Kodi 14, which we gave the code name “Helix“, is shaping up to be what is often called a “stability” release. As of this moment we have entered feature freeze.
What does this actually mean for the users
For the average user, this means a couple things. First, you could be expecting to see Kodi Beta releases coming out in the very near future. Second, given our fairly well documented open development cycle, there should be very few surprises from then until the release of Helix. By definition, the features you see now are the same features you will see when Helix is released with the possible exception of some smaller updates in the default skin Confluence. One downside you may notice is that due to changes done during development we have bumped the minimum requirements for skins. As of now there are already several skins which are Helix ready. Still most skin authors will wait till beta releases are up before they start making changes to make their skin compatible with Helix. We please ask your understanding for this process. Although we don’t like it either it is deemed necessary for the continues improvements we are making. For now and in the future.
So if you’d like to see what Kodi 14.0is going to look and feel like, go ahead and install the last available alpha monthly or even a nightly build which you can find in the links to at the bottom of this post. We’ve are happy and very thankful for those that are already been using these builds. Their testing and feedback helps us creating an even better and more stable entertainment experience for all of you. As always, it’s important to remember that the alphas are definitely alpha software that you use at your own risk.
Some of the features
This upcoming release consist mostly of the continues improvements we have started since the Frodo and Gotham releases. This means that many developers are actually trying to improve the code of which Kodi exists. Over the years many new features were added, and this created a more complex product to maintain. With this Helix release many actually focussed on making the core program less complex again, while keeping features and even adding several more. As such the entire list of changes will likely not be so interesting for the average users. As such we’ll only list several of the changes that are noticeable.
- Ability to increase font size in Confluence skin
- Add 5.1 PCM playback for Android.
- Improved MusicBrainz matching from tags
- Ability to choose between auto-update, notify or off for updating add-ons. This is a global setting for all add-ons.
- Extend JSON-RPC which is used for by a variety of services and remotes
- VP9 video codec now uses software multi-threading. This codec has no hardware support yet.
- Simplifying and improving core code.
- Choose to disable/notify/auto-update when add-on updates are available.
- International keyboard layout
- Update PVR add-ons
- Redesign of the PVR windows
- Various improvements to the Audio Engine, with the OSX platform as great beneficiary.
- Improvements to the GUI skinning engine
- Extended JSON-RPC interface
- Countless smaller and larger bug-fixes throughout the program and vast improvements in every area. This should improve memory usage, stability, speed and user friendliness.
- Add-ons are still compatible up to the Frodo/Gotham versions (excluding skins)
- FFmpeg upgrade, this means Kodi will now be capable of playing back h.265 (also known as HEVC) and VP9 video codecs and 4K video.
- Better UPnP compatibility between Kodi clients or third-party applications
- Massive speed boost with scanning library or doing a clean.
- Changed the Touch skin be a re-designed re-Touched skin. This of course only applies for touch enabled devices.
- Support for sub-channels in PVR
- Update sqlite which brings some improved library speed
- Add support for DSD audio
- Add mouse support in Bluray menus
- Add support for EGL/GLESv2 when using X11
- 4K playback on Android using AMLcodec
- Support for the Freescale i.MX6 SystemOnChip
- Replaced Touch skin with re-Touched
Getting involved is quite easy. Simply take the plunge and start using these 14.0 Helix builds. If you use these builds, we encourage you to report problems with these builds on our forum first and after 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, or donate to the XBMC Foundation if you like. For a current FAQ on Kodi 14, visit our Helix FAQ. You can of course also foll0w or help promote Kodi on all available social networks. Read more on the get involved page.
Should you want to download and install this alpha (monthly) build please visit our download page. You will notice that you can still see “XBMC” in certain areas as we are still in transition to the new name, which takes time.
How to Contribute
If you use these builds, we encourage you to report possible bugs with enough information, if possible provide support in our Forums where you can, or donate to the Foundation if you like. For a current FAQ on XBMC 13, visit our Gotham FAQ.
https://kodi.wiki/view/Main_Page is the only official place anything XBMC/Kodi related. This includes news, announcements, information or XBMC/Kodi downloads. There are of course manufacturers who also provide support with customized XBMC/Kodi versions, tailored for their devices. Should you have purchased from them it would be wise to first check, if it’s a known issue with that specific version. Any other third-party websites, offering you XBMC/Kodi installations, or people offering you pre-installed devices, are not officially supported by Team XBMC and may contain unwanted and unsupported additions, changes and add-ons. Installing these versions is at your own risk. XBMC/Kodi does not provide any media content on it’s own and comes with no add-ons installed regarding this. Should you have problems please contact the correct add-on developer or website should you experience any issues.