cawley
      June 9, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      In 10 years freelancing online and in print, I've never had my writing described as "cute". Thanks!

  4. likefun butnot
    June 8, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    1. Give your Kodi device a static IP address in whatever way you can and authorize it to pass traffic through your system firewall, then turn on the built-in web server. The web server allows for control via any number of Kodi remote apps (I like Music Pump for Android) for your phones and tablets and also allows non-lame OSes (i.e. not iOS/TVOS) to direct content to Kodi, no Pushbullet required.

    Likewise, configuring Kodi for UPnP allows one Kodi system to direct output to another, or even to share content with a non-Kodi network device or client.

    Kodi also supports AirPlay, if you're one of those iFruit people.

    All of the above can be configured through System Settings.

    2. If you have your Kodi system connected to a home theater or multi-speaker configuration, be sure to pop in to its audio options to configure audio pass-through for Dolby Digital/DTS signal and/or correct number of sound channels to mix and output.

    Audio processing on Kodi can be a little bit tricky, especially on less capable clients. Not every device has the codec licenses to handle every audio source. The nVidia Shield and FireTV are two of the best supported Android devices.

    3. Speaking of, if you're trying to do Kodi on Android, you might be better off with SPMC instead. The developer who was until recently maintaining Kodi/Android recently moved back to his own fork of Kodi, citing intransigence on the part of the larger Kodi team to add Android-specific code to the wider Kodi project.

    4. Kodi can connect to shared folders on other computers! In Kodi, if you go in to System - File Manager, you can add network locations for Windows (SMB) and *nix (NFS). Your Kodi system does not have to be the computer with all your media on it. On a full-blown desktop OS, you can also just map network drives, but that's out of the question for some client devices.

    4.5. Likewise, it's possible to install add-ons to allow direct access to your Cloud Storage accounts so that your Kodi install can find and play content from them.

    5. Have multiple Kodi installs? You might actually be better off with a Plex Media Server and Plex clients if you're trying to synchronize your metadata storage and/or watched status and progress... or you can follow this relatively straightforward guide to set up a MySQL-back-end and share the same configuration across multiple Kodi systems.

    6. Fusion and SuperRepo are collections of questionably legal Kodi Add-ons that in my experience are almost ALWAYS what people mean when they say they want or have Kodi. Here's the instructions for installing Fusion And here is SuperRepo. These addons are mostly content scrapers for various streaming video web sites and in my experience none of them are terribly reliable, but if "free" is more important than "good" or "legal", knock yourself out.

    7. Kodi, especially on a PC, can be used to launch other applications. I usually set up the ROM Collection Browser, which can be used to launch game emulators. If you're one of THOSE people, you can also run Steam from Kodi.

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