June 2019

The Freedom of Choice

The Freedom of Choice

One of the main tenets of both Kodi and open-source software in general is freedom of choice. By making the software freely and publicly available without charge, users are able to try the software with no financial outlay or risk. As the source code is also available for inspection, the risks of “hidden nasties” such as covert information gathering and other data mining can also be alleviated. Anyone can download, review and audit any part of the software that they wish, as well as submitting any updates, improvements and bug fixes that they may make.

This notion of user choice is also key to the operation and support offered by Team Kodi, both through GitHub and the web forum. One common question is why we don’t do more to combat piracy, especially given our zero tolerance policy towards support (or lack thereof, aside from attempts to completely remove from infected systems). The simple answer is that we believe in user choice, and that if the user makes the conscious and informed decision that they want to use Kodi for such purposes then that is up to them. Similarly, any resultant technical or legal problems which may arise are also down to them, and there’s no liability or responsibility on Team Kodi for what a user has chosen to do.

 

An Informed Choice

Key to that stance, though, is that the user has made an informed choice. This is the reason why third-party repositories are not usable by default in Kodi. The user has to make a specific action to enable their usage, complete with a warning pop-up message about the risks and liabilities involved. We take responsibility for our official repository and what we we allow into it, and content is reviewed and audited before it is included. Any fork of Kodi which seeks to override or remove this default setting would immediately be blacklisted by the team, and no support for it at all would be offered by any official Team Kodi outlet.

Similarly, this is why the team does not allow forks with pre-installed add-ons to be made without complete rebranding and disassociation from Kodi, and why no “builds” are supported. By “build”, here we use the term in the common user parlance (as can be found on many of the third-party YouTube videos and parasitic “fan” websites that we would rather did not exist) for collections of add-ons either grouped into an “all in one” installation, or even images of Kodi with such add-ons pre-installed. This obviously completely removes the user choice element, aside from the choice to install the build in the first place.

The main issues here are twofold. Firstly, whilst such builds tend to install popular piracy add-ons, they often also quietly install other code under the hood with little or no visibility to the user. This can range from scripts that try to maintain the installation (given the limited lifespan of such add-ons) to ones that aim to sabotage or remove those of rival suppliers – and, in the extreme, even to malicious malware scripts to form botnets, mine digital coinage or perform other nefarious actions behind the user’s back.

Secondly, such builds tend to be advertised on websites and in videos as being official, legal and legitimate. This is often deliberately done to confuse the naive user that they are getting something for nothing and a good deal. Of course, a moment’s thought and common sense should tell anyone that if media providers such as Sky, HBO and Disney charge people what they do for their officially-provided services, then offers of them for free cannot be above board. Similarly, sources or add-ons offering media that wouldn’t normally be available, such as movies that are still in cinema theatres, should also ring alarm bells in the head of any consumer.

 

Uncommon Sense, or Stating the Obvious?

Unfortunately in this day and age such common sense does not seem to apply to the internet. We often see this on the forum when new users request support for such installations and then apologise with “sorry, I didn’t know” or similar when we decline to assist. They completely miss the point that it was their choice and basic greed that led them there, and a moment’s thought should have given them pause. For some reason users seem to willingly accept the most obviously dodgy deals on the internet, ones that they wouldn’t touch if offered in a pub car park, car boot sale or other “real world” environment.

Our simple advice is to apply the same judgement to your Kodi installation as you would to anything else in life. If the deal you’re being offered seems too good to be true, it quite probably is and there will be a catch somewhere. The team works hard to provide the Kodi software and also to curate the official repository. Both of these can be safely used when obtained from our official site. However, beyond that, the principles of caveat emptor apply. We expect and enforce that users are responsible for their own actions and the repercussions from them.

So before using any third party repository or add-on, take a moment to consider what you know about the authors, their reputation and what they are offering. Don’t be fooled by false promises and dodgy deals – in the end the person responsible for your devices’ safety and security is you.

Kodi “Leia” 18.3 Release

Two months have passed since our last bugfix release and already we have a new one ready for consumption. Fancy a few more features? There aren’t any, with one teeny-tiny exception. Apparently DTS-HD audio only tracks are a thing and Kodi can now play them like any other music format. That’s it. No more features. Seriously.

However, since Kodi 18.3 is a bugfix release, we have a boatload of erm… fixes. In fact, too many to mention. Below is a non-exhaustive list of (mostly) usability fixes.

Estuary

  • Fixed favourites widget not scrolling properly on 16:10 displays
  • Fixed API button was not reachable with a mouse on Settings window
  • Fixed Skin Settings window scrollbar focus
  • Fixed order of TV Show title and Episode title in Video Info dialog
  • Added Search button to the side menu in the Video and Music windows
  • Fixed Wall and Infowall views scroll to bottom on certain aspect-ratios
  • Fixed broken side menu navigation in the Addon Browser window

PVR

  • Fixed a Group Manager crash when adding a new group
  • Fixed EPG UI corruption and/or EPG data not showing with newly added channels
  • Fixed PVR guide window channel data being overwritten

Music

  • Added support for DTS-HD audio tracks
  • Fixed wrong album or artist thumb art being picked from scraper results

The remaining fixes are under the hood and range from addressing nasty memory leaks to DVD playback from HTTPS sources, with a couple of crash and burn events in between. A special thanks to all the users that found a bug, took the time to report it and, in some cases, provided a fix.

The full v18.3 changelog can be found in our GitHub milestone. If you want to read back on what was actually changed in v18 itself, you can find the corresponding articles in the blog posts – Kodi 18Kodi 18.1 and Kodi 18.2.

As usual, Kodi 18.3 availability on Google Play and Microsoft Store may take a few more days. Stay tuned.

Flirc “Kodi Edition” Raspberry Pi 4B Case

Yesterday the new Raspberry Pi 4B was unveiled with a revised spec that guarantees it will be super-popular with Kodi users. It brings 4K media support, faster CPUs, faster memory, faster Ethernet, faster USB, and now handles HEVC natively. It’s a great update on the previous 3B+ model, and at $35 for the 1G model it’s also a bargain, and we predict it will be a massively popular way to run Kodi via distro’s like LibreELEC, OSMC and Raspbian.

The 4B’s board layout is different to previous models so upgrading (and new) users will need a new case – and what better to wrap a Pi 4B in than a Kodi Edition Flirc case!

Retaining the design language that made the original case great, the Flirc case has been re-tooled to accommodate the Raspberry Pi 4B’s ports and CPU placement ensuring maximum cooling efficiency. Otherwise it’s the same winning formula and gorgeous design as the previous 3B/3B+ Kodi Edition case. The main body is Aluminium and designed to act as a heatsink that keeps the BCM2711 chip in your 4B cool. The top surface of the Aluminium has been mirror-polished to catch your eye, and the Kodi branded top uses soft-touch plastics so it not only looks great, it feels great too.

Flirc is well into manufacturing and are offering an early bird discount of 30%. At USD $11.20 (normal price USD $15.95) that’s a steal! – and orders will ship in late July. Flirc is also offering the 3B/3B+ case at the same discounted rate to clear remaining inventory.

Team Kodi receives a royalty on each Kodi branded case sold – and alongside t-shirt sales it’s one of the main sources of funding for the Kodi Foundation. Flirc also donate a percentage of the sale to Cancer research at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, which plays a key role in personal back-story to Flirc.

Galleries: 
Raspberry Pi 4B Flirc CaseRaspberry Pi 4B Flirc Case FrontRaspberry Pi 4B Flirc Case Side

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Destiny of Deathstar Kodi Addon: Multi-Source + Playlist King

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The post Destiny of Deathstar Kodi Addon: Multi-Source + Playlist King appeared first on Kodi Tips.

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October 26th: Fen has been updated! Click here for the details.
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The post Fen Kodi Addon: Multi-Source w/ Easynews & Furk Support appeared first on Kodi Tips.