The Kodi Pulsar add-on is a little different than most. It uses P2P networks to browse and download torrents directly to Kodi. We take a look at how it works, if you should install it, what the risks are and if there are better alternatives.
Kodi is a free, open source software package that makes creating your own home theater system easier than ever. One of Kodi’s biggest draws is its versatility – it can be installed on a wide selection of devices including PC, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, iPhone, USB stick, and Raspberry Pi. The best thing about Kodi is that generally, there’s no functional disparity between an installation on a traditional computer and a mobile device.
There are two ways to access media within Kodi. The first is very simple: Kodi allows you to play music and video files that are stored directly on your device. There are limits to how much content you can store,especially on portable devices.That’s where add-ons come in. Add-ons are plugins which offer access to online media libraries.
Most Kodi add-ons simply find links to content and deliver them to the user, but some, like the Pulsar add-on, use peer-to-peer (P2P) networks instead. These allow the user to browse and download torrents directly from Kodi. In this article we’ll be explaining what the Pulsar add-on is and how it works. We’ll also be describing some of the security issues that all Kodi add-ons share, whether they’re official or third-party, link scrapers or P2P-based.
Kodi is completely legal to use, and its recent notoriety stems from the fact that certain third-party add-ons have been offering access to copyrighted content. Similarly, torrenting isn’t inherently illegal, but most of the content that torrent sites host is unlicensed. For this reason, it’s crucial that Kodi users study the laws in their country regarding streaming content online before attempting to use Kodi for this purpose.
Comparitech does not condone or encourage any violation of copyright restrictions, including illegal streaming through Kodi. Kodi can be used for many excellent, legal online streaming purposes. Please consider the law, victims, and risks of piracy before downloading or streaming copyrighted material without permission. Always do you own research before accessing any Kodi add-on, stream or repository.
How to use Kodi safely
These days people use the internet for everything from socialising to business, and consequently, online privacy is of the highest importance. Despite this, people who use a virtual private network (VPN) to keep their browsing history or traffic private are regarded with suspicion. The truth is that there are many good reasons someone should use a VPN, particularly if they’re a Kodi user.
For example, many internet service providers (ISP) monitor their users’ activities and have been known to intentionally limit the speeds of customers who stream content online. There’s no reason you should pay money every month to receive sub-par service, and a VPN can help prevent an ISP’s automatic throttling measures by encrypting all of your traffic and making it less obvious that you’re watching videos online.
Your ISP isn’t the only one who could be keeping an eye on your activities. There is no Kodi add-on that is impervious to attack, and while official add-ons are created with thorough security checks in place, third-party add-ons generally are not. This means that there could be more vulnerabilities for an attacker to exploit, and if this were to happen they’d potentially have access to everything from the contents of your hard drive to your online login credentials.
Of course, your protection is only as good as the company that offers it. There are several documented cases of free VPNs being found to contain malware, so the VPN you choose has to be one that’s trustworthy with your privacy and data.
We recommend that Kodi users use IPVanish. It’s functional with every add-on we’ve tried, and because the company maintains its own servers, IPVanish is capable of providing a fast and stable connection, unlike many VPNs we have tested. This stability means that IPVanish can decrease content buffering and improve your overall experience with Kodi.
IPVanish also does not keep any logs of your browsing history, and its VPN can be installed on an Amazon Firestick and a whole host of other devices. You’ll never have to forgo privacy for convenience or worry about your ISP snooping on your internet browsing habits.
Reader deal: save up to 60% on an IPVanish plans here.
What is the Kodi Pulsar add-on?
Pulsar is a third-party Kodi plugin that uses P2P networks to offer access to movies and TV shows on Kodi. It finds files from some of the world’s largest torrent sites and allows the user to stream those files as they download. In contrast to traditional streaming sites, P2P networks offer content that is accessible at all times. Because there are multiple copies of the content hosted on several users’ computers, the content cannot be taken offline by heavy traffic.
There are a number of flaws with this add-on. Firstly, the vast majority of media hosted by torrent sites is unlicensed, meaning users looking for legitimate content will have to search for each specific title by name if they hope to find it at all.
Secondly, in order to use Pulsar, Kodi users have to allow external devices to access their computer. This is because with torrents, other users download segments of a file from you as you download it from somewhere else. This is a significant security concern: there are limited effective methods you can use to restrict this access from other users on the network; it’s usually all or nothing.
Thirdly, Pulsar does not include a list of providers. These come packaged in another third-party add-on, and each of these you install increases the likelihood that one will be hijacked. Worse still, as the version of the repository contained in SuperRepo has become unavailable recently, you have to trust sites offering unverified and potentially unsafe mirrors if you’d like to install it.
Additionally, many ISPs monitor P2P networks and torrent sites. When you download or seed a torrent, your IP address becomes visible to others on the network. This makes it very simple for the owner of copyrighted content to find you, and possibly even threaten you with litigation.
For the reasons above, we do not recommend that Kodi users install or stream content with Pulsar.
Alternatives to the Pulsar add-on
P2P Kodi add-ons require a lot of additional risk on the part of the user while providing very few benefits. There are many official add-ons that offer officially licensed content without requiring the user to allow remote access to their computer. Official add-ons offer content with the same level of quality, and we believe that most Kodi users would be better off using these instead.
YouTube Kodi Add-on
YouTube is the world’s largest online video sharing platform, so it comes as no surprise that there’s a Kodi add-on for it. It boasts a content library that would take several thousand years to finish watching, and there are new videos added constantly.
The Kodi add-on actually improves upon the website in a couple of different ways. For a start, the videos are no longer interrupted by ads. This means that you can watch all the videos you like without them cutting out part way through. Unfortunately it does mean that the content creators won’t make money from your views, but if you feel bad about this, there are plenty of other ways to support them.
Most of YouTube’s functionality remains intact, however. Once you log in, you’ll be able to view all of your subscriptions, playlists and recommended videos, as well as search for specific content. There’s even a dedicated section for live videos where you can find everything from news coverage to charity livestreams.
The YouTube Kodi add-on can be found in the official Kodi add-on repository.
Playon Kodi Add-on
PlayOn is a service that allows its users to watch content from several large streaming services in one place. To use its Kodi add-on, you’ll have to sign up for a $2.50 a month PlayOn subscription. You’ll also need a subscription to get at least one of the supported services like Netflix or Hulu. There’s a 30-day guarantee, though, so if you don’t like it, you can always get your money back.
There’s a lot to like, however. If you have a Windows PC, PlayOn allows you to record content in the widely used MP4 format. Additionally, all users will be able to skip ads automatically.
PlayOn offers an inexpensive and completely legal way to gather content from multiple sources. Given the lack of an official Kodi Netflix or Hulu add-on, it is invaluable.
The PlayOn Kodi add-on can be found in the official Kodi add-on repository.
FilmRise – Youtube Kodi add-on
FilmRise are a distributor of independent films, and there are two Kodi add-ons which offer access to their content. The first is named FilmRise and contains half a dozen TV shows, but the second, FilmRise – Youtube is far superior.
As you may have expected, FilmRise – Youtube contains all of the media from FilmRise’s YouTube accounts. There are hundreds of licensed movies here, and they’re all free to watch. While they might not have had the largest budgets, these movies are generally well made, and they’re all categorised by genre for easier viewing.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to search for a particular title, but since this add-on contains mostly little-known movies anyway, we’re not sure being able to search would help much.
The FilmRise – Youtube Kodi add-on can be found in either the Indigo add-on installer or the MetalChris repository.
iPlayer WWW is an official Kodi add-on that gathers content from the popular iPlayer streaming platform and allows users to watch it directly through Kodi. It offers live and on-demand TV shows, movies and radio stations.
This add-on is free to use and doesn’t require you to sign up, although you will require a valid TV License if you’re located in the UK. This is a legal requirement, but it’s not too expensive and you can spread the cost over the course of the year.
The iPlayer region locks its content, so if you own a valid TV licence you’ll need a VPN to tune in from outside of the UK. All you have to do is connect your VPN to a British server and all of the content will become accessible.
The iPlayer WWW Kodi add-on can be found in the official Kodi add-on repository.
Overview and privacy concerns
Pulsar appears attractive at first glance, but ultimately comes with too much risk to make it worthwhile. It’s true that torrents are resistant to some of the factors that contribute to content becoming unavailable (DMCA takedown requests, overloaded servers), but there is no need to put your personal information at risk by allowing remote access to your computer.
There’s also no reason why Pulsar’s providers couldn’t have been included in the add-on. Third-party add-ons are already more vulnerable to attack than official ones, and installing several of them while allowing remote access is just tempting fate.
With all of the legitimate streaming options on offer, there’s really no need to install a risky P2P add-on. Whether you’re looking for movies, TV shows, music, or sports, there is a better, safer, official alternative available.