Kodi 19.0 Beta Splash Screen

So, here we go again. Nothing earth-shattering, just a quick note to tell you that the second Beta of Kodi 19.x “Matrix” is now available for installation.

If you want to know the main features in this release series, please refer back to previous blog posts, especially the Beta 1 announcement: this is entirely a bugfix release, so – as befits a second Beta – there are no new features over Beta 1.

By this stage, there should be no show-stopping bugs, and this release should be pretty reliable – just make sure you know how to roll back, just in case. Please: install, test, and give us clear feedback on any issues you uncover, either with the new features or perhaps with a regression in existing code. We can then work to resolve these before we go to full release.

You can get Beta 2 from here, or – if appropriate – our nightly PPA here. If you’re on Android, you can enrol in our Beta programme and get updates directly from Google Play.

As usual, you can also see changes since Beta 1 here or browse the merged PRs here.





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Heya fellow net dwellers,

Right now the Remote Chaos Experience (RC3) is already running at full steam as virtual replacement for the 37th Chaos Communication Congress (37C3) that was supposed to be held in Leipzig, Germany, at exactly this time.

While we did not register an official assembly, some Team Kodi members are roaming around the RC3 world and we will use the opportunity to hold a short “What’s new” presentation plus Q&A session on the last day of the congress. The exact date and time is Wednesday, 30th December, 2 p.m. CET.

The event is over and the recording is available on YouTube.





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Rubik's Cube: Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash

Hey everybody,

In June 2020 some suggestions on improvements to our add-on system were suggested by Matt Huisman and some minor changes were implemented. Who knew at the time but this turned into much more work both cleaning up the current add-on system and adding numerous new features. The main goal of this became to improve the add-on user experience and add security features in order to prevent add-ons and repositories from being misused by bad actors.

The main problems were founded in the initial design of the add-on system, which doesn’t distinguish between official and third-party repositories. This allows a mixup of installing and updating add-ons based only on their version information, regardless of their origin.

In order to tackle these issues and make the add-on system more robust as a whole, the following cornerstone changes were implemented to the add-on subsystem:

  • The official Kodi add-on repository and its origin – kodi.tv-mirrors – are now defined as such. This repository contains all add-ons approved by Team Kodi.
  • Proper update rule restrictions were set up, which means official versions will be preferred during update over non official. Additionally add-ons are now bound to their origin to stop cross-updating and mixing of official and third-party add-ons.
  • Add-ons now stick to their origin for automated updates – this means the end user still has the freedom to choose between official or third-party add-on, they’d like to use, but updates will no longer switch from official to third-party and vice versa based solely on the highest version number.
  • Add-ons that do not originate from a repository (e.g. zip- or manually installed) will no longer receive updates. I.e. they will be pinned (Add-ons from an official repo are an exception to this rule).
  • General improvement of pinning mechanisms. Add-ons downgraded to a lower version within their origin don’t get auto updated until they’re switched back to their latest version.
  • Improved migration process – add-ons marked as incompatible during migration can be auto updated on the next Kodi startup.

The subsystem work allowed the following GUI changes to be implemented:

  • You can now see the origin of add-ons and their pinning status (especially use in the All Repositories view).
  • You can see whether or not an add-on was (or will be) installed from a repo (and if that repo was official) in all views.
  • You can see if an add-on was installed from zip or is a system add-on in all views.
  • Many other UI consistency fixes around add-ons.

Lastly there were many, so many long time bugs and inconsistencies that came to the surface while doing this work, and all these that we know about so far have been fixed. In the end, the user experience of the add-on system shouldn’t change too much, but should be a more enjoyable overall.

Here are some of the things we would like to tackle in V20:

  • Signing of add-ons: the ability to identify an author across multiple repos. This enables things like trusted beta repos etc. Call for volunteers on this one, we don’t have any in team experience on cross platform signing!
  • Sandboxing of binary add-ons: Prevent binary add-ons from crashing Kodi
  • Navigating add-ons: Better tagging, and searching of add-ons.

Cheers,

phunkyfish & frank (howie)





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Kodi 19.0 RC Splash Screen

And, off we go again. The dust settles on the festive season, so it’s time for another pre-release to hit the streets… we’re getting close to final release now, so we’re moving out of Beta and into RC.

If you want to know the main features in this release series, please refer back to previous blog posts: this is an iteration of previous Beta releases, not a feature release, remember.

This is stable, reliable code, suitable for daily use. Please, then: install, test, and give us clear feedback on any remaining issues, either with the new features or perhaps with a regression in existing code. As this is a release candidate, we think it’s basically ready to go, but let’s aim to make sure.

You can get this release from here or – if appropriate – our nightly PPA here. If you’re on Android, you can enrol in our Beta programme and get updates directly from Google Play.

As usual, you can also see changes since the last release here or browse the merged PRs here.





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Kodi 19 Matrix splash screen

… yes, it’s here! After several iterations of alpha, beta and RC, Team Kodi is pleased to announce that Kodi 19.0 “Matrix” has just been formally released on all supported platforms. Dare you take the red pill, and find out how deep the rabbit-hole goes?

By the numbers, then, this version is the product of:

  • Nearly 50 individual open source developers contributed code
  • About 5,000 commits in over 1,500 pull requests since the first release of 18.x “Leia”
  • Over 5,500 changed files, with some 600,000 lines of code added, changed or removed
  • Countless hours of dedicated free time conceiving, designing, developing and testing (including all the infrastructure you see around them, including this web site)
  • … and, of course,very little travelling, obviously – that’s not good at the moment!

The broad list of new features is below, but – before we get to that – I’d just like to take a moment to say “thank you” to the huge amounts of work put in by the broadest team behind this release. Whether you submitted a few lines of code or a major new feature; whether you worked on video, audio, gaming, or a skin; whether you tested in pre-release and helped identify a problem, debugged an issue or updated a translation; whether you fixed some documentation, looked after the various systems that keep kodi.tv running, or helped to moderate the forum – thank you, one and all. Kodi is a community, and, without all of you, we would all lose something.

So, onward – what have we got. If you’ve been following the release cycle, you’ll have seen these already, but for people who only take final releases… hold on, it’s a long list!

Kodi 19 “Matrix” Features

Playback

For audio and music lovers, there are significant improvements across the board to metadata handling: library improvements, new tags, new displays, improvements to how Kodi handles release dates, album durations, multi-disc sets, and more. There’s a new, Matrix-inspired visualisation, there are improvements to display when fetching files from a web server, and several changes to how audio decoder addons can pass information through to the Kodi player.

For video, most of the changes are more technical, and may depend on your hardware: AV1 software decoding, HLG HDR and static HDR10 playback on Windows 10, static HDR10 and dynamic Dolby Vision HDR support on Android, and more OpenGL bicubic scalers.

For those who combine the two, and have libraries of music videos, you get some goodies as well: database and metadata display improvements mean that Kodi will now fetch and display related album and artist information from the music library, where appropriate. There are also new features around grouping videos by artist (not just album), support for .NFO files that list all performers instead of just the main artist, plus better search links to return related albums and videos by the same director director.

And, finally, if your definition of “play” is more game-related, we’ve implemented integer scaling to improve the viewing quality of Pixel Art games across the board, while iOS get support for Xbox, PlayStation and other supported Bluetooth game controllers.

Skin/Look-and-Feel

For many people, the interface is Kodi – it’s how you find your way around, it’s how you interact with the application and your media. As such, it’s always getting some attention, and this release is no different: screen redesign, especially for music; new metadata displays; changes to playlist views; a new “now playing” view; artwork and image file improvements; both new and updated GUI controls. Some changes may be subtle, but all are designed to improve your experience.

Subtitles

An often-overlooked feature, but immensely useful to so many people, subtitles get some attention in this release: timestamp overlays get fixed, plus you can now select a dark grey colour and set an opacity for the captions (particularly useful in HDR – protect your eyes, kids, you’ll miss them when they’re gone).

Addons and Scrapers

Python comes in for some major changes in Kodi 19. Because the old Python 2.7 has gone out of support, we’ve finally made the wholesale move to Python 3 and ported our addons across. Much of the community has come with us, so, hopefully, your favourite addons will still function, but we’re at the mercy of third-party contributors to update their work.

Kodi 19 replaces the old XML metadata scrapers with new default Python for movies and TV shows; there are also new Python scrapers for music, Generic Album Scraper and Generic Artist Scraper. Binary addons in general get improvements to system documentation, cleaned up settings dialogs, and better help text.

PVR and Live Television

Another significant part of Kodi that’s had a lot of attention in this release. Most new features here revolve around usability: PVR reminders, home screen widgets, group/channel manager enhancements, navigation and dialog controls, context menus, New/Live/Finale/Premiere tags, channel numbering and sorting, performance improvements, API improvements.

Security

There are a few new security features implemented now in Kodi, to help keep you safe from intentional or unintentional problems. Kodi will now enforce the origin of installed addons and their dependencies, which prevents third-party repositories from overwriting code of unrelated add-ons; broken or deprecated add-ons are now highlighted in the add-on list, so you have to actively agree to activate one; the binary addon system now has higher security around data exchange between Kodi and an addons. In addition, we’ve added a default requirement to password-protect Kodi’s web interface, plus give better information around the security implications of enabling external interfaces if you do choose to enable them.

Platform Specifics

As a cross-platform application, we try our very best to keep all platforms feature equivalent where we can. However, there are inevitably platform differences, and we also have to make room by dropping old platforms as technology moves on.

The big platform change with this release is new support for tvOS, but this means waving goodbye to iOS 32-bit. Beyond that, there are specific tweaks such as specific TopShelf support and fixes on AppleTV, better logging and notch support on iOS, and a move to a single Linux binary for multiple windowing systems (X11, Wayland, and GBM) versus the previous three. That last one will make a big difference to both users and package maintainers, since you’ll no longer have to select a different binary based on the target environment.

Behind the Scenes

Probably too hidden for many users, but there are inevitably changes and improvements that you can’t see, but might give more scope for new features later on: API changes to feed subtitle URIs to the player; multiple updates to various core modules; improvements to API calls and actions, and many more. They may not be important to you, but they took real work and I mention them for completeness.

Kodi V19 “Matrix” Gear

Why not show your support with a Kodi 19 “Matrix” shirt or hoodie? Or maybe a pillow to lounge on while you enjoy your favourite media? As well as just making you look utterly, fabulously, unquestionably cool, all purchases will make a small donation to the Foundation, and help keep everything running the way we all like it. All are available in a series of achingly-fashionable colours.

Kodi 19.x "Matrix" T-shirtKodi 19.x "Matrix" Cushion

Changelog

For the terminally-curious, you can view the merged pull requests on GitHub. If you want to read back on the full history of v19 itself, or of previous versions, you can find the corresponding articles in the relevant blog posts.

Help Wanted!

If you experience any issues or find any remaining bugs, please post in the General Support section of our forum. If you have fixes for issues please submit a pull request with your changes to our master branch on GitHub. We also welcome users who want to help answer questions in the forum or write articles for the wiki.

Donate

To show support and appreciation for Kodi, please consider making a donation or purchasing merchandise such as a T-shirt or Raspberry Pi case. Your donations help us operate, covering operating expenses, hardware and software licences for developers, and legal fees, as well as paying for team members to attend industry/FLOSS events and our annual conference.

Availability

Kodi 19.0 “Matrix” is being pushed to the usual channels right now, so should be with your devices shortly. The exception is the Windows Store build for Xbox: this will, unfortunately, be delayed, and may even be subject to a future point release. x64 and x86 builds are going ahead, however, and will appear once they get through the store certification and deployment processes.

And, on that note, please remember that deployment on different platforms – especially curated “app stores”, as above – can vary wildly due to circumstances outside of our control. It may thus take a few more days to appear everywhere, so just hang on until it gets to you.

Enjoy!





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Image of Python code, credit: Johnson Martin from Pixabay

Since we released 19.0 “Matrix”, we’ve been hearing a lot of noise about how people’s addons have stopped working, and why we’re all Really Bad People for doing this. We thought it would be worth helping people understand what’s happening here – mostly, because our fingers are getting tired from trying to explain, and it’ll save an awful lot of typing in the forum, or on Facebook, or wherever.

Please remember, first of all, that Kodi itself does not automatically update. We might tell you that a new version is available, sure, but we never force a new version onto you: that’s entirely a product of your chosen operating system and configuration. It’s probably enabled by default; it may be something you have to trigger; it may be a completely manual process – but it’s not under our control. We’re genuinely not “forcing a new release onto you”, but we equally can do nothing to stop an automatic update if you have it enabled.

From Ancient History …

So, where did this all come from.

Kodi’s addons traditionally ran in Python 2, which was first released in October 2000. Some years after release – in the distant days of 2008, when Katy Perry and Kings of Leon were the new kids in town, and The Dark Knight and Indiana Jones were still huge in the cinema – it was announced that Python 2 was scheduled to go end-of-life in 2015. Before they got there, though, the Python team realised that people were slow in making the switch, and decided to extend this EOL date further to 1st January 2020. You can read all about that here.

So, aware that the clock was ticking loudly – and that we were already behind the curve – we announced in January 2018 that we’d drop Python 2 support from Kodi in version 19. Given that we were on 17.x “Krypton” at the time, and we hadn’t made any breaking changes to Python since shifting to Python 2 in 2013, this seemed fair. Remember, as well, that 18 “Leia” didn’t see the light of day as a final release until January 2019, so Kodi 19 wasn’t exactly going to leap out suddenly at anyone – so we felt that this was adequate notice for developers and users to prepare for the change. This is, after all, not just our issue: the whole software industry had to make this switch, so you’ll have seen, for example, Canonical making the switch to pure Python 3 on Ubuntu with their 18.04 release.

Python 3 builds of 18.x “Leia” were available, and the code was in the Python 3 feature branch – but this was merged in October 2019, so any build after that date would have included it. More broadly, developer builds of Kodi 19 became available in November 2019, with Alpha builds following along in August of last year. That means, nearly two years after saying we were making the switch, the first test builds of a pure Python 3 Kodi became available – and we’ve then finally switched over our release code just over a year later. That’s three years after the initial announcement.

… to Today

And yet… and yet… the move seems to have taken people by surprise. Operating systems have dropped support for Python 2; it’s a huge security risk, as it (and its libraries) are unmaintained; you shouldn’t be using it unless you really, really have to. And yet…

To really rub salt into the wound, it’s not really our addons that are causing grief. Some justifiable complaints are around skins, and we understand that: if you have a favourite skin that isn’t compatible with the new release, or has fallen out of fashion, then it’s a jolt to have to change – but the skin developers are entitled to maintain or not maintain their work, that’s entirely up to them. It’s not just skins, though: there are very many third-party addons out there that are having problems, and that’s where we’re getting a lot of flak.

It’s arguable that you really shouldn’t be using these if they require you to use an unmaintained platform, but that’s your choice. We’ve genuinely done our best, and we simply have no influence or control over these addons, however useful they may be, whatever you use them for. There is a simple reality that major version bumps nearly always leave some platform or component behind, plus there’s a truth that addons often simply wither and die – if the author doesn’t want to maintain them, eventually, they rot.

Options, Options, Options

So, whinge over. What can you do if you’re caught in this trap.

  • Well, if you really want to, you can stick on Python 2 with whatever addons you choose – stay on 18.x “Leia” and never update your operating system, as a future patch or wholesale upgrade is likely to remove Python 2.

    • If you’re on Android and have had a forced update, be aware that “auto update” is enabled by default on applications from the Play Store. Switch this off, and you’ll stick with whatever version you have installed. You may be able to do this on a per-application basis as well, but that varies by Android platform.
    • If you’re on Linux, be careful of apt update or similar, as repositories are likely to automatically shift you to the next release (our PPA definitely will). Likewise, an OS update is likely to pick up different versions of all pre-installed applications, including Kodi, if it’s from a distro-maintained repository.
    • If you’re on a JeOS “bundled” platform, be sure to switch off auto-update in Settings – or keep a beady eye on it, anyway. LibreELEC is probably the most common platform here, and that has no auto-update between major versions (“channels”) anyway, but other platforms exist, or you may have updated manually.
    • Windows, it depends on how you installed it. If you’ve downloaded from our web site, simply don’t upgrade it; if you’re using the UWP version from the Windows Store, then you’ll need to disable “Update apps automatically” for all applications.
    • Apple devices are typically user-installed (e.g. sideloaded), so just don’t install something new. The exception is if you’re using a repo on a jailbroken device (e.g. Cydia) – in which case, you’re in the same boat as Linux repo users.
  • If you’ve already updated, you can normally go back. This can be tricky on some platforms (e.g. Android), where you’ll need to be careful to uninstall the application but not the data, and then re-install the app alone. Similarly, on a JeOS distro, you’re likely to have to export your library and addon settings where you can, re-install, and then re-import everything. To explain for every platform is outside of the scope of this blog post, so perhaps turn to the forum for help here.
  • Be aware that every major version bump in Kodi upgrades your database. Downgrading should immediately revert to the previous version in whatever state it was (e.g. watched status) when you upgraded, but there are implications if you use a shared database across multiple client versions.
  • You can lobby your addon authors to get their collective fingers out and make the shift to Python 3 – as said above, this is hardly new news to anyone. Other than addons we write and provide, we have absolutely no control or influence over whether they get ported to Python 3, or whether they stay on 2 (and thus you can’t go past Kodi 18 “Leia”).

We’re not currently planning any future changes of this scale, so the next couple of versions are likely to be a far easier ride. However, with those upcoming releases, just like this one, you have choices, and you’re always in control of your own devices – so, please, don’t have a go at us or leave us lousy reviews when we’ve really tried our best here, and yet something well outside of our control (your platform, your settings, third-party addons, maybe even third-party repositories) has broken something.

</grump>





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It is a truth universally acknowledged that, no matter how much testing you do before a major release, you’ll never find and squash anything like all the bugs until you get a proper, large-scale, mass test of the code. In other words, it’s time for a bugfix release on the Kodi 19 “Matrix” series, as – thanks to your feedback – we’ve managed to fix a whole batch of issues over the past few weeks.

In no particular order, this version includes fixes for the following:

As a bug fix release, don’t bother going to look for new features; while there are some, that’s not the main purpose of this version. Full details are on GitHub, but here’s the short form…

Video

  • Fixed: HDR metadata is now detected in VP9 profile 2 streams and can be used on platforms that support HDR passthrough or tone mapped when playing this kind of videos.

Discs

  • Fixed: playback of optical DVDs in Linux
  • Fixed: BD-J Blu-ray chapter skipping via remotes/keyboard

PVR

  • Fixed: context menu not accessible in PVR Guide window when using very basic remote to control Kodi
  • Fixed: client channel name and number not persisted when changed
  • Fixed: play count and resume position of recordings lost after Kodi restart
  • Fixed: crash while browsing the EPG when MySQL is used as EPG database
  • Fixed: next recording on … label time is not localized in Estuary Timer/Timer rules window
  • Fixed: channel manager does not rename backend channel
  • Fixed: playing archived programme not selected when opening the Guide window
  • Fixed: GUI not updated on removal/insert/hide/unhide of channel groups
  • Updated: improved look of PVR windows in Estuary

Music Library

  • Fixed: issue with music from cuesheets where only the first track was being added to the library on rescanning, with the rest being deleted

JSON-RPC

  • Fixed: PVR – Reintroduced broadcast properties ‘hastimer’, ‘hastimerrule’, ‘hasrecording’, ‘recording’
  • Fixed: PVR – Reintroduced channel property ‘isrecording’

Subtitles

  • Fixed: detection of system fonts (directwrite) on windows for ASS subtitles
  • Fixed: detection of user fonts (in userdata/fonts) for ASS subtitles
  • Fixed: rendering of semi-transparent ASS subtitles on Wayland

GUI/Interface

  • Fixed: media flagging for DVD/BluRay

Web Interface

  • Updated: Chorus2 based on community contributions

Filesystem

  • Updated: enable filecaching by default for network filesystems
  • Updated: improve filecache error handling

Network

  • Updated: improved reliability for HTTP and NFS network filesystems

Windows specifics

  • Added: support for WS-Discovery protocol that enables locating SMB servers and browsing shared folders using SMBv3.
  • Added: debug Info OSD Video. Extends current Debug Info Player (Ctrl+Shift+O) with new video-only info (Alt+O)
  • Fixed: with some unusual streams, incorrect HDR metadata could be passed (HDR10 passthrough).
  • Fixed: green screen on systems with old HW (DX feature level 9.1) playing 10-bit videos.
  • Fixed: black screen with Software render method and with DXVA2 hardware acceleration disabled.
  • Fixed: green screen when playing the menu of some DVDs (MPEG2 SD only).
  • Fixed: credentials being requested for anonymous SMB shares
  • Updated: VC runtimes included in the installer to add compatibility with VS2019 and VS2017 at the same time.

Android specifics

  • Fixed: SMB shares mounted on system level not visible in Kodi
  • Fixed: SMB shares labelled with cryptic numbers (UUID) instead of actual disk name

Xbox specifics

  • This version also brings 19.1 to the Xbox – while 19.0 has been in the Microsoft Store since launch, this was Windows-only while we found a way to adequately test the new release on Xbox. We’ve fixed that now, so Xbox users will automatically upgrade from 18.9 to 19.1 if you’ve got auto-update enabled. It’s worth mentioning that there’s a known memory limitation – present in 18.x as well – that causes Xbox application crashes with 4k content, so please be aware.

*EDIT Ah, so close. Sadly, this isn’t going to happen – there’s a new issue that’s bubbled up on Xbox that means you can’t download any addons, which is a touch… inconvenient. As such, we’ve had to pull Xbox 19.1 – sorry, folks. Let’s see if we can resolve that for 19.2…*

Thanks to everyone who has helped by reporting, isolating or fixing issues.

As usual, there really should be no problems in installing this straight over the top of your existing Kodi version – indeed, this will happen automatically on many platforms – but, if you’ve any doubts, back up your userdata beforehand. Similarly, this is a minor version bump, so there’s no change to database versions or anything else that’s likely to break things.

If you’re interested, you can read the merged PRs here. If you want to read back on the full history of v19 itself, or of previous versions, you can find the corresponding articles in the relevant blog posts.

Application deployment on different platforms (notably, Google Play and the Microsoft Store) can vary considerably due to circumstances outside of our control, so just be patient, and the update will inevitably find its way through.





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KODI Matrix 19.1 bring a lot of fixes but nothing really new

It has been just 3 months since the stable release of KODI 19 Matrix was released and we already have a new update. KODI released the incremental update of KODI Matrix 19.1 and it comes with a lot of bug fixes. In no particular order, the bugfix list of the latest version of KODI Matrix 19.1 is as follows:

Video

  • Fixed: HDR metadata is now detected in VP9 profile 2 streams and can be used on platforms that support HDR passthrough or tone mapped when playing this kind of video.

Discs

  • Fixed: playback of optical DVDs in Linux
  • Fixed: BD-J Blu-ray chapter skipping via remotes/keyboard

PVR

  • Fixed: context menu not accessible in PVR Guide window when using very basic remote to control Kodi
  • Fixed: client channel name and number not persisted when changed
  • Fixed: play count and resume position of recordings lost after Kodi restart
  • Fixed: crash while browsing the EPG when MySQL is used as EPG database
  • Fixed: next recording on … label time is not localized in Estuary Timer/Timer rules window
  • Fixed: channel manager does not rename backend channel
  • Fixed: playing archived program not selected when opening the Guide window
  • Fixed: GUI not updated on removal/insert/hide/unhide of channel groups
  • Updated: improved look of PVR windows in Estuary

Music Library

  • Fixed: issue with music from cuesheets where only the first track was being added to the library on rescanning, with the rest being deleted

JSON-RPC

  • Fixed: PVR – Reintroduced broadcast properties ‘hastimer’, ‘hastimerrule’, ‘hasrecording’, ‘recording’
  • Fixed: PVR – Reintroduced channel property ‘isrecording’

Subtitles

  • Fixed: detection of system fonts (directwrite) on windows for ASS subtitles
  • Fixed: detection of user fonts (in userdata/fonts) for ASS subtitles
  • Fixed: rendering of semi-transparent ASS subtitles on Wayland

GUI/Interface

  • Fixed: media flagging for DVD/BluRay

Web Interface

  • Updated: Chorus2 based on community contributions

Filesystem

  • Updated: enable file caching by default for network filesystems
  • Updated: improve file cache error handling

Network

  • Updated: improved reliability for HTTP and NFS network filesystems

Windows specifics

  • Added: support for WS-Discovery protocol that enables locating SMB servers and browsing shared folders using SMBv3.
  • Added: debug Info OSD Video. Extends current Debug Info Player (Ctrl+Shift+O) with new video-only info (Alt+O)
  • Fixed: with some unusual streams, incorrect HDR metadata could be passed (HDR10 passthrough).
  • Fixed: green screen on systems with old HW (DX feature level 9.1) playing 10-bit videos.
  • Fixed: black screen with Software render method and with DXVA2 hardware acceleration disabled.
  • Fixed: green screen when playing the menu of some DVDs (MPEG2 SD only).
  • Fixed: credentials being requested for anonymous SMB shares
  • Updated: VC runtimes included in the installer to add compatibility with VS2019 and VS2017 at the same time.

Android specifics

  • Fixed: SMB shares mounted on system-level not visible in Kodi
  • Fixed: SMB shares labeled with cryptic numbers (UUID) instead of actual disk name

Xbox specifics

  • This version also brings 19.1 to the Xbox – while 19.0 has been in the Microsoft Store since launch, this was Windows-only while we found a way to adequately test the new release on Xbox. We’ve fixed that now, so Xbox users will automatically upgrade from 18.9 to 19.1 if you’ve got auto-update enabled. It’s worth mentioning that there’s a known memory limitation – present in 18.x as well – that causes Xbox application crashes with 4k content, so please be aware.

Should you update to KODI Matrix 19.1?

So it comes apparent that if you already run KODI 19, then you should update to the latest version for overall better performance and stability. No drastic changes, just some bug fixing work from team KODI.
If on the other hand you still use KODI 18 Leia because of some addons incompatibility then you have no reason to update at this point. Just wait a little longer until your favorites KODI addon updates to the latest version of python (KODI 19 Matrix is using python version 3.0) and then make the jump over KODI 19 Matrix.

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LibreELEC 10.0 BETA 2 is released! bringing Kodi (Matrix) v19.0 (including additional fixes) to LibreELEC users.
Changes from LibreELEC 10.0 BETA 1 are listed here. As discussed in the recent Upcoming Changes blog post it, the 10.0 release is a disruptive and limited hardware release. If you have not read the blog post – please do – because we are not releasing images for all hardware. In summary: this is a stable release for Generic (x86_64 PCs). Stable-Beta for Allwinner and Rockchip. Stable “Alpha” for Raspberry Pi 4 as the code is still very new. RPi 2/3 are still in development targetting an LE10.2 release. RPi 0/1 are discontinued. All others hardware is still in development and not in a state for formal releases.

** DO NOT UPGRADE! **

Yes, we mean that. The team are super keen for you to run the latest LibreELEC release but we recommend you clean install not upgrade an existing installation – unless you are upgrading from a recent nightly image, i.e. you are already using Kodi 19.

The two simple (but complex) reasons for this advice are:

a) Python3 changes in Kodi v19 mean 99.99% of add-ons stop working. Most official Kodi add-ons now have Matrix compatible versions in the Kodi repo, but the transtion to them is not always smooth. Incompatible Python2 add-ons are disabled automatically on upgrade and users need to find/update add-ons to Python3 versions before re-enabling them. Banned/piracy add-ons are heavily impacted by the Python3 change, and while we don’t care about them breaking, we do care about the abuse that’s often hurled at staff when we refuse sympathy or support to that subset of users.

b) Kernel changes for RPi4 users combined with no release for RPi2/3 users and discontinued support for RPi0/1 users means signifant changes in the user experience (Raspberry Pi users are a combined 80% of our active installed base). We are pretty confident RPi4 users will like the update since it brings HBR audio and initial HDR video support, but it’s still a big change. Generic (where there is a lower level of change) and Allwinner/Rockchip (which already run on modern kernels) are less impacted.

SPARE CARDS AND BACKUPS

Using a spare SD card or USB stick to clean install onto makes “rolling back” in the event of problems simple. If you will reuse the same boot media, make a backup first and move it off-box so you can clean install an earlier release then restore from the backup. Kodi does not support in-place downgrades and it ever worked for you in the past it was luck not design (and Python3 guarantees problems this time). Your failure to make a backup is not our problem!

So unless you are already running an image with Kodi 19 inside, a clean install is preferred. We apologise for the inconvenience but we expect a much higher than normal support effort with in-place upgrades so it’s sensible advice.

CHANGES

You can read the official Team Kodi release announcement for Matrix/v19.0 here and (again) the recent Upcoming Changes blog post for more info on Kodi changes and the transition to GBM/V4L2. You probably (and hopefully) won’t notice, but every package that goes into the LibreELEC OS has been updated to a latest or recent release. It’s been two years since Kodi 18 was released so the changeset is too large to list. GitHub has the full history.

SUPPORT

Project staff are available in the forum to answer questions and provide advice. Please remember this is a beta. We are expecting some minor bugs/issues to be found and there will probably be a BETA2 release before we reach 10.0. If you have a problem, technical issues are best accompanied by system and Kodi debug logs – help us to help you.

Enjoy! 🙂

Click here to go to the download page.

 



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Since we released 19.0 “Matrix”, we’ve been hearing a lot of noise about how people’s addons have stopped working, and why we’re all Really Bad People for doing this. We thought it would be worth helping people understand what’s happening here – mostly, because our fingers are getting tired from trying to explain, and it’ll save an awful lot of typing in the forum, or on Facebook, or wherever.

Please remember, first of all, that Kodi itself does not automatically update. We might tell you that a new version is available, sure, but we never force a new version onto you: that’s entirely a product of your chosen operating system and configuration. It’s probably enabled by default; it may be something you have to trigger; it may be a completely manual process – but it’s not under our control. We’re genuinely not “forcing a new release onto you”, but we equally can do nothing to stop an automatic update if you have it enabled.

From Ancient History …

So, where did this all come from.

Kodi’s addons traditionally ran in Python 2, which was first released in October 2000. Some years after release – in the distant days of 2008, when Katy Perry and Kings of Leon were the new kids in town, and The Dark Knight and Indiana Jones were still huge in the cinema – it was announced that Python 2 was scheduled to go end-of-life in 2015. Before they got there, though, the Python team realised that people were slow in making the switch, and decided to extend this EOL date further to 1st January 2020. You can read all about that here.

So, aware that the clock was ticking loudly – and that we were already behind the curve – we announced in January 2018 that we’d drop Python 2 support from Kodi in version 19. Given that we were on 17.x “Krypton” at the time, and we hadn’t made any breaking changes to Python since shifting to Python 2 in 2013, this seemed fair. Remember, as well, that 18 “Leia” didn’t see the light of day as a final release until January 2019, so Kodi 19 wasn’t exactly going to leap out suddenly at anyone – so we felt that this was adequate notice for developers and users to prepare for the change. This is, after all, not just our issue: the whole software industry had to make this switch, so you’ll have seen, for example, Canonical making the switch to pure Python 3 on Ubuntu with their 18.04 release.

Python 3 builds of 18.x “Leia” were available, and the code was in the Python 3 feature branch – but this was merged in October 2019, so any build after that date would have included it. More broadly, developer builds of Kodi 19 became available in November 2019, with Alpha builds following along in August of last year. That means, nearly two years after saying we were making the switch, the first test builds of a pure Python 3 Kodi became available – and we’ve then finally switched over our release code just over a year later. That’s three years after the initial announcement.

… to Today

And yet… and yet… the move seems to have taken people by surprise. Operating systems have dropped support for Python 2; it’s a huge security risk, as it (and its libraries) are unmaintained; you shouldn’t be using it unless you really, really have to. And yet…

To really rub salt into the wound, it’s not really our addons that are causing grief. Some justifiable complaints are around skins, and we understand that: if you have a favourite skin that isn’t compatible with the new release, or has fallen out of fashion, then it’s a jolt to have to change – but the skin developers are entitled to maintain or not maintain their work, that’s entirely up to them. It’s not just skins, though: there are very many third-party addons out there that are having problems, and that’s where we’re getting a lot of flak.

It’s arguable that you really shouldn’t be using these if they require you to use an unmaintained platform, but that’s your choice. We’ve genuinely done our best, and we simply have no influence or control over these addons, however useful they may be, whatever you use them for. There is a simple reality that major version bumps nearly always leave some platform or component behind, plus there’s a truth that addons often simply wither and die – if the author doesn’t want to maintain them, eventually, they rot.

Options, Options, Options

So, whinge over. What can you do if you’re caught in this trap.

  • Well, if you really want to, you can stick on Python 2 with whatever addons you choose – stay on 18.x “Leia” and never update your operating system, as a future patch or wholesale upgrade is likely to remove Python 2.
    • If you’re on Android and have had a forced update, be aware that “auto update” is enabled by default on applications from the Play Store. Switch this off, and you’ll stick with whatever version you have installed. You may be able to do this on a per-application basis as well, but that varies by Android platform.
    • If you’re on Linux, be careful of apt update or similar, as repositories are likely to automatically shift you to the next release (our PPA definitely will). Likewise, an OS update is likely to pick up different versions of all pre-installed applications, including Kodi, if it’s from a distro-maintained repository.
    • If you’re on a JeOS “bundled” platform, be sure to switch off auto-update in Settings – or keep a beady eye on it, anyway. LibreELEC is probably the most common platform here, and that has no auto-update between major versions (“channels”) anyway, but other platforms exist, or you may have updated manually.
    • Windows, it depends on how you installed it. If you’ve downloaded from our web site, simply don’t upgrade it; if you’re using the UWP version from the Windows Store, then you’ll need to disable “Update apps automatically” for all applications.
    • Apple devices are typically user-installed (e.g. sideloaded), so just don’t install something new. The exception is if you’re using a repo on a jailbroken device (e.g. Cydia) – in which case, you’re in the same boat as Linux repo users.
    • If you’ve already updated, you can normally go back. This can be tricky on some platforms (e.g. Android), where you’ll need to be careful to uninstall the application but not the data, and then re-install the app alone. Similarly, on a JeOS distro, you’re likely to have to export your library and addon settings where you can, re-install, and then re-import everything. To explain for every platform is outside of the scope of this blog post, so perhaps turn to the forum for help here.
  • Be aware that every major version bump in Kodi upgrades your database. Downgrading should immediately revert to the previous version in whatever state it was (e.g. watched status) when you upgraded, but there are implications if you use a shared database across multiple client versions.
  • You can lobby your addon authors to get their collective fingers out and make the shift to Python 3 – as said above, this is hardly new news to anyone. Other than addons we write and provide, we have absolutely no control or influence over whether they get ported to Python 3, or whether they stay on 2 (and thus you can’t go past Kodi 18 “Leia”).

We’re not currently planning any future changes of this scale, so the next couple of versions are likely to be a far easier ride. However, with those upcoming releases, just like this one, you have choices, and you’re always in control of your own devices – so, please, don’t have a go at us or leave us lousy reviews when we’ve really tried our best here, and yet something well outside of our control (your platform, your settings, third-party addons, maybe even third-party repositories) has broken something.

</grump>





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