Eight years after my very first OK Computer article about Ant Movie Catalog — only available for Windows and which I stopped using after shifting to Linux a couple years ago (despite the fact that it works well with Wine) — let's bring back the long forgotten category to introduce you to an excting application called Kodi.
What Is Kodi?
Created in 2003 and formerly known as Xbox Media Center (XBMC), Kodi was initially developed as a free open-source media player for the first generation of XBox consoles prior to become a multi-platform media centre which can run on BSD, Raspbian, GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Android and iOS. As from 2014, it changed its name to Kodi.
Supporting about any existing media format, Kodi is a stylish and powerful multi-tool application to build and organise your digital media library (music, videos, photos) and share it with other computers or multimedia devices via uPnP. At present, I've only tested with local files but it can also play CDs, DVDs, BluRays, display weather forecast (not really essential for a media centre), create slideshows with your pictures (don't use that either) and with the use of third party addons, you can listen to web radios and streaming music, watch and record TV provided your device comes with a proper DVB tuner card (and you have a TV license to remain legal).
I have tested online replays for French TV with Catch-up TV & More addon and it's a much smoother experience than watching on the dedicated channel website since you don't get all the annoying commercials which often freeze the player and are a considerable waste of time (while also hurting your eardrums as they raise the volume which is supposed to be illegal). In addition, you can resume a TV program or movie where you interrupted it even after leaving Kodi since the time code is remembered (provided the movie is still available online of course). You can also improve the audio and video quality while such options are never offered on TV channel websites.
Kodi also provides web interfaces to connect to various services as well a game console emulator to play your favourite games directly from Kodi (haven't tested that either).
Last but not least, you can use different skins than the default one. I for one have tested Aeon Nox Silvo, all really beautiful and fully customisable, but which doesn't seem designed for small 5:4 computer screens.
Download And Install Kodi
Download and install Kodi for your operating system HERE
Linux users will find it in the official repositories for Ubuntu and Linux Mint (Leia 18). In order to use the latest version (Matrix 19), I recommend installing the Flatpak version instead (also in the repositories for Ubuntu-based distributions).
Before importing your multimedia contents, you'll want to organise your folders first and properly rename your files for optimum return from scrapers (unless you decide to use local information) which could be the topic of an upcoming tutorial depending of your feedback.
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Tags: computer software, media center
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