Kodi Review 2022: Everything you need to know

Our take: Kodi is at its best if you already have a large media library and are interesting in some tech-y tinkering.

Kodi Software Review 2023

Most streaming services aren’t very customizable. Kodi breaks that mold in two ways. First, everything about Kodi is adjustable — from the look and feel of the app to the content itself. Second, Kodi isn’t actually a streaming service at all. It’s a media center application that brings together your personal library of TV shows and movies with content from a wide range of free and paid streaming services.

Kodi isn’t always simple, but it’s very powerful. If you play your video games on the hardest level or have ever installed Linux because Windows was just too limited, then you need to hear about Kodi. In this review, I’m going to show you what it’s like to use a free, open-source media center app that is built with the DIY cord-cutter in mind.

Is Kodi Worth It?

Kodi is absolutely free, and it’s excellent at what it does. However, it’s not for everyone. Kodi is great at organizing media files, but it doesn’t come “out of the box” equipped with lots of free things to watch; you should expect to provide your own media library. And while customization and plugins can unlock powerful options in Kodi, that’s a path we recommend only to those willing to exercise a little tech know-how and DIY spirit.

Kodi: A highly customizable media center app

  • Completely free and open-source service
  • Over 900 add-ons available
  • Can connect to most paid or free streaming services
  • Very active user community
  • Steep initial learning curve
  • No streaming content included with the app
  • Doesn’t automatically apply metadata to your files
  • Finding add-ons can be difficult

Our take: Kodi is at its best if you already have a large media library and are interesting in some tech-y tinkering.

What You Can Watch on Kodi

There’s nothing more exciting than opening a streaming service app for the first time. The anticipation is quickly replaced by joy, surprise, nostalgia, and a copious dose of excitement when you see all the new content waiting to be explored. I love that feeling!

But that’s a feeling that you won’t get with Kodi because Kodi isn’t a streaming service. Rather, Kodi is a media center application. In other words, it’s a place for you to gather all of your media files, ripped DVDs, and legally downloaded movies, and stream them to all of your devices. Kodi can be home to tons of content — but you have to put it there!

Kodi primarily gives you a way to view your own content, so the size of your Kodi library will depend on how obsessively you’ve been collecting movies and TV shows over the years. You can augment your Kodi library by downloading public domain movies or other free content using legal P2P file-sharing services.

Kodi add-ons menu

Kodi’s add-ons are another way to access movies and TV shows through the app. Kodi doesn’t provide any original content, but the add-ons bring many popular free and paid streaming services into the Kodi app. Some of my favorites include South Park, the free streaming service Crackle, and Pluto TV. You can also access baseball streaming service MLB.TV, PBS Kids, Twitch, and over 100 other apps and services. If you download the PlayOn Browser add-on, you can even connect Kodi to Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video.

You can bring over-the-air (OTA) TV into Kodi using the personal video recorder (PVR) add-on, but the process is very involved. You’ll need a TV tuner and the PVR backend software. Fortunately, Kodi has a detailed PVR wiki page to walk you through the process.

How It Felt to Use Kodi

My initial plan was to install Kodi on four devices: a Fire TV Stick, a Windows desktop, a Mac laptop, and an iPhone. I started with the desktop and laptop, both of which were easy. I just went to the Kodi site, grabbed the download files, and went through the install wizards. I was a bit concerned when their website didn’t auto-detect my operating system, but the rest of the experience was a breeze.

From there, things got more complicated. The Kodi app isn’t available in the Fire TV or iPhone app stores! The Fire TV Stick Kodi install process required me to enable “Apps from Unknown Sources” in the developer options. I then had to locate the install package URL and enter it in the Downloader app. If that description sounds too tedious or complicated, Kodi is not for you.

I actually gave up on installing Kodi on my iPhone. It’s not that the process was complicated, although it was. Rather, it’s because every method I found required me to either jailbreak my iPhone, pay for an iOS developer account, or reinstall the app every seven days. If you have a jailbroken iPhone, the install process doesn’t look terribly hard. But there isn’t a free, convenient way for the rest of us to get Kodi on our iPhones.

Screenshot: Crackle add-on within Kodi

With the install process complete, I opened the Kodi app. The first step — adding my movies folder — wasn’t too difficult. The opening screen of the app gave me a link to follow to their file browser, and I quickly imported my library. The full-screen app is kind of clunky and clearly not intended for use with a keyboard and mouse, but it’s usable.

Some of the most basic media center features are non-intuitive or non-existent in Kodi’s base application. Kodi doesn’t automatically add metadata (genre, actors, description, etc.) to your media files, so you’ll have to take care of that on your own or get an add-on. The app’s version of filtering is actually just a search that limits itself to the folder or list you are currently viewing. When I wanted more advanced filtering (year, genre, etc.), I needed an add-on for that.

Have you noticed the theme yet? Kodi prides itself on being highly customizable. If you’ve ever wished that you could tweak the look or feel of Netflix to your exacting specifications, you’ll love Kodi. But that customizability comes at a cost: The base version of Kodi is pretty brutal to use. I had downloaded at least a dozen add-ons before I felt like I was really getting anywhere.

The basic streaming service add-ons generally worked out of the box, which was a welcome change. One surprising exception, though, was YouTube. For some reason, the YouTube add-on requires that you create a Google developer account and API keys. I ran into similar complications with some other plugins, but that was the most surprising. I can install the YouTube app directly on any device in just a couple of minutes, so why would I go through this whole process just to get YouTube videos in Kodi?

An error message from Kodi

The extreme customizability of Kodi is particularly prominent in their settings pages. When I first pulled up the settings menu, I noticed a surprisingly small number of options. I also noticed that the little icon in the lower left said “Standard.” After clicking the button a couple of times, I found myself in the rather overwhelming “Expert” settings menu, featuring some video options I’d never even heard of! That’s Kodi for you: apparently under-capable at first, but with layers of customizability and complication that will quickly have you swimming in the deep end.

Kodi Features and Streaming Quality

Kodi supports full HD and 4K content when playing from your own media library. If you’re playing content from add-ons, though, the streaming quality will vary. You’ll need to find a streaming service that has 4K content and a Kodi add-on, and you’ll need to verify that their add-on supports 4K streaming. Some add-ons downscale their 4K content to HD because of Kodi’s bandwidth limitations.

Kodi can be used as a Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) server. That means that you can stream content from your media center PC to all of your other devices. The only limits are that the devices must be on the same network as the media center PC and must be running the Kodi app.

A movie playing on Kodi

Most of Kodi’s features come from its add-ons. I couldn’t possibly list all of them here, so I’ll just mention a few examples of what they do. Some add-ons will scrape subtitles or movie metadata and apply them to your media files. Other add-ons provide skins that completely renovate the look and feel of the Kodi app. There are even add-ons that provide emulators for several older video game systems.

Kodi Platform Support

Kodi is available and easy to install on Windows, Mac, and Linux desktops and laptops. It’s also in the Android app store, which is great for anything from an Android phone to Android TV devices. You can also install it on Fire TV or Raspberry Pi devices without too much difficulty.

Beyond those devices, things get complicated. Installation on an Apple TV device is just as hard as on an iPhone. I found Kodi installation hacks for several other devices, but they range from difficult to dangerous, so most users will want to stick to just the officially approved Kodi apps.

Kodi Value

Free is a great price. I love the fact that Kodi doesn’t attempt to hide their more advanced features behind a freemium model. By the time I was done customizing, I had put together a feature-rich, content-heavy media center application, and I wasn’t paying a dime for it.

Keep in mind, however, that some Kodi add-ons will require subscriptions to other services. If you want to watch Hulu, Netflix, and MLB.TV in your Kodi app, you’ll need a subscription to each of those services. That’s not Kodi charging you money, though. Kodi is just offering you a convenient interface to content from your favorite free and paid streaming services.

Kodi Review: My Verdict

Some cord-cutters want easy-to-use streaming services that work out of the box. Those people will likely hate Kodi. They would be far better served by a service like Netflix, Max, or Disney Plus. Or, if they want a way to view their own media content, they’ll probably prefer running a Plex media server.

Others want to create a personalized streaming interface. They want access to several streaming services as well as their own library of content. They are willing to struggle through a few install processes, pick and choose between add-ons, and tweak settings to perfection. If that sounds like you, you’re going to absolutely adore Kodi.

Kodi Review 2022: Everything you need to know

What is Kodi?

Kodi is a home media server that brings all your content together in a single place and lets you access shows, photos, movies, and music through multiple devices. Once popularly known as the Xbox Media Center (XBMC), Kodi is completely open-source and free to use with over 900 official add-ons.

With these add-ons, you have the freedom to convert your phone into a remote, stream live TV, tune into your favorite radio station, and more. Among these add-ons, you’ll find scores of movie and TV streaming services. Note that Kodi isn’t a substitute for music and video streaming services but rather a hub to manage your subscriptions and local media collection.

Kodi plans and pricing

Monthly price Free
Number of official add-ons 900+
Offline downloads Yes
Original content ( No
Live streaming add-on Yes

Kodi supported devices

Kodi works with a host of devices and operating systems so you can freely share our media library between PCs, phones, streamers, and tablets. You can download the Kodi app on the following devices, but make sure to check the website for specific hardware recommendations for each product.

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android 5.0 or higher
  • Apple TV 2-5
  • Chromebox
  • Cubox-i
  • CompuLab Utilite
  • Google Nexus Player
  • Intel NUC
  • iOS 6.0 or higher
  • Mac OS X 10.8 or later
  • NVIDIA Shield
  • Raspberry Pi devices
  • Razor Forge TV
  • Ubuntu Linux
  • WeTek Play
  • Windows 7 or later
  • Xiaomi Mi Box
  • x86 hardware

video streaming on tablet

What to watch on Kodi

Kodi comes with a bunch of streaming service add-ons that let you watch live TV, movies, and shows. To view anything beyond your local media collection, you’ll need to install add-ons. While you can get add-ons for popular streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Sling TV , here are a few other services you can use to watch on-demand movies and shows as well as live TV.

Black and White Movies

The perfect add-on for old film lovers, Black and White Movies gives you free access to films with expired copyrights. It has thousands of silent movies and several hundred more in genres like comedy, horror, and sci-fi. Some of its most popular titles include 12 Angry Men, Dracula, Dr. Strangelove, and Great Expectations . Plus, it’s one of the few Kodi add-ons that let you download movies for offline viewing.


Kodi also has an add-on for Crackle, the free online video library from Sony. This add-on lets you watch hundreds of Sony-licensed movies, including 28 Days, Big Fish, Friday the 13th, Léon: The Professional, Mr. Nobody, The Machinist, Train to Busan, and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Its TV show collection includes popular titles like 3rd Rock from the Sun, Community, Happy Endings, Heroes, and Who’s the Boss?

Documentary Storm

As the name suggests, this add-on focuses on documentaries and informative content. It has selections in a variety of genres, such as art, biography, crime, culture, environment, health, history, nature, politics, and technology, to name a few. Some of the top documentaries include In Praise of Action, Keep the Hives Alive, The Last of the Rhinos, When We Were Knights, and White Fright.


With the ability to stream live sporting events, SportsDevil is the ultimate add-on for sports fans. This includes basketball, cricket, football, hockey, soccer, and tennis. It offers an extensive collection of IPTV channels to let you stream events from around the world free of charge


Boasting 50,000+ titles, Tubi lets you stream movies and TV shows for free. This includes iconic choices like Fist of Fury, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island, The Alchemist, The True Story of Jesse James, and more. Although some may shy away from using this service because it comes with ads, accessing it through Kodi means the media player will automatically filter them out.

Kodi features


Kodi has virtually endless customization possibilities. With 900+ add-ons, you get to customize it to your exact preference. It lets you stream, record live TV, turn your phone into a remote, and even watch on-demand content.


If you plan on using Kodi mainly to watch movies and shows, you’ll need add-ons to integrate paid streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu , and Netflix. The PlayOn add-on, for instance, lets you connect all your paid streaming accounts and comes with DVR capabilities. It even has a feature to automatically skip ads, which might be highly appealing if you have the Hulu ad-supported plan.


Besides PlayOn, several other streaming service add-ons offer DVR functionalities, allowing you to save video for offline viewing. And if you need a quick overview of what’s on TV, you can even install the TV Guide add-on.

Remote Control

Kodi also comes with an official add-on to turn your Android or iOS device into a remote control. So even if you use the service to watch a movie on your computer or TV, you can change the channel, control the volume, or switch to a different program right from your phone.

Users and Simultaneous Streams

For those sharing their device with multiple people, Kodi allows you to create separate user profiles. Although it doesn’t specify the total number of profiles you can create, Kodi lets each user lock their preferences and save their media library separately.

As for simultaneous streams, it all depends on the subscription you have as Kodi isn’t a streaming service by itself but a third-party platform. If you have a basic Netflix plan, for instance, you won’t be able to stream on other devices while you’re watching something through the Kodi Netflix add-on. But if you have the Standard plan, you can stream using 1 additional device while watching something using the Kodi Netflix add-on.

Parental Controls

Kodi also comes with a robust parental controls feature, which allows you to set a lock code and prevent kids from accessing certain channels. You can even set a time limit for channels to automatically re-lock.

The final cut

As it requires some technical knowledge to unlock its true potential, Kodi may be a bit intimidating for some. But for those who like the idea of customizing the service to their exact preferences, the abundance of add-ons is nothing short of magical. Just make sure you only use official Kodi add-ons to avoid copyright infringement issues.

If you mainly plan on using the service to stream movies and shows, prioritize add-ons to integrate your paid streaming accounts with Hulu , Netflix, Prime Video, and Sling TV . You can always beef up your content choices with add-ons for free services like Crackle and Tubi.

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