What is a Kodi box, are they legal, and are they safe to use? Our Kodi explainer reveals all you need to know about Kodi streaming boxes, how they work and which devices are compatible.
The Kodi box is one of the most talked about alternative ways to stay entertained, using the wonders of the interwebs. A Kodi box lets you stream movies, sports, TV shows and more over an internet connection, to watch on your TV, mobile phone, tablet and beyond.
The problem is actually getting hold of one of these wonder machines, or updating a streaming device to run it. Then, of course, there’s the worry about whether this way of watching content is actually legal. Plus of course you need to find the right apps – or as Kodi calls them, Add-ons – to get started.
Here’s everything you need to know about Kodi streaming boxes and software, including how to get started and get streaming.
What is Kodi?
Kodi is free, open-source software for watching a huge selection of entertainment. The software can come pre-installed on a Kodi Box, which come in varying shapes and sizes, or can be installed to view on another device such as a laptop or Amazon Fire TV Stick, for example.
Kodi was originally created for Microsoft’s Xbox console and was known as the Xbox Media Center (XBMC). Since it was created in 2003, it’s grown through a community of over 500 developers and 200 translators to be used worldwide.
How does Kodi work?
Kodi uses a system of Add-ons, which are essentially apps. These allow you to watch movies, sports, TV shows and more via online streaming providers. They also allow you to customise your setup for the ideal viewing experience.
Since the Kodi software works on devices that connect to a TV, it’s setup with what’s known as a “10-foot UI”. This refers to the fact that the operating system display can be easily read at up to 10 feet away from the screen.
What devices does Kodi work on?
Kodi will work with a wide range of operating systems, including OS X, Linux, Windows, Android and Raspberry Pi machines.
While all of those systems will allow full use of Kodi, Apple is a little less simple. If you’re hoping to use Kodi on an iPhone, you will need to jailbreak it first. Which leads neatly onto our next question.
Is Kodi legal?
The sale of Kodi boxes and the Kodi software itself are legal. The problem arises when users start to use Add-ons that are not legal. Essentially, if your Add-on allows you to watch subscription channels for free, then you’re using Kodi illegally.
Right now the law is mainly targeting the seller of “fully loaded” boxes. These come with all the Add-ons needed to illegally gain access to content that should be paid for. Those guys can get up to ten years behind bars, so the punishments for breaking these laws aren’t messing around.
When it comes to the consumer, streaming material rather than downloading is often seen as a loophole. However, according to the European Court there is no difference seen between streaming and downloading.
But will you personally be targeted? The Federation Against Copyright Theft has warned that anyone found using the software illegally could be investigated. So, essentially, use at your own risk.
What can you watch on Kodi?
Some of the best Add-ons have been removed from Kodi due to that copyright law infringement. However, there are still plenty left to enjoy. Here are some choice offerings.
A great place to start is with the Indigo Add-on installer. This is like the Kodi App Store, meaning you will be pointed to some of the best Add-ons right away.
Exodus is a brilliant place to watch movies and TV shows. Broken links are less of an issue with this updated offering, which replaces the clunky Genesis. Other similar options for this type of content include Salts and Velocity.
For pure TV, the Halow Live TV Add-on is a winner. This lets you watch TV channels from all over the world, live.
Plex is the free streaming service that lets you watch content on your TV stored on your local drives, like your laptop. It even lets you control it via your phone as a remote. But this is free to any box, so what’s a bit more Kodi like?
Sports Mania is one way of watching things like football matches that otherwise might only be aired on subscription TV channels. This will cost you about £50 for a subscription though. If you want a free version, try out the Sports Devil Add-on.
Spotimc allows you to access your Spotify music via Kodi – turning your TV into a giant speaker system.
Check out our pick of the best Kodi Add-ons that you can download right now for more inspiration.
What are the alternatives to Kodi?
If you want to stream and watch all kinds of entertainment, try some of the following alternatives to Kodi boxes:
Please note that Recombu is not affiliated with or endorsing Kodi or its apps. This article is purely for the purpose of information.