Kodi 16.0 Alpha 4 – Jarvis nearing completion

Posted By: Martijn Kaijser on Nov 01, 2015 in Pre-Release

Only two weeks ago we announced 15.2 which is the last release of the Kodi version 15 range and now we’re announcing the last alpha of version 16. What does this means for users? That after four months of alpha versions we are gearing up for changing to the beta stage and working towards a final Kodi 16 release. The past four months the developers worked hard behind the scenes on further improving what is already a great piece of software. Lot’s of code clean-up and improving stability, with a dash of features added here and there. To not bore every one with all the technical changes we’ll dive into some of the most noticeable newly added features.

Android Surface Rendering

The Android platform has always been a bit special as it’s still maturing and this change shows that. Some newer devices that can do UHD or 4K playback really well lack the power to also create the Kodi interface at that resolution, and this creates kind of a problem. The end result was that the we either had to downscale the video to a lower resolution to make sure the interface was snappy, or show full size video but the device might not be able handle the high resolution interface. This change allows us to create the Kodi user-interface in a different resolution than the resolution we do video playback, so what happens now is that the interface is displayed at 1080p, and the video will actually be output at the 4K resolution if the device supports it as we let the chip-set do the work instead of the processor.

Important to mention is that this doesn’t apply to AMLogic devices with proper permissions as these will still use amcodec. Any other Android device that is not able to do “android surface rendering” has not implemented the standard Android MediaCodec API in the proper way. Sadly we have to take this route because the Android eco-system has become too big of a maze to support and we will only implement what we feel is the way forward, this means that we will only follow the official Android platform methods, and we will no longer implement any hacks or workarounds. If the device you have is not compatible, then we strongly advise that you ask your device manufacturer to properly implement these functions in the device’s firmware, it may be harsh but we as Team Kodi are not responsible for incomplete firmware created by these device manufacturers.

Removal of libstagefright

With the Android platform becoming more mature regarding audio/video with the MediaCodec implementation it was time to say goodbye to libstagefright. The old implementation for audio and video is called libstagefright and has been in the media several times this year, this method has become very outdated and the implementation wasn’t the best, as such we have removed the support for this and will fully focus on MediaCodec. This means that for certain devices this will be a step back for Kodi usage, or perhaps Kodi might even become unusable if they have firmware which doesn’t make proper use MediaCodec. We’re sorry that this is happening but keeping support for libstagefright is hurting further progress, stability and puts a too large support burden on the our Android developer, so we hope you will all understand this decision.

Add-on manager changes

In the ongoing quest to improve our our add-on manager several changes where done in the overall handling of each add-on. These changes include the following:

  • • Roll-back button on add-on info panel has been replaced by Update
  • • The Update button now opens a list of available versions of the add-on. Should you have several repositories installed that offer different version of this add-on you can now choose which to install.
  • • You can now disable auto-update per add-on through the info panel individual from others.

The add-on info panel can either be reached through the add-on manger or selecting the add-on in any section by either right click, use context menu (“C” key) and choose info or use the “I” key to directly open the panel.

Goodbye karaoke

Sadly we had to say goodbye to the karaoke feature that was hidden in Kodi. None of the team did really know how it worked, if it still worked and how it was integrated into Kodi. Because it was still part of Kodi every skin also had to support this feature which takes quite some work. As such we decided to remove it as whole. It may reappear back in the future because there are now better ways of integrating it back as an add-on. It would only take a developer some interest in getting this done.

Additional Fixes/Changes

Here’s a quick look at a few other notable fixes and features.

  • • Properly handle wired or bluetooth headsets on Android and only use PCM output
  • • Fix playback of VP9 and VC1 video codecs on Android
  • • Use best possible icons from other Android apps while browsing these in Kodi
  • • Enable true 1920×1080 output on AMLogic device without up-scaling
  • • Add Korean, Chinese and Chech keyboards
  • • Add multi-touch support for Linux platform
  • • Improve touch-screen keymapping
  • • Add stereoscopic depth for Confluence skin
  • • The item that you had previously chosen will now be selected in the selection list instead of just starting at the top of the list
  • • Decouple Kodi and system volume on Android which removes the double audio volume slider
  • • Karaoke support has been completely removed as it wasn’t functional
  • • Further improve DX11 implementation in Windows
  • • iOS9 support
  • • Various PVR fixes and improvements
  • • Various improvements to the music section

Needless to say, this is not the entire list of fixes and features for Alpha 4, but that list is quite long and tends to focus on under-the-hood items that are mostly of interest to other devs, skinners, and add-on writers. As these under-the-hood changes begin to work their way up to the user experience, we’ll do our best to detail them here.

Improvements so far in version 15

More in depth information can be found through the following links about the 15 release.


General: So far in version 16 there are no add-on changes that would impact any add-ons except for PVR. Since our 12.x Frodo release there have been some gradual changes but in general all add-ons, even from that time should still work, of course there are some exceptions. If the add-ons worked in Gotham, Helix and Isengard then we are happy to say that all these add-ons should still work.

Skins: Sadly due to the amount of changes we’ll have to announce that skins will have certain parts non working. This alpha will still mark any version 15 skin as compatible and you can still use Kodi as you normally do. However starting from first Beta release which will be released soon all these will be marked “incompatible” unless they are updated. This means that for you to continue using Kodi 16.0 you will have to switch back to Confluence or wait till the skin you use has been updated in our repository.
The following skins are already updated for version 16 and will auto-update when you upgrade. We’re sure more will follow soon.

  • • Black Glass Nova
  • • Chroma
  • • Confluence
  • • Mimic
  • • Nebula
  • • Rapier
  • • re-Touched
  • • Transparency!


Should you want to download and install this alpha (monthly) build please visit our download page.

Please report any problems on our fourm http://forum.kodi.tv and not on the release announcement.

Donations or getting involved

Getting involved is quite easy. Simply take the plunge and start using these 16.0 Jarvis 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. All donations go towards the XBMC foundation and are typically used for travel to attend conferences, any necessary paperwork and legal fees, purchase necessary hardware and licenses for developers and hopefully the yearly XBMC Foundation Developers Conference.

Discussion - 79 Comments

  • Skybird Nov 01, 2015 

    You should readd the “PausePlay” on the P key :o )

    • JJ Nov 01, 2015 

      Absolutely agree – no reason for the change in the 1st place.

      • Martijn Nov 01, 2015 

        make your own custom keymap to change it

        • Skybird Nov 03, 2015 

          I can change it, np. But for the dumb user it’s impossible.
          It was like a normal mediaplayer to pause and start with the same key. every video recorder do this that way.

          • Red Brown Nov 04, 2015 

            100% agree. Really annoying change. Please revert it, pronto.

          • Martijn Nov 04, 2015 

            We’re not your slaves! Demanding in such a way is extremely rude and lacks of any appreciation of what the team does

          • syncopation Nov 07, 2015 

            Martijn, I understand that you are unhappy about the way this was brought up. But could you elaborate why “p” for play / pause is not a good idea?

            Imo Kodi has a few places where improved defaults would help tremendously. Long ago, Kodi used to display all titles with album name. No need for that. Not sure if I adjusted that setting or if the default has been improved.

            But it is really odd to suggest a good improvement (I know subjective and opinions may vary) and then just hear “do a local adjustment”. If the suggestion is valid and a good idea, why not have a civilized discussion and come to a good conclusion? I yet have to hear a good argument, why it is a good idea, when on artist / album view, each track would need the album name displayed in front. It’s a waste of screenestate, clutters the view with useless info (the user just selected the album in question, right? so probably aware of the album title), also the cover is displayed next to the titles.

            I really hope dev team can be a bit more open to such suggestions. Too often I feel, such suggestions are brushed away. And again, I understand your standpoint and the tone is really important. I understand there are *many* requests and you will not follow them all. So I’d suggest trying to have a conversation about arguments pro / con and coming to good conclusions together.

            <3 for your work!

        • Rick Marigal Nov 15, 2015 

          Who cares, you guys are amazing and have done enough! Thanks for the hard work!

    • Jed Tampon Nov 05, 2015 

      Here is the line you will need to add to your keyboard.xml file to revert:


      • Jed Tampon Nov 05, 2015 

        Okay so that didn’t display properly. You need to change the action ID key code from Play to PlayPause in your keyboard xml. Put it in the Global Keyboard section.

    • Ned Scott Nov 05, 2015 

      I agree. I even warned about this when the change was made and P wasn’t updated, but some disagreed and it was too minor to make a fuss over. Maybe I’ll propose it again and see if there are still objections.

    • da-anda Nov 13, 2015 

      “P” should only play while “space” is PlayPause. That was by itention on my end.
      Reason is that when something is already playing in background and “select” triggers the infoscreen (which I vote to make default setting), then there would be no way to directly Play any focused list item without first stopping the playback. Same for remotes that have a dedicated pause button. Now with “P” only being Play, this is possible, while PlayPause only would pause current playback. So there is a deeper logic behind.
      Now there will for sure be remotes out there that only support a more limited set of buttons, like only a Play key. Most of these should send a “PlayPause” command to Kodi – some might not. Unfortunately we can’t detect the available buttons and adjust keymaps accordingly, nor do we ship a dedicated Kodi remote that could be optimized for everything, so there unfortunately will always be the need to adjust stuff.

  • Legions77 Nov 01, 2015 

    there’s something wrong with the unwatched/hide watched option(does not watched marks or hide them, Also the clean library option. Those features seem to work right in the A3 Monthly release however.

    Thank you.

  • ASWISS Nov 01, 2015 

    The idea to have FullHD as Program Default and be able wo play 4K videos is very good – but, will this also be possible for OpenElec or other Plattforms…
    there are some plattforms/devices, which can only display 4K up to 30p – which is enough for playing 4K/24p but not displaying Kodi with 4K60p..

    • fritsch Nov 01, 2015 

      I implemented this. You can now run the kodi gui in 1080p60 and when you have “Adjust Refreshrate to match video” enabled, it will automatically switch to the best matching “upper” resolution matching the video content available.

      HDMI 1.4b with max 3840×[email protected]
      Kodi Gui: 1920×[email protected] hz

      Video File 1: 3840×2160 with 60 frames -> Resolution is kept at 1920×1080 and 60 hz
      Video File 2: 3840×2160 with 30 frames -> Resolution is switched up to 3840×2160 @ 30 hz

  • spike411 Nov 01, 2015 

    Nice changes! Can’t wait to test it on NVIDIA SHIELD TV.

    Have you considered using Google Play for publishing alpha/beta builds?

  • Khalid Nov 01, 2015 


  • baptiste Nov 01, 2015 

    Do you know if audioDSP will be integrated into Jarvis ?

  • NSTV_fanboy Nov 01, 2015 

    I have the NVIDIA Shield Android TV Pro. What about bitstreaming of Dolby True HD and DTS HD MASTER, so that my reciever can do Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding?

    Will we get prober passthrough of Dolby True HD and DTS HD MASTER in Jarvis?

    I read varios places that workd is in progress (WIP) on this matter, but can we get some more specifics about this matter? Hows the progress going? Thanks!

    • fritsch Nov 01, 2015 

      You can help us developing it, then chances are higher. For now koying has started the development, but realistically this will happen for v17 I think. But as said, if you as owner of such hardware, start hacking today it might be v16 already.

      Thanks much in advance that you stepped up and cared for proper support.

  • Hubert Leung Nov 01, 2015 

    Always no audio output! cannot fully support 2.0 or 5.1 Dolby with LeTV standard model! Please ref device as: http://hk.shop.letv.com/product/letvbox4k/spec.html

    • Hubert Leung Nov 03, 2015 

      Tried many times, I found the captioned subtitle problem! If the MKV file embed subtitle, It will need a several minute for build time! There will be no sound output when it build in process!

      • Kib Nov 04, 2015 

        Patches welcome! This is open source, so when you create a patch that fixes your issue we’ll gladly review it.

  • Samsul Hadi Nov 02, 2015 

    How about corverting 3D SBSto 2D? I tried using Kode 16 Alpha 3 was Ok, but using Kodi 16 Alpha 4 was not OK. Some people do not like wearing 3D glasses. Concider this. Thanks.

    • da-anda Nov 02, 2015 

      Kodi can convert 3D movies to 2D. If it’s not working for you, please create a thread in our forum and provide a debug log along with some more info.

      • Skank Nov 02, 2015 

        This also counts for 3d mvc iso?
        Kodi has a bug since beginning that 3d iso mvc plays fine in 2d until a certain point.. It then just restarts the movie.. Not sure why.. This happens on all platforms…

  • tony smith Nov 02, 2015 

    Somewhat still confused on the Android Surface Rendering. Will this affect Amazon Fire TV?

  • Mark Nov 02, 2015 

    Any plans on adding Chromecast Support? That would be a game changer for a lot of people.

    • Martijn Nov 02, 2015 

      No. None of us have any interest in doing that.

    • orian Nov 02, 2015 

      agree. Chromecast support will be really good! (even Popcorn Time has it)

      • Kib Nov 04, 2015 

        Patches welcome. We would love to see you add support for it.

        • Ego Nov 07, 2015 

          I have a patch to revert the P button/PlayPause, will you welcome that? :-D

          • fritsch Nov 07, 2015 

            PR it – and it can be discussed.

  • fragache Nov 02, 2015 

    It would be possible to allow video in home screen (animated backgroun,gif,etc) in confluence skin?

    Thanks, you guys are doing a great job!

  • Anthony Nov 02, 2015 

    “Android eco-system has become too big of a maze to support and we will only implement what we feel is the way forward”

    I really don’t understand why then all the development focus is on the platform that is the most fragmented and hard to build to any semblance of a common hardware platform. And this situation is only going to continue to get worse.

    I get that Kodi is all about “the devs will dev on what they are interested in” but this seems to be causing Kodi to drift down a road that could product consistency across platforms, and quality, diminish.

    • need2test Nov 02, 2015 

      …also what I can read from this post – all focus has been on android except the dx11.
      Unless the android stuff also contribute to linux (for us that use openelec)

      • Martijn Nov 02, 2015 

        I don’t get what you guys are complaining about. DX11 and whatever got attention in the past Alpha versions. Seriously go read the other stuff before making wrong conclusions.

        • need2test Nov 03, 2015 

          Sorry Martijn

          You are of course correct. But like I wrote that is what I read from THIS post.
          And I just had to agree …this alpha was android, android and android. And I
          am on openelec and love kodi. But I prefer improvements that go to all users.

          • Kib Nov 04, 2015 

            Pretty impressive how the update is only about Android, considering we only have one Android developer. He does a hell of a job :)

  • willemd Nov 02, 2015 


    I have read in the comments (in the previous alpha release posts) that Jarvis will decode DTS HD-MA instead of bitstreaming. Is it really true? I thought this was not allowed without expensive licences?

    • willem Nov 03, 2015 

      Well, I tried it now, it seems to be working. No idea whether it’s any better, since I now can no longer directly compare the audio to the DTS Core tracks it played with Isengard. That was already pretty sweet on my 2.0 LPCM capable stereo set.

  • daniko Nov 02, 2015 

    equalizer on this release are awesome…and rest is super

  • Kristoffer Nov 02, 2015 

    Is it still painfully slow to jump forward and bacwards with the arrow Keys like all releases after 14.x?

    • Kib Nov 04, 2015 

      Are you asking a question or making a statement ? Why not try the alppha and report back in the testing thread!

  • tmtisfree Nov 02, 2015 


    Do you know when the Transifex website will be updated with the new strings?

  • the UNchosen One Nov 02, 2015 

    Is Mediacodec working on Gen 1 Firetv devices? I know I’ve always shut if off right away as it used to cause serious stuttering issues… or is this what you’re referring to when you say “This means that for certain devices this will be a step back for Kodi usage”

    I hate to be that guy… but “Add-on manger changes”…. I’ve looked everywhere, there is no feed trough to be found. :O)

    • Bacon Nov 03, 2015 

      It works way worse. I turn it off since it causes stuttering with 720p60 videos and causes video oddities when playing a movie or video where it jumps in and out of the GUI for a second to two.

      • the UNchosen One Nov 04, 2015 

        That was my experience as well. I hope the MediaCodec implementation is much better for the Gen2 Fire Tv. Until then, I’ll probably just stay on 15.2, it’s working great as is.

  • KodiNaz Nov 03, 2015 

    We would love to if possible to support the new AirPlay feature like youtube and quickTime Play in Mac EL Capitin work with kodi to Apple TV through wifi :)

  • Chocco Nov 03, 2015 

    Hi, I was bitstreaming HD Audio several versions ago through kodi using cheap Chinese android boxes but now that the ultimate streamer, Nvidia shield android tv is here we no longer have that option. I’m surprised nvidia hasn’t thrown money at the kodi team to implement this seeing as they appear to sponsor them already and would be keen to promote their box to every sector. Is there anything I could personally do to help things eg testing or petitioning nvidia for more cash /resources? I don’t wish to sound ungrateful though as kodi is clearly an awesome product! Thanks

  • John Nov 03, 2015 

    Loving this latest version – thanks for all your hard work!

    I am having one issue with Nvidia Shield Android TV – VC-1 encoded videos stutter and audio sync is off, so these videos are basically unplayable. Not sure how to post log files from the Shield, but happy to do so if someone can provide instructions.

  • Arnaud Nov 04, 2015 

    Food job. Is this will fix the problem in my shield TV that kodi doesn’t manage my USB dac to output audio even if other app are doing it very well?

  • Jimmy Nov 04, 2015 

    Please add chromecast support

    • fritsch Nov 04, 2015 

      No interest on yet another broken / proprietary format. Apple’s Airplay caused enough pain … and whining users.

  • George Nov 04, 2015 

    Thanks for all the great work ! Did you had the time to take a look at the new AppleTV ? Any plans there ? And no : I’m not smart enough to do it myself :)

  • Step Nov 04, 2015 

    Is there a way to have projectM visualization working again on mac plataform?

  • Nate Nov 05, 2015 

    Excellent work on Kodi! I’ve been a long time fan and really appreciate all the time and energy into making such a great open source media solution. Seems like a lot of complaining goes into these comments where they should really be submitting formal bug reports or helping out. Everyone is an expert until they are asked to actually step up! Keep up the good work.

  • Jade Nov 05, 2015 

    Any plans for making a Kodi Apple tvOS Application for the Gen 4 AppleTV Store?

    I see Plex have made one – would be great to have a Kodi one!

    • Ned Scott Nov 05, 2015 

      Officially, no, but someone else is working on this as their own fork/project. Keep an eye out for “MrMC” coming to the App Store. It won’t have all the same features due to Apple’s restrictions (no add-ons, for example), but it will playback media from a NAS/computer and support the library features, etc. The guy who did the original iOS port of XBMC/Kodi is doing this, so it will be very well done.

  • Esmeralda Nov 05, 2015 

    I have only one question, is Kodi going to be compatible with chromecast any time soon? That is the only feature I am missing! :’(

    • fritsch Nov 07, 2015 

      We have no interest in supporting yet another proprietary solution … see the airplay nightmare with every IOS bump …

  • Geeth Nov 05, 2015 

    Great !

    Can you please add full unicode rendering support.

    Thank you so much !

    • Kib Nov 12, 2015 

      Done. Like all unicode rendering it is still very heavily dependent on the availability of characters in the font that is used, obviously. This sounds like something that should be discussed on the forum and not in the comment section of the blog though.

  • Daniel Nov 06, 2015 

    Stopping auto-update per add-on is great
    I find the transformation of Rollback button into Update very confusing
    It’s very unintuitive and you should find a better name like “Choose version” or “Versions”

  • Pat Seguin Nov 08, 2015 

    How does the dx11 affect nVidia users wanting 3D? Every time I try to click on the purchase button for the nVidia 3D play, it tells me it is not available.

  • Ali Nov 09, 2015 

    AWESOME WORK GUYS – Thank you :) cannot wait for the final release

  • Unglae Kim Nov 10, 2015 

    I am using a KODI always thankfully.
    But, By not using the external subtitles When operating ISO file, regretful one is uncomfortable.

    In order to use the external subtitles if it is possible, I ask revision..^^

    • Unglae Kim Nov 11, 2015 

      Aha, Is the SRT subtitles available?
      I’ll try….

  • Jose Blanco Nov 10, 2015 

    The Kodi team rocks !!

  • darrin Nov 10, 2015 

    File Manger not working on arm. Android device platforms. Unable to add sources.

  • Pixrazor Nov 11, 2015 

    Hi Kodi team! thank you for this software.
    when do you plan on making a remote for windows phone?

  • Abe Nov 12, 2015 

    Hi, Kodi has stopped working in on my computer i even deleted it and then install it again but, i have the same issue Shahid is not working. would anybody tell me how to fix it and help me with that, I would appreciate your time. Thnak you

  • سالم الحبسي Nov 12, 2015 

    :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

  • Robert Nov 12, 2015 

    This article lists “Fix playback of VP9 and VC1 video codecs on Android” as one of the additional fixes, but I’m still having issues with stuttering on VC-1 encoded video (from a ripped Blu-Ray) on my Amazon FireTV box with Kodi Jarvis Alpha 4. Let me know what information I need to provide to help resolve this longstanding issue. Thanks.

    • Martijn Nov 13, 2015 

      Get a nightly version which should help on that

  • Habs Nov 12, 2015 

    Hi.Am experiencing an error saying application cannot be created exiting since yesterday.Am running kodi on windows 10.How do i solve it please

    • Atreya Nov 13, 2015 

      By posting in the proper section?

  • svanjr Nov 15, 2015 

    Hi! I would like to see so that I can have a picture Slideshoe and also sjow movies that is placed with the pictures. This works, but if I also listen to music, the music will stop after the movie has played. It would be nice if the music started where it left of when the movieclip started.

  • tmason473 Dec 01, 2015 

    The main tweaks I would you guys to work on the “list view” option. in the side pop out panel. for a lot of add-ons. the view is automatically set to list or slim list. I love the look of the fanart view or info view. you need a feature where you can preset the view in setting to override on all add-ons to views. so my preference of fanart view would be selected automatically. instead of me changing it manually for every add-on and their individual files

About Kodi

Kodi is a free and open source media player application developed by the XBMC Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium. Kodi is available for multiple operating-systems and hardware platforms, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.