Kodi’s future on Android and the Amazon Fire TV is in jeopardy


A shortage of Android developers among the Kodi team is putting the future of Kodi on Android and the Fire TV in jeopardy. In a blog post, Nathan Betzen, president of the XBMC Foundation and a project manager on Kodi, put a call out for Android developers, stating “we can’t stress this enough, if we don’t get an Android dev soon, Kodi for Android could very well die out. This is a significant future problem.” Other than code being contributed back into Kodi by the developers of SPMC and MrMC, there is currently no one working on the Android version of Kodi. If new Android developers join the team, their first task would be “to simply port the work done on SPMC and MrMC into Kodi.” Both forked apps are thankfully open source projects. In the developer of SPMC’s own words, “Kodi on Android is on life support.”

There seems to be an active Android hate among Kodi’s developers right now, linked to the rampant piracy found on the platform. Piracy add-ons for Kodi, created by 3rd-parties who have no association with Kodi, are most popular on inexpensive Android devices like the Fire TV Stick. This piracy plague has lead to Kodi’s removal from the Amazon Appstore, and is fueling the growing false reputation of Kodi as a direct facilitator of piracy among the ignorant. According to Scott, aka davilla, the developer of MrMC and first person to port Kodi to Android, the main core developer of Kodi is “rather hostile to Android/iOS/tvOS.”

It’s understandable for Kodi’s developers to be bitter towards Android, the platform that is most responsible for shining a bad light on their hard work. If the Kodi team doesn’t gain an impartial Android developer soon, the most popular media player on Android and the Fire TV may grow stale due to a lack of support and updates.

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  1. cancelyourcable says:

    Does this also mean SPMC,MrMC, etc. will die? Or is it more specifically about Kodi?

    • Christopher Loughrey says:

      Koying’s SPMC will be only motivated to continue as it will increase the demand for his product. Personlly I only use SPMC as it’s by far the most stable Kodi for Fire tV as Koying has his own Fire tV and specifically codes for the Fire TV, while the Kodi team don;t.

  2. Neogeo71 says:

    Wouldn’t SPMC still be developed since the source code for kodi can be compiled for android? Would not piracy addons just continue to be written and verified to Work on Kodi 16? If all kodi development stopped today Kodi 16 is full featured enough to continue to run for years as long as addons are verified to work with it…

    • Christopher Loughrey says:

      To be fair, what is the point of using Kodi without piracy addons? They are what made Kodi so popular! Without them Kodi would never have been half as big as it is now.

      • Fjtorres says:

        The point is Kodi is a superb local media player/streamer that supports pretty much every format out there and doesn’t require a server app. That alone makes it a jewel in the FireTV ecosystem.

      • Adam says:

        Hmm, I just finished watching a locally stored movie that I legally bought just half an hour before posting this.

        I seem to know what the point of using Kodi is, Christopher. I suspect your question is more revealing about you than my answer is about Kodi.

      • Tech3475 says:

        Ive been using xbmc/kodi for about 10 years now without using these types of plugins.

        I use it because its a good media player.

      • Magister says:

        The popularity due to piracy is THE problem. Devs will say over and over again that they are not out for number of downloads. They do not care if Kodi becomes less popular.

        Christopher Loughrey, the piracy addons are hurting Kodi development. So say ALL Kodi devs. Why argue with this?

        • kell says:

          So what about the addons over at the kodi forum itself that allow piracy?You seem to forget that probably the biggest “explosion” in watching sport illegally was developed and put in the kodi repo in the nbc sports network addon which bypassed the need for a paid account and geo location,the only reason it changed was that nbc cottoned on to it and tightened their security so it went back to needing an account yet there were people over there advertising ilegal accounts for sale

          Same thing with premier league pass addon.You are supposed to have a plp paid account and live in a certain region,but hey guess what,the addon bypassed the need for an account but i guess all of this is ok because its from the kodi forum

          Hypocrisy? Maybe…who knows

      • Marc V says:

        I strongly disagree. Kodi and SPMC are both amazing products and have given me so many options that I would not have without them.

        – Pandora One. The KODI adds work better than the official pandora app for FireTV
        – Google Play Music – Without KODI it would be very difficult to use Play Music with a firetv as there is no official app and trying to screen share from my phone or using DLNA from my phone are horrible solutions
        – NFL package – I have the NFL package where I can watch all games after they’ve aired. Without KODI I would only be able to use this on my phone tablet or computer as there was no app for this as of the end of the 2015 NFL season
        – PlexBMC – So much better than the official plex app. With the plex app it downgrades all audio to stereo. With KODI/SPMC I get full dolby 5.1 and dts

        The perception that this is only useful if you are pirating and doing illegal crap is total BS. There are plenty of useful, legal ways to use these apps and I hope the devs continue to make this the great product that it is today

        • Scott says:

          While we agree that there are some very useful addons around, there is just no way to allow some and not others. Once the crack is open again, all the bad ones will just flood right back in again.

          The current addon methods in the codebase are just flawed. This area needs a complete refactor from ground up. Which is on our list.

          • Jess Haas says:

            Is your intention to make it harder for people to create All of the great add ons came about because someone wanted something so they coded it up then shared it. If you get rid of the ability to do that then there is no point in having add ons.

  3. Mike Hunt says:

    Get a raspberry pi 3 and forget it

  4. Neogeo71 says:

    The piracy and or pirates will just move on to whatever the next cheapest platform that runs kodi is. It won’t stop anything.

  5. Christopher Loughrey says:

    Thank God for Koying! I only use and support his SPMC, it’s by far the best Kodi for Android

  6. Christopher Loughrey says:

    To be fair to the piracy developers, without them Kodi would never have become as popular as it is and would die out very quickly. It’s one of the reasons why MrMC is proving so unpopular. Most users use Kodi primarily for ****, **** etc., and without them there would be no need to buy Kodi friendly devices as offical Apps like Plex, ES Explorer and VLC PLayer do a much better job at playing local content than Kodi.

    • Bob says:

      Please just go away

    • Andrew says:

      I hate plex vlc and es explorer for local content. I ONLY use kodi for MKV files. I have these as I rip all DVD and Blu Rays I own. I have kids and don’t want stacks of discs out of their cases in front of my tvs. Kodi has a nice interface.

      I have NO add ons on my 3 aftvs.

    • Rodalpho says:

      This is not at all true. XBMP and XBMC were around MANY years before piracy addons proliferated.

      And Kodi passes the Napster test– it is usable for more than just piracy, and people actually do use it without those addons. I’m one of those people myself.

    • nebulink says:

      I dont use any of the piracy add-ons. You are way off mark. Kodi provides a great way to organize my movie library. It is very user friendly for my kids and wife. It also provides great pass-though support for my theater room. Plex does not do this with the FireTV.

  7. xnamkcor says:

    Don’t mind me, I’ll be over here with my ES File Explorer, MX Player, VLC, and my NAS.

    Good luck to the team though. Also, how does the Kodi app for Android not already exist if they don’t have a developer? Are they having issued with Android N development?

    PS: Kodi still works fine without the App Store when it’s provided as a free APK with no DRM. Does Kodi normally cost money? Does it usually have ads and certain versions remove the ads?

    • Rodalpho says:

      No. Kodi is free open-source software with zero ads. If you paid for Kodi or see ads, you’re using a third-party version of the software.

      • xnamkcor says:

        I get a nagging feeling that Kodi for Android is fine and the only thing that is in danger is the ability to charge for forks that are approved on Storefronts because of a difficulty to develop versions that purposefully remove features each update to the main fork that “allow for piracy”.

        • Tinwarble says:

          Where in the world do you get that “feeling” from?

          What’s in danger is that there is no Android maintainer, or really any devs, for Kodi. That means that with the exception of pulling from SPMC or MrMC, no work is being done for the Android version of Kodi. Forks have nothing to do with this.

          • xnamkcor says:

            Luckily, there’s a version of Kodi for Android 5.x and there’s no reason why that would stop working on Fire TV until Amazon rolls out Fire OS 6. Though, a lack of 4k BD support might hurt it for people who want to use it to watch those.

        • Rodalpho says:

          Even if Kodi for android stops development (god forbid), you could still fork off SPMC or MRMC and charge for your fork, if you wanted to. You would just need to change the name.

          Note that SPMC still allows addons, which is why it isn’t in the amazon or apple stores.

  8. Al Horford says:

    Kodi doesn’t appear in the recents anymore after my stick logged me off and i had to re-register, anyone else?

  9. Mark says:

    What are you talking about we have MrMC.

    • Rodalpho says:

      The codebases will substantially diverge over time. Each fork will add new features over time, but when the codebases are highly divergent, it’s a ton of work to port those changes over.

      MRMC is a small group of developers, and SPMC is one guy. In contrast, Kodi is developed by a much larger team.

      So what you’ll eventually have is MRMC and SPMC remaining relatively unchanged over time while Kodi gets tons of new stuff.

      This is bad for everybody. It’s bad for android users because they won’t get new Kodi features, and it’s bad for Kodi because it won’t _run_ on Android.

      The only solution that ends up in sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns with ribbons in their flowing manes for everybody is for Kodi to get android maintainers to port over the MRMC and SPMC fixes. That way SPMC and MRMC can just fork off Kodi every major release to apply their patches/changes as they see fit.

      Well, or Koying, Davilla, and the other Kodi devs could kiss and make up. That would be even better yet. But drama and personal conflicts always crop up, they’re a fact of life.

      • Tinwarble says:

        What Rodalpho said.

        I have the feeling though, and I know this has been discussed, is for the different OS teams to split up and branch Kodi for each OS instead of having the “one size fits all” mentality that Team Kodi has now.

        That has been the biggest cause of issues within the Team Kodi, that any code for one OS can’t break things for another OS. As well as “hacks” for any specific OS or device are frown on.

        • Rodalpho says:

          Yep my understanding is that is indeed why the android devs split. They weren’t allowed to make android fixes because they could impact other platforms.

          Problem is, if you branch for every release, you then need to MERGE the branches back into the trunk while working on the next release. And that’s additional work.

          Not sure there’s any “right” answer here.

  10. Brian says:

    Man I hope the android version doesn’t die. Being able to use Kodi with Netflix, Hulu, Prime and whatever comes next is a major plus. I also have HDHomeruns that work a lot better on Kodi add-on than they do in the android HDHomerun View app.

    • Tom Stephenson says:

      I agree with Brian. I have kodi on my AFTV and play recorded media from my NAS. I record sports on TiVo and copy the special events to my computer. Edit out parts I don’t want (called commercials) and save them on my NAS. Play old Wimbledon files and football games all the time. Also use my HDhomerun to watch live TV. And yes, the kodi version interface to HDHR is far better than the AFTV version. Also use kodi to play music from my NAS or pandora.
      I can watch Netflix via TiVo but like the AFTV version better.

  11. Canadian Man says:

    I ran XBMC and TVMC before finding Kodi and I have no issues with it at all. A few small hiccups but nothing I couldn’t fix and I will support Kodi and it’s devs as long as there is a platform for it. My android devices need manual updating and addons need reinstalls periodically but as saving apk’s to a memory stick takes only a minute, I find the trouble of doing the work worth the effort. I have learned a lot in just a few short years and aspire to one day code my own version for android that will allow a plug and play, user friendly interface with minimal support. #ilovemykodiandroid

  12. Keith Alston says:

    If developers are going elsewhere like spmc or mrmc then maybe it’s something kodi are doing wrong. Piracy will always be found where there is an opening and I’d kodi wanted to they could block any 3rd party apps they wanted to. I am a huge kodi fan but let’s not get carried away…if kodi stop developing for the biggest platform around (android) then people will just move on regardless and because it’s open source there will always be a budding developer somewhere who will take on the challenge of making it bigger and better. I appreciate everyone involved in creating kodi and the 3rd party addons but there will ALWAYS be those out there who seek financial gain regardless of the cost to others. Without the 3rd party developers kodi would still only be getting used by the knowledgeable few and would not be the household name it is today.

  13. G says:

    I use Kodi only for its foreign language TV add ons. None of them are pirated and I can watch that just the same on IOS or non Amazon Android devices – anything that runs Google PlayStore. Amazon has divided the world into country stores, so a German TV app is available only on Amazon.de …

    There is the constant push for Globilization and then there are companies like Amazon who try to make the world smaller.We have 2 Fire TVs, a stick, 2 Echos, 2 Kindles, 2 Fire tablets and a Fire Phone and I am beginning to get nervous about the future: Amazon could ban Kodi (and that is the main reason why I have AFTVs) and block the Echo in our European vacation home, for a start. Even though I have an account with Amazon.de, I cannot buy books there and download them to my Kindle.

  14. atone says:

    Well I’m not going to worry until kodi becomes outdated and stopped updating by 2 or 3 versions. Then kodi will officially be dead on android devices, and I will be back to the old faithful dedicated HTPC HDTV setup. I have both options at hand so I’m ready for anything. I just use the AFTV to stretch Kodi’s reaches to other TVs in the household. It would suck for convenience if this happens, but it’s not the end of the world.

  15. Josh says:

    Does anyone know if SPMC support voice search on the firetv non rooted?
    Also, how does one goes about upgrading kodi 16.1 to SPMC while keeping all the settings? Or is it recommended to clean install it?

  16. Tom says:

    I have kodi and spmc, is there a Major difference?

  17. Keith says:

    Not certain but think I recall a scare like this popping up a few years back. With the HUGE popularity of android (particularly aftv) Im pretty sure some devs will step up. In fact, I believe Koying started spmc because he wanted to run kodi smoothly on his android tv box.
    Im running krypton on aftv with no serious issues so lets not be overly dramatic.There’s plenty of time.
    If I were to speculate Id say the kodi team should rightly have a bit of animosity toward android. When you look on ebay youll see mostly android boxes loaded with pirate addons. Its a very cheap way to get a high end media center. For awhile most people used htpcs but Id be surprised if that’s still the case. And Im sure that in the past year or so, kodi was downloaded for android at least twice as much any other system.

    • Ned Scott says:

      Apple TV 2’s with Kodi used to be flooded on eBay, long before the Android port. The piracy argument is not the real issue here.

  18. shwru980r says:

    The moment you crack DRM (Digital Rights Managemnt) to rip the DVD or Bluray, you’ve violated Title I of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. 17 U.S.C. 1201 prohibits circumvention of DRM.

    The third party add-ons that provide access to content that is hosted outside the US is not illegal.

  19. UltraLord says:

    Just missing one person to have 30 % discount of the annuity.

    Come on … then you can uninstall the application .
    Confire the Dormi an android application to monitor your baby.


  20. Joe says:

    So out 10s (if not 100s) of thousands of Android developers world wide, there is no one willing to step forward as a Kodi Android developer…well that’s just a sad state of affairs.

    • xnamkcor says:

      I’ll give the author the benefit of the doubt, but the wording is kinda awkward. It seems more like the issue is that it’s hard to get Kodi in “stores” due to some optional features provided by third party addons. If they find a developer who has no desire to put it in a “store” and is just willing to code/develop for the project, they’ll be fine. And there are plenty of people willing to develop/code without promise of gains. Stone Soup and whatnot.

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