Kodi, the free and open source media center software, is one of the best things that has ever happened to online entertainment. Kodi makes streaming live TV, watching on-demand movies, and accessing worldwide content as easy as installing an extension and pressing “play”. Best of all, Kodi works on a wide variety of devices and can be used by anyone with a reliable internet connection, regardless of their location.
Even though Kodi can run on everything from smartphones to PCs, there are some conveniences these platforms can’t deliver. The most obvious is high-definition movies streamed to your TV. It’s great to catch a few videos on your tablet device, but try watching a 4K movie on a small screen and you’ll yearn for an HD TV almost immediately. That’s where Kodi boxes come into play. These small, inexpensive devices hook directly to your TV and provide all the power and convenience of the Kodi ecosystem, complete with high quality video to boot.
If you’ve never used a Kodi box, or if you’re looking to put together a new Kodi-centric entertainment center, our collection of the best Kodi boxes can help you get started right away.
Before using Kodi, get a good VPN
A VPN is a lot like a private tunnel between your home device and the world wide web. Normal internet traffic is sent in a raw format that anyone can monitor, including cyber criminals, government agencies, and even your ISP. This information can be used to determine what kind of traffic you’re sending through the internet. If an ISP detects Kodi traffic, they often throttle it immediately, even if you’re engaging in completely legal streams.
A VPN can defeat these ISP slowdown problems by encrypting every piece of data that leaves your device. Data becomes unreadable to third parties, including your ISP, making it impossible to tell where your traffic is coming from and where it’s going. This means you’ll have instant and unlimited access to all of Kodi’s add-ons and content streams, all without having to worry about having your connection blocked or throttled.
VPNs make it easy to stay safe while using the internet, and they can keep your identity protected from ISP spies when streaming through Kodi. Remember, though, that this doesn’t give you license to break local laws or to pirate content you do not lawfully own. Addictive Tips does not condone using any of the above or below mentioned software to violate regulations in any region. It’s up to each user to ensure no laws are broken by following the advice in this article.
IPVanish – The best VPN for Kodi
IPVanish has some of the best privacy and security features around, making it ideally suited for protecting Kodi users. Its fast network of over 1,100 servers in 60+ different countries is perfect for delivering high quality videos, and the lightweight apps run like a dream on tons of devices, including Kodi boxes. With IPVanish, you’ll have full and anonymous access to all of Kodi’s amazing add-ons and can use them without having to worry about ISP throttling or preemptive countermeasures by overzealous authorities.
Security features built into the IPVanish experience include DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption on data, and a zero-logging policy on all traffic. No one can identify your connection type or locate your identity while protected with IPVanish, leaving you safe and secure each time you get online.
IPVanish offers a 7-day money back guarantee which means you have a week to test it risk-free. Please note that Addictive Tips readers can save a massive 60% here on the IPVanish annual plan, taking the monthly price down to only $4.87/mo.
Finding the best Kodi boxes
Kodi is the go-to streaming resource for the vast majority of cord cutters these days. It’s fast, highly extensible, and completely free to use. You can’t beat Kodi’s versatility, especially when it comes to replacing your dedicated TV box with a full-on Kodi device. Below we’ll cover the basics of what you need to know before you pick up a Kodi box of your own.
Why use a Kodi box?
If Kodi runs on so many devices, why should you install it on its own box? Most users agree that having dedicated Kodi hardware improves streaming performance and makes it easier to watch movies, live sports, and TV shows directly on your television set. There’s no need to fuss with connection settings or memory management when it’s time to binge watch a new series. Instead, just turn on your TV, switch on the Kodi box, and enjoy the show.
What you need
Kodi can be installed on just about any spare hardware you have laying around the house. Old tablets and laptops can make good candidates, but for optimum performance, you’ll want to invest in something with a little more power.
Kodi’s official requirements suggest your device has a 3D capable GPU graphics controller, a 2 GHz dual-core CPU, and at least 1 GB of RAM. You can get by with less than this, but to ensure you can play the latest 1080p and 4K content, don’t skimp on the hardware specs.
Are Kodi boxes legal?
You can install Kodi on a lot of devices, or you can pick up a pre-made Kodi box with everything you need packaged up and ready to go. The former requires a little time and some spare hardware, while the latter is as simple as forking over some cash on an online marketplace.
The Kodi team does not manufacture Kodi boxes, nor do they condone selling “fully loaded” hardware with the app pre-installed. A number of makers have stirred up some legal trouble by selling Kodi boxes that come with add-ons that access illegal content streams.
In most areas it’s not illegal to download Kodi, nor is it illegal to install it on your own hardware. Buying pre-made boxes with add-ons already installed may break certain laws, however, especially in the EU. It’s your responsibility to make sure Kodi boxes are legal in your area before taking the plunge.
Want to learn more? Check out our guide What is Kodi? Is it legal? Is it safe to use? for more information.
Our picks for the best Kodi boxes
We’ve selected three of the best devices you can use to transform your television into a Kodi-powered entertainment center. Any of these choices are the perfect starting point for your Kodi box adventures.
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon’s Fire TV devices consistently emerge as some of the most affordable and most usable hardware for setting up your own Kodi box. Not only are they easy to obtain, they also have the processing power needed to run Kodi and stream HD movies without stuttering or buffering issues. By installing Kodi on a Fire TV (and installing a good VPN), you can get the best of both worlds with a minimal amount of fuss.
Not sure how to get started? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. You can add new software to Fire TV without jailbreaking it through a safe and simple process known as sideloading. Use this to install Kodi on a Fire TV yourself, it only takes a few minutes. Next, check out a few Kodi builds for Fire Stick to get your device ready to stream. After that, your only problem will be choosing which movie to watch.
Nvidia’s Shield devices, which includes the Shield Tablet and Shield TV, are some of the most powerful Android devices on the market. Not only do they provide plenty of processing speed for intense HD movies, but they are also perfectly capable of keeping up with Kodi, even if you have a VPN installed and running in the background.
To get Kodi on an Nvidia Shield device and turn it into a Kodi box, all you need to do is visit the Android app store on the Shield, search for “Kodi”, install it, then choose a few good add-ons to access the content you’re interested in. It’s really that easy.
The Mi Box devices are constantly mentioned as some of the best standalone hardware to turn into a Kodi box. They may not be as high-powered as a Fire TV or Nvidia Shield, but they get the job done without any fuss. Mi Boxes are also incredibly affordable, too, giving you the perfect entry point to the world of Kodi hardware without breaking the bank.
To start using a Mi Box with Kodi, all you have to go is pick up the hardware, then visit Google Play while logged into the interface. Download the official version of Kodi, install your favorite add-ons, then sit back and enjoy.
Kodi boxes are fast, affordable, convenient, and extremely useful. Whether you plan on replacing your cable and online streaming subscriptions with Kodi content or simply supplementing your entertainment system with a Kodi-based alternative, setting up a box is one of the best things you can do. And with the suggestions above, you’ll be able to cut straight to the best of the bunch for optimum performance.
Which device do you prefer as your own Kodi box? Got another suggestion for hardware we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.