Recently, a number of people have been asking me how it is that I am able to watch “still in theater” movies in HD from the comfort of my own home. This conversation almost always ends in me having to download, install and set up the necessary program and add-on that makes this magic happen. Today, I will share with you the setup process so that you can turn that old laptop, Raspberry Pi or mobile device into a media streaming machine!
Before I get too deep into this article, I must first point out the legality of this approach. While we are talking about streaming content from servers hosted “who knows where” from an application that behaves similar to YouTube, there is also a term called “pseudo-streaming” which downloads a portion of the file for viewing pleasure. It is good to note that Kodi does not download any portion of a file, but instead streams it over a live internet connection. This is why you will experience a full stop in media playback, similar to YouTube, if you drop internet connection. Having said that, we can reasonably assume that the type of streaming we are doing does not violate copyright laws as we are not downloading the media being played. The second law we must be aware of, because it could affect you, is public performance. If you decide to host a public performance of anything you’re streaming, meaning outside the privacy of your own home, you could be in violation of the law. Simply put, do not put this on the big screen.
The first step in getting Kodi set up is to actually download the program. Simply jump over to the Kodi download page, here, and download the one that applies to your device. Once it has downloaded you can go ahead and launch the installer and get the program installed by following all the defaults on the setup wizard.
Once Kodi has installed and launched, or you may have to launch it manually, you’ll be presented with a full screen interface and a menu banner. Using a mouse, your finger on a touchscreen device, or arrows on a keyboard, navigate over to the Settings menu option. Do not click on Settings! Instead, when Settings his highlighted you will be given a sub-menu below. Click/select File Manager, which will take you to a new screen.
From within the File Manager screen, you’ll want to click Add Source. Click on the center of the screen, in the empty box, to add the source location. In the input box, where you type, put in the following: http://fusion.tvaddons.ag and click Done. Before closing out of the Add Source box you’ll want to name your source by selecting the empty box at the bottom of the screen. You can put anything here to identify the source, but I choose to put ‘fusion’.
Go ahead and hit the Esc key, the back arrow in the bottom right, or the Home button in the bottom right to get back to the main screen. From here we will now select the Settings menu option, the one I told you not to click before. On the left hand side you’ll have a list of settings, and we are going to want to select Add Ons. A new screen will pop up asking where you want to install an add on from. Click Install From Zip and the next screen will let us browse.
Here you should see something familiar, that being the name of your repository that you added within File Manager. If you followed my example, it will be called fusion. Click fusion and then click the Start Here folder, ignoring everything else. On this screen you’ll see a few zip files listed, noted by how each file name ends in .zip, but we only care about one. It should be named something similar to plugin.program.addoninstaller-1.2.5.zip though the 3 numbers at the end could vary. You’re mainly looking for a plugin named AddonInstaller. Once you click it Kodi will begin to install the plugin, and you can typically see little status banners appear in the bottom right of the screen letting you know when the different components are installed.
Once done you should navigate back to the main Kodi screen, select Programs, and select Program add-ons. The next screen should only have one listing, though it may have others depending on your setup. We are looking for a program called Addon Installer, in case you didn’t guess from the previous step. Click it now.
The first time you launch Addon Installer it will have to download any updates to the database. This program allows you to easily install other Addons with a single click, preventing the need of having to add sources through the Settings menus as we had to do previously. Once the screen loads you’ll see a few selections. We want Featured Addons. Click it and scroll through the next screen until you see an addon called Phoenix, which you will select. The next screen shows the Phoenix installer, which looks similar to the Phoenix button you just clicked. Select the installer, let it go through all the installation screens, and then your set. The subsequent steps you will follow every time you launch Kodi.
From the main screen select Video, and then Video Add Ons. Select the add on called Phoenix and give it a few seconds to load and update the database. The media sources available on Phoenix will now be listed on your screen. Feel free to explore these sources. For now, we will use my favorite source to demonstrate how to stream media. Click on the source that is called Rockcrusher. You’ll see a set of folders, detailing what is contained within. Select 2015 HD Movies, which will take you to a list of all the movies that Rockcrusher has made available from the year 2015. Select any movie that interests you and be prepared for quality, high definition movie streaming from the comfort of your own home.
Now that you are armed with the necessary tools, feel free to explore the other movies available on Phoenix. There is also a limited selection of TV Shows, typically being the most popular ones on HBO. There has only been two instances where Kodi has failed me in my TV streaming. The first is the day that the new Star Wars movie was released. While I could stream the movie on day one, it was hand-held camera quality. This was quickly swapped out with a full HD version, about a week later. Since I’m not a big Star Wars geek, this wasn’t a huge hurt for me. The second was 50 Shades of Grey, in which the file that was hosted by Rockcrusher cut off the last ~8 minutes of the movie. I believe this one has now been corrected, but I wasn’t interested enough in the movie to go back and check. Other than that, my viewing experience has been ideal. So far I’ve only been unable to find one movie, but that is perhaps due to the fact that I normally don’t know what I want to watch until I see it on the list.
With that, I hope that you enjoy. Kodi is chock full of addons, and I am on the hunt for a good addon that will let me watch my favorite TV Shows (like Scandal). Feel free to comment with any addons that you find or enjoy, so that others can enjoy them too. Please do not comment to complain that the movie you want isn’t listed, or the movie that just released yesterday was a poor attempt to record it with a hand-held camera. These people are providing this service to you free of charge, and it is better than the stale, out-dated movies you can get on Netflix…oh, did I mention it is free?