MrMC’s developers do not deserve the hate they’re receiving


Yesterday’s post about MrMC, the first forked version of Kodi to make it into the Amazon Fire TV appstore, has resulted in a heated discussion. A little more than a day since that post went up, it has become the fastest post to reach over 100 comments. Discussion participants seem to either support MrMC’s developers and praise what they’ve accomplished, or berate them for charging money for an app that is readily available for free. After reading all 100+ comments, and researching MrMC further, I wholeheartedly support MrMC’s developers and you should too.

Now, I am certainly not saying that most of you reading this should run out and buy MrMC from the Fire TV appstore, but you certainly should not chastise the app’s developers for creating the app or for charging money for it. Nothing that MrMC’s developers are doing is illegal, considered stealing, against the rules, or in bad form. Kodi’s open source license allows, and one could say even encourages, anyone to fork the project and do with it as they please. That includes charging money and removing features, as MrMC’s team has done.

If anyone is deserving of forking Kodi into a profitable business, it’s the developers of MrMC, since they are literally the primary developers who ported Kodi (then called XBMC) over to Android in the first place. In no small part thanks to MrMC’s developers, you are able to install Kodi on the Amazon Fire TV. Scott, aka davilla, one of the guys behind MrMC, is the 4th highest contributor of Kodi’s development history. Željko, aka amet, another member of the MrMC team, is the 25th highest contributor to Kodi’s development. Additionally, Ned Scott, a respected member of Team Kodi and long time welcomed participant in various AFTVnews discussions, has voiced his support for MrMC, despite having no association with the app.

The developers of MrMC have taken a hobby of theirs, that many of us have benefited from, and are now trying to turn it into a career. Their path is not much different than the one I’ve taken with this website. AFTVnews started as a hobby and has turned into a primary source of income that puts food on the table and grants me the freedom to spend more time with my family. Sure, things like the number of ads on the site have increased since the site’s inception, but it’s necessary to keep the site going and thankfully the AFTVnews community has been overwhelmingly supportive. In a similar manner, there are reasons why MrMC’s team needs to charge for the app.

MrMC’s value is currently slim, but the team deserves the opportunity to grow the app’s value without being berated, especially considering their notable contributions to Kodi in the past. Kodi’s future on the Fire TV may be questionable, due entirely to the uncontrollable 3rd-party piracy add-ons that plague the app’s reputation. The existence of MrMC as an alternative to Kodi may very well end up serving as a lifeline for the thousands of Fire TV owners who enjoy Kodi as the great, and completely legal, media player that it should be seen as.


Nathan Betzen, president of the board at Kodi (XBMC Foundation) and one of the project managers of Kodi, has voiced his support for MrMC in the comments below, as has koying, the developer of SPMC.

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  1. Josh says:

    Well said, thank you!

    I see lots of value in this software. Not for everyone, but for many.

  2. DotWin says:

    Amen to all of that!
    Thank you!

  3. kilnvideo says:

    my historical usage of xbmc never really included plugins \add-ons, being able to play an ISO over the network without extracting it was enough of a benefit.

    currently, my use of kodi is mostly dominated by the YouTube plugin catching reddit links via yatse.

    if this version can somehow integrate the better official add-ons directly into the app, i could see its usefulness.

    all that being said. 6.99$ is a tall order. but, you have quelled my vague sense of anxiousness about what i had perceived as a ripoff \cash grab.

  4. Dave_O says:

    It’s a great effort. I did purchase it, for less than a large bag of popcorn at my local theater. It’s worth it alone that I never have to try to navigate ES FIle explorer with a remote control to sideload Kodi :)

    I never needed or used any of the plug ins, so it’s a perfect fit. I hope these guys are successful, and continue to improve the Fire TV port.

  5. mjbxx says:

    Then tell me your lordship who is the all high and mighty on all things Fire TV how this app remotely approaches SPMC app? MrMC $6.99 vs. SPMC $0.00. Think hard on this dear leader, will you!

    • AFTVnews says:

      At no point have I said or implied MrMC “approaches” SPMC, or Kodi for that matter. I said MrMC is not for most of my readers and that its value is slim. That should be interpreted as me saying SPMC or Kodi are the far better option for most.

      I deliberately did not go into the specifics of why MrMC is charging money or why one should buy it. Once MrMC evolves further I’ll probably write something about what it has to offer to help those considering the purchase make a more educated decision, but the free vs paid debate is not the point of this article.

      The point of this article is that MrMC has every right to try to add value to Kodi and charge money for that value. The same way a company has the right to sell water because they’ve added value by filtering it, making it more convenient, and other things. Just because one has free tap water doesn’t mean the bottled water company shouldn’t exist.

      If you’ve decided MrMC is not a good value for you personally, that’s great. Me too. *HIGH FIVE* But that doesn’t mean that’s the case for everyone, so MrMC should be allowed to grow and not buried alive, like some people are doing by leaving negative reviews, just because they exist.

      • Meatball says:

        What it does allow is more idiots who’ve got no business touching Kodi due to the lack of knowing how to press a power button! Lol. It has one purpose and that’s only until Amazon pulls it, and that’s to make it too easy to install.

      • Edgar R. says:

        Well said. I honestly think mjbxx is a troll.

      • Angel Reyes says:

        Well said! There always going to be negative people.

      • cdlenfert says:

        I’d be fully in support of you ignoring comments like this in the future. He obviously didn’t read, or can’t interpret a well crafted article.

  6. AFTVUser says:

    To paraphrase what I stated in the other thread, and will reiterate here, the fact that this app has been approved and made available by Amazon has little to nothing to do with about 99% of the readers of this blog. The target audience of this app knows little to nothing about XBMC/KODI, nor, quite frankly, does that audience care about the same. This app wasn’t designed for you, will likely never appeal to you, nor will it likely ever land on your AFTV box, so why all the vitriolic comments?

    The bottom line is that if you don’t like the app, as with any other, don’t buy/use/install it. Simple, right?

  7. Tech3475 says:

    I think their biggest issue has been marketing, for example, if they have licensed something (which theyve said), i think they should include that in the description as to me that is one thing that justifies the price and is something ive seen used on ios media players.

    Its easy to say ‘don’t like it, , dont buy it’ but if people think theyre ‘leeching’ off kodi, they can and a few already have, complained which could affect the longer term as the casuals will just see a (currently) 3 star app.

    There are better ways they could have handled this situation, including the comments section where their attitude at times i found off putting, for the record, im not against what theyre doing per se, presuming what theyve said is true.

    • AFTVnews says:

      I agree. There are many Kodi leaches that add little to no value. When I first saw MrMC in the appstore, I assumed it was one of them. I did a bit of searching and didn’t find much to persuade me away from that thought. It took reading 100’s of comments and forum posts to learn who was behind the app and what they’ve done with it. That’s an issue they need to address sooner, rather than later, if they hope to survive.

  8. John Grover says:

    I am watching this topic with keen interest. I’m an avid fan of Kodi and if Mrmc can charge for developing it’s app then fine. I’m happy to pay for Kodi if there was a charge. People want everything for free then complain when things don’t work but your paying for service and support the product. As this is an approved app by Amazon I hope 4K streaming will be added as Plex doesn’t property work at present.

  9. Magister says:

    Thanks. The vitriol in the comments is the type of silly drama that discourages development on Kodi.

  10. Mrmc was developed to conform to all of Apple’s strictures so some form of Kodi would be available for the ATV4. It was probably a natural move to port it to Android.

    I can’t think of a reason to buy it other than to gift some worthy developers with some bucks.

    • Rodalpho says:

      It’s in the appstore, so it updates automatically and you don’t need to sideload. That’s why you would pay for MRMC over sideloading Kodi (or SPMC).

  11. smee says:

    I think there’s a big assumption by many people on this site that the only users of FireTVs that look at this site are people rooting the devices and/or sideloading everything they can. There is a lot of content on here that does not directly support these users. Look at all the posts about programming, games, deals, etc. Do people think that only “advanced” users are interested in the latest games that are now available for free?

    There are probably a lot of people reading this site who do not want to deal with downloading apks and sideloading apps or running special apps that allow other apps to be loaded (Firestarter and Kode, for example). These people may appreciate knowing that there is an option to Kodi that may do everything they need and is easy to install.

    I have been using XBMC and Kodi off and on with several different platforms for several years. In all that time, I have used very few plugins. I primarily use it for playing local media (I also have a Plex server running).

    I have no problems with sideloading apps, rooting if I want, etc. I am technically able to handle all of this, either on my own or by following someone else’s lead. Making assumptions (like everyone else) here, I’ve probably been programming for longer than most people here have been alive.

    I like what MrMC is doing. I think they will need to add their own “plugins” to match some of the capabilities of Kodi and I expect that they will do so in the future. I think software of this type that is not “crippled” with the stigma of piracy is a good thing. While I think that $6.99 is a bit high, it’s a whole lot less than other software that I rely on costs.

    I have purchased MrMC for my FireTV despite the cost because this will allow me to use the capabilities I want and need now (with hope that more will be added later) without requiring me to support it myself (updates, etc.) outside of the app store update process. While I am perfectly capable of sideloading Kodi (and I do have it on my FireTV), I have plenty of other things that are more interesting to do than worry about whether it needs to be updated, whether Amazon will block it, etc. I like the idea of something that just works.

    I will spend my time (which I certainly don’t have enough of) developing my own stuff rather than worrying about this.

  12. Aaron says:

    The only reason Kodi ever came to Android was because the developer of this product ported it over. I have zero issue with him trying to make money from this product, so it gets frequent updates. Also sideloading Kodi isn’t exactly a simple process and people that have zero tech skills are not really able to perform those steps, so this gives them an option to play their local media.

  13. Goodhur says:

    I couldn’t agree more. There is a place for MRMC. A native verison with auto-update is a nice option, especially to install family members that don’t run a sever for their media. I welcome it as an option and support its development.

  14. jbrodack (justin brodack) says:

    Has Koying voiced any support for this? I know he has contributed a lot to Kodi on android and has his own fork which is only supported by donations.

    I didn’t know of any “Scott” but davilla looks like a name I somewhat recognize from Kodi.

    Regardless of past contributions it’s hard not to criticize a project that charge for something and has less features than something that is free. If it was presented in a better way and laid out a roadmap of what it can offer in the future maybe the initial reception here would have been better.

    The MRMC website doesn’t even seem to mention that it’s based off of kodi which is similar to what a lot of scammers that offer “free tv” do.

    I’m not saying they deserve hate but saying the reaction is understandable. I’m kinda in the middle on this. I’m not seeing too much value personally and still doesn’t seem like something I’d want to support but also is something I have no real problem with and hope it improves and becomes something of more value.

    • Scott says:

      Yes, I’m the same davilla :)

      Koying can make his own statement but he and I communicate all the time. We share issues and solutions. He points out interesting things in his fork, we do the same.

      We also have similar lines of communication with members of team-kodi that are interested in what we have done so far. Some (tvOS port) make it back into Kodi, some do not. It’s really up to them to decide what they want or do not want from our work.

      We do now understand the issues with people not really understand who we are, what we have done and where we are doing. Our bad :) We are working on providing that information on our website. Something that was on the list but got lost in the development push.

      • smee says:

        There are several places in the UI where it mentions Kodi. It looks a little funny.

        • Scott says:

          Thanks for finding them, if you could send an email to outlining where there are, we can hunt them down and change them to MrMC branding.

          Kodi branding is dug in like a tick and spread all over the codebase so it is very possible that we missed something.

      • jbrodack (justin brodack) says:

        Thanks for the response keeping fairly cool even when under attack. Also, thanks for taking part in the android port in the first place. It’s brought Kodi to many more devices.

        This may not be for me at this point but something I will look out for.

  15. Joe says:

    Personally MrMC is not for me (yet?), but I fully support the developers of MrMC seeing as without them we would not even have Kodi on Android/FireTV. Yes, they could have done a little better on how they market/present it and I think they have made a mistake in charging higher price for the Android version vs iOS version. They would have done well financially if they reversed the pricing with iOS version for $6.99 and lower price for the Android version as Apple users are known/expected to spend more on purchasing apps and are happy to do so whereas Android users are, lets just say, frugal.

  16. Joe says:

    Just saw the following that I think everyone needs to read, especially the “call for Android developers for Kodi”

    Kodi’s Switch to RERO Development And A Call For Android Devs:

  17. jjhtpc says:

    I know davilla has been a big contributor in the past to xbmc/kodi. That being said I find it in poor taste that he has decided to profit off of this. The intent with kodi was to always keep this open source. I understand that the license for GPL allows for distribution and altercation fees, but that doesn’t mean that Scott shouldn’t take it on the chin for making a buck of something that was meant to be free(and previously stood behind as a free entity).

    • Scott says:

      It still is open source, nothing has changed regarding that, see and our changes/fixes/addition are there for anyone to take.

      The only difference is that we have decided to handle overhead costs different. Donations just do not provide the required revenue stream and there is no license provider that has a model for free software. Certain things cost real money to do.

      • Scott says:

        Just to put things into perspective about costs,

        License owners will only deal with shipped/download numbers.

        The (as of today) current downloads of Kodi for only Android is 6.631.513,725. Yea, that’s right, 6.6 billion. Truly mind boggling.

        Assume just one penny for all licensing (not a chance), that means Kodi owes 66 million in licensing costs and growing. Just today, there were 7,394,489 direct android downloads which does not even count those from Google Play Store.

        Even if those numbers are off by a factor of ten, factor of 100, they are still very scary. Pop up a binary that includes IP tech that requires licensing and you are painting a huge target on your back. Specially if you are based in the good old US of A.

        We are not interested in playing that game of chicken.

    • natethomas says:

      I think you are making a classic open source mistake. The GPL only requires free as in speech, not free as in beer. Kodi could, at any time, start charging for vanilla Kodi, if we wanted to. Nothing in the GPL prohibits that. Kodi is meant to be free, but that only means that the underlying code is meant to be visible to all users, so if they have the knowledge, they can build their own versions themselves.

      Davilla is doing a really great job here, actually. He’s taking advantage of an error in the market. On Apple and Fire TV, there’s no way to get Kodi to auto-update and no way to install Kodi directly from the store. So he’s created a version of Kodi that meets the demands of those stores, so that it can be distributed that way. And in the process, he’s creating code that can theoretically make it back upstream to Kodi itself.

      • AFTVnews says:

        Thanks for taking the time to comment Nate. Your input carries a lot of weight.

        For those who don’t know, this is Nathan Betzen, president of the board at Kodi (XBMC Foundation) and one of the project managers of Kodi.

  18. Mike4AU says:

    Scott, to be clear, is the 6.6 billion figure for actual downloads of Kodi for Android or the number of times that Kodi has been launched?


  19. Lo says:

    Price seems pretty steep for a a fork of a open sourced software with all add-ons disabled. I don’t used any outside priacy add-ons on my kodi but I think they are all crap.

    • Pete says:

      Yes, that price would seem steep to someone who doesn’t seem to have actually looked at github, who doesn’t read the developer’s replies here about the costs that need to be covered, who gives no weight to the fact that the developer is basically responsible for your ability to actually use Kodi on Android at all, and who makes massive oversimplifications about the product.

  20. koying says:

    For the record, I totally agree with the content of this article.

    FWIW, I considered making SPMC a paying app as well. It’s basically the anticipation of the shitstorm Scott is into now that made me cave in (plus the realization that Kodi is just too big to properly support on my own with a day job).

    Haters, please move on. Don’t forget Kodi on Android is on life support. Pissing off the couple of devs still supporting it is not a wise move…

    • Magister says:

      You and Davilla’s work is always appreciated Koying. I have been using you and Davila’s coding since the Ouya and the Pivos. Now I have SPMC installed on my Shield. Don’t even bother reading comments or forums. The world is filled with idiots.

    • AFTVnews says:

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Your opinion means a lot to the community.

      • koying says:

        NP. Don’t hesitate to ping me directly for comments on Kodi-related matters, if you so wishes.
        I might not read your blog daily, and we all know a couple of days is eternity, those days ;)

    • Tinwarble says:

      I will 2nd what Magister said. What you and davilla, as well as some others, have done is much appreciated by many of us, especially (for my part) what you have done to bring features to the Nvidia SATV.

      I for one would not blame you, and would support you if you did decide to charge for SPMC (though I do prefer it free ;) ), if that is what it took to keep development going. And I’m sure that many, many others would as well.

      It’s really unfortunate that the things that happened within Team Kodi happened. It just seems that Kodi/XBMC’s history just keeps repeating itself.

      But don’t let the minority of these idiotic detractors bring you down, there are people that have your back and appreciate what you do and have done.

    • Unknown says:

      Agreed koying very few developers are involved in Kodi as a platform now take the arguments out of it from the platform forks.

  21. D says:

    I’m glad I visited today to find MrMC. THIS is awesome. This is exactly what Kodi needs to do to become fully mainstream.

    I can sideload Kodi. But I don’t want to take the time anymore. My devices are all out of date and there is no way to update them quickly. At the end of the day I’m too tired to set everything up to download and sideload the latest. So I’ve been wanting an official app store version for a long time now that I could just click on ‘update’ and it would pull it from the particular app store I’m on. Kudos!

    And finally I can pay these guys a one time fee for all their efforts over all these years. Perfect. Thank you. I will head to the Amazon app store right now and buy this. My only request is that you don’t drop support for this ever. No matter the vitriol you may receive from haters who would never pay anyway. Many have become spoiled and now feel entitled from too much free open source software. I for one am happy to pay you guys. Keep up the great work.

    And I also don’t use any plugins. I just play my local content, so as long as it has the codecs to play everything, I’m happy. No need for all the ‘free tv’ crap out there IMHO. For me, I just want the smoothest video playback on my devices. No little skips ever. That’s all I ask.

    Keep going guys. You’re work is appreciated. But again, ensure you keep it up to date for me. I don’t want my $7 investment to end up being a regret in time. Keep up the good work.

  22. Jerry says:

    It is unfortunate that the first article on this didn’t have that additional details but I know it isn’t this site’s fault because that information wasn’t on the MrMCs site and not easily accessible. My initial gut reaction was also “look at these scammers making money off the hard work put into KODI” but it is good to know that these developers were involved in the port over to Android. Personally, there are a lot of great add-ons that I use and I don’t think I could go back without using the legal add-ons that I use now but I could see there could be a market for this software (although, I am sure they will do much better if/when the price drops).

    • AFTVnews says:

      I definitely wish I could go back in time and rewrite that initial article with what I know now. I did add an update that links to this article, for what that’s worth. Unfortunately, most of the information in this article only surfaced as a result of the previous one.

      I have seen my fair share of scam Kodi forks, with many of them having the gall to pester me about recommending/advertising their app.

  23. Christopher Loughrey says:

    The problem is, on my Amazon page anyway, they are charging over 8 dollars for an app that is made of 90% freeware developed by the hard work of other Kodi developers who will not share in the profit generated. The Kodi developers deserve money for all they do, including 8 dollars, but my problem is that this guy, who indeed was a former Kodi developer, is pocketing the money for an app that piggybacks off the hard work of the rest of the kodi team that gets nothing. I have repeatedly asked him to credit the efforts of the kodi developers on his website, and agree to offer a percentage of the profit to the Kodi team, but he repeatedly dodges that part of my complaint and instead goes on a lying rant about his app being more stable on the Fire TV than the Kodi one. He charges significantly more than other app developers do for their apps on the store that are original, f he charged for this app in line with other apps then I wouldn’t have an issue. But until he either drops the price in line with other apps or contributes some of that large profit to the Kodi team than I’ll retract my statement

    • Tinwarble says:

      Good grief!!!

      First off Kodi, isn’t “freeware” it’s open source that happens to be free. Open source doesn’t have to be free and Team Kodi/XBMC Foundation could start charging for it at any time.

      Second, Team Kodi doesn’t care if other people use the source code and charge for it, so I don’t know why you think you have a right to be upset about it. The source code is there for anyone to use in anyway they wish, as long as it’s re-branded, so your whole asinine argument is irrelevant.

      If you don’t like that MrMC is charging for it, then don’t use it. But take your feigned indignation somewhere else.

    • Pete says:

      LOL nobody cares whether you retract your statement or not. It is ill-informed and you’re basically the internet comments version of a ranting customer who has no case and is raving loudly in a store in order to get something (even if that’s just some attention).

      This developer is “piggybacking” on his own hard work – he’s basically the reason Kodi exists on Android and is one of the top contributors to its codebase.

      I’ll retract my statements when you actually read and process the information in the main post and the comments. :)

  24. Justin says:

    If you can’t take the time to read, perhaps you should refrain from posting a response.

  25. Mark says:

    I’ve been sideloading Kodi on tvOS (two devices) for over 9 months now and am kinda over it. I recently shelled out for MrMC simply to reduce the hassle factor.

    I dont use most addins, so that wasnt a major loss – Although I do miss the photo screen saver addin availabel on Kodi that is able to use all my NAS phots, not jusy the 100 or so that AppleTV can access…

    So far quite happy with the experience – No better or worse than Kodi UI and playback, but I do appreciate the auto app updates!

  26. Unknown says:

    How do you know the contributions of Devs you left two main development staff off that list

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