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At first glance, Kodi is a simple app. When you run it for the first time, nothing looks too complicated or seems too confusing.
And if you’re happy just to use the software at a very basic level, that’s all good: Kodi is easy to set up and use. But once you scratch below the surface and delve into some of Kodi’s most powerful features, you’re entering a confusing world of acronyms, jargon, and long phrases.
Whether you’re a Kodi newbie who’s considering switching to the app for all your home theater needs, or a Kodi veteran who wants to brush up on some essential terms, keep reading. Here’s our comprehensive guide to everything Kodi.
A Is for Add-Ons
Add-ons are plugins for Kodi. When you install Kodi, it’s empty. You need to populate it with content and services. You’ll find add-ons for lots of popular internet services like YouTube, Hulu, Spotify, and Pandora Radio — but beware, they are also the home of all the illegal content that could potentially land you in trouble with the law.
B Is for Builds
A Kodi build is a way for beginners to get up and running quickly. Builds package add-ons, shortcuts, and themes together into a single install. But they’re not right for everyone. Poor builds can have lots of broken content and outdated add-ons.
C Is for Code
Kodi is free and open source. As such, anyone can use, copy, study, and change the software. All the source code is available on the GitHub page. The main code base includes several coding languages, while most of the add-ons rely on Python and XML. If you’re an expert in those languages, get creating!
D Is for DLNA
DLNA compatibility is present throughout Kodi. You can receive and play any DLNA content you push to the app, browse DLNA media sources, share libraries between DLNA devices, and even use Kodi to control DLNA devices.
E Is for Everything
Kodi is the most versatile home theater app you’ll find. It can work with almost any type of media and any file format. Check the image below for a complete list.
F Is for Fully Loaded
Fully loaded boxes are at the center of the ongoing debate surrounding Kodi’s legality. You’ll often find them advertised on sites like eBay and Craigslist with the promise of free movies or free sports. The boxes are poor quality compared with some of the best boxes available. Using them could even land you a jail term, depending on the laws where you live.
G Is for Game Controllers
You can control Kodi using your mouse, keyboard, or touchscreen, but the app was originally designed to be used with a TV remote. If you’ve not got a compatible TV remote, try using your games console controller instead. Kodi supports PlayStation 4 controllers, NVidia Shield controllers, and Xbox 360 controllers, among others.
H Is for Help
The nature of Kodi means things can and do go wrong. When that happens, just make sure you’ve got your log file ready to show to community experts. You can enable the log file by going to Settings > System > Logging.
I Is for iOS
Of all the devices, operating systems, and platforms in the world, the only one that Kodi struggles to run on is iOS (who saw that coming?). There is a workaround if you’re desperate to get the app on your iDevice, but it’s not a simple process, and lots of users say functionality is limited.
J Is for JeOS
JeOS stands for “Just Enough Operating System.” It’s a catch-all term for any implementation of Kodi on a dedicated device. Done properly, it’ll feel like a professional set-top box, it’ll receive timely OTA updates, and will mostly hide the underlying operating system from its users. OpenELEC, LibreELEC, OSMC, GeeXboX, Xbian, and Buildroot all qualify as JeOS distros.
K Is for Kodi
Because what kind of self-respecting A-Z list wouldn’t include the name of the app being discussed?
L Is for LibreELEC
LibreELEC (“Libre Embedded Linux Entertainment Center”) is a fork of OpenELEC and runs a specialized pre-configured version of Kodi. Its developers fell out with the OpenELEC team in March 2016, leading to the split. Use this fork if you have an ODROID 2 device.
M Is for MySQL
If you’ve got lots of instances of Kodi running around your home, it’s annoying (if not impossible) to keep them all updated and running the way you want them. You need a MySQL library — it’ll use a central database to synchronize all your apps automatically.
N Is for News Feed
Kodi is not just about video, music, and images. It can also act as a live news ticker thanks to the scrolling RSS feed along the bottom of the app’s main window. By default, it shows Kodi news, but you can change it to show any RSS feed in the world. To customize the feed, go to Settings > Appearance > Skin > Show RSS News Feed.
O Is for OpenELEC
OpenELEC (“Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center”) is an embedded operating system specifically designed to run a pre-configured version of Kodi. You can run it on flash sticks, USB drives, SSDs, and even Raspberry Pi. It’s particularly common on the WeTek Play.
P Is for PVR
PVR features are available in Kodi. The app uses existing third-party PVR backends to receive the signals. It means you can watch live TV, listen to radio channels from around the world, see on-screen EPG TV guides (where available), and even schedule shows to be recorded.
Q Is for Questions
Are you struggling to get Kodi running exactly the way you want? Head to the Kodi forums and ask all the questions you’ve got. There are sections for everything from tips and tricks to hardware discussions. With more than 300,000 active members, you won’t be in the dark for long.
R Is for Repositories
Repositories are the mechanisms that allow you install add-ons onto your Kodi software. Some contain thousands of add-ons to choose from; some contain only a couple. To make sure you’re getting the best, legal add-ons available, use the official Kodi repository.
S Is for Skins
Kodi’s default colors are blue and black, but that’s not to everyone’s tastes. The community has developed lots of skins that change Kodi’s on-screen visuals. Just head to Interface Setting > Skins.
T Is for Translations
The Kodi community is always striving to translate the app into more languages. Volunteers do all the translating manually. At the time of writing, 74 languages are “in progress,” including Tajik, Amharic, and Telugu.
U Is for Userdata
If there’s one part of Kodi you should back up regularly, it’s the userdata file. It contains information about your entire app, including media libraries, settings, themes, thumbnails, RSS feeds, media sources, and more. If you don’t want to do it manually, some add-ons can automate the process.
V Is for Version
The current stable release of Kodi is version 17.3. Except, there haven’t actually been 17 versions. There were no updates between September 2006 and November 2008. When development resumed, the version number jumped from v2.0 to v8.0. If you’re not sure which version you’re running, download the Version Check add-on.
W Is for Web Interface
Kodi lets users enable a web interface. It allows you to control the app and manage your library using a web browser on another machine. To turn it on, head to Settings > Services > Control > Allow Remote Control Via HTTP.
X Is for XBMC
XBMC stands for “Xbox Media Center” and is Kodi’s former name. The rebranding happened in 2014 after ongoing confusion and legality issues concerning the Xbox brand name.
Y Is for YouTube
Unsurprisingly, the YouTube add-on is one of Kodi’s most popular. It’s also one of its most problematic. Error messages like Exception in ContentProvider and Quota Exceeded are common. It is possible to fix the problems by creating your own API Key, but it’s way beyond the scope of this article.
Z Is for Zappy
Zappy was the official mascot of XBMC. It was created by a user called “fkoch” after a contest in 2011. Frankly, the less said about it, the better!
What Terms Are in Your A-Z?
Learning these 26 terms and facts will give you a good foundation level of knowledge about Kodi. But which other terms do users need to know about? What definitions would you explain to a first-time user? What would be in your A-Z of Kodi?
Image Credits: aradaphotography/Shutterstock