The new version of Kodi (formerly XBMC), Helix 14.0, is out of beta and has been released. As always, the new release is packed full of new features, but here’s what’s most relevant to the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.
Kodi 14.0 has been updated to use FFmpeg 2.4.4 video codecs. This means Kodi is now capable of playing back h.265 and VP9 videos, but the decoding is entirely software based so Fire TV devices may struggle with this newer codec. Rest assured that hardware accelerated decoding, like h.264, is not affected by this change. Library scanning has received a big speed boost, so those slow initial setup scans should go much quicker on Fire TV devices. Additional, Android support all around has been improved with better fast forward and rewind functionality.
If you currently have XBMC installed on your Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, you need to be aware of the caveats involved with installing Kodi. Once you sideload Kodi and launch it for the first time, it will move your library and settings from XBMC to Kodi. You will still have XBMC installed on your Fire TV, but it will be an empty shell. Once you’ve verified Kodi is up and running correctly, you should go back and uninstall XBMC.