Kodi 16.0 beta 1 – Jarvis is getting ready

Posted By: Martijn on Nov 15, 2015 in Pre-Release
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Only three weeks ago we announced 15.2 which is the last release of the Kodi version 15 range and now we’re announcing the first beta of version 16. What does this means for users? That after four months of alpha versions we have changed 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.

DirectX 11 upgrade

DX11One of our developers afedchin took on this task and completely revised our DirectX 9 implementation and upgraded it to the more current standard of DirectX 11. Don’t worry if you still have an older card, we only use low level features so you don’t need to run to the shop for new gear. So why is this so important? The old DirectX 9 implementation we were still using was done in a way that it could fail for newer videocard drivers. By updating it to DX11 proper support is assured for the newer video cards as well of a whole lot of other improvements across the board. These few lines written here don’t even do the work done on this justice but let me assure you it was of great importance for the existence of Kodi on the Windows platform.

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4:3 Non-linear Stretch

It’s perhaps a bit late in coming, but Kodi finally supports stretching 4:3 content to 16:9 in a way that doesn’t warp the content that’s occurring in the center of the screen. Finally, you’ll be able to watch Friends, Seinfeld, Cheers, and Duck Tales in full screen without the awkward screen stretching from the past.

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Event logging

Have you ever added your folder of movies to Kodi and then discovered, sometimes weeks later, that a movie never made it in? A solution for issues like that is finally starting to take shape.

Event logging is an option that tracks some events and shows these in a chronological order in system settings -> logging. By the time of the final release of Kodi 16, we will still have not refined what will actually be shown in that list as it currently only adds the basic “notifications”. Ultimately, we think this may become an incredibly useful feature, as you’ll finally be able to see all of the things Kodi is doing and, in some cases, failing to do. More to follow on this feature in Kodi version 17.

EventLogging01 EventLogging02

Split up skin settings

One long awaited change is splitting up skin settings from the core Kodi settings. In the past all skin settings and Kodi settings were saved in one big file. What’s the problem you might ask? Well fact is that the more skins you installed and tried out the bigger the file grew all loading it takes a tiny bit of time. Additionally it wasn’t easy to start fresh with Kodi settings without also losing all you skin customisations. Now all is split up like we already had done for all other add-ons, you can now easily remove Kodi settings and keep the skins settings intact. Additionally you can also just copy the skin/add-on settings to any other Kodi installation and they would instantly have the same settings as you had given the fact you also have installed them there. On upgrade from any previous Kodi or XBMC version to 16.0 we will process and convert the file without you even noticing. All will be done automatically.

More information:  http://kodi.wiki/view/Userdata  -> “user_data”

Image resource add-ons

Although not of real importance to end-users, it’s really convenient for our skin developers. Before each skin had to include all the images it wanted to show. For example most skins show the studio or recordlabel when browsing library. Each skin would have to include these images for it work and as such each skin would have to update the included images. On average this came down to about ~20Mb of files that were shipped with each skin. By putting that into separate add-ons all skins can now make use of the same resource add-ons if they wish without needing to care for updating the images any more. This cuts down download size of skins on install/update and the image add-ons can be updated separate from the skins itself. This makes handling skins much easier and less resource intensive.

Long Press

More and more hardware companies are coming out with remote controls with a very limited button set. In particular, all current Android TVs are lacking a dedicated context menu button altogether. To deal with this, we’ve taken a page from the touchscreen UX and added a long press feature to remote controls. Now, if you press and hold the OK/Enter button for a few seconds, you will pull up the context menu. In the future, long press may be extended for additional functionality. For a better view of what this means, see the following video.

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.

Other Important Changes:

  • • Start of integration of ADSP (Audio Digital Signal Processing) handling (no add-ons shipped yet)
  • • Improve image resizing and caching algorithm to improve image quality of images
  • • Added support for the musicbrainz “ARTISTS” tag in id3v2, ape, xiph.
  • • Add date added to music library and use it for sorting
  • • Support saving skin settings as add-on data instead of in guisettings.xml
  • • Image resource add-ons which provides common image libraries than can be used by several skins and add-ons.
  • • Don’t mess with the long and short date formats defined in the language files
  • • Win32: Proper 24.0/60.0 Hz refresh rate in fake fullscreen mode
  • • Add sort method for albums “artist / year”. This will sort the albums chronological per artist.
  • • Moved some add-on categories to “look and feel” in add-on manager
  • • Series recording added for PVR
  • • Add a “none” option for preferred subtitles
  • • 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 Czech 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
  • • Three finger touchpad mapping in iOS to make room for new tablet gestures which will be available in Alpha 4 to complement existing tablet gestures.
  • • Kodi now supports being compiled with Xcode 7
  • • The Kodi GUI now supports a new stereoscopic depth effect for users of Kodi on 3D TVs or VR headsets
  • • The Music Library and Files View for music have now been unified, similar to how video files and library are unified
  • • Extended support for browsing movies by country and through UPnP as well as user-ratings which we be added in future versions.

An enormous list of improvements

Besides the list above there has been a lot of work done in all areas in our source code. Removing old code, splitting up parts in more logical chunks and making it all more resilient to future changes. All these changes are part of a massive change list that only makes sense to developers actually knowing what the source code does. In short we will no bother you all with summing up the list. It’s just something that is worth mentioning that not all improvements have to be actual features and are visible to users. We prefer that the program actually works than adding bells and whistles.

Known problems in this beta

As with all developments we sometimes hit problems that need a little more time. One of the is the library export feature which currently isn’t working as it should. We have a fix pending but it needs some more work before we can include it. The other known problems is using profiles. With the splitting of skin settings we hit a small regression that affects users who are using the profile feature. Switching will possible cause your profile to be reset so in case you use this feature we suggest to not upgrade to this version.

We will make sure these issues are resolved by the release of final version.

Improvements so far in version 16

More in depth information can be found through the following links about the 16 release.

Add-ons

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 beta will mark any version 15 skin as incompatible and will ask you to switch back to Confluence. 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. Good new however is that a variety of skin have already start updating to latest changes.
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
  • • Eunique
  • • Mimic
  • • Nebula
  • • Rapier
  • • re-Touched
  • • Titan
  • • Transparency!

Community Designed Kodi Shirt and Hoodie

At Kodi DevCon this year we spent a lot of time talking about how to better recognize our community, and this solution was proposed. We’re going to try featuring a new, different shirt every month designed by a community member.  So this month, thanks to Sam Fisher for an awesome design! Sam was a major help in our logo search and makes most of that cool artwork you see on Facebook. If you would like to be the featured artist next month, post your design in theshirt forum thread! Also, be sure to browse through the available options. There are multiple colors of shirts and – it being winter time – we’ve also made hoodie versions available. T-shirt is available up to 5XL and the hoodie to 2XL and shipping is worldwide at a very reasonable fee.
This design is only available for a limited amount of time!

 

Conclusion

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

Please report any problems on our forum 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 - 65 Comments

  • Khalid Nov 15, 2015 

    Sounds all absolutely fantastic – great job guys!! Thanks for all the work von V16! :)

  • kofi Nov 15, 2015 

    You guys are awesome. Thanks for all good jods.

  • Pat Seguin Nov 15, 2015 

    So this is just news but it’s not avilable yet? The download section only shows alpha 4.

  • Tonya Nov 15, 2015 

    Acanthus anyone help me 2 get my movies working. It’s buffering but nothing happens

  • Madsham64 Nov 16, 2015 

    Awesome work, I never imagined how vast the application is, well done.

  • Mike N Nov 16, 2015 

    Any update on AirPlay fixes for iOS 9.x devices?

    • artur Nov 21, 2015 

      Doesn’t work for me in beta 1 for windows :(

    • Edito Nov 21, 2015 

      Yes please fix AirPlay !!!

  • Jas722 Nov 16, 2015 

    Did the game manager/emulation support get pushed to another release again?

    • zag Nov 18, 2015 

      It won’t be in Jarvis sadly.

  • Ali Nov 16, 2015 

    Good Work guys – Thanks

  • Hugh Nov 16, 2015 

    do you need to remove the previous Alpha to install the beta or just install over it.

    • Kib Nov 16, 2015 

      As usual, you can just install on top of it, however we are also interested in clean installation scenarios as well. When reporting issues, please be clear about the installation you did.

      Thanks for testing!

  • Younky Nov 16, 2015 

    Any plan to support Xbox one with uwp application?

    • Kib Nov 16, 2015 

      None.

  • Hugh Nov 16, 2015 

    Just install kodi beta 16 and still no passthrough for DTS-HD MA / Dolby TrueHD? I have nvidia shield console…

    • Kib Nov 16, 2015 

      I guess it means you still have to wait then.

    • Nice to see I’m not the only one requesting this on the NSTV !! But be careful! It’s like, the more we request and talk about this feature, the more negative they get about it, and pushing it even further down the priority list, not up as they should

      • willemd Nov 17, 2015 

        If you need it that much, try to program it yourself. Or pay someone to do it. Kodi is free you know.

    • jollyjona Nov 17, 2015 

      It doesn’t even work with AC3 passthrough. Passthrough seems to be broken in general for Android 5.0 devices with Kodi. It did work on the 1st gen Fire TV which was based on Android 4.4

  • Atreyu Nov 16, 2015 

    Amazing job, guys!
    Kodi keeps getting better and better.
    This release marks the first move towards a future-prepared overhaul!

    Thanks for all your efforts, it is greatly appriciated.

  • IL0V3KODI Nov 16, 2015 

    Please, leave room for Karaoke Addons!

    • tommy Nov 17, 2015 

      If I understand properly, this only affects Karaoke being a built-in part of Kodi. Karaoke addons you install yourself should still work fine.

      • JiSiN Dec 23, 2015 

        I reall hope the Karaoke function will stay (CDG support).
        that would be a big loss for me.
        MP3+CDG worked since the old days (XBoX) ;)

  • Soliter26 Nov 16, 2015 

    Wow, it sounds like a revolution. Good job guys. Any support for mirroring and DLNA? I mean support for a dongle like chromecast, anycast, easycast etc.

  • sylvio Nov 16, 2015 

    This sounds really great. I love Kodi but I wish the default skin would be a bit more polished. It seems a bit outdated now.

  • Koos Nov 16, 2015 

    Hello
    It is working well. It had to build the Library again , that takes a lot of time
    I am curious where there has been updates to the sound quality
    I hope that some day Kodi has a ultra high end sound quality.
    In the meanwhile very pleased with the result
    Koos

  • Daniel Nov 16, 2015 

    There’s a regression on the virtual keyboard
    Keeping the “Backspace” key pressed doesn’t work
    Normally it should delete fast large portions of text but nothing happens

    The use case is the following
    1. Go to Videos -> Files –
    2. Identify movies failed to scan
    3. Press “i” key
    4. When the virtual keyboard appears keep Backspace pressed to delete the last 10 characters, let’s say

    It deletes only one and the blinking cursor stops there

    This worked in all previous versions of Kodi and XBMC

    Has anyone else noticed this?

  • Edward Nov 16, 2015 

    thanks for all hard work :D congratulations……..

  • Fritz boyle Nov 16, 2015 

    Great work. I recently switched to android TV Nvidia shield and excited to see many of these new features

  • Subcell Nov 16, 2015 

    Great Job! waiting for Main10 UHD to be implemented (GTX950)

    the rest is top notch!

    thanks alot!

  • joe freeman Nov 17, 2015 

    thanks team kodi/xbmc and all of the builders out their. more powers to all of u guys. keep it up the good work.

  • Mihir Nov 17, 2015 

    For the next Kodi, is it possible to add support for Chromecast? I understand that this may be too late for Jarvis, but I was hoping this would be considered for Kodi 17+.

    • Martijn Nov 17, 2015 

      None is interested in adding it like mentioned every time asked unless some one else outside the team wants to try

  • Luq Nov 17, 2015 

    Samsung Tizen support please.

  • Noel Grassy Nov 17, 2015 

    I upgraded from 15.2 to 16.0 beta and now i have no video files. When i go to video/files it says “set content” but no setting holds. Anyone else having this problem?

  • Julio Nov 17, 2015 

    Now that 4:3 are getting more popular in tablets, is there any adjustment for 16:9 videos?

  • willemd Nov 17, 2015 

    Don’t even know if my ears will tell me the difference, but I really like the software decoding of DTS HD/MA.

  • Gennadiy Nov 17, 2015 

    The problems remains:
    Actions->Update library – No update (refresh) file list from UPnP devices.
    View options->Sort by: Date added – Incorrectly sort method files from UPnP devices. In the file list outputs the date ’06.06.1905′

  • meekmike Nov 17, 2015 

    video flickering in windows .. :(

  • Drma Nov 18, 2015 

    Seems all best things coming in ne place..one thing i miss though is skins…everytime you uppgrade Kodi..skins wont work

    • Atreyu Nov 18, 2015 

      This is only natural, as skin devs have to catch up with the new release. This will iron itself out. In the blogpost there is a list of skins that are already compatible.
      Remember, it’s a beta….

  • Atreyu Nov 18, 2015 

    Had a testdrive yesterday on.my windows NUC.
    The upgrade to dx11 really boosted graphical smoothness.
    I think i love you guys, which, for me, is very confusing :-D

  • Pete Nov 18, 2015 

    I notice that with Jarvis you can no longer delete either video files or their folders from within Kodi. Is this a bug?

    Thanks.

    • Atreyu Nov 18, 2015 

      You sure can. No problems here.
      Don’t forget to set the proper permisson in settings. It’s disbaled by default.

      • Pete Nov 20, 2015 

        You sir/madam are a Kodi ninja.

  • oliver Nov 18, 2015 

    Woohoo, more great goodness.

  • Gorgone Nov 18, 2015 

    v16 beta runs much better than final 15
    15 kills my computer on exit kodi this suxx

  • the_bo Nov 18, 2015 

    You should mention in your blog post about the animated posters and animated fanart gifs now working in Jarvis. This is a great feature.

    Looking forward to final release. Keep up great work :)

  • Jo Nov 18, 2015 

    The feature with long pressed button is long since needed.
    There are so many remotes, that only offer 4 curser + OK button.
    So, to make it really useable, you need an other long touch option for Back/ESC.

  • Pablitus Nov 18, 2015 

    Will Kodi 16 support Windows 10 officially?

    • zag Nov 20, 2015 

      Kodi 16 works great on Windows 10

  • Vagees Nov 19, 2015 

    Please update the sound setting for DTS HDMA 7.1, which wrong shows DTS HDMA 5.1 in current version..

  • Dan Nov 19, 2015 

    I have a question. If i upgrade from Kodi 15.2 to Kodi 16.0 will my settings and library be imported in the new Kodi Version?
    Thanks.

    • zag Nov 20, 2015 

      Yes everything will be kept

      • Dan Nov 23, 2015 

        Thanks zag for the response.

  • Leigh Nov 20, 2015 

    Great work please please please get HD Audio pass-through on the Nvidia Shield.
    This would then be the best media player out there. Thanks so much

  • adem Nov 21, 2015 

    So far all the devices i used jarvis on (android devices) it has worked great except some times i have start it severel times b4 it closes itself dont know why its happening but when it works it works well i dont have to playaround with acceleration libstage or mediacodec or amcodec.

  • NeilG Nov 21, 2015 

    When I go to update on my Fire Tablet I have two different things showing up.

    1. jarvis_beta1 apk
    2. jarvis_beta1-symbols

    Do I need to download both? What exactly is that second one?

    Thank you.

  • Amal Francis Paul Dec 09, 2015 

    Please fix AirPlay. We need it very badly !!

  • Martihnus Dec 13, 2015 

    Hi, thanks for Czech keyboard layout (not Chech :D ). Fan from Czech Republic.

  • Edward Dec 19, 2015 

    Thank you so much for all of your hard work on all Kodi builds. It is truly amazing software.

  • David Jan 17, 2016 

    Hi Will 3D pageflipping be added for playing movies

  • Kristen Mar 09, 2016 

    Please work on developing the use of karaoke. It worked great before as far as I could tell. That was something we would do as a family all the time. Other than that you guys are awesome!

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.