Saturday, December 31, 2016

Five ‘Fantastic’ File-Sharing Forecasts for 2017

2017Following the latest trends is one of the main tasks at the TorrentFreak newsroom and this job continues in the New Year.

While we can’t predict the future, we are in a good position to take some wild guesses as to what 2017 has in store.

As always, The Pirate Bay is on top of the list. The site is once again the most-used torrent site on the Internet which brings along responsibilities as well as various threats.

The Pirate Bay Gets Asylum, in The Caribbean

The Pirate Bay has had its fair share of problems over the years. While the past months have been relatively quiet, our crystal ball says that it’s going to change soon.

After nearly 14 years The Pirate Bay will lose its beloved .org domain name. A few months from now copyright holders will launch a court case and obtain a subpoena against the U.S-based Public Interest Registry (PIR). PIR previously resisted a voluntary suspension but will be forced to seize the domain by court order.

With the Swedish .SE domain also at risk, The Pirate Bay is going to send a special envoy to Antigua and Barbuda, requesting virtual asylum in the Caribbean.

pirate bay

This proves to be an excellent match, as Antigua and Barbuda is still engaged in a long-running dispute with the U.S. The Caribbean nation has already threatened to lift the protection of US intellectual property rights in 2017. In addition, it toyed with the idea of starting its own pirate site.

So, it’s a no-brainer that at the and of 2017 The Pirate Bay will be operating ‘carefree’ from a brand new .AG domain name.

Google Bans Torrent Sites and starts a Torrent Search Engine

2017 will also be the year that Google finally runs out of patience with all the ‘copyright bullying’ that it’s endured in recent years. While the search giant initially showed good will, it will soon go rogue.

After realizing that copyright holders always come back for more, no matter what anti-piracy measures they take, Google rolls out an evil plan that has been in the pipeline for a while.

The MPAA and RIAA will have their way as Google will remove all torrent sites from its search results. Not before launching their own torrent meta-search engine, however.

Perhaps the company secretly put the founder of at the helm of this project a few months ago, which explains the site’s sudden disappearance last summer.

The torrent search engine launch won’t come as a complete surprise though. Google has had this service in beta for well over a decade, and it’s ready to stand on it own two feet now.


Pirate Site Blockades Come to America

For several years, U.S-backed copyright holder groups have obtained site blocking orders in Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. However, in 2017 they will realize that they’ve forgotten something.

All these years they have been pointing their fingers at other countries, while pirate sites are still readily available on their home turf.

Admitting this gross oversight, MPAA and RIAA will team up to sue the country’s largest Internet providers. With billions of dollars at stake, they’ll demand immediate action.

After a short but intense legal fight, the U.S. federal court will surprisingly rule that broad website blocking goes too far. Then, copyright holders will suddenly remember why they didn’t start a case earlier.

uTorrent’s Comeback

Remember uTorrent?

With hundreds of millions of installs worldwide the torrent client is still one of the most popular pieces of software in history. However, in recent years its development has ground to a halt.

In a few weeks’ time it will be three years since uTorrent 3.4 was released and today it still hasn’t managed to make another 0.1 leap.

Initially, we wanted to predict the release of uTorrent 3.5 in 2017, but that would be rather wild. So let’s keep it realistic with just a 3.5 beta.


The new beta will introduce a revolutionary feature though. Building on several other successful products BitTorrent Inc. has launched over the years, such as their chat client, a browser and live streaming, it will augment the torrent client with a social layer.

The new Beta will allow users to follow or spy on other downloaders to see what their interests are, complete with hashtags, status updates, and a news feed.

Kim Dotcom Announces Megaupload+1 (aka M+1)

In a few weeks from now, Kim Dotcom is going to unveil his plans for Megaupload 2.0 (MU2) and we expect that it will be awesome.

The new Megaupload promises to be better than its predecessor MEGA, which Dotcom launched four years ago as Megaupload’s first reincarnation, but eventually had to abandon.

However, despite the positive reception of Megaupload 2 there are going to be legal and political issues that will force the New Zealand-based entrepreneur to leave the ship once again. For a good reason though.

Our prediction engine shows that the U.S. Department of Justice will drop the Megaupload case after being exposed by Wikileaks. Soon after, Dotcom will switch his focus to politics with the already announced revival of the Internet Party.

Towards the end of 2017, Kim Dotcom will announce the fourth iteration of Megaupload, called Megaupload+1 (M+1). As expected, it will be better, bolder and braver than the earlier versions.

Happy new year everyone!

Don’t believe in any of the above? Look how accurate we were last year! Don’t forget the salt…

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

from TorrentFreak

Pirate Bay Will Continue to ‘Stick it to The Man’ in 2017

thepirateOver the past year pirate streaming sites have conquered the masses, but that doesn’t mean torrent sites are going away.

On the last day of the year, we had a virtual sit-down with Pirate Bay crew member Spud17 to see what’s in store for the site and how it measures up to the competition.

While TPB has had its rough patches, the site is once again the most-visited torrent site. Although occasional downtime is unavoidable, it’s not going away anytime soon.

“TPB will be around for the foreseeable future, and until the next big thing is invented, torrent sites will continue to grow in popularity, as will streaming sites,” Spud17 says.

The TPB crew believes that streaming has its place in the piracy ecosystem, especially for live events. However, torrents are preferred for those who like to actually share something.

They see non-P2P streaming of regular pirated TV-shows and movies as a ‘selfish’ act, in a way, since the users themselves are not contributing.

“Streaming will continue to be popular with sports fans, but torrenting and sharing with your peers has always been the way forward. I personally see streaming as a selfish act, but when you torrent, you’re sharing with others and helping to stick it to the man.”

According to the TPB crew, there is still plenty of corporate greed to revolt against in the year to come.

They note that some people may want to stick it to the BBC for the staggered release of Planet Earth 2, and releasing the series BluRay/DVD boxset before the final episode aired, after which they complained about pirating fans.

“Or to Sky for committing daylight robbery when charging £20+ to watch a boxing match, or to the giant publishing houses which charge £500 for one academic journal,” Spud17 says.

“As long as their greed continues, us sharing files with one another will continue,” she adds.

The TPB crew also notes that lessons have been learned from the shutdown of various large torrent sites, including KickassTorrents (KAT).

“KAT shutting down was a shock to everyone, and people quickly realized the foolishness of putting all your eggs in one basket,” Spud17 says.

As a result, they’re now trying to set the right example by allowing uploaders to promote their releases on other sites in TPB’s official forums. In addition, they wish the KAT staff all the best with the new site they just launched.

Even though some may see large torrent sites as competitors, the TPB crew sees cooperation as a way forward. In any case, TPB will always remain special, if only for its persistent refusal to take down copyrighted content.

“The one thing that still sets TPB apart from others is, of course, its refusal to comply with DMCA takedown notices,” Spud17 concludes.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

from TorrentFreak

New KickassTorrents Team Condemns Jailing of Music Pirate

katcommFollowing a joint investigation with licensing outfit PRS for Music, last year officers from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and Merseyside police raided an address in Everton, Liverpool.

They arrested Wayne Evans, a local DJ who was involved in the online distribution of digital music. Known online as OldSkoolScouse, Evans uploaded packs of the UK’s current Top 40 Singles to torrent sites each week. They included at least 200 uploaded to KickassTorrents.

After pleading guilty during an earlier hearing, this month Evans was sentenced for copyright infringement and fraud. The 39-year-old, who had no previous convictions, was jailed for a year.

Both police and rightsholders celebrated the conviction, describing the 12 months sentence as a deterrent to others considering music piracy. But of course, among file-sharers the long-term detention of Evans was less well received and has been widely criticized online.

Now, the team behind the resurrected KickassTorrents have added their dissenting voices, slamming the sentence as a waste of time and money.

“We find the 12-month sentence of OldSkoolScouse which the judge ruled a ‘deterrent to others’ offensive in the extreme and an irresponsible waste of taxpayer resources,” the team told TF in a statement.

“One questions the motivations of the agencies and resources assigned in regards to copyright infringements whilst actual criminals walk free. Is this what our legal systems have now become?”

While Evans undoubtedly knew that what he was doing was illegal on some level, it’s unlikely he’d have expected a knock on the door from the UK’s most elite anti-piracy unit followed by a major conviction for fraud. Undoubtedly a show of force and a stern warning would’ve ensured no more uploads, but clearly the police and PRS were out to prove a point.

But herein lies the problem. Whether copyright holders like it or not, the general public simply does not see infringement as a serious crime, so when hefty sentences like this are handed out, the numbers are rarely seen to add up.

For instance, take the woman who smashed a glass into another woman’s head in an unprovoked nightclub attack in May. This November, she also received a 12-month sentence.

Another man, who regularly tortured his girlfriend and subjected her to waterboarding sessions, got the same sentence in August.

Worse still, over the past 15 years many convicted terrorists in the UK have been released after serving just 12 months in prison.

It’s no surprise at all that the public has difficulty equating the seriousness of file-sharing to these violent and obnoxious crimes and it’s hard to imagine a time when that will change. However, the authorities have clearly drawn a line in the sand, so if they wanted a deterrent, then they definitely have one here.

Finally, the KickassTeam call for solidarity and wish Evans all the best for the future.

“We urge OldSkoolScouse to appeal the case and allow justice to prevail. Now is the time for the community to show its full support and put an end to corporate greed, bullying, ransom and censorship.

“We wish OldSkoolScouse a positive outcome and know that there are millions of people globally who support you,” they conclude.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

from TorrentFreak

Friday, December 30, 2016

Google Removed Over 900 Million ‘Pirate’ Links in 2016

google-bayDay in and day out copyright holders are bombarding Google with DMCA takedown notices, pointing out links to pirated content.

The majority of these requests are sent by the music and film industries, targeting hundreds of thousands of different websites.

In recent years the volume of takedown notices has increased spectacularly and in 2016 new records were shattered again.

Over the past 12 months, rightsholders asked Google to remove more than a billion links to allegedly infringing content, nearly twice as much as the 558 million it received last year.

Thanks to a new update to Google’s Transparency Report we now know for the first time how many of these were actually deleted. According to Google’s records, 89.8 percent of the requests were, resulting in 914 million removals.

Looking at the number of sites that are highlighted we see that it’s not just a few usual suspects that are causing problems. In total, rightsholders targeted content on 351,000 different websites.

Google takedown requests (past 12 months to December 29)


There is a great variety of copyright holders too. The UK music industry group BPI is at the forefront as usual, with more than 80 million requests, but Fox, NBC Universal, HBO and Microsoft are also among the top senders.

While the number of notices has steadily increased over the past several years, there are some early signs that they may level off in 2017. Over the past six months, the overall volume hasn’t increased, with the number of weekly takedowns hovering around 20 million.

Still, it’s clear that the major rightsholder groups and Google have different views on the DMCA takedown procedure and how to move forward.

The MPAA, RIAA, and other industry groups are calling for extensive revisions and don’t want Google and others to “hide” behind their safe harbor protections. Among other things, they want a ‘notice-and-stay-down‘ policy to ensure that, once deleted, content doesn’t pop up elsewhere.

Google, however, sees this an unworkable solution and believes that the current system is capable of dealing with infringing content.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

from TorrentFreak

Popcorn Time Launches New Torrent Tracker to Fight Copyright Monopolies

popcorn-trackerAfter bursting onto the file-sharing scene to wave of publicity, Popcorn Time has settled down to become another established way of obtaining and sharing video content.

Often referred to as the Netflix For Pirates, Popcorn Time has seen more than its fair share of controversy, with several forks and developers having been targeted and in some cases shut down by the MPAA. One fork, however, is still going strong. remains one of, if not the most popular variant of the software. Its tagline from the beginning has been “This Popcorn Time service will never be taken down” and thus far it has lived up to that billing.

With 2016 drawing to a close, TorrentFreak caught up with its developers to listen to their thoughts and plans for 2017. What we didn’t expect was a broadside against what they refer to as the “US Content Monopolies [USCM],” aka the MPAA.

Noting that copyright is a relatively new framework, the team say that fast Internet and digitized media has enabled groups such as the MPAA to “tax end-users” in order to feed their “monstrous appetite.” Content is expensive, they say, and not everyone can afford to buy it.

“It’s obvious that watching one’s favorite TV series chapter as soon as it’s released, or buying a VOD, is cool, extremely convenient and fun. But it costs. US$99 (average) monthly in the US and more in Europe. The average monthly salary in the developed countries is between US$10,000 to US$1,200. In third world countries it’s significantly less,” the team says.

“People who struggle to support their families, cannot afford to pay cable, satellites, and VOD. They do manage to link to the internet. Thus Netflix, where available, P2P, Popcorn Time etc. are their only solution for content consumption. The USCM will never make a nickel from them, because their alternative is not to watch movies, TV shows or listen to music albums.”

The team says that while the MPAA fights people who can’t afford to buy tickets or pay for subscriptions, shutting down services like Popcorn Time or even regular torrents won’t solve that particular problem either. Where there’s no money available, no blood will come from stone, they say.

The team suggests that they’re providing a service to meet this demand, while at the same time providing a counter-balance to what they feel are the unfair business practices of a copyright-protected monopoly with power in high places.

“This brings about the conclusion that it is all about politics and political power and immoral tradeoffs between administrations and huge money interests,” they say.

“There cannot be any other reason for the Polish authorities keeping the Ukrainian citizen Artem Vaulin, the creator of KickAssTorrents, in custody, for almost six months, awaiting a decision to extradite him to the US, as if he was a war criminal.”

In addition to these tough words and the continued running of their own successful Popcorn Time project, the team are also bringing a valuable new addition to the file-sharing landscape in 2017.

Available now, the team has launched Popcorn Tracker, a brand new OpenTracker-powered public tracker, free to the masses.

Popcorn Tracker


Public trackers are in pretty short supply at the moment so a new one with capacity will be a welcome addition to the landscape. Of course, the platform itself is content-neutral, so anyone wishing to embed a tracker in a torrent of any kind will be able to do so without restrictions.

In closing, the Popcorn Time team see online sharing increasing next year, particularly since the content allowing that to happen is already out there, distributed among the public.

“The files containing content are out there, in huge numbers and throughout disbursed locations of sites, being the sites of sharing, P2P users,” they conclude.

Popcorn Tracker, billed as “A Public and Free BitTorrent Tracker That You Can Trust”, is available here.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

from TorrentFreak

‘Deadpool’ is the Most Torrented Movie of 2016

deadpoolEvery week millions of people flock to torrents sites, searching for pirated copies of the latest blockbusters.

At the end of the year we take a look at what movies were pirated most often and this year ‘Deadpool’ comes out as the clear winner.

Pirated copies of the American superhero film first appeared early February triggering millions of downloads during the months that followed. Even today, thousands of people are still actively sharing it.

Superheroes and comics are doing very well on torrent sites this year, as the top three is completed by ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ and ‘Captain America Civil War.’ And further down the list we also find ‘X-Men Apocalypse’ and ‘Suicide Squad.’

While file-sharers may have a slight preference for geeky films, in general there’s a high correlation between piracy and box-office sales. That is, top grossing movies tend to do well on torrent sites too.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that ‘Finding Dory’ makes an appearance as well. The Pixar movie sold most tickets at the box office in the US, and comes in second worldwide.

‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ is somewhat of an exception in this regard, as it secured a spot in the top 10 while being a relative flop in movie theaters, at least in the U.S. On the other side, ‘Zootopia’ is missing despite being the third-best grossing movie worldwide this year.

Below we have compiled a list of the most-torrented films in 2016 (irregardless of their release date). The data is estimated by TorrentFreak based on several sources, including download statistics reported by public BitTorrent trackers.

Note: we have decided to stop reporting download estimates in our yearly top lists. Due to various changes in the torrent index/tracker landscape it’s become more challenging to monitor downloads, so a ranked overview makes most sense.

Most downloaded Movies on BitTorrent, 2016

rank movie worldwide grosses
1 Deadpool $783,770,709
2 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
3 Captain America Civil War
4 Star Wars The Force Awakens
5 X-Men Apocalypse
6 Warcraft
7 Independence Day: Resurgence
8 Suicide Squad
9 Finding Dory
10 The Revenant

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

from TorrentFreak

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Was The Year Torrent Giants Fell

2016overAt TorrentFreak we have been keeping a close eye on the torrent ecosystem for more than a decade.

During this time, many sites have closed their doors, either voluntarily or after being forced by a court order.

However, 2016 has been a particularly ‘bad’ year for torrents, after two icons were pushed offline in a matter of weeks last summer. In total, three sites that were among the top ten most popular sites at the start of the year are now gone.

Perhaps just as importantly, with the demise of one of the largest private torrent trackers vanished as well.


The trouble started in July when Polish law enforcement officers arrested Artem Vaulin, the alleged founder of KickassTorrents (KAT). The arrest was part of a U.S. criminal case which also listed two other men as key players.

At the time, KAT was the most-used torrent site around, so the authorities couldn’t have hit a more prominent target.

The arrests meant the end of the torrent site and up until this day Artem remains in custody at a local hospital. While several KAT copies and mirrors appeared over the past several months, including one operated by original staffers, the original site is still dearly missed by many.


Not long after KickassTorrents went offline, decided to close its doors voluntarity. Without prior warning, all torrent listings were removed from the meta-search engine, which was the third largest torrent site at the time.

The site’s operator confirmed the shutdown to TorrentFreak and left its users with the following message: “Torrentz will always love you. Farewell.” says farewell


An official explanation for the drastic action was never given, but it’s likely that the trouble at KAT weighed into the decision.

Now, several months later, several copies and proxies have taken over the Torrentz brand. While these have nothing to do with the original site they are serving millions of pageviews a day, with as the clear leader.


TorrentHound is the third site out of last year’s top ten that shut its doors unexpectedly. The site was significantly smaller than the other two, but a home to many regular torrenters.

Initially, the site’s operator gave no official explanation. After a while, however, he confirmed to TorrentFreak that the closure was due to a combination of less revenue and constant pressure from anti-piracy groups.

“It’s a combination of less traffic, less revenue and our bills piling up. Then add on constantly getting bugged by anti-piracy agents, just wasn’t worth the headache anymore,” he said.

The torrent troubles weren’t limited to public sites only. In fact, one of the biggest stories of the year is the shutdown of the world’s most comprehensive library of digital music, the private music tracker

The site went offline after several of its servers were raided by the French military police. The local music industry group SACEM confirmed that the law enforcement efforts were part of a criminal investigation which is ongoing.’s initial farewell message


Soon after the first reports came out,’s operators shut down the site and deleted crucial data to keep its users safe. In addition, they released a detailed farewell message on Twitter.

“What.CD has completed its shutdown. We are confident that our staff and users are safe. It is with enormous sorrow in our hearts that we must now move on with our lives,” the site’s operators said.

However, music aficionados aren’t easily defeated. Within a matter of days several new trackers appeared online, growing harder than or its predecessor OiNK ever did.


The above are just a few examples of major sites that have fallen, but it shows that 2016 was a year to remember. At the end of the week we’ll be heading into 2017 and the big question is; where will things go from here?

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

from TorrentFreak

Combine Plex and Kodi – Get the Features of Both Using PlexKodiConnect

Plex vs KodiCombine Plex and Kodi in a way that allows you to experience the features and strengths of both applications using PlexKodiConnect. A while ago, we did a comparison of Plex vs Kodi vs Emby which highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of each media center software. We concluded that one of the major disadvantages of Plex […]

Combine Plex and Kodi – Get the Features of Both Using PlexKodiConnect is a post from htpcBeginner.

from htpcBeginner

Kodi v17 “Krypton” Release Candidate 1

We want to close the year 2016 with a blast and as such we are happy to announce this Release Candidate of Kodi v17.0 Krypton. This final and last Kodi v17.0 will be action packed with a lot of features, changes and bug fixes and we left no stone unturned. Nearly every section had at least some maintenance done to make Kodi better than it already was.

First and foremost we sure would like to thank every one involved with either development, testing or simply helping out others with answering their questions. Now that is done lets look at the biggest changes that were done.

What’s new?

Estuary and Estouchy: next generation

Past March we announced that we had replaced the aging Confluence skin which did it’s job since 2009 as default skin. V17 will mark the new arrival of Estuary and Estouchy (touch enabled) skin as the new default skins. Many months have been put in getting these skins build from the ground up by phil65 and utilise all of the new features Kodi has to offer. During this period we also rethought on what was actually needed for skins and with this we also added features we only came up with by rebuilding this skin as we wondered why it never was able to do it in the first place. The home screen has been revamped and now utilises a smartplaylists implementation to automatically show you what probably interests you the most. We suggest you just give it a try and see for yourself. If you still prefer Confluence skin then you don’t need to worry as it’s still available from the official Kodi repository.  With some help from ryanmah for the mockups, ichabod-fletchman for helping out this final version of Estuary.

Home screen Movie library

At same time the touch skin Estouchy also got matched by our senior skin developer ronie to match the Estuary look.

For some  more screenshots you can visit the release announcement here: Default skin: Next Gen. Regardless you’ll see when you install this new update.

Setting section has been more clear

One of the things probably most of us hate the most is going through settings and see what they do. Often are not clear what they do or just not obvious. We felt the same and we have now made a big shuffle of certain settings to group them in a better way and improve the text and help description. I’m sure it’s not perfect and things still need changing however it’s already a big step forward. Additionally we’ve put a central button in settings screen for adding new media sources that you can add to your library. To make a long story short here are some screenshots to give you an idea on how it looks. Other than that I guess you’ll just have to try for yourself. Remember to look at the bottom of the screen as that often contains hints on what a settings actually does.

Settings Sources

 PVR made easier and better

With v17 the way we handle PVR add-ons has been given a makeover as well. With these changes we hope that the  threshold of getting PVR running inside Kodi has been greatly reduced. Once you configured and enabled the PVR add-on you are ready. No more additional options to enable to get going. Of course you will still need to set up a PVR backend/server first however that is outside of our scope of work. Additionally a lof work has been done to improve stability and usability to this section. Switching channels, EPG (electronic program guide) as well as setting and changing recording timers have all been greatly improved. From the user interface little has changed besides the new default skin and some settings that are moved or are now a bit more clear what they do.

Channel list EPG


Privacy policy

Your privacy is an important factor that the XBMC Foundation and Team Kodi considers in the development of all of our software and services. We are committed to being transparent and open. This Privacy Policy explains generally how we receive information about you, and what we do with that information once we have it. As such we have added this privacy policy to our website and also made it available from within Kodi itself to read.

Privacy policy

WARNING:  This of course does not mean your privacy is totally protected. In the end you are still responsible yourself for whatever you install or share. For the official Kodi repository we have a set of strict rules in place for any add-on that is added or updated and strive towards protecting the users from any harm that might come from using them. However once you decide to install any other repository or add-ons from outside our official repository you must make sure you are informed of any consequences. Do not blindly install any add-on but make sure to read up on what it does and what it might share with others. If you are not sure then take the safe route and don’t install it.

You might want to read this: Be aware what additional add-ons you install

Add-on manager changes and features

Since v10 the add-on repository has been an integral part of Kodi and has made it a breeze for expanding the capabilities and receiving updates for these add-ons and skins. Together with the skin changes we did in Estuary we certainly hope to make the experience a bit better.

Unknown sources….

First of all we added an option to warn new users that installing add-ons outside of Kodi repository could potentially bring harmful add-ons to their system. A more extensive write up (read here) explains these hazards they might get their selves into. Of course this doesn’t mean all are bad however we do feel that users should at least be warned. From now on if a user wants to install any add-on from .zip they need to acknowledge they understood the risk and enable the option to allow installation. This is a one time warning so you do not need to do this each time.

Recently installed or update

From now on you are able to see which add-ons recently updated. It might come in handy should some problems arise as you not always noticed the popup telling you an update was installed. At least now you are able to track down which one(s).

Recently updated Unknown sources


Music library

Over the years our music library handling wasn’t always the best and luckily a while ago some developers stepped up and started improving the lacking functionality and added new features. Some improvements are better tag reading and scraping. Handling of albums and artist has also been improved with the addition of adding artist role handling for music (composer, conductor, djmixer). Certain files or websites also support mood and this has now also been added so you can now select music based on certain type of mood instead of genre. With all these changes in regards to the music library and part and better tag scanning and usage a mandatory music files re-scan has to be done to extract all this information. After you upgrade and enter the music library a choice will be giving to re-scan now or later. As this re-scan can take up quite some time and resources you can answer NO and continue browsing your library. Once you exit library and re-enter you will be prompted again asking to re-scan. Once you answer YES Kodi will start scanning all your music files and extract the tag data they contain to a certain degree. As mentioned this process takes quite some time depending on the size. During this time Kodi might be somewhat slower than normal. Do note that this will not reset your library to a new state or that you will loose data. It will simply update what is available and will leave all play counts and the rest as they were.

Music library Music library


Video Player

Since the beginning of XBMC back in the days while it was running on the XBOX there was something like DVDPlayer. As the name probably implies it was used to playback DVD discs/files. During the years this DVDPlayer was improved and patched up to stay within modern day standards of video playback expectancy. However it became clear that for the future a major overhaul and rewrite was needed to keep up and be future proof. As such the developers who did the AudioEngine in v12 picked up this job and have now transformed it into VideoPlayer. Together with some platform developers they ripped out the old DVDPlayer code, chopped it in pieces, put it in the blender, picked the needed pieces and put it back in without breaking the rest of Kodi (hopefully). This certainly wasn’t an easy job as DVDPlayer was like the bottom block of Jenga tower that needed to be replaced while still being entangled throughout the whole tower. It had it’s tentacles in parts of the code where it shouldn’t have been in the first place. Probably over a year ago work started on getting this untangled and made ready to be replaced by the new implementation.

Well now you might wonder what does this all mean? Well a whole lot and it will probably not be as clear when using Kodi as a normal user. From a developers side it means a lot as the code is now more contained in it’s own section which makes maintenance a whole lot easier. As for the users here are some things they will notice already or in the future.

Video stream selection

You might already know of the possibility where you can select the audio track of a movie like different languages or quality. With video stream selection you are now able to select a different video stream should that be available. Although not widely used concert DVDs are certainly a good example where you are able to select a different camera angle for watching the concert. Although this sounds like a niche feature it’s certainly important for the next feature we will bring up.

Input stream add-ons

The work done with VideoPlayer has already gained one of the most exciting new features we can think of which is Input Stream add-ons. This enables possibility of native written add-ons can now handle part of the video playback selection and just hand over the video stream to Kodi. A perfect example of this is DASH (Dynamic Adaptive STreaming over HTTP)  which is something YouTube uses to give you the different video qualities depending on network speed. With Input Stream add-ons we can now have this capability as separate add-on instead of having this in the Kodi core. Here comes the video stream selection into play as you might want to select a different quality or language if made available. We’re happy to say that by default we ship the MPD add-on that handles the DASH audio/video stream selection standard and hands over the results to Kodi. The available YouTube add-on in Kodi repository doesn’t handle this feature as of yet however I’m sure it will be updated somewhere in the future.

More features will come from this complete VideoPlayer rework and we will be sure to inform you once they have been added. For now we will try to make current features work to their fullest potential.


Improved audio support

As you may have read several times is that the Android part of Kodi is currently low on development. It’s the platform with the largest user base but somehow there don’t seem to be a lot of developers around that can work on Kodi for that platform. Since Kodi isn’t the standard JAVA app like the million other out there working on it is certainly a challenge. Regardless for this release we still have some big improvements lined up. The most important one is probably what most of you have been waiting for and that is HD audio passthrough capabilities. Although we had a proof of concept for v16 it wasn’t in a state where the team was comfortable adding it that late in release cycle. However for v17 we can now tell you that passthrough for DTS, DTS-HD, DTS-X, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby ATMOS should all be working if your device supports this. The NVIDIA SHIELD TV is certainly one of the best supported devices that use the standard Android audio methods and within few months Amlogic devices that will receive new firmware update for Android Marshmallow should also be better supported (please contact your vendor for this). At the same time we also got rid of any past hacks or workarounds that were in place that caused lots of problems on certain devices while not on others. As such we only support what Android officially supports which could mean mean your device might loose some passthrough options however we feel it is needed step to take to provide the best support on all devices.

Android 5.0 Lollipop (or later) as minimum

Over the years the Android platform started to mature and catch up to the other platforms regarding capabilities. This also means that we can drop all the custom code we had to add in the beginning to get Kodi running at all as that’s now becoming obsolete. One of those from back in the days was libStageFright  which we dropped in a previous release and was replaced by the standard MediaCodec from Android. With v17 we have started to clean up all the old implementations which sadly also means we had to set the minimum Android version to at least 5.0 Lollipop. It’s uncertain at this time if we even have to go higher and set minimum to Android 6.0 Marshmallow as this contains certain features we need to improve Kodi. For now you are safe if you at least have Android 5.0 Don’t worry you can keep using Kodi v16 on all previous Android versions however you just can upgrade to a newer Kodi version. Certain devices will now also support switching the Kodi interface resolution itself so you could potentially set Kodi in 4K skin resolution. This all depends on the hardware and firmware.

Welcome to Android MediaCodec standards and goodbye AMLogic specific code

One other custom implementation is AMLogic code which is were it all started with Kodi on Android and we used this to acces certain hardware parts which Android couldn’t yet. As already mentioned Android improved a lot over the years and it now also means the custom AMLogic code can now be turned of and removed. Sadly AMLogic doesn’t follow the standard Android and releases firmware which is just a tiny bit different. This could mean that some devices might loose some capabilities as the firmware does things a bit different than we expect. This is all on the manufacturers side of these chipsets and they have to fix it. Sadly we can’t keep supporting this deviation from the standard API as we are low enough on developers already. We sure hope AMLogic will see this and start to follow the Android standard that has been set since Android 5.0 With dropping all these custom code we hope we can keep moving forward with Kodi on Android and make it much easier to maintain for the future. For Android 7 Nougat we even had a lot of help from a great guy at Google who implemented some features for us and we are looking forward on using that. This absolutely does not mean that Kodi will not work on AMLogic chipset devices anymore.

Windows Store

KODI_BLOG_WIN_300x300_CIn case you missed the big news some time ago, Kodi got added to the Windows Store as a Desktop Bridge UWP app. It is still the same Kodi version you are used to use, without any limitations. Although it is still possible (and always will be) to download and install Kodi from our website, it is now also possible for Windows 10 users to download and install Kodi from the Windows Store. This brings a few benefits, such as automatic updating. The Windows Store application uses the same userdata as the version from our website so you can switch between the two versions without issues.

NOTE: This also means that if you are currently running Kodi v16 and want to try out the Windows Store version, your Kodi databases and add-ons will be upgraded to the v17 versions. You might want to make a backup of the userdata before! You can read the full announcement here: Kodi goes Windows Store


Game controller add-on

In the past it has always been a pain to configure game controllers within Kodi. There were some XML files people could download and copy to a certain location. This has now been solved by making them add-ons (like almost everything else) which you can install with a click of a button. This rework of the controllers was needed for retro gaming feature which may land somewhere in the future. No sadly that doesn’t mean retro gaming will be available in v17 but we keep our hopes up for the future.

3dlut and simple ICC linking support for color correction

Developer laurimyllari added a ColorManager class that supports loading madVR 3DLUT files, and loading ICC display profiles, creating source profiles and linking them. Users can use this to correct their display response with a 3DLUT file, or emulate other displays (with whitepoint, primaries and gamma selectable at runtime) with an ICC profile of their own display. The ICC profile linking is still work in progress, but is functional and shows what can be done with it.

A new default web interface called Chorus2

Kodi has many hidden secrets and even team members don’t know the full potential it packs. One of those features you might not know is that Kodi also has a web-interface from which you can browse your library and start playback directly on your Kodi device. It’s something we’ve never really promoted that it was available and I’m not really sure why. However the past few years not much was changed to to it and it kinda fell into decay with only minor fixes done to keep it kind of functional. For Kodi v17 this has been radically changed as we have packaged up a brand new default web-interface called Chorus2.


For some screenshot you can visit the release announcement here: A new webinterface called Chorus2. Regardless you’ll see when you install this new update.


Krypton nightly builds

As you may have noticed we only release a new release candidate once in a while that includes a list of fixes that were done since previous release. Additionally we also create these so called nightly builds specifically for Krypton that include the latest fixes that our developers have included and will end up in the next release candidate, final release or possible bug fix releases. By providing these builds we hope that users who install these will help us confirm the problem was fixed or identify if we accidentally created a regression from previous builds made. These nightlies are safe to install on top of any Kodi v17 you already have installed on your device and can be found on the download page. Be sure to get these builds from the Krypton folder and not from any other.


As previously noted, this is only a small summary of all the improvements in Kodi 17. For more, see the Alpha 2 and Alpha 3 posts. Should you want to download and install this build please visit our download page. You can install these build just on top of your current Kodi installation without doing a reinstall or cleanup as we do a full migration if needed.

•  Official Kodi 17.0 development downloads

Of course we have also updated Windows Store with this latest version.
Get it on Windows 10

Bug reports

Please report any problems on our forum and not on the release announcement as it is not a reporting or help section. Don’t forget we also have some official tablet/phone remote controls for both Android and iOS. You can find the links to them on the download page.

Donations or getting involved

Getting involved is quite easy. Simply take the plunge and start using these 17.0 Krypton builds. If you use these builds, we encourage you to report problems with these builds on our forum first and after that, if asked, submit bugs on Trac (following this guide: How to submit a bug report). Do note that we need detailed information so we can investigate the issue. We also appreciate providing support in our Forums where you can. You can of course also follow or help promote Kodi on all available social networks. Read more on the get involved page. We are always happy to receive a donation by which you show your support and appreciation, and t-shirts and Raspberry Pi cases may still be found on the sidebar for purchase. All donations and other income goes towards the XBMC foundation and are typically used for travel to attend conferences, any necessary paperwork and legal fees, purchasing necessary hardware and licenses for developers and hopefully the yearly XBMC Foundation Developers Conference.


from Kodi