How To Use Kodi To Watch TV — Beginner’s GuideBy Steph Myers / December 16, 2017 / Tags: Cut Cable, How-To, Kodi
Here’s how to use Kodi to watch TV, movies, live sports, and more — plus a basic intro to what Kodi is and what you should know before you use it.
So you’ve heard of Kodi and you want to try it out. But where to start? If you don’t yet know how to use Kodi to watch TV, live sports, movies, and lots more (even without any expensive subscriptions), this guide will walk you through everything you need to know.
Like most powerful, versatile technologies, Kodi can be confusing and a bit overwhelming at first. But thankfully it’s really easy to use. It’ll feel like an old friend in minutes.
What Is Kodi?
Imagine a world where all your favorite shows, sports, and movies are available to watch anytime, anywhere on a beautiful, slick, state-of-the-art interface — all for free. Sound like a fantasy? It’s real. Welcome to the wonderful world of Kodi. We think you’re gonna like it here.
Kodi (formerly called XBMC) is a software application, or app, that functions as a media player. It’s free to download and use. Kodi is designed to organize and play all kinds of digital media. You can watch TV shows, movies, live sports, live TV, and other content — plus listen to music and manage your photos. Here, we’ll be covering how to use Kodi to watch TV, sports, and movies.
Kodi is very popular, has been given awards by Lifehacker and others (here’s our Kodi review). You can use Kodi on a PC, Mac, iOS device, Android device, streaming box, Amazon Fire TV, Raspberry Pi, and others. (See the best Kodi TV boxes to watch streamed content on your TV screen.)
Kodi doesn’t come with any content on it. You can put your own content into your Kodi media library, including videos, music, and pictures. You can also use Kodi to stream content from the internet — and this is what you’ll mostly be interested in.
To stream shows, movies, and sports on Kodi, you install Kodi add-ons, which are like the apps on your phone. There is a massive library of Kodi add-ons and plugins you can install — almost all of which are free. You can watch just about any TV show, movie, and live sports event on Kodi with the right add-ons.
Kodi add-ons are divided into two categories: official and unofficial. There are some great official add-ons. But it’s the others, the “unofficial” ones, that are the most popular. Why? Because these are the add ons that will let you watch all kinds of great content without paying for it. There are third-party Kodi add-ons to watch live TV, TV shows, live sports, movies, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, all the most popular TV channels (HBO, Showtime, ABC, etc), and much, much more — all without a subscription.
DON’T RISK IT: Always Use A VPN With Kodi
Kodi is safe to use as long as you use it with a VPN. That’s the catch that comes with watching pay-TV on the sly.
A VPN (virtual private network) is an online security and privacy tool. VPN is the go-to way to protect your personal information while connected to the internet — be it on Kodi, when using public WiFi, or any other circumstance.
Why is it so important to use a VPN with Kodi? Because Kodi has some real privacy and security risks.
First, hackers and scammers love to target Kodi users. The open-source platform makes this all to easy for them to do. Read more about Kodi’s biggest security risks.
Second, certain Kodi add-ons that let you pay TV without a subscription may violate copyright laws. Copyright holders, Internet Service Providers, the government, and etc. really hate it when people watch stuff without paying for it and want to stop/punish those who do. In short, you will most likely be tracked and monitored on Kodi. Many unprotected users get hit with copyright infringement notices from their ISPs. You don’t want to be on the radar of any entity looking for illegal streaming activity.
Then there’s the legal question. Is watching all this free stuff on Kodi legal? Well… sort of. But it’s also sort of not legal. It’s complicated. For a detailed discussion, see Is Kodi Legal? In short, certain add-ons (the popular ones that will let you watch TV with no subscription) may break some copyright laws. It’s a bit of a gray area — but what is certain is that streaming TV and movies on Kodi is something you’re better off doing privately.
So it is highly recommended you take steps to stay secure and anonymous on Kodi. The way to do this is to use a VPN with Kodi. Plus, you and a VPN to install the “unofficial” add-ons you’ll need to watch pay-TV without the subscription. Using a VPN will:
Protect your privacy: A VPN will prevent you from being tracked or monitored you while you watch all that awesome TV. It will keep your identity hidden, so nobody can see who you are or what you’re doing.
Secure your connection: A VPN encrypts your internet connection with military-grade security to prevent breaches. This keeps hackers from seeing or stealing your personal data.
Prevent ISP throttling: Many Internet Service Providers limit customers’ bandwidth, slowing your connection to a crawl. Using a VPN prevents this.
Let you install third-party Kodi add-ons: Popular add-ons that let you watch TV are from third-party developers. You need to use a VPN in order to install these.
Unblock new content sources on Kodi: Some add-ons and content sources are restricted based on your location. With a VPN you can bypass geo-blocks and access every add-on.
As a Kodi user, I would never watch Kodi TV without my VPN. (See more about how VPN works and why it’s needed with Kodi.)
Best VPN To Use With Kodi
Not all VPNs have sufficient security and privacy measures, so choose carefully. From extensive testing, critics’ reviews and personal experience, NordVPN is the best VPN to use with Kodi. Its military-grade encryption will keep you 100% safe and anonymous on Kodi. NordVPN also has the fastest streaming speeds, is super easy to use, and has the best deal at just $3.29/month with their limited-time offer.
Only NordVPN has dedicated ultra-fast TV servers. These are specifically optimized for streaming at maximum speeds on Kodi — so you get complete protection without slowing your connection. It’s also a PC Magazine Editor’s Choice 2018-2015 and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. See the table below for some other trusted Kodi VPNs. Or learn more about what to look for in a Kodi VPN if you decide to go with a different option.
It only takes a couple minutes to set up a VPN with Kodi. We walk you through it in the next section.
Best Kodi VPNs — Stay Secure & Anonymous
How To Use Kodi To Watch TV: Guide For Beginners
Follow the steps below for the easiest way to get started with Kodi. You’ll be streaming TV shows, sports, and movies on the cheap in minutes! Let’s get to it.
FIRST: Hide Your Identity & Secure Your Connection
First, you have to secure your connection and safeguard your privacy with a VPN.
Follow these steps:
1) Get a 30-day trial of NordVPN. Right now, you can get their limited-time deal of 70% off — just $3.29/month. If you don’t like it or Kodi you have 30 days to get a refund.
2) Download the NordVPN app for the device(s) you want to use (computer, mobile, streaming device, etc). You can use NordVPN on up to 6 devices at once with a single subscription.
3) Connect to a NordVPN server. Your identity is now hidden and your connection secured. You’re ready to instal Kodi!
Now you’re ready to install Kodi.
NEXT: How To Install Kodi
Next, get Kodi installed on whatever device you want to use it on (computer, mobile, gaming system, streaming device, etc.). Is Kodi safe to download? Yes. As long as you download Kodi from the official source, it is completely safe.
Go to http://kodi.tv, Kodi’s official website, and download the latest version of the Kodi application for your device(s). Then follow the instructions to install it on your Mac or Windows computer, Android or iOS device, Kodi streaming box, etc. Here’s the easiest way to install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick.
Now you’re ready to get some add-ons.
NEXT: Install A Kodi Build And Kodi Add-ons
Kodi add-ons are what you’ll use to watch TV, sports, and movies on Kodi. You can think of add-ons as being like the apps on your phone. There are hundreds of add-ons available. Most are free. All the add-ons we’ll be talking about here are free.
There are several ways to install add-ons in Kodi. The easiest, fastest way for beginners is to simply install a Kodi build with add-ons already included.
A Kodi build is a customized version of Kodi. There are lots of Kodi builds out there. For watching TV on Kodi, we recommend the No Limits Magic Build (free). It comes with all the best add-ons for streaming live TV, sports, TV channels, movies, and more. (For more options, see the best Kodi builds 2017.)
Follow these steps to install the No Limits Magic Build on Kodi 17 Krypton:
1. Connect to your VPN.
2. Open the Kodi app. You’ll see the Kodi home screen.
3. Click on the Settings icon (the gear icon) in the top left corner, then go to System Settings -> Expert Mode -> Addons.
4. Turn on the ‘Unknown Sources’ option — but only if you’re using a trusted VPN! Otherwise, you will not be able to install third-party add-ons.
5. When the WARNING! box pops up, as long as you’re connected to your VPN, you can click ‘Yes’.
6. Now go back to the Kodi home screen, and click on the Settings icon. Then go to File Manager -> Add Source.
7. Select None and then enter the following path without the quotes “http://nolimitsbuilds.com/kodi”.
8. Name it ‘NoLimits’ and click ‘OK’.
9. Now go to the Kodi home screen -> Add-ons.
10. Click on the package installer icon (the box icon).
11.Select ‘Install from Zip File’ -> NoLimits > plugin.video.nolimitswizard.zip.
12.Wait for the ‘Addon Enabled’ notification box.
13. From the Kodi home screen, select Addons -> Program Addons.
14. Choose ‘No Limits Build Wizard’ -> ‘1-No Limits Magic’.
15. The download and installation process will begin, and then Kodi will restart.
You have now successfully installed a great Kodi build with tons of popular add-ons for streaming TV. Next step — start watching!
LAST STEP: Start Watching TV On Kodi
You can now explore Kodi and start watching tons of cool content!
If you installed the No Limits Magic Build you’ll see sections for TV shows, sports, movies, live TV, and more. Have fun discovering everything there is to watch. (Remember, if you can’t get access to content because of geo-blocks, here’s how to unblock them.)
Below you’ll find some more ways to install add-ons and enjoy Kodi.
How To Use Kodi: More Options & Intermediate Help
How To Install Fusion Add-On Installer
Fusion Add-on Installer is an add-on manager and installer tool.
Fusion Add-on Installer will give you access to a whole suite of popular add-ons the default Kodi add-on library (called a ‘repository’) doesn’t include — add-ons like SportsDevil, Exodus, 1Channel, and more.
[As an alternate approach to Fusion, another fast and easy way for beginners to get started is to simply install a Kodi build. Kodi builds come customized for you, and the good ones have all the best TV add-ons already installed. See the best Kodi build 2017 and how to install it.]
Here’s how to install Fusion:
First, turn on your VPN and connect to any server. Then open the Kodi application. You’ll see the Kodi home screen.
Next, before you can install Fusion, you need to change one of the settings in Kodi to allow third-party add-ons. To do this, go to Home > System (the gear icon) > System settings > Add-ons and activate the ‘Unknown Sources‘ option. Proceed past the warning message as long as you’re using a VPN with sufficient security and privacy protection — like one of these.
Now, to install Fusion Add-on Installer, follow these steps:
1. From the Kodi home screen go to System > File Manager
2. Select Add Source
3. Select ‘None‘ for the path. Then type in http://fusion.tvaddons.co and name the source (Fusion). Fusion will now be added to your list of sources.
[NOTE: The TVAddons website, home to Fusion, is working on a major site overhaul. If it’s offline when you set up Kodi, you can use SuperRepo instead to install hundreds of popular add-ons at one time. See how to install SuperRepo on Kodi.]
4. Return Home and go to Add-ons. Click the little box icon at the top to open the Add-on browser. Select Install from Zip.
5. A list of sources will appear. Select Fusion, then select begin-here. Finally, select plugin.program.addoninstaller-1.2.9.zip. (The version number may have changed by the time you read this.)
6. A note saying that Add-on Installer is enabled should briefly flash on screen. In some cases it doesn’t start up right away, but if you exit and reopen Kodi it should fix it.
7. Now go to Home > Add-ons > Program Add-ons. Add-on Installer should be listed under installed add-ons. Select it, and it will take you to the add-on library. From there you can browse and choose any add-ons you want to install.
How To Install Kodi Add-Ons
(AKA, How To Use Kodi To Watch TV, Movies, And Sports)
Once you have Kodi on your device and have added Add-on Installer, it’s time to install Kodi add-ons to start streaming virtually any TV show, movie, sports event, and other content from the internet. This where things really get interesting with Kodi. There are literally thousands of add-ons you can use to watch all kinds of great stuff. Kodi add-ons are what make the platform so popular and powerful.
There are a few different ways to install Kodi add-ons. We’ll take you through the easiest way for beginners — by using Fusion Add-on Installer. But again, if you prefer a more plug-and-play approach, you can just install a Kodi build, which will come with the best TV add-ons all ready for you to use.
How To Install Add-ons Using Fusion Add-on Installer (Best For Beginners)
To install add-ons using the Fusion Add-on Installer, follow these steps:
1. Go to Home > Add-ons > Program Add-ons > Add-on Installer
2. Browse the list of add-ons and select one you want (like Exodus).
3. Click Install.
4. Go to Home > Add-ons > My add-ons > All. Find and select Exodus. Click to ‘Enable‘ it. Now you can open the add-on and start exploring.
Which add-ons should you start with? If you get Exodus and 1Channel for TV and movies on-demand, Phoenix and cCloud TV for live TV, SportsDevil for sports, and SALTS to round it out — chances are you’ll have access to everything you want to watch. You can find all of these in Add-on Installer. For more of the top add-ons for TV, sports, and movies, see our list of the best Kodi add-ons in 2017. This includes the best add-ons for Kodi live TV, live sports, TV shows, and more.
One note: Unfortunately many of the most popular sources for TV and movies on Kodi are restricted based on what country you’re in (like Netflix, BBC, ITV, Sky Sports, ESPN, HBO, and many more). The good news is that it’s easy to unblock Kodi add-ons and get access to every geo-restricted content source, no matter where you are.
How To Open And Use Kodi Add-Ons To Watch TV
Now that you have some add-ons installed, it’s time to open them up and start using them (if you haven’t already). To find your add-ons, go to Home > Add-ons and click on one you want. This will open it up and give you access to all its content.
Alternately, go to Home > Add-ons > My Add-ons > All and select from there to enable, configure, update, or open an add-on.
For a third option, go to Home > Add-ons > Video Add-ons and click on one. This will open up a screen with a description of the add-on, and buttons to configure, update, uninstall, or open it.
How To Use Kodi On Amazon Fire Stick
Amazon Fire Stick and Amazon Fire TV are great devices to use with Kodi. They’ll let you enjoy tons of great Kodi content right on your nice big TV screen.
To use Kodi on Amazon Fire Stick or TV, you first need to get Kodi installed on your device. This is very easy. You don’t need to buy a Fire Stick with Kodi already on it — and since these tend to be very buggy, you really shouldn’t. Instead, here are 3 easy ways to manually install Kodi on Amazon Fire Stick/TV.
Once you have Kodi installed on your Fire device, just open the Kodi app and follow the steps in this guide to install add-ons and start watching content.
How To Use Kodi On Android
The Android operating system works great with Kodi, whether you’re using it on a smartphone or a streaming device.
To use Kodi on Android mobile devices, just download and install Kodi for Android from the official Kodi website (see the ‘How To Install Kodi’ section above).
To use Kodi on Android TV, you may be able to install the Kodi app directly onto your device, depending on what it is. The Nvidia Shield supports the Kodi app, which is available in the Google Play store. With other streaming devices running the Android TV operating system you may need to install Kodi manually. The most popular device to use is Amazon Fire Stick. See the section above for how to use Kodi with a Fire device.
How To Use Kodi To Watch Live TV & Live Sports
Briefly, if you installed Fusion, as outlined above, you can use it to install live TV add-ons like Phoenix and SportsDevil. Or, from the Kodi home screen, go to Home > Add-ons > Add-on browser > Install from repository / Install from zip file / Search and look for live TV add-ons to install.
There are tons of add-ons that will let you watch live TV and live sports — but again, be aware of those that are giving away paid content and use a VPN for protection if you use third-party add-ons.
Kodi also has Personal Video Recorder (PVR) capability. To set this up, go to System (gear icon) > PVR & Live TV Settings.
How To Watch Movies On Kodi
Again, to watch movies on Kodi, just follow the steps above to install Kodi and add ons. Some of the best add-ons to watch movies on Kodi are UK Turks Playlist, Bob Unlimited, Exodus, and 1 Channel.
Some add-ons for watching movies on Kodi might be blocked in your area. So if you run into this problem, just use your VPN to unblock them (set your VPN location to the home country of whatever add-on or content source you want to watch).
How To Use Exodus On Kodi
Exodus is a very popular Kodi add-on. Exodus will let you watch a massive collection of TV shows and movies, all without a subscription.
To use Exodus on Kodi, follow the steps above to install Fusion Add-on Installer. Then, follow the steps to use Fusion to install add-ons. Just look for the Exodus add-on in the Fusion add-on library, and click to install it. Then, launch Exodus and start watching.
How To Use Kodi To Watch Netflix, Amazon Video, And Hulu
You can easily use Kodi to stream Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu. All you need to do is install the add-ons for each service.
To watch Netflix on Kodi, use the Flix2Kodi add-on or NetfliXBMC. To watch Hulu on Kodi, use the Hulu Plus or Hulubox add-ons. To watch Amazon Video on Kodi, use the Amazon Prime Instant Video add-on. You can find these by going to Add-ons > Download > Video Add-ons.
You should now know how to use Kodi to watch your favorite streaming services. If you want to watch without a subscription, make sure you use a VPN.
How To Install Kodi Add-Ons From A Repository
To install add-ons from a repository (the default Kodi repository or any others you add), go to Home > Add-ons > Add-on browser (the little box icon) > Install from repository.
If you haven’t added any repositories, you’ll automatically be taken to the official Kodi repository. If you have, choose the repository you want look in, or look in all repositories. Choose Video add-ons, find an add-on you want, click on it, then click Install.
I’ll walk you through exactly how to install one in the default Kodi repository: YouTube. To install YouTube, go to Home > Add-ons > Add-on browser > Install from repository.
Select the Kodi repository, then go to Video add-ons. You can now browse and choose add-ons to install. To install YouTube, find it in the list, click on it, then hit Install. Repeat for any other add-ons you want.
An important cautionary note — some Kodi add-ons are legally sketchy, and may put users at risk. In fact, many of the all-time most popular add-ons fall in this category. That’s because these are the ones that let you watch tons of TV episodes, live sports, and hit movies for nothing when we all know you’re supposed to pay for this content.
We must offer the obligatory “only use sanctioned Kodi add-ons!” advice. But since all that TV is just too cool, here’s the next best thing — protect your privacy and security on Kodi. Illegal streaming of copyrighted content is not something the feds, or the copyright holders, take lightly. And you just never know how safe these third-party add-ons really are (more about Kodi’s security problems).
For only about $3/month you can use Kodi with a VPN, which will hide your identity, protect your privacy, unblock sources, and keep you safe from all kinds of unsavory sorts and prying agencies.
How To Install Kodi Add-Ons From A Zip File
You can also install add-ons from any zip file, either on your device or one you’ve added to Kodi. Go to Home > Add-ons > Add-on browser > Install from a zip file. Choose the file you want to install.
After you see the “Add-on enabled” message, go back to Install from repository and select the file you just added. You can then browse and install its add-ons.
How To Install Additional Add-On Repositories
Repositories are just big collections of Kodi add-ons. Repositories make it easy to browse all the add-ons available and choose the ones you want to install.
Kodi comes with one repository already on it — the official Kodi add-on repository. There are lots of great add-ons in here. But if you want to broaden your viewing options — particularly to add-ons that will let you stream tons of TV with no subscription — you can add other repositories to Kodi.
If you followed the steps above, you already added the Fusion repository. Another great repository to use instead of or in addition to Fusion is SuperRepo. It is very well maintained, and has thousands of the best add-ons. SuperRepo, and all the add-ons, are free. Note that some of them are “unofficial” add-ons. So if you’d rather stick to the official library, do not get SuperRepo.
To install SuperRepo, watch the video below, or to https://superrepo.org/get-started/ and follow the written tutorial. It’s very good and will walk you through the entire process.
Note that SuperRepo not only has add-ons, it also has a bunch of other repositories available to install. Click on the Add-on repository menu item to find other repositories you can install to get access to even more add-ons.
How To Install Individual Add-Ons On Kodi
As stated above, using Fusion Add-on Installer is the easiest route for Kodi beginners.
But you might also want to install add-ons individually, so we’ll walk through exactly how to do it. Just about every Kodi user out there will name SALTS as a must-have add-on.
SALTS will give you easy access to countless hours of popular TV shows, just-released movies, and lots more, all for free. Which means — don’t take this lightly! — we strongly recommend getting a VPN for protection before installing it.
Here’s how to install SALTS on Kodi:
1. Go to System > File manager > Add source. Choose None for the file page, then enter the URL http://fusion.tvaddons.ag and name it Fusion or something else that makes sense to you.
2. Go back to Home > Add-Ons > Add-on browser and select “Install from zip file.” Find the file you just added and named, and then select “xbmc-repos.” Click on the “English” file and then select “repository.tknorris.beta-x.x.x.zip.”
3. Once you see the notice “Add-on enabled,” choose Install from repository > Tk Norris Release Repository > Video Add-ons > SALTS. With your VPN turned on, hit Install.
To get any other Kodi add-ons, just use the same process, only choose a different repository or source. The search function is also very handy.
How To Use Kodi To Watch Videos In Your Media Library
After you install Kodi, you’ll see the home menu pop up. From there, you can choose Movies, TV Shows, or Videos to add files stored on your computer or device. You can use Kodi’s search feature to find the videos you want to watch.
Use these same basic steps to listen to music or look at photos with Kodi. It’s a very intuitive platform and will probably feel like an old friend within minutes. That should have you covered for how to use Kodi to enjoy your own media content.
How To Watch Content On Your TV Set With Kodi
Wondering how to use Kodi with your TV? Kodi is designed to be used in a home theater environment. You’d probably rather not watch shows and movies and etc. on your device’s cramped little screen anyway. So how do you get all that great content onto your nice big-screen TV?
There’s no single device to use to stream Kodi on a TV. Instead, there are lots of different options, depending on your preferences.
One of the most popular ways is to install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV or Fire Stick. Amazon Fire devices are a great match with Kodi because you don’t have to do any hacking or side-loading in order to use Kodi on them.
Kodi works on other Android TV boxes as well. The Xiaomi Mi Box is a popular choice among devoted Kodi users. (See our list of the best streaming boxes for Kodi.) You can also install Kodi on Xbox One and Raspberry Pi for streaming content onto a TV, but this can get a bit technical — too complicated for this intro guide.
For more help with how to use Kodi, you an also visit the official Kodi Wiki at http://kodi.wiki/view/quick_start_guide.
Best VPNs For Kodi — Stay Safe & Anonymous
What do I need to use Kodi?
1) A device to use Kodi with — computer, phone, tablet, game console, streaming device, etc. 2) The free Kodi software (see above for where to download the official version). 3) A VPN setup on Kodi. See how to add a VPN to Kodi.
How do I change my IP address on Kodi?
Is Kodi anonymous?
No. Your IP address is exposed, and possibly other personal data as well. You need to hide your Kodi activity and Kodi usage by installing a VPN on Kodi. See how to keep Kodi private.
VIDEO: How To Use Kodi Safely With A VPN
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