Kodi version 17 “Krypton” has only been out for a few months now, but the development team has never been ones for resting on their laurels. Kodi 18 has been in its nightly build stage for about a month, but you can download the current version of it right now. We’ve taken a look at it and we’ll be covering all of the currently available information and walking you through some of the new features below.
First, there’s the name. The Kodi team has decided not to vote on this version’s title, as with previous iterations. To mark the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope and pay tribute to the career of Carrie Fisher, they’ve named Kodi 18 “Leia.” This is in keeping with their tradition of naming each new version of Kodi using the next letter of the alphabet (Gotham, Helix, Isengard, Jarvis, and so on).
Next, support for 64-bit Windows machines has been added. Other platforms already had this, but according to their blog post, the developers had some fairly unorganized and hacked together code for Windows, which they’ve cleaned up at long last, meaning 64-bit users should be able to get better performance when the full version is released. This should be apparent in shorter loading times and more fluid transitions between pages, although stream quality will still depend heavily on your network speed.
There’s a great new feature for Android users: the addition of voice input. The team recently announced that you’ll be able to speak into a microphone (whether it’s in your phone or your Android TV remote) and search for specific titles in your media library. You won’t be able to search for add-ons this way, however, but anything which speeds up the process of finding content is welcome in our book.
To that end, they’ve also implemented a feature which will allow content from Kodi to appear on your Android TV’s home screen in the same way that Youtube videos do. This content could be anything from random movies to albums and Kodi hope that this will allow you to broaden your horizons while making their content more easily accessible – it’s a win-win situation.
Is there anything else I should know?
If you’re currently using Windows Vista, you might want to consider upgrading. To be fair, you’ll see a significant boost in performance with a new operating system, but the reason we mention this is that Kodi 18 will be dropping support for Vista. You’ll still be able to use Kodi 17, but the team has claimed that no longer maintaining their legacy code will allow them to focus more fully on current platforms. The longer you use legacy code, the less secure it becomes, and given the risks associated with using Kodi add-ons, it makes sense to upgrade as soon as possible.
The Kodi 17 default skin, “Estuary,” is still the standard with the new version. If you’d like to change this, you can easily find hundreds of alternatives in the existing repositories, so that’s not a problem.
The full release of Kodi 18 is still a while away. Although Kodi Leia is far from complete, you can download the nightly builds here. Be aware that they are often unstable and might not work as expected. Additionally, some add-ons and plugins may not work correctly. We wouldn’t recommend downloading it just yet unless you’re anxious to try it out for yourself.
If you do, make sure that you don’t update your old version – you could either install it as a standalone program or follow our guide and install it on a flash drive. Either of these options will ensure that you can still access all of your old content without a lengthy reinstallation process.
How to stay safe while using Kodi
Although Kodi 18 has yet to be released, it’s likely to share some of the insecurities that the previous versions have had. All add-ons, even the ones in the official repository, have the potential to be hijacked and used to steal your personal information. This risk is only amplified with third-party add-ons since they usually don’t have as tough quality control measures in place during their development.
Additionally, internet service providers (ISPs) don’t like it when their users stream content online. In fact, there have been several high-profile reports of them deliberately lowering the network speeds of their paying customers.
There is a way to protect your data and keep your habits private, though. When you use a virtual private network (VPN), any traffic which is sent to or from your computer is encrypted and meaningless to any third parties. A VPN can also prevent a hacker from intercepting your data using a man-in-the-middle attack.
Some content hosts require a username and password before they’ll allow you access to their content, but others rely on geo-locking (sometimes called region blocking). Geo-locked content checks the user’s IP address to see where they’re located, and allows or rejects access as necessary. However, a VPN gives you the ability to connect to servers in multiple countries, allowing you to view this previously inaccessible content.
We recommend using IPVanish. It’s an inexpensive service, but it doesn’t keep any logs of your activities and has no noticeable impact on your browsing speeds. You can even install it on a Fire Stick or Fire TV, so you’ll always be protected. Unlike some of the free VPN services out there, IPVanish doesn’t contain any malware and doesn’t sell your browsing habits. It can even help stop Kodi buffering.
BEST VPN FOR Kodi 18:IPVanish is our top choice. Has a large uncongested network of servers and achieves good speeds. Strong security and privacy features make IPVanish a favorite for Kodi and Amazon Fire TV Stick users. Try it risk-free with the 7-day money back guarantee.
The team has mentioned that it’s developing a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) version of Kodi, which means that there’ll be an edition for the Xbox One and other Windows-based mobile devices. This could be a pretty lengthy process, however, and there’s no confirmation yet that this will be released in time for the full launch of Kodi 18, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed just in case.
Kodi has been vilified in the media recently due to some third-party add-ons for the service which provide access to pirated content. However, the fact is that Kodi itself is completely legal, and it’s certain third-party add-ons which are giving the software a bad name.
To combat this, The XBMC Foundation is looking into providing greater access to legal streaming services to help offset this reputation. The team has discussed adding “low-level DRM (Digital Rights Management)” to help bring legitimate providers onboard and whilst they haven’t added this yet, it’s possible that it’ll be included in the full release of Kodi Leia.
There’s already quite a lot to be looking forward to in Kodi 18 and there are sure to be more features announced as the development process continues. For now, if you’d like to try out the latest nightly build, you can install it by clicking here, choosing your platform, selecting the “Development Builds” tab and finally, choosing a 32 or 64-bit build. From here, you’ll be taken to a list of the different nightly builds where the most recent version is at the top of the list by default. Just click it, and it should download automatically.
It’s worth noting that the nightly builds aren’t available on every platform. You can install them as long as you’re using Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android or iOS, but if you’re hoping to try out Kodi Leia on a Raspberry Pi or alternative operating system, you’re out of luck for the time being.
There’s no release date for Kodi 18 just yet, but it’s likely to be several months before we see the full version or even a stable beta version made available. The team has to account for the wide range of hardware and platforms that the new software will be running on and each operating system has its own development challenges which have to be taken into account. Of course, each new feature has to be extensively tested to make sure that it works correctly, and the developers have to make sure that they create a system which allows existing add-ons to continue to function with minimal changes needed to their code.
Kodi is currently in version 17.4. The Kodi development team has released several updates to version 17 “Krypton” that have mostly fixed different errors and provided security patches. The most recent update, pushed out the Kodi users on August 11, primarily provides stability updates and fixes some a handful of crash issues and other items.
As ever, we’ll keep you posted on the development of Kodi Leia as more information is announced. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping you up to date with the latest news regarding Kodi Krypton and you can continue to use this as normal. What features are you most looking forward to in the Kodi Leia beta? Do you have an idea for a feature which would make it “must-install” software? Leave a comment below and share your opinion with the world!
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