Kodi 14, which we gave the codename “Helix“, is shaping up to be what is often called a “stability” release. In software development, many projects operate on a sort of tick-tock release schedule. The “tick” often introduces new features, dramatically alters the UI, and can likely dramatically alter the underlying framework of the software. The “tock” on the other hand, goes back and cleans up the code, fixing old incompatibilities, eliminating UI inconsistencies, and often preparing the groundwork for the next major tick. Where Gotham was quite definitely a “tick,” Helix is shaping up to be a “tock.”
This months alpha release doesn’t contain anything that could be picked out as a real “feature’. Most of the changes are under the hood and should further improve stability and user friendliness. However we will highlight some of the main visual changes so far.
International keyboard layout
The virtual keyboard which included in Kodi has been the same for many years, with a set layout. From this alpha release, it’s now possible to change the layout to some well of the well known ones, like QWERTY and AZERTY. Additionally there’s also a Hebrew and Bulgarian layout included. Important: As an affect of this change you will notice that most of the third-party skins will now have a blank keyboard layout as they have not been updated yet.
Auto update add-ons
We have added several option considering the updating of add-ons. You can set it to always auto-update, so you never have to worry about not being up-to-date. Second option is to let you notify you when there are updates available. You can then manually install them. Third is simply turning it all off. This means no add-ons will be auto update and you won’t be notified. You will have to manually trigger the check for new updates.
The changelog for Kodi 14 alpha 3 alone contains 138 changes so far. Alpha 2 had 333 changes Needless to say, they can’t all be summarized here or are to technical or boring the regular users. Here are some that are surely worth mentioning:
- * 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.
As for this Helix release, so far there have only been small things changed in regards to add-ons. So we are happy to say that almost all add-ons that worked in Gotham, will also work in Helix. There are of course some exceptions, however this should be only be a minimal amount.
Creating a skins for Kodi takes many months of designing, coding, testing, tweaking and a lot of patience to get it just right. However with every major Kodi (past XBMC) release there is the problem of skins becoming incompatible due to various code changes. So for every release people who put a lot of effort creating these skins, need to adapt it for the next Kodi version. This could mean that your favourite skin doesn’t work in the next Kodi version. We are very glad to say, that thanks to a group of skin developers, there are already 2 Helix compatible skins available in our repository. From memory this has never happened before, that within the alpha stage there are already skins available for you to enjoy using. On our forum there are several more skins being worked on, to get these into shape for people to use. So hopefully by the time of final release, there will be several more available. So let’s all thank the developers for their hard work they do for the community.
Helix compatible skins in our repository at the moment are: Aeon Nox 5, Transparency!, Conq
Other are still included however they may lack the functionality you have been used to in some areas.
Should 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.
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.
http://xbmc.org or http://kodi.tv 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.