January 2019

Kodi 18.0

Kodi 18 is here!

<drum roll> … after another long gestation… the Kodi team is very pleased to announce the immediate availability of Kodi 18.0 “Leia” for all supported platforms (UWP for Windows Store and Xbox is working its way through the system as I type, so will be available shortly…). While we were planning to move more to a “release early, release often” model, this has some significant changes that really needed to be tested and bedded in before we launched it, so it did take a little longer than we’d hoped. It was, though, a worthwhile wait 🙂

To put it in some kind of context, this version includes:

  • Approaching 10,000 commits (code chunks changed)
  • More than 3000 pull-requests (collection of commits that were included in one go)
  • Nearly 9,000 changed files
  • Nearly half a million line of code added, and much the same number removed
  • Over 36 open source developers
  • A lot of dedicated free time conceiving, designing, developing and testing these changes (and all the infrastructure you see around them, including this web site)
  • Quite literally many, many cases of beer and wine

We’ve covered many of the detailed changes in this release in previous blog posts, but here’s a quick summary of what you’ll find in this new release:

Retroplayer gaming and associated game control support

One of the big features of this release: support for gaming emulators, ROMs and controls. This is a significant topic in its own right, so look out for future posts on this, but suffice it to say at this time that you now have a whole world of retro gaming at your fingertips, all from the same interface as your movies, music and TV shows. For the genuine experience as well, we’ve also introduced support for joysticks, gamepads, and other platform-specific controls, so the games will work just as was intended.

Digital Rights Management decryption support

Early days in many ways, but this opens a whole new world of content for Kodi. Depending on your hardware and licensing, Kodi can now access external DRM handlers and then play subscription content just like any other local media. This is significant in a time when so many people are switching to protected streaming content; there are already several add-ons available that make use of this functionality, and we genuinely hope that we’ll see support from other content providers in the future.

Music Library – new ways to explore and enjoy your music collection

Significant improvements including better filtering (media source, artist gender, type etc.); artist sort name; enhanced artwork; faster API access (particularly useful if you’re controlling Kodi by remote with the TV off). Creating and using the music library is even smoother than before. If you have never bothered to use the music library, or maybe never even used Kodi as a music player, then we encourage you to try this feature in Leia!

Live TV improvements, including support for new back-ends

Support for RDS (Radio Data System), automatic selection on startup (“boot to live TV/radio”, if you like), improved OSD and PVR information, enhanced EPG and PVR actions, and many more. Back end support has been updated across the board, with new support for Zattoo, Teleboy, and Sledovanitv.cz .

Binary addon support and the binary addon repository

While we’ve actually been using platform-specific binary addons for some time – think PVR addons and screensavers – there’s been a lot of work to expand this functionality and move to a more modular architecture as a result. This has effectively halved the main Kodi installer in size, as you now have the option to install some of these functions as you need them instead of them coming pre-bundled. The architecture also now opens the door for other types of pre-compiled binaries, perhaps to provide access to different media sources. The binary repository is currently available for Android, OSX and Windows; Linux users will still have to use the PPA, while iOS and UWP will continue to include the binary add-ons in the installer because of platform limitations.

Android Leanback and voice control

Kodi can now show its library contents on the main Android TV interface, with full voice functionality: unwatched random movies and unlistened-to albums, binge watch suggestions, and more. Voice integration allows you to search for content with Google Assistant, using the same feature for “voice typing” wherever you see the traditional Kodi on-screen keyboard.

Playback improvements (audio and video), including improved Blu-ray support

The video player is core to so much of what Kodi does, and some significant changes have been made to the architecture to ensure we’re better able to cope with 4K, 8K, HDR and similar, as well as keeping up with the variety of CODECs out there. Changes have been made to priority, to ensure that video gets the most attention from the CPU/GPU for smoothest-possible playback. Elements have been moved out into binary addons, so components can potentially be updated outside of the main Kodi code base.

We’ve also improved Blu-ray support in terms of disc detection and metadata, BD-J menu support (subject to Java support on the device), there are updated external interfaces for e.g. MPEG DASH and RTMP input, and there are improvements to 3d playback (including in 2D mode) and various changes to specific CODECs.

On the audio side, there’s a wealth of improvements and new support for all types of playback system: ALSA, PulseAudio, OSS, Pi Audio, DirectSound, WASAPI, Darwin, SndIO

“Estuary” skin modifications and changes to the GUI/skinning engine

Many of the other changes listed here have an obvious ripple effect on the Kodi interface, so we’ve made change to support these: the gaming modules and associated libraries and the PVR changes, for example. We’ve also updated keyboard layouts for more languages, updated image resources, changed API calls, improved response times with optimisations for e.g. scaling and redrawing.

Revised codebase and build guides

Starting with this release, our build guides are kept up-to-date against the current code base – current, as in (hopefully!) up-to-date against a single pull request or code commit. That means that we no longer need to maintain How-Tos and standalone guides, and you will be able to reliably find a build guide for any point in time, even retrospectively.

Platform Specifics

As a multi-platform application, Kodi inevitably has to be updated in different ways for different operating systems, whether that’s simply to keep up or whether it’s to unlock new functionality. Android gets API bumps, speech-to-text, SD card support, among other things; BSD gets all-round improved support, especially on the video (VAAPI/VDPAU) side; Linux gets DRM, Mir/Wayland support, numerous video improvements, and build system changes; iOS gets support for iOS 10, improved VDADecoder support, and general improvements on both TVOS and arm64 IOS; and Windows finally gets 64-bit binaries, along with improved UWP compilation, enhancements to image rendering, and another slew of general platform-specific improvements to how we handle libraries and APIs. 

… And Other Things

Of course, there have also been a huge number of other changes, some of which will be invisible to very many users. Bluetooth support, CMake build system, visualisations and screensavers, improvements to the JSON-RPC API, improved code stability, performance. and security (as well as general code clean-up in many core areas), remote control changes, web interface changes, logging changes, dependency changes… the list goes on. Do take a look at the change log and detailed commit history (below) if you’re really interested in looking behind the curtain! 

 

The V18 “Leia” T-shirt

Inspired by the “galaxy far, far away” theme, our resident artist Sam went above and beyond and designed perhaps the coolest Kodi announcement video of all time.

We loved his work so much that we’re modelling the Kodi 18 shirt after it, along with more art to come. Here it is, our newest, coolest shirt: K-18L – available in several shirt colours and not just black or white.

Kodistore

 

Changelog

The Kodi 18 changelog wiki page gives a list of changes for this release; those seeking a more technical listing can view the merged pull requests on GitHub.

 

Thanks

As always, this is a huge team effort, and our collective thanks go out to all the developers who submitted code, whether that was thousands of lines of a core new feature or a couple of lines to fix a skin bug. Thanks go out to the ecosystem of add-on and skin developers who updated or created new add-ons to use new functionality in Kodi 18.0. Likewise, we’re indebted to the many beta and release candidate testers who took time to explore the pre-release application, file bug reports, test fixes and assist the team with resolving issues. And finally … special thanks go our to our tireless team of forum moderators, and all those who spend time in our forum and enjoy being part of our community to share tips and tricks and help others. Without all of you, this project would be nothing.

 

Help!

If you experience any issues or find any remaining bugs, please post in the General Support section of our forum (please be mindful of our forum rules when posting!). If you have fixes for issues please submit a pull request with your changes to our master branch on GitHub. We also welcome users who want to help answer questions in the forum or write articles for the wiki.

 

Donate

To show support and appreciation for Kodi, please consider making a donation or purchasing merchandise such as a T-shirt or Raspberry Pi case. All donations or profits go to the XBMC Foundation and are typically used for team travel to attend conferences, operating expenses, hardware and software licences for developers, legal fees, and the annual developer conference.

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FOSDEM 2019: Brussels, 2/3 February

Belgium, here we come! Team Kodi will be at FOSDEM in Brussels next week. If you live anywhere near, if you’re attending, if you can make the detour – please, come along and meet some of the team.

FOSDEM is an annual, volunteer, non-commercial event that focuses on free and open source software development. It’s primarily aimed at developers, although the talks and stands are open to anyone who’s interested. Its main aim is to simply create a meeting place; it’s a fantastic opportunity for people to mix, chat, share ideas, collaborate, promote awareness, and generally interact with like-minded individuals. 

So, every year, thousands of developers from all over the world descend on the Université Libre de Bruxelles to do just that. This year, there’ll be representatives of projects such as Gnome, Mozilla, Debian, Python, GitLab, LibreOffice, Apache, VideoLAN (and many, many more) – and some of the Kodi team as well. We won’t have a stand but, in between attending and delivering talks and generally mingling, we’d love to meet with our friends in the community who might be reading this.

 

Kodi v18 “Leia” Presentation

Martijn from the team will be presenting the final release of Kodi 18, the next release in everyone’s favourite media centre software. He will be taking people through the latest features to be introduced, as well as some of the changes that have been made “behind the scenes”, and what these mean for developers and users. He’ll also set the scene for what you can expect as we now build on these foundations and move in anger towards v19 development.

Room H.1309, Saturday 2nd February, 11:00-11:25.

 

Kodi Team Meetup

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a user or developer, whether you work with Kodi or something else, if you have commercial interests, or if you’re simply curious. Pop along if you’re interested; several Team Kodi members will be present to chat at your leisure.

Room H.3242, Saturday 2nd February, 16:00-17:00.

 

More information on the presentation here, meeting here, and on FOSDEM itself here.

We hope to see you soon!

Kodi v18 Leia RC5

As mentioned in the RC4 release article, a final release was close on the horizon. To that end we hereby present you the last Release Candate (RC5) before we call it a wrap on v18.0. It will not be absolutely perfect but we have to go forward at some point. Don’t worry as we will of course continue working on fixing any issue that might surface in the regeular v18 point releases afterwards. 

Changes in RC5

Most notable changes to mention in this Release Candidate:

  • Correctly redact user/password in certain cases
  • Fix window transparency on Android that might cause grey bars on HDR playback
  • Prevent crash when resuming audiobook when there’s no chapter present
  • Fix crash&burn by ensuring that Abort of ScriptObserver waits for thread exit
  • Fix regression from RC4 regarding “don’t disable gui rendering when losing focus” on OSX
  • Workaround double switching of refreshrate because we currently cannot reliably distinguish between 25p and 50i or 29.97p and 60i on playback start
  • Fix missing All Albums item from music library
  • Revert change that cause sorting of ANSII characters in library (proper fix will have to be done in v19)
  • Fix crash on certain language characters when using PVR add-ons
  • Fix crash on Windows with DVD playback after change in ffmpeg
  • Fix compatibility with older MySQL databases

Of course there are several more changes which are listed on our github repository found here: RC5 changes.

Currently included

The past RC1 and RC2 release articles include the most notable changes we have done in v18. There are of course many smaller changes and improvements that we can’t even remember. I guess you will just have to try and find out eventually. For a more extensive list you can visit our wiki page v18 (Leia) changelog which will be update along the way. From now on all v18 releases will not contain any big new features as we are focussed on bug fixing or improvements only.

Make sure to also go through our news sections which contain all past announcements regarding the Leia release and some highlights of what it will contain.

 

The V18 Leia t-shirt

Inspired by the galaxy far, far away theme, our resident artist Sam went above and beyond and designed perhaps the coolest Kodi announce video of all time.

We loved his work so much that we’re modelling the Kodi 18 shirt after it along with more art to come. Here it is, our newest, coolest shirt: K-18L
(Available in several shirt colours and not just black or white)

Kodistore

 

Release time

Since we now started the RC cycle a final release will be on the near horizon. When the final release will actually be is yet unknown as it all depends on the stability now more people will start using the v18 builds.

That’s about it for now and we’ll go back at improving this upcoming v18 release. Should you wish to give it a try a new version is readily available each day as well as nightly version. We can certainly recommend trying it out however take in mind that it’s not fully production and living room ready yet (take a backup). So far a guestimate of several tens of thousands users already use it so it can’t be that bad can it. You can get it from the download page clicking on the platform of choice and hitting the “pre release” tab. For Android and Windows we have an easy to use download add-on which you can find in our repository.

Go to the Official download page and choose the platform of choice and you will find these builds under the pre release tab.
 

Donations or getting involved

Getting involved is quite easy. Simply take the plunge and start using v18.0 Leia. If you use this version, we encourage you to report problems with these builds on our forum first and after that, if asked and the bug is confirmed, submit the issue on Github (following this guide: How to submit a bug report). Do note that we need detailed information so we can investigate the issue. We also appreciate providing support in our Forums where you can. You can of course also follow or help promote Kodi on all available social networks. Read more on the get involved page.
If you do appreciate our work feel free to give a small donation so we can continue our effort. Just find the big “Donate” button at the top of the website. All donations go towards the XBMC foundation and are typically used for travel to attend conferences, any necessary paperwork and legal fees, purchase necessary hardware and licenses for developers and hopefully the yearly XBMC Foundation Developers Conference.

 

May the source be with you…..