Until now, Kodi users have had to install repositories or download zip files from GitHub to access addons. TVAddons’ new GitHub Browser tool removes a step in this process and allows you to install addons directly from GitHub. There’s no need to add a source in Kodi’s file manager, no need to keep track of which addons are in a given repo, and no need to download from potentially unsafe sources.
In this article, we’ll be showing you how to use the TVAddons GitHub Browser tool (sometimes called the Git Browser). We’ll also be examining the community’s reaction to this tool and exploring the impact that this tool will have on Kodi users and third-party developers. We’ll also look into some of the potential security issues created by installing addons directly from Github.
Warning: Kodi should only be used for content to which you have the legal right to access. Neither the Kodi Foundation nor Comparitech advocates the use of Kodi for piracy.
Important: Always use a VPN with Kodi
Some Kodi users connect to virtual private networks (VPNs) to hide unauthorized streaming from their internet service provider (ISP). Despite this, VPNs have several legitimate uses and can greatly benefit most people including those that only stream from official sources.
Because VPNs encrypt all incoming and outgoing network traffic, it can’t be read by any outside observer. This stops the majority of Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks from gaining access to your system. Additionally, this encryption prevents your ISP from selling your browsing habits or using them to justify throttling your network connection.
Every VPN will have some impact on your internet speeds, but some are faster than others. You should also be aware that some VPN providers keep detailed logs of the sites you visit. These can be traced back to you fairly easily. For this reason, it’s vital that you choose a VPN provider that can be trusted with your personal information.
We recommend IPVanish. It has a negligible impact on your internet speeds and offers stable connections to servers in more than 50 countries. Further, IPVanish is almost as portable as Kodi and can be installed on PC, Amazon Firestick, Apple TV, and more.
USE KODI SAFELY:IPVanish is fast, secure, and reliable with over 1,200 servers worldwide.
How to use the GitHub Browser
Before you can begin using the GitHub Browser, you first have to install the TVAddons repository and Indigo tool. Below, we’ll explain how to do this, step-by-step:
- Click the gear icon in the top-left of Kodi’s main page.
- On the Settings menu, select File manager.
- You’ll see all the currently added source. Scroll down to the bottom and click Add source.
- In the text box at the top, enter the following without quotation marks “http://fusion.tvaddons.co”. Remember to give the source a name (we’ve used Fusion here, but TVAddons is also a good choice).
- When you’re done, click the Ok button.
How to install the Git Browser for Kodi
The GitHub Browser tool is included in the Indigo addon and cannot be installed independently. Here’s how to install both Indigo and the Git Browser:
- Return to Kodi’s main page and click the Add-ons tab.
- On the following page, click the box icon in the top-left.
- Select Install from zip file.
- Scroll through your sources until you find the one you added in the previous section.
- Click it, then enter the begin-here folder. There’s only one file inside, so click it to install Indigo. If it installs without any issues, you’ll see a popup appear in the top-right.
- To get to the GitHub Browser, open Indigo and select Addon Installer. The Browser is the first option on the following page.
Searching with the Git Browser
When you open the GitHub Browser, you’ll see a notification. This asks you to search for a GitHub developer’s username rather than the repo’s name or addon ID. The reason for this is simple; popular addons are forked all the time and by searching for the developer directly, you’ll always find the latest, unaltered release.
We’ll begin by searching for a specific developer. Click Search by GitHub Username and enter the following without quotation marks: “tvaddonsco”. We already installed the TVAddons repo in a previous step, but this allows you to get a feel for the GitHub Browser’s functionality. You’ll notice that you can choose to install either the repo itself or the addons individually. Previously, to install a single addon, users would have to navigate the developer’s GitHub manually, download a zip file, add the source, and finally install it. As such, the GitHub Browser simplifies this process and speeds it up considerably.
Now let’s try installing an addon. Once you’ve searched for a developer, just click the addon and confirm that you want to install it. If everything works, you’ll be given the option to install additional addons or restart Kodi to finalize the installation.
What does this mean for Kodi users?
This tool makes it very easy to install specific Kodi addons and removes the need to add repositories. Kodi has a thriving third-party development scene but it can be difficult for new users to keep up with all the addons that move location, are taken offline, or are updated. As such, having a one-click, user-friendly way to browse and install the latest version of an addon should lower the barrier to entry.
Users should be careful not to become complacent, however. In the past, we’ve seen cases where GitHub developers delete their account and a third party registers with their username. In these cases, the third party will still appear in GitHub Browser searches for the initial developer and there will likely be no indication that anything is amiss. To stay protected and receive warning of any threats, it’s important to keep an eye on the developer’s social media channels as well as Kodi forums.
That said, many developers do not maintain social media accounts. As a result, finding updated and relevant information about addon developers and their addons can be difficult.
Still, Installing an addon via the GitHub Browser is inherently safer than installing from a repository. Traditionally, Kodi users with automatic updates enabled ran the risk of inadvertently installing malicious updates. With the GitHub Browser, the only way to update an addon is to install a later version. Unless the developer’s GitHub account or the TVAddons tool is compromised, there’s no way an attacker can install malicious code on your system.
What does this mean for Kodi developers?
The release of the GitHub Browser shows that TVAddons is still determined to be a major player in the development scene despite its ongoing lawsuits. The GitHub Browser allows TVAddons to avoid hosting potentially copyright-infringing addons themselves. Further. since the Browser has legitimate applications, and they don’t mention or recommend unauthorized addons, it would be difficult for TVAddons to get sued for hosting the Github Browser.
For third-party developers, the largest change relates to repositories. When certain repos have been shut down or abandoned, we’ve seen smaller development teams scramble to find a new home for their addons. The GitHub Browser essentially makes this process redundant since the addons can now just be hosted directly on GitHub.
Community reaction to the GitHub Browser tool
There have been mixed reactions to the release of this tool. Some Kodi users were disappointed that the GitHub Browser was built into the Indigo addon and not available as a standalone plugin. In response, a member of the TVAddons team confirmed that a standalone version would be made available very shortly.
There seem to be two main community concerns about this feature. The first is that the GitHub usernames of third-party developers can be difficult to find if you don’t read Kodi blogs or follow them on social media. TVAddons have said that they hope blogs will put more emphasis on mentioning developer’s GitHub names.
The second concern is one that has been around for a while. Some Kodi users think that by making the process of installing addons easier, Kodi becomes subject to greater scrutiny, which in turn, leads to addons being taken offline. However, it’s very rare for an official or non-copyright infringing addon to be taken down. The only addons at risk from increased media attention are the ones that use unauthorized sources, something the Kodi development team have been vocally opposed to in the past.
As the GitHub Browser tool has only been live for a few days, we can’t be sure of the impact it will have in the long term. However, if you’d like to try it out, we have lists of the best Kodi addons for movies, sport (including the Super Bowl), and cartoons.