How to Use Kodi : A Beginner’s Guide (2019)

If you have heard about Kodi in some community discussion and have this sketchy idea that it’s a hardware device like Fire Stick or Roku, well I am here to burst your bubble.  Before I explain how to use Kodi and what exactly Kodi is, let me tell you Kodi is a great differentiator among internet users. People who use Kodi sing paeans about it and those who don’t use it, well know nothing about it. Cut to the chase, Kodi is a free and open-source software which organizes local media files into a single, cohesive interface. Among many things, Kodi has a powerful media player which can stream a wide range of media formats. So now that you have got the basic idea, let us go through Kodi in details and learn how to use Kodi from scratch.

What Exactly is Kodi?

If you already have a fair idea about Kodi then you can skip this section. Otherwise, read on. Say, 10 years ago when internet speed was abysmal and online streaming platform was close to naught, there was a culture of owning physical copies of movies, music, etc. Users also preferred to download media content over the internet instead of streaming it because, duh, internet speed sucked.


Coming to the point, organizing and maintaining every media content like movies, music or images in separate directories was a tiresome exercise. You had to run through hoops to find your favorite movie and then play it. Sometimes, the media player would not play the movie because it doesn’t support the media format. And even if it played, there were no subtitles. In such cases, Kodi came up as a huge relief. It streamlined every single thing and brought the media-consuming experience to one place. You can just open Kodi and all your local media files are right there, ready to be played in a sleek, consumable interface.

Kodi In Its Current Form

Fast forward few years and now Kodi has become a powerful media center app. Kodi has gone through many iterations of development and by now, it has amassed many useful features including its popular software creation: Add-ons (I have explained about it in details below). Besides that, you can connect your local media library to Kodi and it will organize everything with proper categorization, album art, metadata, synopsis, etc. Further, you can enable subtitles, track your movie and show progress with Trakt, record Live TV, etc.

On top of that, Kodi is an open-source app with huge community support. It’s available on all major platforms including Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, iOS, and host of other devices. There is so much more about Kodi that it can’t be explained in a single paragraph. Anyway, if you want to get started with Kodi then start with the installation first. Follow the guide below for your device.

How to Use Kodi

Now that you have gone through Kodi and its installation process, let us proceed with some basic level stuff on how to use Kodi. In this section, I will start with the interface and then go deep into settings and add-ons to explain its useful features. I am using Kodi on a Windows laptop, but the Kodi UI and overall settings are identical on all other platforms. So you can go through the same setup on any of your devices. Also, you can jump to any section you find desirable.

  • Understanding the User Interface

First of all, the default Kodi interface or in other words the skin is pretty basic and clean. The latest Kodi version is 18.2, codenamed as Leia and the below screenshot is grabbed from the same version. You have multiple menus on the left side, categorized based on the type of content. You can switch between them and access all your local media content in just a click. Initially, you will have to share your local media library with Kodi by clicking on “Enter Files section” under every category. And if you don’t find a menu useful, just click on the “Remove” button.

Note: To go back on Kodi, right-click anywhere on Kodi’s interface or press the Esc key.

Understanding the User Interface

You can play your local media content just like this, after adding the local source.

Understanding the User Interface 2

There is a search button on the top which lets you search your local content, add-ons, and directly into YouTube too.

Understanding the User Interface 3

The power button on the left side lets you exit Kodi, reboot and offers other similar functions.

Understanding the User Interface 4

To make your Kodi home screen visually pleasing, you can add weather information as well from the Weather tab.

Understanding the User Interface 5

  • Plunging into the World of Add-ons

Kodi has something called Kodi Add-ons which are basically apps built for Kodi. It is very similar to Android or iOS apps which can be installed on top of Kodi to bring extra functionality, content, and features. Just like App store or Play Store, Kodi has an in-built, official repository which hosts thousands of add-ons.

Plunging into the World of Add-ons

If you don’t have much local content then you can install video add-ons from the official Kodi repository and access cloud-based streaming services. To get a detailed idea on how to install video add-ons on Kodi, follow our guide here. Keep in mind, there are instances where certain contents are geo-restricted so you will need a VPN to get around it. To make things easy for you, we have compiled a list of best Kodi VPNs here.

Plunging into the World of Add-ons (2)

There are also third-party add-ons which are massively popular among the Kodi community. If you want to install third-party Kodi add-ons, you can check our list of top Kodi add-ons. Further, if you want add-ons specifically to stream movies, you can check our recommended movie add-ons here.

Plunging into the World of Add-ons (3)

You can also install third-party repositories as well, if you are not satisfied with the official repo. You can check our list of best third-party repository available for Kodi. The linked article also mentions the steps to install a repository so you don’t have to worry about that.

Plunging into the World of Add-ons (4)

Note: Many of the third-party Kodi add-ons and repositories stream copyrighted content. Streaming protected content is illegal and amounts to piracy. We do not encourage online piracy in any way or form.

You will seldom need to visit the Settings page. However, if you want to become a pro Kodi user, you must be acquainted with it. You can access the Settings tab from the gear icon on top.

Going Deep into Settings

You can open the “System” menu to customize the display and audio settings. Under the Subtitles tab, you can configure subtitles to your preference. Keep in mind that there are different levels of setting available on Kodi based on the user’s expertise. Just click on the “Standard” label at the bottom-left corner to switch between different levels of settings.

Going Deep into Settings (2)

If you wish to use third-party add-ons and repository on Kodi then you must enable “unknown sources” under the add-ons tab.

Going Deep into Settings (4)

While I have mentioned the major things available on Kodi, there are still a few useful hacks you should know about. Talking about usefulness, keyboard shortcuts make things a hell lot easier on Kodi. For example, you can play a video by just pressing “P” key, stop the playback by pressing the “X” key, and so on. It’s just so easy and effortless. To know all the shortcuts available on Kodi, you can check our top 20 Kodi shortcuts here.

SEE ALSO: 20 Amazing Kodi Tips and Tricks to Boost Your Experience in 2019

Learn to Use Kodi and Never Look Back

So that was our beginner’s guide for Kodi. When everyone is moving to cloud-based streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, Kodi has remained afloat with its own base of audience. I believe it’s a far more powerful app if you want to manage content locally on your own. If you have collected years of downloaded content then you should definitely use Kodi to organize everything seamlessly. It’s going to make your experience so much better with powerful media player, subtitles, add-ons and a lot more. Anyway, if you are still in a dilemma about Kodi then comment down below with your query, we will try to clear up your doubts.

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