You’ve been streaming sports and movies on your Kodi media center, without realizing that, actually, you probably shouldn’t. But now the penny has dropped, and you want to move on. Is it time to dump your Kodi box (which is still legal to own and use), or can you still enjoy your favorite movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, and sport?
Cull the Add-ons
To start, you need to give some attention to the various add-ons you have installed on your Kodi box. Where legal challenges have been made, you’ll find that the add-ons concerned have stopped working. It doesn’t matter whether you run Kodi on an Android-based TV box, an Amazon Fire Stick, a desktop or laptop computer, or on a Raspberry Pi — you don’t want these add-ons any longer.
This isn’t a quick task either, sadly. You’ll need to boot your Kodi device, and run through every single add-on to confirm whether it works or not. And if it does work, check that it is offering content legally.
Here’s a clue: if movies and TV shows are being streamed and you’re not paying for them, you should uninstall the add-on.
To uninstall your unwanted Kodi add-on, browse to the Add-ons > My Add-ons menu and select the add-on in question. In the next screen, find the Uninstall button, and click or tap it. Confirm your decision and wait a moment for the add-on to be removed. You’re done!
Find Official and Legal Add-ons
If you’ve got anything left over, it’s probably things like YouTube, or some podcast channels. This is fine: you’re on the right track to using Kodi without attracting any unwanted attention from the feds. You won’t have difficulty finding legal add-ons offering quality content, either.
The vast majority of add-ons that you can trust to deliver legally-sourced content can be found in the official Kodi Add-on repository. A comprehensive list can be found in the Kodi wiki.
However, you certainly should not be without the following:
- ESPN 3 (valid subscription required)
- Plex for Kodi (Plex Pass required)
You’ll find so much more, too, from FunnyOrDie to comedy channels, podcasts, TED Talks… the list goes on.
These can be found in My Add-ons > Add-on Repository, where the Kodi Add-on repository should be enabled. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have access to the full selection of safe add-ons via Add-ons > Download > Video add-ons (and other categories too).
Add Storage to Your Kodi Box
Have you purchased movies and boxsets that you wish to watch on Kodi? You have several options here. The simplest is to just browse Kodi until you find the
droids media you’re looking for.
To do this, open the Movies screen (or TV shows, Music, or Music videos) then Enter Files. Here, click Add Videos (or TV shows, etc.) and Browse to the directory where you media is stored, clicking OK to finish. You’ll then be prompted to scan for metadata related to the media files — descriptions, DVD covers and movie posts, etc. This will happen automatically as long as your Kodi box is connected to the internet, using a pre-installed add-on.
However, if there’s nothing stored on your Kodi box, the results will be limited. As a result, you should consider adding storage to Kodi. If your Kodi media center is a home theater PC, then additional space probably won’t be an issue — all you will need to do is copy your videos to it via FTP.
Meanwhile, if you’re one of the many people using a compact Android-based Kodi box, or a Raspberry Pi running OpenELEC or OSMC, then a physical drive should be attached via USB. This can be a USB flash device or an external hard disk (or solid state drive). This is also an option for PCs and laptops.
Note that on low-power devices, the external storage will probably require its own power supply.
Once connected, you should be able to find media on the device via Kodi. Use the same steps as above, using Browse to find the external device rather than a local directory.
Enjoy Video and Music From Remote Sources
If an external hard disk drive isn’t an option (perhaps you’re using an Amazon Fire Stick, or your Android based Kodi box is short on USB ports) then you can stream media from remote sources on your local network.
Such a remote source might be another PC on your network, or perhaps a NAS solution. Network Attached Storage works like a network drive, and is a way of running your own local cloud storage. Note that videos purchased and downloaded from some sources may be restricted by DRM, which can limit streaming to another device (such as your Kodi box).
To add a network resource to stream media from, you’ll need to first ensure that device is visible on your local network. This is usually straightforward; if you’re accessing a NAS, for instance, its purpose is to be visible. If you’re trying to access data from a public drive on a Windows PC, our guide to Windows network shares will help you.
Adding the device means once again heading to the Movies screen (or the TV shows screen, etc.), clicking Add Videos and identifying the network share you want. Click OK, then select the share to find the right directory and click Add.
Kodi Is Awesome No Matter How You Use It
The free-for-all is over. It’s the end of an era — but that doesn’t mean that it is the end of Kodi. Everything you need to enjoy video and audio content (TV, movies, your music collection, podcasts, and even photos) is built into Kodi. Using Kodi legally is simple:
- Remove add-ons streaming copyrighted content without permission.
- Only use official (legal) add-ons.
- View your own movies from a USB device.
- Stream content over your home network from another PC or NAS box.
It doesn’t matter whether Kodi is installed on your main PC, a HTPC, an Amazon Fire stick, your game console, or even on an Android box or Raspberry Pi. Take these steps to make sure your Kodi media center is legal, and start enjoying it the right way.
Are changes to how Kodi can be used turning you away from the software or are you happily embracing the change? What’s your preferred way to access content you already own? And what are you preferred official add-ons? Please let us know in the comments below.