What is Kodi?
You might have seen the name around and have no idea what people are talking about and ask What is Kodi?
Kodi is an open source media center which runs on pretty much any device you can think of. This makes it very flexible in use and can make viewing content a breeze around the home.
Along with the number of devices it runs on it can play almost any file format you can think of, and this can range from video, podcasts, music, and pictures regardless of where they are stored.
Here is an introductory Kodi set-up guide which will have you running in the least amount of time.
Downloading and Setting up Kodi
Kodi is continually being changed, and on most occasions, the setup procedures are the same. There was recently a Kodi update, and the latest Kodi version is close to being released. The difference though does come depending on the different devices where you are installing Kodi.
All of the latest Kodi version variations can be found at the official Kodi download webpage: https://kodi.tv/download/
In the case of Android users, you can download Kodi directly from the Google Play Store.
Having performed your Kodi install. Kodi won’t actually do anything so you could be wondering how to use Kodi.
Using Kodi and Setting Up
Navigation around the Kodi setup interface is pretty straightforward although on the first couple of times installing a Kodi add-on it can be a little confusing.
With newer versions of Kodi, new skins were introduced, and all of the controls were placed on the left-hand side of the screen.
The main headings are Videos, Movies, TV Shows, Music, Music Videos, TV, Radio, Pictures, Add-ons, and Weather.
There is also a context menu which can offer more functionality depending on the screen you have at the time. At its most basic, it can include Play, Information and Mark the movie as watched.
The context menu is accessed differently depending on your device. Here are the commands to access this on the different devices:
- Mouse: Right-click
- Android: Long Press
- Keyboard: ‘C’
- Amazon Fire TV: Menu button
- NVIDIA Shield controller: ‘X’ button
Using Repos and Add-ons
Although Kodi can be used to access all of your stored content, it has grown more popular due to the number of add-ons which can be installed and used to obtain many types of streaming content.
At this point, you might be asking how does Kodi work. Well, with this you can access on-demand services like BBC iPlayer and live TV as well as obtaining any hard drive stored content.
The problem with many of these add-ons is the fact they are not official and contain content which can be geo-locked, or the content itself is encroaching on copyright. This makes it somewhat illegal.
With this in mind, Kodi has gained a lot of exposure, and there are many authorities which seek to clamp down on these add-ons.
There is a solution to this which will be discussed further in the article which can help you circumnavigate any geo-restrictions and also prevent being caught by such authorities.
A repo (repository) could be seen as the place where an add-on installer Kodi looks to find is located, and it contains these libraries of add-ons, and from the installation of these add-ons, you can access the content of choice.
There are two kinds of repo, and these are the official one, and also the unofficial ones.
The official repo contains plenty of add-ons, and users might not even need to consider using a third-party repo. Some of the best Kodi TV add-ons here are:
BBC iPlayer, Pluto TV, Crackle, Bravo, BT Sport, and the Disney Channel among others. Although these are legal, some of them will come with the geo-blocking above and will require a means of being able to gain access.
Accessing the official repo is easy, and from the left menu, you select Add-ons on the home screen, and then on the next screen click on the download option on the bottom left.
Here you will be presented with a range of categories which you can select and click on to see what is available.
Installing an add-on from here is a matter of selecting the said item and clicking on Install.
Unfortunately, you can’t browse a list of unofficial repos from within Kodi, and you also need to tell the Kodi application to accept the installation of these.
This can be done by navigating to Kodi Settings>System>Add-ons and then enable Unknown Sources.
If you have downloaded a repo zip, you can follow these instructions to install it.
- Select Add-ons on the Kodi home screen.
- In the top left-hand corner of the screen, click on the box icon.
- Click Install from ZIP file on the new screen
- Browse to where the Kodi ZIP file is located.
- Select the ZIP file to install and click OK.
Installation of Add-ons from Third-Party Repos
If you navigate to Add-ons>Download and then Category. All the add-ons will be mixed. You can, however, view all the add-ons from specific repos by following these steps:
- Navigate to the home screen
- Select Add-ons
- On the next screen select the box icon-Top left-hand corner
- A menu will be shown
- Select install from repo
- Choose the repo you wish to browse
- Select your add-on and click install
Once they are installed, and you wish to see which content is available (dependent on add-on installed) select Add-ons from the home screen and then click on the icon of the installed add-on to display the subcategories of available content.
Top Kodi Add-ons
There are Kodi add-ons which cover anything you can think of. These include Live TV, Sports, Movies, TV Shows, and Music and even down to the way Kodi looks and functions.
The main add-ons though are all concerned with obtaining content to stream. Here are a list of the top third-party Kodi movie add-ons and TV show add-ons which you can install, and are available from specific repos.
- Neptune Rising.
- Genesis Reborn.
- cCloud TV.
After setting up Kodi to run on your device, it is a matter of choosing your Kodi TV shows or movies and enjoying your viewing.
But it is also the point where any Australian Kodi user needs to understand the implications that come with using a connection which is unprotected to access these add-ons.
It isn’t so much viruses or malware which can infect your system, it is, as was mentioned toward the beginning of the article, the geo-restrictions and the copyright infringements many of these third-party add-ons perform.
Australia has data retention regulations, and your ISP keeps a record of your data for 2-years. With this, they can see exactly what sites you visit, and what shows or movies you watch using Kodi.
On top of this, you also have the geo-restrictions which are in place, and even prevent the content being accessed using Kodi.
The best example is US Netflix which contains much more content than any other global Netflix, but users are blocked from watching any of it unless they are American residents.
How to Get Around Restrictions and Restore Privacy
Any Australian who considers using Kodi is well advised to install a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
These will protect your connection and prevent any authority from spying on your browsing habits, or what content you have accessed.
Choosing a good VPN for Kodi in Australia can be another challenge in itself, and not all are suitable for the region or for accessing content. There is also the decision to make to opt for a free VPN for Kodi or to purchase a premium package.
Again this area causes problems because a free VPN will have limited server coverage and even the best data available (Windscribe free 10 GB per month) won’t be sufficient.
When you start looking at premium packages many of them fall into specific groups. There are good ones, average ones, and the best ones. Unfortunately, there are not many of the best Kodi box VPN services you can choose.
IPVanish VPN is an example of an average one. It offers plenty of encryption and a few features, but, it doesn’t support Netflix, and the company wrongly advertise how good their customer service is.
Once you narrow it down, there are only two real options available which are ideal for any Australian household who uses Kodi or who just want to make sure their home or mobile connections are secure.
There are NordVPN and ExpressVPN, and the latter takes the top recommendation because it offers more features, the best speeds and comes with support for many more devices.
It does, in fact, support nearly all the devices you can install Kodi onto so you have no worries of signing up to something which doesn’t deliver what they promise.
With all the talk of “is Kodi safe?” when using these unofficial add-ons. By using the recommended VPN provider, Kodi can be as safe as it can be, and there is no risk of snoops checking what you are accessing or what you are watching.
It also provides the most extensive and fastest coverage around the globe, so all of your HD content streaming can be viewed without any stuttering or buffering.