Feb 20, 2021

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.


Oct 24, 2020

  • Work around third-party changes to HTTP2 and SSL/encryption that impacted internet access from Kodi by scrapers, streaming addons, etc.
  • Fix memory leaks in TexturePacker
  • Fix event server unable to send raw key strikes
  • Fix issues around directory navigation and incorrectly-set start directories
  • Fix MediaCodec OES/EGL rendering
Jul 29, 2020
  • Fixes a severe security issue in gnutls
  • Other significant library/compatibility updates
  • Gets client/server on MariaDB 10.5.4 working for Android
  • Fixes video database access for Ubuntu 20.4 and other distros using earlier libfmt versions (search and other filtering failed)
  • Fixes subtitle handling from archives
  • Fixes CDDB access
  • Makes minor improvements to logging and memory reporting/display
  • Fixes EDLs where skip points are at the very start of a file
  • Contains code improvements to fix specific events, e.g. race conditions in the EPG or "pause" on end of streams on Android
  • Enables alpha blending for the video player (Windows)
  • Better handles specific exceptions (Android, mostly)

Oben Unten