Kodi v18: Android Leanback suggestions, search and voice typing


Kodi v18: Android Leanback suggestions, search and voice typing


Martijn Kaijser

April 28, 20174 min read

Although we released Kodi v17 not long ago our developers never stop and already work hard towards the next version. Version 18 will have the codename Leia as announced in this article. Different from past years where we combined several new features in one article we will handle them separately for the upcoming Kodi v18 to not overwhelm you too much in one go.

At times you do wonder what else could still be added to Kodi as it has been made quite feature complete over the past years. Well I can assure you this and several other upcoming features will make your Kodi experience from the couch even more awesome than it already was. The feature in this article will certainly come to shine if you have a device running Android TV.

If you already have a Android TV device you are probably familiar with the main screen that shows some random tiles of YouTube videos and depending on the apps you installed some content of those as well. Finally the time has come that Kodi joins this elite group and will now be able to show it’s library content on the Android interface as well with full voice and search integration. You will get suggested content like unwatched random movies,and episodes to continue binge watching them till the end. For the music enthusiasts we show you random albums from your library to keep your listening as diverse as possible. Clicking on one of those tiles will jump straight to the information panel or listing inside Kodi where you can hit play.

breakThat’s not all as at the same time you can now use the Google voice search to search through your Kodi library straight from the Android screen. Just hit the voice search button and speak whatever you want to search for and it will try to match and show you the results. It is of course important that the content has been added to your library as that is the main source we use to search from. The available results currently are movies, tv shows, actors, albums or artists. Since add-ons and plugins are not part of your library these will obviously not be included in the results.

Wait, there's still more...

For years we all have been grown used to the internal Kodi keyboard for typing and we all agree using a remote or controller is quite a pain. No longer as from now on you can use voice to text typing using the same button on your remote as for the Voice search. To make use of this feature simply do the same as you normally do but instead of typing with the keyboard use the microphone button on the remote and speak. At times this will of course be hit and miss and you need to correct it at times. In general though it works pretty well.

Curious how all this looks like in action? We made a little video to show you how this all works in real time which might get you a bit more excited then some simple screenshot.

Although this video shows how to use it on Android TV specifically, the voice to text should also work on regular Android devices. The problem so far is that we have not found a nice spot where you trigger it. I'm sure our talented skin designers will come up with a nice solution and you will notice it when it's actually added.

Here's how to start using this new feature yourself

First of all you will have to install v18 which is currently still in development. Additionally this feature is not enabled out of the box and you have to change some settings in Kodi. Simply open Kodi and go to settings, services, Control and enable “allow remote control via HTTP”. This will enable the internal webserver that is used for features mentioned above. Be warned that enabling it currently might also make you Kodi a bit more vulnerable especially when you network is badly protected or if you have malicious add-ons installed. Just watch the video and you can see how it's done. For suggestions and search to keep working it is important that you do not quit Kodi. For it to keep working you just minimise the Kodi app and it will remain active in the background.

Where can I download it?

As alway you can find the official development builds on our download page. Then click on the platform of choice and choose development build. 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. Be carefull though because it's still early in development and some unwanted side affects might come up. Some example are incompatible skins or certain add-ons will not work properly.

Bug reports

Please report any problems on our forum http://forum.kodi.tv. 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.

Apparel, donations or getting involved

With Kodi 18 having a galaxy far away theme to it, we decided to take inspiration from the baddest of baddies with this shirt. Vader pioneered black on black. We figured we'd follow his lead. You of course also order other shirt in our shop.

Getting involved is quite easy. 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.