The A-Z of Kodi: Everything You Need to Know

Dan Price 25-05-2017

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 How to Use Kodi: The Complete Setup Guide Our beginner's guide shows how to install the Kodi software, how to navigate through the initial setup, and how to load add-ons. Read More . But once you scratch below the surface and delve into some of Kodi’s most powerful features How to Make Your Kodi Media Center Even More Amazing Kodi is capable of far more than even its designers imagined. So, we dug deep and discovered 10 fascinating ways to make your Kodi media center even better. Behold, some awesome tips for Kodi fans... Read More , 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 Poor builds can have lots of broken content and outdated add-ons.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 What Is DLNA and Is It Still Used? DLNA was built for a world where local media was king. Read More 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.

kodi formats
Image Credit: Wikimedia

F Is for Fully Loaded

Fully loaded boxes are at the center of the ongoing debate surrounding Kodi’s legality What Are Kodi Boxes and Is It Legal to Own One? In this article, not only do we explain what Kodi boxes are, but also offer you a definitive answer on their legality. Read More . 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.

kodi log

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 How to Choose the Best Kodi Box for Your Needs Want to buy a Kodi box but unsure which one you should choose? In this article, we recommend particular boxes for particular needs, helping you narrow your choices. Read More . 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?

kodi logo

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.

kodi forum

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 7 Things to Know When Buying a Data Drive for Backups Thinking about buying a data drive for storing file backups? Here's what you need to know if you want to make an informed decision. Read More , 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.

kodi version check

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!

zappy kodi

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

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  1. Getu
    May 29, 2017 at 1:13 am

    Thank you for the post.
    I am interested in installing Kodi. I have an Asus Chromebook and I don't know where to start. My understanding is that I can not install Kodi app in this Asus machine. I might need a Windows or Apple machine. Is this true?

    Please direct me to a post where I can find a step-by-step information guide on how to install and use Kodi on an Asus Chromebook.

    Thank you.

  2. Prakash
    May 26, 2017 at 5:04 am

    Y for yatse

  3. Dave
    May 25, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    I'm afraid you've been misinformed: the latest stable version of Kodi as of today is 17.3 Krypton.

    • Dan Price
      May 25, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      Hey Dave, I fixed that, a typo. Thanks :)

  4. Kib
    May 25, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Sadly there are several glaring issues with this list.

    - O: Advising OpenElec over LIbreElec is something the Kodi team itself doesn't do at all anymore.
    - S: There are around 25 skins, not thousands 'thousands'. Some of those skins are highly customizable, but not enough to warrant multiplying their numbers by 40.
    - V: The latest stable version is 17.3 , not 16.0
    - X: Kodi was not rebranded because of legal issues surrounding the XBOX name.
    - Z: Who doesn't love Zappy ? Seriously ? Many people hated when we got rid of Zappy, who was chosen by the community.

    • Dan Price
      May 25, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      Hey Kib. Thanks for getting in touch. I amended S and V.

      Re: O, I don't believe I have advised users one way or the other. This is an A-Z of common terms, not an advice article.

      And re: X: this is what Kodi wrote at the time of the rebrand --

      "Because “XBMC” was originally based on the name Xbox, the developers of the software (that’s us) have never had any sort of legal control over the use of its name . . . the Foundation itself and all of its developers have always operated under a potential legal threat from other companies that did have a legal trademark in a similar name. And that legal threat has actually gotten more problematic in recent years."


  5. Peter Gadd
    May 25, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I've tried Kodi on 2 or 3 occasions already and find it very confusing.
    There are several YouTube videos that show you how to download and setup the app.
    However, I want something deeper than that.
    I want to know WHY you have to do this and do that?
    And if you don't do this and don't do that, WHAT will happen?
    There is nothing that I've found yet that gives me any reasons for doing what it tells you in the clips.
    Can anyone recommend something, please.

    • likefunbutnot
      May 26, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      You don't HAVE to do anything. Kodi for me is just a presentation interface for media I have stored locally. Other people use Kodi to access streaming sources on the internet. The configuration steps for each of those needs are very different, but it's all about making the system serve your needs.
      Unconfigured Kodi is no more interesting than any other media playing application with no media to play. You need to have some idea what you want to do with it.

      If you're talking about the steps involved in installing one of the major addon repositories like SuperRepo or Indigo, you're taking the steps you need to simplify and abstract the process of installing other services within Kodi. Kodi without one of those app store-like Clearinghouses for addons is a very different and much less friendly place for people who want to stream content.

    • Tom Colvin
      May 30, 2017 at 4:35 am

      I too am just getting into Andorid TV Boxes and Kodi, and would greatly appreciate some explanation about the advisability of unlocking the device and keeping it locked and Google-compliant. I am very concerned about the recent actions to outlaw streaming media in various parts of the world -- and I want to do everything legally.

    • Tom Colvin
      May 30, 2017 at 4:43 am

      I recently bought a Yaki TV Andorid TV Box. It was already configured by the seller.

      I have discovered that the box will not play Netflix in viewable fashion because of a recent Netflix deicision not to support boxes that are unlocked. I am really sad about this, as Netflix was my main reason for setting up this home theater system.

      I have also belatedly become aware of the many torrent-like, and potentially illegal add-on's out there. From what I read, the safe route is to install add-on's and apk's only from the Google Playstore. Is this wise advice?

      I am also considering doing a factory reset, but the person I bought the unit from says that the underlying device firmware is basically unlocked. He thinks there may be firmware available that will make the unit into a loceked device, which will then play Netflix.