Kodi (software)

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Main Screen Estuary 17.6.png
Kodi version 17.6 (with standard Estuary skin)
Basic data

developer Kodi team
Publishing year 2003
Current  version 18.8
( July 28, 2020 )
operating system Linux , FreeBSD , Windows , macOS , Apple TV , Apple iOS , Android
programming language C ++ , Python
category HTPC
License GNU GPL
German speaking Yes

Kodi , formerly XBMC is a free and cross-platform Media Player - software . The software can be expanded with a large number of plug-ins . The development project to create and maintain the software received several awards.

Originally developed for the Xbox game console , the software was initially called "Xbox Media Player". In 2002 the name was changed to "Xbox Media Center" ("XBMC"). With version 14, the software was renamed "Kodi", which reflects the move away from the Xbox console and legal problems should be eliminated.


The software is a media player that is usually operated on a television and controlled with a remote control.

Kodi can read metadata from locally available media files and save it in its own database. The metadata is presented in a visually appealing way, and the media files can be played from the context of the media management. In contrast to pure (hardware) media players, Kodi uses additional content from the Internet in order to offer the user added value to the classic pure playback functionality: The program can, among other things, call up film posters, actor lists, subtitles and trailers . The basis for this is the expandability of Kodi by means of downloadable plugins that are made available by third parties. So u. a. Internet video portals such as YouTube, Hulu or Veoh, as well as the ARD and ZDF media libraries, can be accessed via Kodi. The integration of video-on-demand services is also possible using additional plugins.

Will operate the software via mouse , keyboard , joypad , remote control, web interface, Wiimote or a Wi-Fi - / Bluetooth - mobile phone . The surface can be completely changed using skins .

Hardware requirements

Kodi has comparatively low demands on hardware performance. Current versions, however, require a graphics processor under Windows that supports at least DirectX 9.0c; Furthermore, a driver must be installed that can handle the "Level 9" function (introduced with DirectX 11). Under Linux, which is used in numerous projects for setting up a home theater PC , at least OpenGL 2.0 must be supported.

New techniques are usually picked up and integrated quickly. For example, video acceleration was supported early on using appropriate graphics cards (see VDPAU , DXVA ), which enabled HD videos to be played on weaker systems.

Playback skills

Kodi supports numerous audio, video and image formats:

Physical media
CDs, DVDs, DVD-Video, Video CDs (incl. VCD / SVCD / XVCD), Audio-CD (CDDA), Blu-rays (unencrypted), USB flash drives and hard drives
Network protocols
AirPlay / AirTunes, UPnP, SMB / SAMBA / CIFS, AFP, Zeroconf / Avahi / Bonjour, NFS, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, RTSP (RTSPU, RTSPT), MMS (MMSU, MMST), Podcasting, TCP, UDP, SFTP, RTP and RTMP (includes RTMP, RTMPT, RTMPE, RTMPTE, RTMPS), DHCP, NTP, WebDAV
Media container
AVI, MPEG, WMV, ASF, FLV, MKV / MKA (Matroska), QuickTime, MP4, M4A, AAC, NUT, Ogg, OGM, RealMedia RAM / RM / RV / RA / RMVB, 3gp, VIVO, PVA, NUV, NSV, NSA, FLI, FLC, DVR-MS and WTV
Video formats
MPEG-1, MPEG-2, H.263, MPEG-4 SP and ASP, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), H.265 (since Kodi 14) HuffYUV, Indeo, MJPEG, RealVideo, RMVB, Sorenson, WMV and Cinepak
Audio formats
MIDI, AIFF, WAV / WAVE, AIFF, MP2, MP3, AAC, AACplus (AAC +), Opus, Vorbis, AC3, DTS, ALAC, AMR, FLAC, Monkey's Audio (APE), RealAudio, SHN, WavPack, MPC / Musepack / Mpeg +, Shorten, Speex, WMA, IT, S3M, MOD (Amiga Module), XM, NSF (NES Sound Format), SPC (SNES), GYM (Genesis), SID (Commodore 64), Adlib, YM (Atari ST ), ADPCM (Nintendo GameCube) and CDDA.
Digital image formats
RAW formats, BMP, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, MNG, ICO, PCX and Targa / TGA
Subtitle formats
AQTitle, ASS / SSA, CC, JACOsub, MicroDVD, MPsub, OGM, PJS, RT, SMI, SRT, SUB, VobSub , VPlayer
APEv1, APEv2, ID3 (ID3v1 and ID3v2), ID666, Exif and IPTC (with GeoTagging) for image formats

Library function

Kodi offers the option of organizing the user's available content in a library. By retrieving additional metadata from the Internet, content can be categorized, for example music by genre, films by actors or individual episodes of a television series can be assigned to a specific season.

The available metadata allow the user, for example, all on the hard disk existing science fiction to display movies of the 1970s and then on the basis of the displayed cover or movie poster to decide which movie he wants to watch. Browsing through the library is a key concept for using the software.


XBMC with "PM3.HD" user interface

In 2002, two programmers independently began developing a media player for the Xbox . A developer using the pseudonyms “d7o3g4q” and “duo” wrote software he called “Xbox Media Player”. Another developer under the pseudonym "RUNTiME" initially called his software "XBPLAYER". They later exchanged the source code with each other until the two programs were completely merged in the Beta 5 version of Xbox Media Player.

Starting with version Beta 5, the FFmpeg video codec library was used as the basis for decoding film and music files. Version Beta 6 added support for the popular MPEG codec Xvid . Up to this point the two developers had privately developed the software further and only promised to publish the source code of their software with version 1.0. However, because of the use of the FFmpeg and Xvid libraries under the terms of the GNU GPL , they published the source code of Beta 6 of the Xbox Media Player on October 15, 2002 after a few complaints.

In November 2002 another programmer with the nickname "Frodo" joined them. By then he had developed his own program called "YAMP - Yet Another Media Player", which was then merged with the Xbox Media Player project. The first release of the further unified Xbox Media Player followed soon afterwards on December 14, 2002 with version 2.0 (version number 1.0 was skipped). Version 2.0 of the Xbox Media Player was a new version with a new core based on MPlayer (which in turn also uses the codec collections FFmpeg and Xvid).

Version 2.1 was released on December 28, 2002, which, in addition to numerous bug fixes, offered AC3-5.1 audio output ( Dolby Digital ), volume normalization and additional effect filters as innovations. Two weeks later, on January 12, 2003, the final version 2.2 of this development branch followed, which includes a dashboard mode for starting additional Xbox programs, separate interface translation files , streams of Windows shares , playback of ISO9660 CDs and support for Windows Media Video ( WMV) using Windows DLLs.

After this version, the project was renamed “Xbox Media Center” because it had grown into a full media center with its standalone dashboard with a full graphical user interface and thus a replacement for the pre-installed Xbox Dashboard.

The project kept the name "XBox Media Center" for some time, even when it was already available for various other platforms. In the meantime the project was called "XBMC Media Center". Support for the XBox platform has been discontinued by the lead development team since May 27, 2010 due to the limitations of the aging system.

At the end of January 2011 , a version for Apple iOS was presented, which is intended for AppleTV2, iPad and iPhone4.

XBMC has also been available for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer since 2012 . It can thus function as a media center for a television set or a PC monitor via an HDMI port or composite and 3.5 mm jack plug (with higher demands on the sound output also via a USB sound card).

On August 1, 2014 it was announced that the product from version 14 onwards would be renamed “Kodi”.


version Publication date Code name
Older version; no longer supported: 1.0.0 June 29, 2004
Older version; no longer supported: 1.1.0 October 18, 2004
Older version; no longer supported: 2.0.0 September 29, 2006
Older version; no longer supported: 8.10 November 15, 2008 Atlantis
Older version; no longer supported: April 9 May 6, 2009 Babylon
Older version; no longer supported: 9.11 December 24, 2009 Camelot
Older version; no longer supported: 10.0 and 10.1 December 18, 2010 Dharma
Older version; no longer supported: 11.0 March 24, 2012 Eden
Older version; no longer supported: 12.0, 12.1, 12.2 and 12.3 January 29, 2013 Frodo
Older version; no longer supported: 13.0, 13.1 and 13.2 May 4, 2014 Gotham
Older version; no longer supported: 14.0, 14.1, 14.2 March 28, 2015 Helix
Older version; no longer supported: 15.0, 15.1, 15.2 July 21, 2015 Isengard
Older version; no longer supported: 16.0, 16.1 February 21, 2016 Jarvis
Older version; no longer supported: 17.0, 17.1, 17.2, 17.3, 17.4, 17.5, 17.6 2nd February 2017 krypton
Current version: 18.0, 18.1, 18.2, 18.3, 18.4, 18.5, 18.6, 18.7, 18.8, 29 January 2019 Leia
Future version: 19.0 ? matrix
Old version
Older version; still supported
Current version
Current preliminary version
Future version

Projects based on Kodi


In mid-2008, some developers decided to develop the Xbox Media Center specifically for Mac OS and Apple iOS . The resulting development branch is called Plex and is based on the Linux version of Kodi. Since 2011, Plex has been running on Windows , Mac OS and Android operating systems.


The Kodi-based project "Boxee", which focuses on the integration of social networks, has also existed since mid-2008. Boxee was available for Mac OS, Linux, Windows, and Apple TV until early 2012, but desktop software has been discontinued as the company sees the future in set-top boxes like the Boxee Box and Iomega TV with Boxee.


After further support for the Xbox platform was discontinued, the XBMC4Xbox project was launched. As far as possible, one tries to incorporate improvements from the original project.


OpenELEC ( Open E mBedded L inux E ntertainment C enter) is a free operating system. It has been developed by the OpenELEC team under the terms of the GNU GPL since 2009 . The project won the CH Open Source Award in 2014 and, according to its own information, currently has 400,000 users (OpenELEC transfers the hashed MAC address of the hardware of the respective computer to the OpenELEC Internet service for user counting ). It includes a preconfigured Kodi media center and third party plugins with retro video game console emulators and PVR extensions. OpenELEC is an extremely small and fast starting Linux operating system - mainly developed to boot from flash memories such as CompactFlash or SSD hard drives .

After most developers switched to the LibreELEC project in 2016, OpenELEC has not been further developed since May 2017 and its use by the Kodi team is not recommended.


LibreELEC is a spin-off from OpenELEC. The project was founded in March 2016 as a result of disagreements among former OpenELEC developers.


Geexbox used to rely on a proprietary development called "Enna" for the user interface. In the course of the development of GeeXboX 2.0, however, this approach was dropped; instead, Kodi was integrated as the user interface.

OSMC / RaspBMC / Rasplex / XBian

OSMC, RaspBMC, RasPlex and XBian are Debian -based Linux distributions that run Kodi on the Raspberry Pi .

RaspBMC appeared on February 2, 2012 and has been continuously developed. With the last update on February 2, 2015, the project was abandoned in favor of the development of OSMC.

XBMC from Debian

For a long time, XBMC could not be included in the repository of the widely used Linux distribution Debian , because it includes embedded program libraries, although these are already available externally under Debian (and many other distributions). This practice clashes with the rules set up by the Debian development team, which prohibit such redundancies and require a program package that is as lean as possible. The developer Réczey Bálint then designed the spin-off "XBMC from Debian", which - among other adaptations - uses the external implementation of FFmpeg or libav .

Web links

Commons : Kodi  - collection of images and documents

Individual evidence

  1. Kodi team. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  2. github.com .
  3. github.com . July 28, 2020.
  4. Kodi on freebsd.org. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  5. Cory: XBMC For Android. July 13, 2012, accessed April 9, 2017 .
  6. About Kodi. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  7. a b Nathan Betzen: XBMC Is Getting a New Name - Introducing Kodi August 14 , 2014, accessed on April 9, 2017 (English).
  8. Volker Zota: XBMC becomes the Kodi Entertainment Center. Heise online , August 2, 2014, accessed on February 28, 2016 .
  9. Hardware requirements
  10. Features and supported formats - Official Kodi Wiki. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  11. Team XBMC: Farewell XBOX. May 27, 2010, accessed April 9, 2017 .
  12. Mirko Lindner: XBMC for iOS and Apple TV presented. Pro-Linux, January 21, 2011, accessed February 28, 2016 .
  13. XBMC 8.10 Atlantis released. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  14. XBMC 9.11: Camelot. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  15. XBMC 10.0. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  16. XBMC 11.0 - Eden. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  17. XBMC 12.0 - Frodo. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  18. XBMC 13.0 - Gotham rises. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  19. Kodi 14.0 - Helix Unwinds. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  20. Kodi 15.0 - Isengard - One Release to Rule Them All. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  21. Kodi 16.0 - Jarvis - Mark XVI. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  22. Kodi Releases. Accessed November 2, 2017 .
  23. Kodi 18 - "Leia". Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  24. Kodi 19 gets a codename. Retrieved April 29, 2019 .
  25. Announcing Plex. July 5, 2008, accessed February 28, 2016 .
  26. Boxee (manufacturer website). Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  27. Volker Zota: The days of the Boxee version for the PC are numbered. heise online , February 1, 2012, accessed on April 9, 2017 .
  28. Boxee 1.5 Fall Software Update ( Memento from May 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  29. XBMC4Xbox (manufacturer website). Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  30. OpenELEC, map.geo.admin.ch, Symfony CMF and Kern Sibbald win the CH Open Source Awards 2014. October 8, 2014, accessed on April 9, 2017 .
  31. Privacy FAQ. Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  32. https://kodi.wiki/view/Archive:OpenELEC
  33. Project description on the official website (eng)
  34. Introducing “XBMC from Debian”. December 23, 2013, accessed April 9, 2017 .