The Best Legal Kodi Addons
A certain group of unauthorized Addons, you know the ones, have been pushing Kodi into the news headlines. That announcement should fill every fan of this ever-popular open source multimedia package with warm feelings, except that it doesn't. Why doesn't Kodi's newfound place of prominence make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Well, that fame is being secured for all the wrong reasons.
Let's cut to the chase. It's because of the free, open source nature of this popular media centre, its reputation for being able to play anything, that some of these less than reputable user repositories have been compiled. That's about all we'll say on the subject of streaming illegally streaming copyrighted material, as we're all about the best legal Kodi Addons, not the plug-ins that are written by nefarious coders. Intended to exploit illicit streaming sources, places that provide access to Hollywood blockbusters, major sporting events, and the latest episodes of just-aired TV shows, those add-ons are currently being identified and shot down, so avoid them at all costs.
So, without further ado, let's talk about the Kodi repositories that work within the confines of the legal system, not the ones that operate on its shadowy perimeter. In the end, we wish to support that legal position, not skirt the team's generous open source philosophy. Now that we've made our position clear, we'll dive straight into the bona fide world that hosts the finest authorized Kodi plug-ins.
Do You Need Unknown Sources?
That's the question, isn't it? Over in the SYSTEM SETTINGS panel, you'll drop the hammer of your finger down on the ADD-ONS entry. In here, there are two radio buttons. The first, the SHOW NOTIFICATIONS control, informs you when certain functions have been completed. If you select that button, it says something like, "Will show notifications when add-ons have updated." It's a convenience feature, in other words. The second radio button is the one we're interested in, though. Right above the RESET ABOVE SETTINGS TO DEFAULT, the UNKNOWN SOURCES setting either allows or blocks Third-Party plugins.
If you want to disable all of Third-Party content, make sure the button is set to the disabled position. One caveat, however, is that you'll also be blocking a host of fascinating plugins. However, you'll also guarantee pirate-less repository installation, which is why the Kodi team added the setting. Essentially, this is a liability affirmation tool.
If you're using version 17, Kodi Krypton, in other words, use the SETTINGS menu, then SYSTEM SETTINGS AND ADDONS to reach this important button. Again, however, some of the following legal Add-ons may fall under this category, so if you feel relatively confident while navigating the various Settings panels, you can leave UNKNOWN SETTINGS enabled.
YouTube is Your Friend
Although there will always be a question mark over some of its copyright issues, the film clips and music videos that are uploaded by incautious fan types, the YouTube add-on for Kodi is safe. It's even stored in the Official Kodi Add-On Repository, so pull up the SETTINGS menu, find ADD-ONS on the screen, and select your INSTALL FROM REPOSITORY listing. The stylish light blue diamond icon requires a mouse click. Do that, or use your remote control if you've installed Kodi on a box, and select VIDEO ADDONS. Install the YouTube plugin and sign in for immediate browsing. Incidentally, VIMEO, another well-known and respected video streaming plugin is also curated within this category. Install it for higher resolution videos and a solid connection to an art-centric community.
The BBC iPlayer
A slew of entirely authorized video add-ons fills this repository. There's VEVO, the de facto music video channel, a site that plays the latest and greatest music clips, often in full HD. American channels and their international cousins deliver access via legal streams, although the content is sometimes restricted. Download a few and try them. Then, if you reside in the United Kingdom, the BBC iPlayer plugin grants access to all of your favourite British Broadcasting material. Furthermore, that content stretches back in time thanks to an embedded catch-up service, so you'll never miss an episode of Coronation Street or Eastenders. However, this service is meant for the UK viewing market. In short, it's geo-blocked, which means you can't watch it from outside the British coverage area.
Twitch: A Social Gaming Nexus
Still inside The Official Kodi Repository, the Twitch add-on is famed as a must-have streaming App, one that mainly targets the gaming community. PS4 or XBox, digital sporting events or action game marathons, yes, most Twitch users are gamers. They live stream or record their latest gaming achievements and share those accomplishments with other users. Interestingly, the Twitch community also includes cook shows, music performances, and many other hobbyist activities. Used via a gaming console, the once limited audience is expanding thanks to this and other Twitch plugins.
What's Soundcloud All About?
Just like Twitch, this add-on is built as a multimedia community. Instead of video, however, you're channelling all of your audio achievements. That's right, record and upload your latest composition, as captured on your old and battered acoustic guitar. If you're a struggling songwriter, let it all out while simultaneously promoting your keyboard skills. Soundcloud is a platform that hosts free music, podcasts, and more. Access this App the same way you found the YouTube add-on, except hit the MUSIC ADD-ONS menu heading this time instead of the VIDEO ADD-ONS entry. Also, since we can't cover every legal add-on developed for Kodi, take this opportunity to navigate your way through the rows of other notable audio-oriented add-ons. Of particular interest, there's the Apple iTunes Podcast plugin, an add-on that acts as a gateway to a nearly infinite number of podcasts, all of which you can play without ever opening iTunes.
The Plex Media Player
Back inside the VIDEO ADD-ONS category, the official Plex plugin integrates a powerful media server into the Kodi platform. Share movie, music and TV show collections with the rest of the home. Share all of that media with other devices, with smartphones and tablets, and add any other networkable drive to the media server. Blessed with its own slick user interface, Plex is a match for Kodi as a home theatre platform in almost every way. As the website for Plex states in such unequivocal terms, you gain the best of both worlds when you combine a Kodi box with the Plex platform, including the new Plex DVR. Consult the Plex for Kodi website (www.plex.tv/kodi/) for more information on how to setup a Plex account.
USTVNow Skirts Close to The Legal Fence
It's a pity that Kodi is currently earning a bad rap as a source of illegal media content. Is a free online channel add-on likely to make things worse? Don't rush to your settings panel to delete USTVNow; it's a legal Kodi add-on. At least it is if you live in the United States and have cable TV. Basically, this plugin curates existing American cable channels, then it collects them under the App's user interface, and plays the content through your Kodi platform. Live TV is available via a USTVNow subscription, but you'll probably frown at that limited 7 channel option. In order to gain access to all twenty-eight channels, and these are core channels, not the unheard of cable offerings that act as cable TV filler, you'll need to pay the monthly subscription fee. USTVNow is an example of localized content access, a bit like the geolocked BBC iPlayer add-on, so do only use this service if you live in America and have a cable TV account.
Retro Gaming with The ROM Collection Browser
A place has been reserved for this retro gaming add-on. Sure, you only gain access to a fraction of the Kodi media centre experience when you first install the program, and that sadly empty menu sends you looking for streaming channels, but what about the gamers out there? Well, this plugin expressly caters for that community, although the game ROMS in question come from older gaming systems. Built to browse your retro gaming ROMs and even launch any installed emulators, this little module proves just how versatile your legal Kodi platform is when it comes to satisfying the kind of user needs that go beyond conventional multimedia viewing habits.
Naturally, there are loads of other useful add-ons in the official repository, plus an ever-expanding range of legal third-party add-ons. Thanks to this compelling, curated list, one that we've barely scratched the surface of, there's no need to turn to shady sources. Avoid illegal pirated content, the too-good-to-be-true free movies, because those non-authorized repositories are putting you at risk of criminal prosecution. Instead, use our list as a jumping off point, a gateway to legally viewing all kinds of fun content.