The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Kodi Setup

Wish you had an ultimate Kodi setup with a smooth and seamless TV-watching experience? I have that kind of experience with my Kodi boxes, and I'll share exactly what I do to set it up. In this comprehensive tutorial, I'll go over everything about my Kodi setup process from start to finish so you can follow along.

Do you sometimes get frustrated with your Kodi box?  Wish you had an ultimate Kodi setup with a smooth and seamless TV-watching experience?

Well, I have that kind of smooth experience with my Kodi boxes, and I’ll share exactly what I do to set it up.

In this comprehensive tutorial, I’ll go over everything about my Kodi setup process from start to finish so you can follow along with your own Kodi box.

Choose a Device to Run Kodi

The first thing you need to do, especially if you’re new to Kodi, is to decide which device you are going to install Kodi on.

Kodi is cross-platform software so it runs on a ton of different operating systems and hardware architectures.  The Kodi download page looks like this (which should give you an idea of what it supports).

So, with that in mind I will let you know a little bit of advice from my experience.

Kodi on Windows

I’ve been a long time user of Kodi on Windows.  Back in the day (several years ago), Windows was the best platform to run Kodi (or XBMC at the time).  I remember when the XBMC team was working on getting it to run on Android.

Kodi on Android

Fast-forward today and now Android is by far the most popular OS used for running Kodi.

Kodi users’ shift to Android is primarily due to the availability of inexpensive Android set-top boxes and the popular Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Kodi on Xbox One

Since the beginning of 2018, Kodi has been available to download on Xbox One.  I’ve been using off and on since then.  There have been times early on where it was pretty buggy, but lately has been a lot more stable.

My Recommendation for Kodi Hardware

While you can install Kodi on your main computer or on your Android phone, I recommend having a dedicated device hooked up to your TV so that you can leave Kodi open and running at all times.  That way, when you want to watch TV, you don’t have to wait for Kodi to boot up.

If you’re looking to buy a new device to run Kodi, read my review of the best Kodi streaming boxes.

Install the Kodi Software

Now that you’ve chosen a device to run Kodi, now let’s install it.  This step is pretty simple and straightforward.


The installation of Kodi will be a bit different depending on the operating system you’re using.

  • If you are running Windows 10, then you can now find Kodi in the Windows Store.  Go ahead and install it there to get automatic updates.
  • If you are running an Android device that has the Google Play Store on it, install it from there to get automatic updates.
  • For Android devices without Google Play (like Fire TV devices), you’ll need to manually sideload the app using this tutorial.
  • For all other cases, visit the Kodi download page, and see the download and/or guide that fits your case.

Install Your Favorite Kodi Add-on


I’ve tried a lot of unofficial video streaming add-ons for Kodi, and the best ones have been in the line of forks starting with Genesis, then Exodus, then Covenant.  These were my favorite add-ons, and now there are so many forks of these add-ons.  While some other add-ons can be really good for a specific niche, the add-ons of this type are by far the best overall.  This is because…

  • They gives you access to all TV shows and movies in one add-on
  • They support Real-Debrid integration (via URLResolver)
  • They have integration that support both lists and watched status/progress
  • They’re simple and clean looking

So, head on over to my Current List of the Best Kodi Streaming Add-onsPick one and install it using my installation tutorial.

When you’re done installing a Kodi streaming add-on, come back here for the rest of the setup (the important part!)

Setup Integration

What is Trakt? is a very well-designed website that is used to “scrobble” TV shows and movies.  Scrobbling simply means that it keeps track of what has been watched.  It also keeps track of progress through episodes or movies so that you can pick up where you left off.

Trakt also lets you manage “Lists” of TV shows and/or Movies.  So when your friend tells you about a new show that you should try out, you can easily add it to your list using the website on your phone.

What Does Trakt Bring to Kodi?

With integration in Kodi, that new show that you added will be waiting for you on Kodi when you get home.  You can start watching it on Covenant, then stop it half way through, go to a different TV with a different Kodi box, open a different add-on that also supports Trakt like SALTS, and automatically resume that same episode where you left off!

That’s the kind of awesome value Trakt integration brings to Kodi.  No longer do you have to Merge Kodi Streaming Add-ons into the Video Library and then Sync Add-on TV & Movie Libraries Across Multiple Kodi HTPCs.  Trakt made those old methods obsolete and keeps your Kodi experience seamless across multiple Kodi boxes.

How to Setup on Kodi

There are actually 2 sets of steps to setup Trakt on Kodi.  One for lists and one for scrobbling.

You need to authorize your account in the add-on settings to pull in and sync your Lists.

  1. In the add-on settings area, go to Accounts > Trakt and select “Authorize”.
  2. Follow the instructions by going to this URL in a browser or on your phone and entering the code that it gives you.
  3. It will have you login or create a free account.
  4. Accept the authorization and you’re done with this part of the setup.  You should see your username next to Authorize in the add-on settings.

You also need to install the add-on to enable scrobbling and episode progress syncing.

  1. Go to Add-ons > Download Add-ons / Install from Repository > Kodi Add-on Repository > Program add-ons > “Trakt” > Install.
  2. Now select Trakt again go to Configure > Synchronize and turn on both “Sync movie playback progress to Kodi” and “Sync movie playback progress to Kodi”.
  3. If you don’t want to be bothered to rate things you watch, go to the “Rating” tab and turn everything off there.

To setup your Trakt list in Kodi:

  1. Create a new “List” in your account and call it something like “SubscriptionList”. (in My Profile > Lists)
  2. Add all your favorite shows to your new SubscriptionList by browsing the website, or do it from the Kodi add-on by hitting menu on any show or movie and selecting “Trakt Manager”
  3. You can find your TV show list in the add-on under My TV Shows > TV Show Lists > SubscriptionList (or the name of your list)

To setup New Episodes that come from Trakt:

  1. In the add-on settings, in General, set New Episodes to “Trakt Episodes”
  2. Now you can see new episodes from your Trakt list under “New Episodes” in the add-on

Subscribe and Connect Real-Debrid to Kodi

Subscribing to Real-Debrid is by far the #1 best thing you can do to improve your Kodi experience.

It’s not just me saying that.  I’ve recommended Real-Debrid to all my friends and family, and all of them agree that it was a day & night difference after setting up Real-Debrid.  Also, I do not receive any money from Real-Debrid, so I’m not trying to sell you something here.  I just know how it helps.

Now, let me share a little background on why Real-Debrid exists and what it does.

Streaming add-ons like these simply aggregate links to videos on streaming websites all over the Internet.  Over the years, these streaming websites have started getting bombarded with traffic coming from Kodi users who are using add-ons like these.  Many of them have responded by blocking or throttling their bandwidth to free users, while they offer high bandwidth streaming to their premium paying users.

Since there are so many of these streaming websites, it would unfeasible and expensive for users to go and subscribe to many of these individual sites.

So, these streaming websites banded together under umbrella subscriptions offered by companies like Real-Debrid.  The streaming sites win because they don’t have to advertise to get people to buy a subscription to their single website, but instead make a little bit of money off of the massive amount of people signing up for Real-Debrid.  Kodi users win because now there’s one cheap subscription that gives premium access to all the major streaming sites.

To install Real-Debrid on Kodi:

  1. In the add-on settings area, go to Accounts > URLResolver
  2. Under Universal Resolvers, fine RealDebrid and select “(Re)Authorize”.
  3. Follow the instructions by going to this URL in a browser or on your phone and entering the code that it gives you.
  4. It will have you login or create an account.
  5. Accept the authorization.
  6. Sign up for a Premium subscription by logging in to and clicking on Premium at the top.  Pick a plan based on how many days you want to pay for and checkout.  With the 180 day plan, it comes out to about $4 per month.

Once this is setup, you will have see “REALDEBRID”, “Debrid”, or “RD” in the sources that come up when you pick videos to watch.  Those sources are almost always reliable, high bandwidth sources that just work.  No more hunting through a list of sources to find a good one.

Enable Auto-Play

Now that you have reliable sources that default to the top of your list, take your Kodi experience to the next level by enabling “Auto Play”.  Auto Play will not show you the list of sources, but instead will automatically try the first source.  If it’s broken, it will move to the next one, and so on.  Since the top of your source list will be filled with Real-Debrid sources, Auto Play will work great!

To enable Auto Play:

  1. In add-on settings, go to the Playback tab.
  2. Set Default Action to “Auto Play”.

If you want to learn more about Real-Debrid, or see a tutorial with screenshots, check out How to Get Reliable Kodi Stream Sources with Real-Debrid.

How to Get Reliable Kodi Stream Sources with Real-Debrid

Troubleshoot Kodi Buffering Issues

While Real-Debrid makes a huge difference in the reliability of video streams, there can always be some issues from time to time.

I’ve helped a lot of people troubleshoot their Kodi streaming issues, and I’ve compiled a list of troubleshooting tips for Kodi streaming issues.

Also, you should definitely take a look at Kodi’s Hidden Cache Settings to help with buffering issues.

Install a Skin and Use Home Widgets

At this point, it’s you’ve got a sweet setup that is functional and reliable.  But what about the looks?

Also, did you know that a Kodi skin can do much more than improve the looks?  It can also greatly improve the functional experience of Kodi by giving you home screen widgets of newest episodes from your favorite shows.  You can even set up custom menu items that point to where ever you want… like your Trakt List within your add-on of choice.

I’m not going to go through the steps to set that up here.  Instead, I’ll send you to my in-depth tutorial on setting up the Arctic Zephr theme with the features I mentioned above.

Here’s my tutorial on how to have an awesome Kodi home screen that dynamically pulls in new episodes from your favorite TV shows as configured in your account…

New Episodes on Kodi Home Screen with Arctic Zephyr / Exodus / Trakt

Setup Kodi Live TV PVR with a TV Tuner and Antenna

One thing that you may notice is missing from the setup so far is live TV.  You can’t get live local news and sports in a typical streaming add-on.

While there are sports add-ons, they’re not the same as watching them live over broadcast TV in HD from your local TV station.

Well, the good news is you can setup Kodi Live TV if you have a TV tuner and a digital antenna.  However, again, this requires an in-depth tutorial which you can check out here…

Tutorial: Kodi Live TV with EPG (TV Guide)

Protect Your Privacy With a VPN

While I know it’s not illegal to stream content in most countries, I still recommend using a VPN on your Kodi setup.

Add some extra piece of mind about your TV & movie streaming machine by making sure all your streaming traffic is encrypted and hidden from your Internet provider.

There are other benefits as well.  Check out my post on 4 Reasons Why Kodi Streamers Need a VPN.

4 Reasons Why Kodi Streamers Need a VPN!

Other Cool Things You Can Do With Kodi

Here are a few Kodi related tutorials I’ve written which won’t apply to everyone, but I want to share them in case you’re interested.

This first one was one of my earliest discoveries that blew my mind with what you could do with Kodi.  I’ve since then discovered the integration which basically negated this.  However, if you’re interested, check out this tutorial…

How to Merge Kodi Streaming Add-ons into the Video Library

If you want to watch live TV using Kodi, but run it through an Xbox One and use Kinect voice commands and an Xbox controller to change the channels in Kodi, check out this pioneering tutorial which includes a video demonstration…

Xbox One XBMC / Kodi Live TV OneGuide Integration

Do you have home automation?  Check out this tutorial and video demo showing how to make the status of Kodi change the color of lights…

Kodi & Z-Wave Integration Guide [Video Demo]

What About Kodi Builds?

I want to make a note about Kodi builds because I’m sure many of you will ask, what about this build or that build.

I personally don’t like Kodi builds.  They are meant to pack a bunch of features and add-ons into a single installer so anyone can just install it and get everything right out of the box without any setup.

Builds allow people to get deep into Kodi without having to learn how it works.  Many of these build developers quickly abandon it, while masses of people continue to install it.  When stuff breaks because add-ons get out of date, the users who don’t know how to setup anything in Kodi are left to just complain and don’t get any support.  This gives Kodi a bad name and leaves users with a bad taste.

Instead, I advocate education and the DIY method.  YOU should understand what you’re installing and how to use it.  It’s very easy to follow the instructions to install add-ons yourself, so I don’t bother with builds.

Let’s Hear From You!

I would love to get your feedback on this.

Was this a total game-changer for you?  Let me know… and share it with a friend!

Have you stumbled across some issues during the setup?  Give me the details on where you are getting stuck and I would love to help out if I can.

Leave your comments below.  Thanks!

57 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Kodi Setup

  1. Hi, great item.
    I’m running kodi on a Lenovo A10 Android tablet I stream to my Samsung smart TV using the screen casting function, works great.
    My problem occurs when I use a VPN. It seems that the screen cast function and the VPN can’t run together. I have searched high and low but can’t find any way around this other than using a lead.
    Your article gave me a glimmer of hope but alas I can’t make it work.
    Should I just bite the bullet and accept the only way forward is using a lead.

  2. This guide has been a tremendous help to me, being someone who knew absolutely nothing about Kodi coming in. I’ve now got Kodi up and running smoothly on two devices. I only came across this guide the other day and each time I revisit the site, I keep discovering new useful guides to further my Kodi experience.

    Thank so much for putting together this in-depth guide!

    1. I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking. If you get the latest Windows box, it should come with Windows 10. Just search for and install Kodi from the Windows Store, or just download and install it from

        1. Mine is not a bare bones, but it came with Windows. If you get that bare bones version, just install the SSD and install the OS of your choice on it. I think it was designed for Windows, so I would probably go with that.

  3. Brody,

    Thanks so much for the feedback. I’m really glad you find my posts helpful!

    Regarding wireless isolation, I’m not sure why your router would not let you turn it off, but I would just stick with using 5 GHz anyway. It’s faster.

  4. Can MLB-tv loaded onto kodi. I was able to get NHL-tv, but I’m having trouble finding a way to get MLB.

  5. I have 1st gen firestick and reg remote and i have firetv app for phone remote downloaded from google play okay my factory remote will not work because I used droid assisted and i turned off bluetooth now I can not use mouse on app remote it only worked on factory remote but i need mouse to click on the tab to enable bluetooth please help I have searched every where but I am afraid to factory restore firestick that app remote will not work because abd be turned off then ill be stuck with a useless device what can I do I tried to install another app mouse but it says my IP address is wrong but its not

      1. Did you make sure that you have the correct IP address? Also, make sure you’re using the right port. There is a setting in Kodi to pick which port you want to use. If that port is already being used by something else, try changing it on both sides.

    1. That’s an interesting predicament, but I’m not understanding what would be the issue with doing a factory reset? You should be able to do whatever you want to do from a factory reset Fire Stick, right?

      1. I was just afraid that if I factory restore then phone app will not work and if factory remote did not pair after I factory restore then I would not be able to use device

          1. I have the same issue. I installed covenant and it worked okish. I then went back and imputed my trakt and Real Debrid details. I use NordVPN with a separate netgear nighthawk router. I also uninstalled exodus and fear that has caused a problem, as not a single film or tv show has played since. very odd. I have toggled auto play on and off but no difference. Always finds lots of streams. Sometimes get the spinning circle, sometimes not. Nothing ever plays though. Any ideas please? Many thanks for all the guides and stuff. They are superb. I’m in the UK, not with Sky.

          2. Sorry for the delay. I don’t know why uninstalling Exodus would have anything to do with it. Have you checked to make sure your Real-Debrid is still connected in case it got disconnected when you uninstalled Exodus? Are you getting lots of RD links in Covenant?

  6. Hi Nathan
    UK based and I have used Kodi with a build for a few months whilst understanding it ‘not at all’. Thank you for these guides which I will study in depth over the next month and install all that I need. However. I have an Express VPN fitted because within the next few weeks I will be relocating to Schenzhen, China. Hopefully this will operate out there. Regards, Dave

  7. Hi. I installed covenant and it worked okish. I then went back and imputed my trakt and Real Debrid detals. I use NordVPN with a separate net gear nighthawk router. I also uninstalled exodus and fear that has caused a problem, as not a single film or tv show has played since. very odd. I have toggled auto play on and off but no difference. Always finds lots of streams. Sometimes get the spinning circle, sometimes not. Nothing ever plays though. Any ideas please?

  8. Interesting article. I recommend a intel nuc or wetek device plus libreelec. Kodi is super fast and very lean. Also, with everyone wanting HD, i recommend ethernet over wifi. Real debrid is a real help with add-ons having buffering issues.

    Here is my list of recommended devices running libreelec.
    1. Intel nuc
    2. wetek hub
    3. amlogic s905x device or s912[ libreelec forum has a list of recommended devices] wifi is usesless for kodi if you go with this route.

    Android with kodi:
    wetek hub
    nvidia shield
    xiaomi mi
    firestick or box

    P.S. I agree with builds comment. It is bloatware.
    Tip: Best experience in my opinion: smoothstreams add-on with sub ,real-debrid with sub, Gurzil or Convenant both exodus forks{just keep up to date].

    Next Kodi build will have netflix and amazon add-ons working in libreelec, which is pure linux.

  9. Hey I signed up for a real debrid account but can’t figure out how to install it to covenant. It’s not giving me the options that you’ve laid out in the instructions. Please help!!

  10. I came across your pages while trying to find why my fire stick running kodi was getting no streams available all the time. i use mainly exodus. with in seconds i had the answer and loaded covenant. Then started looking through all your other tips and pages. This is a brilliant site and i will defenitly keep it to hand. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with simpletons like my self. And i am sure none simpletons benefit :-) Thanks again

  11. With a firestick or fire tv box, you have to shell out $119 a year to get an account or nothing works on it!

    1. What are you talking about? No you don’t! Do you mean Amazon Prime? You can use a FireStick and install Kodi on it without having Prime. You only need Prime to watch Prime video, but who cares.

    1. Hi, HereIsTom. The only place I mentioned Genesis, Exodus, and Covenant is where I was talking about the history of the add-ons that we know today. I have been keeping this post updated regularly.

      By the way, Exodus is still working… But Exodus Redux, Seren, and a bunch others probably better.

  12. Fantastic guide Nathan!!!

    My osmc 4K+ arrived this week and I am looking forward to setting it up this weekend.

    Is Artic Zephyr still the skin you would reccomend for a slick integration?

  13. Hello Nathan – after scanning youtube videos for weeks, I have seen your information and tipsheet. As you probably guessed, I have a problem with my Kodi Android box setup (about a year old).
    At random, several links started ignoring me, lol – I had Krypton 17.6, and would select from my programs the next episode of a tv show (so I know it was a good link) – the selection would “blip” at me, turn for 5 seconds, and then reshow the menu/links.
    After trying many things, I removed 17.6, and have now installed 18.2, leia, and the “nolimits” build (also from England). After much ado (I’m a novice), I was setup and ready to go. However, exactly the same thing occurs with 18.2. Everything else seems to work well, I can pick up real tv stations, etc, but I cannot get my programs from ANY repository !!!
    Also, with this Build, I cannot get out to any Settings type screen that you show in all your tips. I hesitate to remove this build, because it seems all else is working.
    Do you recognize the “ignore-me” problem?

      1. Thank you for the reply Nathan, I can imagine you are quite busy and I appreciate your help,
        Would that TVDB outage apply to a working 17.6 Kodi version that I have had for at least a year? And wouldn’t installing the 18.2 version correct that?
        I find it strange that I have exactly the same small problem between versions, and everything else seems to work for a totally fresh install. And the problem is so non-specific, with no error messages, that I haven’t seen anyone describe it.
        I will read your update on that today – Thanks.

  14. Hi Nathan, I am having issue installing plugins in Kodi 18.7. When installing from zip files, there is always missing of dependencies. Could you tell me how to install the followings,
    1.1 script.module.html5lib
    1.2 script.module.beautifulsoup4
    1.4 script.module.python.twitch
    1.5 script.module.crytopy
    2.1 script.module.myconnpy

    Thank you

    1. You shouldn’t be trying to install add-ons directly from zip files. You should install repositories from zip files and then install add-ons from those repositories. The reason is because the repositories will have links to all the dependencies of each of their add-ons which will install automatically as long as that repo is active in your Kodi.

  15. Hi Nathan, I just updated Kodi to ver: 19.4 Matrix, also I’m using Scrubs V2 add on for content. Everything works great. Problem is I have lost all adult content, how can I get it back?
    Thanks, MJL

  16. This article seems good for what it covers, but has some notable tutorials missing…

    -How to install on something beyond Windows, Android, and XBox, for one. It’s not unheard of to use Linux for a home media server, yet no mention of how to install on any Linux distribution.

    -What to do after the install. Sure, addons are covered, but what about setting up Kodi itself? It can play local files, how do you set that up? Plex, Jellyfin, and other media servers are configured by visiting the web address of the server, something like and run through some setups. But no mention in this article.

    -No mention of the legal issues with Kodi. Wikipedia has a section in the Kodi article called Controversies. But that’s okay, apparently.

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