Kodi 18 is now out with support for Android TV Leanback, gaming emulators, DRM decryption, and more

Kodi 18 is now out with support for Android TV Leanback, gaming emulators, DRM decryption, and more

Kodi is the most popular, free and open-source software for managing your personal multimedia collection, both offline and online. Its cross-platform nature lets you install it on almost any machine, even on IoT devices like the Raspberry Pi. Kodi has the power to turn your PC, laptop, TV, smartphone, or tablet into a set-top box. With the help of thousands of free plugins and add-ons, you can easily watch movies, TV, stream music, and so much more. Kodi was originally developed by the XBMC Foundation and they’ve maintained the platform ever since. Yesterday, they released the 18th major version of Kodi, “Leia,” which reached some great milestones:

  • 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

Let’s dig into the major features Kodi 18 introduces. The first one is retro gaming support. Kodi now supports gaming emulators, sideloading ROMs, and controlling games. From now on you won’t have to install Kodi inside RetroPie if you want to play some retro games on Raspberry Pi. Kodi 18 also finally includes DRM decryption support, which will let users stream some protected video content. Along with that, you can also integrate Kodi with Android TV. The newest Leanback feature adds Google Assistant support with full voice functionality as well as suggestions and other goodies within Android TV.

Kodi 18 also includes the new Music Library. Here you can filter, sort, and easily access all your audio content. Creating new libraries is also easier than ever. Less noticeable features include Bluetooth support, new visualizations, and screensavers. There are so much more to Kodi 18 Leia, you can see the list of all the features in the Kodi blog post below. Here are the Android-specific changes, though:

Kodi v18 (Leia) Android-specific changelog

  • Moved to Android API 26 and SDK 26 with NDK 18 as minimum (meaning at least Android 5.0 is still required)
  • Added support for speech-to-text in Kodi OSD keyboard on Android TV (triggered by voice button on remote)
  • Added support for Android to move the Kodi app to SD card[144]
  • Added support for Android TV Leanback search and recommendations meta data from Kodi[145]
    • Default setting for Android TV Leanback suggestion to random unwatched movies and music albums[146]
  • Changed Rendertype from GUILayer to VideoLayer for Android MediaCodecSurface[147]
  • Changed to use NDK native C interface for Android MediaCodec (for performance gains)[148]
  • Changed to support ZeroConf via native Android API (and deprecates mDNSresponder)[149]
  • Changed to support network information via native Android API (and deprecates POSIX)[150]
  • Changed handling of Kodi’s Java interfaces via JNI for better consistency[151]

Source: Kodi Release Announcements

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George Burduli
George Burduli

Love everything about Android. I'm an enthusiast, blogger, and a future developer. Direct enquiries to: [email protected]