Kodi, the increasingly popular media center application, has been undergoing some greatly-needed maintenance of late, which has resulted in version 17 Krypton finally reaching the milestone that is the Release Candidate stage. Some news sites are reporting that version RC1 is up and running. However, the folks at Kodi discovered issues regarding the Android packaging, so it has been bumped up to version RC2 to solve the problem. Here’s a brief look at what has changed.
What’s new in Kodi
The final version of Kodi 17 Krypton is a feature-packed release with many changes, and lots of the bugs users had complained about have been fixed. Nearly every section of the application has been modified in some way, making it much better.
Estuary and Estouchy
As skins go, Confluence has done an amazing job and is much loved by users. However, it has been around since 2009 as the default skin, so it has started to show its age. With Krypton comes two new skins, Estuary and Estouchy, with the latter being touch-enabled.
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During the development of these skins, Kodi developers revisited what it means to be a skin and as such have endowed the new ones with new features, such as smart playlists and more. However, if you prefer to stick with what you know, the Confluence skin is still available at the official Kodi Repo.
One of the biggest annoyances for any Kodi user has been its settings. For a long time, it has often not been clear what some of the settings do, and without good help, section users have often felt lost.
Thanks to this update, improvements which group settings into a more logical structure have been made, plus a much-improved help section has been created with explanatory text.
Over a year ago, the developers that created V12 got together to look at the video player. When doing so, it quickly became clear that a root and branch dissection/replacement of the majority of its code was required. This would be no easy feat, considering that this code was fundamentally old!
However, after long hours and many frustrations, the new VideoPlayer is ready, and it includes video stream selection, meaning that a user can select a different video streams, languages, and quality. This includes the ability to select a different camera angle if watching a concert.
An additional new feature is input stream add-ons, which enable native written add-ons to manage part of a video playback selection.
The way Kodi V17 Krypton manages PVR add-ons has also received an overhaul, with the ability to set up a PVR inside the application made easier, plus stability and usability issues resolved. Additionally, the electronic program guide, switching channels, recording timers and more have been improved.
One area of the Kodi application that has been lacking since its inception has been the music library. It hasn’t been able to handle its tasks in a manner that has been useful, so the developers have fundamentally changed it so that it can do its job.
These improvements include better tag reading and scraping and improved artist and album handling, which also includes the addition of artist role handling for music (i.e., composer, conductor, DJ mixer). Additionally, some files and websites support mood now, meaning that it’s possible to search for music based on mood in addition to genre.
Android has matured to the point that some older code which was required to make Kodi compatible is no longer required; as such, the developers have stripped that code from Kodi. One such piece of old code was libStageFright, which was replaced by the MediaCodec from Android.
All of this will help Kodi going forward; however, it does mean that the latest Android version it will work on is 5.0 Lollipop.
So as you can see, a lot of changes have been made to get Kodi v17 Krypton up and running. However, as we mentioned at the start of this article, this is but a brief overview of the updates made to it. So if you want to find out more, go here, and should you want to download and install this latest version, you can do so by visiting the official v17.0 download page.