Kodi 18.0, otherwise known as "Leia" is now available for download on Android, including Android TV.
By the developers own admission, this has been a long time in the making and so some of the features will be new to some people, while others might feel less new to their availability in developer versions of Kodi 18.0 (and even earlier versions), made available prior to this week’s proper release.
On Android TV, one of the most interesting new features (and also one of those that was accessible before) is leanback support. Essentially, if you have a title (beit audio or video) in your Kodi library, then that content will now surface as ‘available on Kodi’ on the Android TV home screen when you perform a search.
This also includes when you perform searches using Google Assistant as one of the other new features is voice integration. So again, search the Android TV interface using Google Assistant and content that’s available through Kodi will show up as an option along with other popular app solutions.
On a sort of related note, Kodi 18.0 now also supports digital rights management decryption. The idea here is to open up Kodi to allow users to access more content from more providers, including ones which are subscription-based and utilize DRM.
In theory, this could allow users to access content from their subscription services directly within the Kodi interface although it remains unclear what services this works with as of now. The developers specifically make reference to how this feature is still “early days in many ways.” Either way, this is likely one to look out for in the future.
Another of the bigger advancements with Kodi 18.0 is the introduction of better support for gaming in general. This is particularly in reference to gaming emulators and ROMs which focus on retro gaming. The announcement notes that this will hopefully do for gaming what Kodi has done for music and videos already. Again, this is one of those features some Kodi users will already be familiar with as it first debuted with the Krypton release, albeit not in the stable release like it is now with Leia.
Along with the actual main retroplayer support, this version also supports relevant accessories to enrich the gaming experience, including joysticks and gamepads.
As to be expected, the update also includes a number of more run-of-the-mill improvements, such as a better music library experience, improvements to live TV, to the video player playback, binary addon support, and much more.
In the past, Kodi has received a lot of bad press through not fault of its own as the many features and open-nature of the service is in principle open to abuse by others. However, that is simply due to how robust of a service Kodi is. The developers behind the service have never endorsed or condoned any of the use cases that have made headlines in the past. You can learn more about the confusion here.
This latest update is also likely to attract similar criticisms from some due to the DRM and gaming aspects, but again, the support listed here is not designed to circumvent any protections in place, but actually encourage the legal use of other services within the Kodi ecosystem.
Kodi 18.0 is now available to download on Android through the Google Play Store.