Kodi is a highly versatile and open source media streaming solution available across a wide range of platforms. The successor to Xbox Media Center (XBMC), Kodi is an effective tool for organizing and playing your favorite video content. Like a lot of open source software, Kodi comes with a ton of documentation and broad community support, but it can still be a bit overwhelming to get it set up and figure out how to actually use it. Our guide walks you through the basics, including installation, updates, libraries, add-ons, and customizations.

First, however, let me clarify some common misconceptions about the software. First, Kodi’s official software is perfectly legal. However, since the software is open source, shady individuals can use it to nefarious ends. For example, some people install modified versions of Kodi on third-party hardware, bundle it with illicit content via unofficial third-party add-ons, and sell them as “fully loaded” Kodi boxes. Stay away from those types of boxes, as they can lead to legal troubles.

Legit Kodi does not come with any content; you add files you legally own or connect to an add-on that hosts legal content. Kodi takes a hardline stance on piracy, stating that “The watching or listening of illegal or pirated content which would otherwise need to be paid for is not endorsed or approved by Team Kodi.” Accordingly, your Kodi implementation depends on the content you feed it. For example, you can use Kodi as the software backbone of a speaker system for your music library or in a Home Theater PC (HTPC) setup for your DVD and Blu-ray collection.

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