Millions of Internet video consumers favor the open source media player Kodi for its long history and unparalleled flexibility.
While perfectly at home playing legitimate content, the tool can also be configured, via third-party addons, to act as a powerful piracy tool.
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This has led to Kodi being dragged into all kinds of controversies, none of which the official development team encourage or relish. Nevertheless, when a headline features the word ‘Kodi’ these days, trouble is rarely far behind.
The latest installment raised its head during the past few days, when the official Kodi team took to Twitter to berate electronics giant Sony. Owners of some of Sony’s latest Android-based TVs had complained of installation issues when attempting to deploy Kodi on their hardware and the feeling was that Sony wasn’t playing fair.
After various tests, the Kodi team felt that Android Oreo wasn’t playing a part, since the NVIDIA SHIELD runs on the same Android variant. Only adding to the suspicions were tests carried out by Kodi enthusiasts that suggested that Sony might be blocking Kodi’s Package ID.
Indeed, more detailed testing this week seemed to back up that claim, after members of the Kodi team ‘faked’ their Package ID and found that overcame the problem on Sony’s hardware.
TorrentFreak originally contacted Sony for an explanation but the company would only tell us that they do not curate apps and does not have the ability to block them. Since the statement was fairly vague we followed up with more questions and although they still weren’t directly addressed, the company has now provided an explanation.
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” Sony Electronics told TF.
“After looking into the issue further, we’ve discovered a software issue on our end that is incorrectly classifying Kodi as a kernel object (‘ko’). We are working on a fix for this issue to include in our next software update,” the company added.
TorrentFreak shared the comments with the Kodi development team who appear skeptical of Sony’s explanation and have asked for additional details on the company’s “classification” algorithm.
“The real fun thing is: Just changing the PACKAGE_ID is proven to be enough [to solve the issue], so that this ‘classification’ won’t happen anymore,” says Peter Frühberger.
“Furthermore, the Fun-Fact: As we have shown, creating a different APK, not Kodi-related, but with the very same PACKAGE_ID Kodi had, causes the same issue.
“To be honest – as someone that did PHD studies with pattern classifications and data mining, this sounds really, really odd. I doubt this explanation, but if it’s true – their classificator most likely sucks,” Frühberger added.
While there will probably be much additional debate over Sony’s explanation, it does appear that Kodi won’t be blocked forever on the company’s smart TVs, which is probably the end result both the Kodi team and its users had hoped for.
TorrentFreak’s additional questions, concerning Sony’s promotion of Kodi on its website last year (which was later removed), remain unanswered.