Kodi - What is the best build?
I'm going to take a side trip today and give a brief opinion on something that everyone has been hearing about in the last while. Kodi.
NOTE: My topic isn't about the legalities of streaming or piracy created by the community.
First, I would like to point a major error in thinking that a large number of people make. They are not Kodi boxes. Kodi boxes do not exist. You may own an Android box, Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, Nvidia Shield, or a laptop hooked into your TV. You do not own a Kodi box. Kodi is a versatile piece of software that falls into the media center category. Doing about 5 minutes worth of reading on the subject would clarify this to anyone.
Now that I've said that I shall continue.
I started looking into Kodi late last year for the same reasons most people did. Cutting the cord and the tales of endless content all for free. So, I took to YouTube and Facebook to find out everything I could about Kodi and how it works. I joined some groups and followed a lot of channels and consumed hours of video in an effort to understand. I learned about add-ons and URL resolvers and configuring Real Debrid etc.
Then I heard about builds. Everything in one download, a one stop shop for all your entertainment needs. I found a few other pages and site dedicated to the different builds and followed along.
After installing and trying over a dozen different builds I began to think of them in a different term that is used to describe installations on new computers. Bloatware.
A bare Kodi install comes in at around 180 MB. Adding a few add-ons can bump it up another couple hundred MB. But install some of the more popular builds and they can start taking up over 2 GB of storage. Bloatware. It is filled with dozens of add-ons and images that the average user will never touch.
In the FB pages there was along string of posts always asking the same questions with variations.
What is the best build for bass fishing? Tree pruning? Saturday morning stock analysis? Etc. (just kidding, never saw those topics but you get the point).
Why isn't such and such a build working on my XYZ Mega 4 device?
Was there an update because the Every movie ever made yours for free add-on quit working
How do I update/upgrade my Mega 4 device?
How do I find the settings option in my This is the most awesome build ever?
Has the build become unstable?
And the list goes on, in repetition.
All people seem to hear is that you can get everything ever filmed for free. Kodi will save you from the evil cable and satellite companies atrocious fees (which the fees are). They don't try to learn the least little bit abut Kodi as a piece of software and how it works and assume that the flashy build being raved about by a Youtuber will save them hours and hours and everything will be at their fingertips. Which leads to the pile of endless questions mentioned before.
So what do I think is the best build to use for Kodi? It's the most awesome build around called the NotABuild. No build. No huge download that unpacks into a couple of gigabytes worth of bloatware.
Depending on your own library of files will determine which way you might deploy your version of Kodi. But this is what I found keeps Kodi working smoothly and quickly.
NOTE: I will not be writing a step-by-step tutorial on all things Kodi but give a little advice. To those familiar with the innards of Kodi you'll know the steps and those that aren't, doing a search for Kodi customization or find Kodi interface settings etc. can provide dozens of tutorials with pictures.
Do a clean install of Kodi. Either as a download through the Play Store, App Store, or from the Kodi website. If you already have Kodi installed there is an easy way to go back to a clean slate. Go to the Settings feature of your device, not Kodis Settings but the one on your device where you change different features. Go to Apps and scroll to Kodi. Go in and, depending on your device, clear the cache and data from Kodi. This should clear out anything you have already installed and reset Kodi to brand new. Now you're ready to go.
If you want to take an extra precaution to ensure Kodi is clean, unplug your device, wait 10 seconds or so and plug it back in.
When you start Kodi, go to Settings, the little gear icon at the top of the screen, System Settings, Add-ons and make sure you switch Unknown Sources to on. This will allow you to install add-ons and other features into Kodi.
While you're in the Settings, if you don't like the default look of Kodi go to Interface Settings, Skin, Skin then click. This will bring up a box with the two skins that come with Kodi. Click on Get more and see try different ones out. The one I like is Aeon Nox. It provides a nice clean look and has lots you can customize as you become more familiar with Kodi and all the available settings.
The next part to a nice clean non-build is to add just a few add-ons. A great resource to start learning about add-ons is https://kodiapps.com. Pick a couple from the top 5. Most add-ons use the same or similar sources so having a dozen doesn't really improve anything for your install.
TV. Probably the main reason people want to cut the cord so badly is their monthly bill. There are two ways to either cut the bill to nothing or to so low in comparison that it seems free. This requires an IPTV (tv over the internet is the easiest explanation) connection. Along with the add-ons at KodiApps there are also IPTV specific ones that you can install. This is the area where I say it is better to pay a little for reliability. The free add-ons have a list of issues that f you follow any Kodi forums you can read about, all the buffering, dropped connections, always needing an update etc. They promise you 1000's of channels for FREE. Seriously, who the hell can watch thousands of channels and in poor quality in most cases. A quick search for "paid IPTV services" or "paid IPTV providers" will get you started on your research. Typically, the paid or premium, as they are also called, will be around $20 USD per month on a monthly subscription with discounts for buying 3, 6 or 12 month plans and allow you to have three connections at one time. They are usually way more dependable than the free add-ons and well worth the cost. A year subscription to a paid IPTV is still less than two months worth of cable or satellite. I have used three different services and always recommend two to my friends depending on how tech savvy they are.
The last part of this is dependant upon your own media library. If you have all of your digital media converted to files on your computer, Kodi can be pointed to these files and present them to you in a nice organized manner. Kodi can scrape the information from internet databases and import thumbnails and synopsis for all your files. On of the easiest way to point Kodi to your files is to either have them stored on an external drive that is connected to your media box or on a drive connected to your home network. Whichever way you have them the basics is the same to point Kodi to the files. Once again go to the settings option within Kodi, then File Manager, Add files or Add source and navigate to your file folder. Kodi will ask you what types of files are in the folder, Movie, TV, Music, etc. Leave the option “Movies are in separate folders that match the movie title” off and “Scan Recursively” on. This should capture all your files and start importing the data for you. Depending on the size of your library this can take a while. Next, while still inside the Settings option, go to Library and make sure that the “Update library on startup” option for your different types of libraries is turned on. This is helpful if you make lots of changes to your library.
There you have the NotABuild build. It is very responsive and lean as far as space it takes on your device. You should avoid most of the common complaints that the average Kodi user has and enjoy your experience.
Set your unknow sources
Install a skin you like
Aviod using more than three or so add-ons
Paid IPTV will be more reliable
Import your own media library
One last step, be sure to clear your cache on your device. As the information builds up in there it will slow things down and create problems. Go to Settings on your DEVICE, then Apps, Kodi, Clear Cache. DO NOT CLEAR DATA!! This will wipe out everything you did within Kodi and you will have to start over.
Enjoy your viewing experience.