It can be daunting trying out new tech and new software for the first time, even for the most avid geek, and we can all use a helping hand at times. That is why we’ve decided to write our How to series, offering the basics of set-up and offering some useful hints and tips that we’ve discovered along the way.
In this beginners guide, I’ll walk you through the initial setup of Kodi media centre and the basics of what it is, what it does, and how you can start to use it.
What is Kodi?
Well, I’m glad you asked! Kodi (formerly known as XBMC™) is an open source software media centre that can be used for playing videos, music, games, pictures…and basically any other digital media files that is held locally or on the internets (although of course we at Geekpower would never advise readers to access content that breaches copyright laws).
It is available across pretty much every major platform, as well as Linux, and was officially launched for android and iOS earlier this year. It can even be run on Amazon’s Fire TV, the OUYA, and Raspberry Pi with the set-up across all of them essentially the same.
Your first step should be to download the most appropriate version of the latest release – Isengard – from here. Depending on your platform, it might be ready for use immediately after download, or you may need to click on a set-up icon and follow the installation instructions.
Once installed, you will need to set-up Kodi, and because it is open-source, it can be tweaked and tinkered with as much as you like. But for the less confident user, I’ll try to keep it as simple as I can.
You have a couple of choices here, the first being installing add-ons which enable you to stream content from online and the second being uploading your own digital content.
Here I’ll be focussing on the first option, the add-ons, as that is the thing about which people I’ve spoken to seem to have the most confusion.
Phase 1: Add a source
The first step is to install an installer…I know that doesn’t seem to make sense, but trust me, this will give you access to more add-ons through which to access content. There are plenty of different ones out there, but my preferred one at the moment is the Fusion Installer.
In order to install this, you need to navigate to the “System” menu to the right of the main black bar. From here you need to click on the “File Manager” tab.
Clicking on the “Add source” option in the A root box brings up an add files source box.
Select the top text input box currently showing “<none>” under the blue text that reads “Enter the paths of browse for the media locations”. This should bring up a text entry box and keyboard – using either the on screen or physical keyboard enter the following text in full:
If using the onscreen keyboard, you’ll need to press on the “Symbols” button to access the punctuation. Once entered, press the “Done” button.
Now select the other text box towards the “Add Files source” window under Enter a name for the media Source”.
Once again, a screen will appear with onscreen keyboard, and using the same process as before, type in “fusion” – this will be the name of the media source you are adding. Click done, and then click “ok” in the “Add Files source” window.
You will notice that “fusion” (or whatever you named the step above) has been added to the list within the “File manager” window.
With that done, you need to close the “File manager” window and return to the main menu. Once here, go all the way to the right and select the “Settings” tab under the “System” menu.
This should bring up a “Change Your Settings” window. Select the “Add-ons” option in the left side menu bar and press the “OK” button when the “First run help…” prompt appears.
This should bring up the “Add-ons” menu where you should click on “Install from zip file”.
In the “Install from zip file”, select the “fusion” folder which should bring you to a screen with 5 options.
For the simplest method of adding in the relevant add-ons, click on the “start here” option and click and install the hubwizard, addoninstaller, and freshstart files.
There is a more complicated method which involves going into (xbmc-repos” and manually installing your desired repositories and enabling each add-on individually, but I wouldn’t recommend that for a total newbie.
Phase 2: Installing add-ons
Now you have your basics installed in Kodi, you need to set-up a way to access that content. You can use the config wizard installed in the process above and it will set-up your kodi to generic settings and add-ons for the device on which you are using it.
Personally, I prefer not to do that though because it installs quite a lot of extras that I know I will never actually use. Luckily there is also a simple manual method via the Addon Installer.
This, as with the config wizard, was installed in the process above and can be found in the “Programs” menu in the main menu page.
Once in the “Programs – Add-ons” page, select the Addon Installer from the list – this will launch an configuration process when using it for the first time.
Once this process finishes, you will be presented with a screen showing rows of large icons including “featured Add-ons” which should be next to the giant up arrow in the top left corner of the list (which is used to navigate back to the parent folder through which you navigated to get to your current screen).
If you read through the list of icons, you can see that there is a good selection of different add-ons options including video, music, programs etc. Each of these will take you to a much larger list of add-ons related to the main icon’s name – in this case I am going to be using video for this tutorial, but the same principle and process applies across all of them.
Clicking on video takes you through to a much longer list filled with icons, all of which are add-ons for Kodi. Once you see one that you like, in this case Genesis, you click on it and it takes you through to another screen with the option to install.
Click on “Install Genesis” from the list and click on the “Install” button when prompted by the popup to confirm the process.
Once installed, go back to the home screen and select Videos, then Video Add-ons.
Genesis should now appear in the list – click through and you’ll see a list including Movies and TV, through which, rather unsurprisingly, you can stream Movies and TV. Click on whichever you want to watch – selecting the film or tv show you desire will take you through to a list of available streaming options, simply click on one, sit back and enjoy.