Software update: Kodi 18.0 Alpha 2

Jun

24

2018

second official development version of Kodi version 18.0 has become available. This cross platform media center software is developed for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. In version 18.0, which carries the code name Leia, the entire source code has been reviewed, with the aim of improving stability. Furthermore, various improvements have been made in the music library and watching live television, there is a full 64bit version of Kodi and it is now also available through the Windows Store. Finally, the media player has been improved, which means there are fewer hitches to avoid, and it also works well with 4k and 8k resolutions, hdr, drm and the latest codecs. The complete changelog for this edition can be found here; this is the first part of the release notes :

Stability and usability is key
In general the whole stability has improved quite a lot. The times you still get glitches or occasional crashes haven been reduced due to a well-structured design and standard. Not that the old code was bad however about time new insights have been achieved and newer code standards just make it better. Untangling all parts or components and make them behave better next to each other has been one of the biggest efforts done so far.

Music library
Music section also gained lots of improvement for those who have a lot about having a clean music library. Going through the code and scanning options a better understanding was achieved. The same accounts in a smaller part for video library, although that was in a better maintained state. What is new however in v18 is that we can now use the embedded tags and fill in the library based instead of using file names. For now this has been disabled by default as there is a simple and easy to use video tagging software. We hope with Kodi now gaining this ability to gain interest will make these available.

Live TV
Next part is the great feature of Kodi as a live TV and recording front-end. It is one of the less well-known features as it requires certain knowledge and thinking that this is something that you will love. To be able to use this you need some extra hardware like a USB tuner or a network tuner like HDHomerun to get the cable or ether signal converted to a video stream. This in combination with one of the PVR server software options like VNSI or TVHeadend (more options are available). What has been done over time is improving the quality and stability of this component. A starting guide can be found here: Live TV and PVR / DVR Setup Guide

Windows and UWP
For Windows specific several big things happened. First of all we got added as 32-bit Bridge application to Windows store which makes it easier for new users to install Kodi and receive updates. A simultaneous action was converting Kodi to a full 64-bit application that took quite some effort. A more detailed story can be read here: Windows 64-bit is here

Now that was out of the way dream of being a option. Getting Kodi running back on a XBOX like where it all started more than 15 years ago. Since 27 December 2017 we released Kodi once again for the XBOX (One) and is available from the Store. A more detailed story can be read here: Kodi for XBOX One

There have been several improvements done for XBOX since the first time and now also SMBv2 / 3 also work. However, for this you need to enable the SMBv2 / 3 add-on in add-on manager under VFS add-ons.

Android
Regarding Android we just started to do what we did and that was stripping all Android standards. When XBMC back then became available for Android a lot of specific code was written on the low powered devices and we had more capabilities than any other application back then. About time stock Android improved a lot and basically all what we had was made available. At that point we started dropping old stuff and just applied the standards. Now all that was done we could start looking at new features and from that we gained the Leanback search integration on Android TV that shows Kodi content on Android TV itself. We now also include Google Assistant, so that you do not have to pick up the remote anymore. To be honest it’s still uncomfortable and weird talking to your TV giving it commands. For Android TV Oreo there’s a whole new interface which includes the option to fill so that Channels that shows specific content from your app. We can proudly say that Kodi is actually one of the first applications that actually has this integrated. With the great hidden Kodi feature called Smartplaylists you can now populate the Android TV screen with content you want. For the touch enabled devices we can also say that has improved quite a lot as well make it feel more natural.

Linux

Linux gained some great things as well. For our Google Summer of Code we had a project integrating Wayland display server protocol (again) to our code base which is meant to be the successor of X11 Window System. Since Linux is also quite divided on display drivers we had a lot of code implementations getting Kodi running on the variety of devices out there. A general path was chosen for GBM (Generic Buffer Manager) and V4L2 (Video for Linux). With this initial code is needed to get devices running and running out of the box just run out-of-the-box once the Linux kernel supports these.

Retroplayer and input manager

Retroplayer together with input manager makes controlling Kodi using various remotes or controllers. Not having to think the correct configurations is something that we all would like and hopefully this achieves this.

Video Player

Now comes on of the biggest changes about past year. The video playback which is of course where Kodi shines. Once there was no real task in the future with new standards and video changes and new codecs. With a future in mind, we have started to work with you in the user interface or other parts. Making the video gets the highest CPU / GPU priority about anything else happening makes sure you do not get stuttering video or audio when navigating. This sounds so obvious to do however this was not done or as possible in the past. Parallel to that, parts are more efficient and need less CPU while gaining quality. Higher resolutions like 4K and 8K are also available in mind next to HDR and new video codecs once they become available.

DRM (Digital Rights Management)

With the work being done in the video player Kodi up for using it in combination with DRM protected content. These days it’s quite common for content owners and providers to protect their content with encryption. With v18 we added the ability to play this content as it was actually intended by the DRM system. You can now use this content which also comes with a subscription service. Instead of the sometimes clunky apps ai ki environment to watch what they have to offer. There are already several add-ons available from our repository and we hope that we will continue to do so and that content providers will make their service available as official add-on.

Kodi v18 Leia

Version number 18.0 Alpha 2
Release status Alpha
Operating systems Windows 7, Android, Linux, macOS, Windows 8, Windows 10
Website
Kodi
Download
http://kodi.tv/download
License type GPL

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