Since Kodi 16, also known as Mark XVI Jarvis just came out, I thought this would be a great time to release my Kodi Setup Guide for new users. If you’re still using an older version, don’t worry: this will teach you how to use XBMC as well. I get a lot of questions about how to best setup Kodi, both for streaming content from the Internet and from your local network.
The best thing about Kodi is that there are so many different options and tweaks that you can do to really make it your own – from different skins, different backgrounds and, of course, third-party add-ons.
But, that also means that Kodi can be pretty complicated – especially if you’re just getting started.
Finding your way around the forums can be a bit challenging, especially if you’re not very technical. While the Wiki gives a great overview, it sometimes doesn’t go into enough detail to get the job done.
One of the most popular posts on this site has been my guide to fixing Kodi buffering problems, and now I want to help make it easy to get Kodi setup and configured as painlessly as possible.
How this guide is set up
If you’re starting from scratch, you can read this guide from start to finish and end up with a complete installation. Or, you can use the hyperlinks below to jump to the sections you want, and ignore the rest. It’s OK. My feelings won’t be hurt.
Keep in mind, though, that no matter what setup guide you read, you’re always going to have to tweak it a bit to your own needs. Kodi works on lots of different hardware, and has so many options and settings to change, that there’s just no way to account for all of them. But, if you follow this guide along with me, you’ll be well on your way.
Jump to a section
- What is Kodi?
- What’s Changed in Kodi 16: Jarvis?
- Installing Kodi
- How to use XBMC \ Kodi
- Adding Videos to the Library
- Adding Music to the Library
- Adding Pictures to the Library
- More Resources
Information you (may) want to know
I mentioned earlier that Kodi works on many different systems: Android, Linux, Windows, and Mac to name a few. To make writing this setup guide easier, it was written using screenshots from my Windows 10 PC. SnagIt and Photoshop are much easier to use on a PC, sorry. But don’t worry, the interface is almost identical from system to system, so if you’re familiar with Kodi on Windows, you’ll be able to use the Android or Linux versions just fine.
I’ve only covered (for now) information that is available in the stock version of Kodi. I don’t cover any tweaks that individual manufacturers have done to their Kodi\XBMC versions, nor do I look at installing add-ons from third party developers that aren’t in the Official Kodi Repository. Articles about third-party addons could fill an entire library and I have to draw the line somewhere.
Finally, if you’re using XBMC, then you can still use much of this guide. Kodi is the new name for XBMC (see What is Kodi below), and while the name has changed, the interface of Kodi 16 is still pretty much the same as it has been for years. So if you’re looking for something to teach you how to use XBMC, you’re still in the right place.
The best thing about Kodi is that there are so many different options and tweaks that you can do to really make it your own. Click to tweet
What is Kodi?
Kodi, which used to be called XBMC, is an open source media center which grew from a amateur project to play content on the original Xbox. If you’re good with acronyms, you’ve probably already figured out that XBMC originally stood for XBox Media Center.
It is designed to be used from your living room couch, so you’ll often hear that Kodi has a “10 foot user interface.” It allows users to play almost any file format for video, music, podcasts and pictures on your TV, no matter where you store them.
If you’re wondering what’s in a name, Kodi versions have usually been named after popular sci-fi, comic book, or generally geeky references:
- XBMC v8.10 Atlantis (2008) – (Stargate)
- XBMC v9.04 Babylon (2009) – (Babylon 5)
- XBMC v9.11 Camelot (2009) – (King Arthur mythos)
- XBMC v10.0 Dharma (2010) – (Lost)
- XBMC v11.0 Eden (2012) – (Garden of…)
- XBMC v12.0 Frodo (2013) – (Lord of the Rings)
- XBMC v13.0 Gotham (2014) – (Batman – and my personal favourite)
- Kodi v14.0 Helix (2014) – (Helix TV show)
- Kodi v15.0 Isengard (2015) – (Tolkien)
- Kodi v16.0 Jarvis (2016) – (Tony Stark’s artificial intelligence)
- Kodi v17.0 Krypton (TBD) – (Superman’s home world)
What’s changed in Kodi 16: Jarvis?
I’ll mention some of Jarvis’ new features briefly. If you’re looking for more details, check out our announcement for the release of Kodi 16 here.
For Windows users, Kodi 16 now uses DirectX 11, which allows newer graphics cards to perform better, while still maintaining backwards compatibility with older devices. On the Android side, there’s a new version of Android Surface Rendering which will let Kodi display the user interface at it’s native resolution (normally 720p) while simultaneously rendering 4K video content. This doesn’t work on AmLogic devices, but it will work for the NVIDIA Shield and select other devices.
Kodi has implemented the “long press” to bring up the context menu so that Android users (especially) who are using an IR remote can access the context menu without having to go into air-mouse mode. There are also improvements to the Add-On Manager which will let you decide whether to enable or disable automatic updates for each individual add-on.
Are you ready to setup Kodi?