How to Setup TV Shows in Kodi

Generally speaking Kodi is an extremely easy product to use and you can be launching your media content within minutes of installation. One area that people tend to struggle with is how to setup TV shows and many have the issue of Kodi TV Shows not showing up. They can browse to the files and launch them but they don’t get a “TV Shows” item on the main menu and don’t get all of the box art like they do with their movie and music collections. Movies are easy as in most cases Kodi can work out what the movie is from the file name alone. For TV shows Kodi needs a little more help to determine the title of the TV show. It also needs the season or series the show is from. This guide will show you how to setup TV shows in Kodi.

Best Kodi Additions to Get the Most out of your TV Shows

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How to Setup TV Shows In Kodi

There are four stages to setup TV Shows in Kodi; Adding a TV Show source, Creating the main menu item for TV Shows, Configuring your your TV Show file names and then updating your TV show libraries. All files must follow the Kodi Tv show naming convention. For this guide I am using a custom skin but the process is the same.

Setup TV Shows in Kodi – Add TV Shows to Kodi Library

Stage 1: Adding a Source for TV Shows in Kodi

Here you are simply telling Kodi which folder on your computer contains your TV Show library. To do this navigate to “Videos” on the main Kodi menu and press down. Select “Files” and the choose “Add Video Source”. You will be presented with the following screen:

Setup TV Shows in Kodi

Add Video Source for TV Shows

Click on the “Browse” button and navigate to the folder location where you want to keep all of your TV Shows. If you don’t have one get yourself a large internal hard drive or a portable USB hard drive for your TV show collections. This must be a separate folder from any other video content. When you select the folder it will bring you back out to the above “Add Video Source” screen. Where it says “Enter a name for this media source” enter “TV Shows” if it hasn’t populated already and click “OK”.

The next screen shown below is called “Set content” and here we are telling Kodi the type of content found within the video source we have just configured. Where is says “This directory contains” push return a few times until it changes to “TV shows”.

Kodi TV show menu item

Kodi TV Show Box Art Settings

All of the other settings on this screen can be left as default and you can now click “OK”. You have now completed stage one and added a TV Show Video Source to Kodi.

Stage 2: Adding a TV Show Main Menu Item in Kodi

Now that Kodi knows where your TV Shows are located you now want to add them to your main menu. On the main Kodi menu select “Settings”. Next choose “Skin Settings” and then “Customise home menu”. You will then be presented with the following screen:

kodi tv show naming convention

Set the Kodi TV Show Menu Item

For this guide we want the TV Shows menu item to appear after Movies so navigate to “Movies” and click on the little + sign shown in the image above. This will create a new menu item underneath Movies. Next, choose the new blank menu item that appears and on the right hand side select “Action”. On the screen that follows select “Video Library” and then select “TV Shows” (this is the part you configured in stage 1). When you click OK you will be brought back to the above screen shot. Select “Label” and call it “TV Shows”. This is the name for the item that will appear on the main Kodi home screen. Stage 2 is now complete. Exit back to the Kodi menu and it will now have a TV Shows item linked to your video source.

Stage 3 – Configuring your TV Show file names for Kodi – Kodi Tv Show Naming Convention

In order to work out what the video content is Kodi requires that you follow a specific Kodi Tv show naming convention and folder structure. Using The Walking Dead as an example Kodi needs to know what the show is and what season it is from. Under the TV Shows folder you created in stage 1 create a new folder called “The Walking Dead”. Go into that folder and create a sub folder for each series using the naming convention “Season 1”, “Season 2” etc. Now copy your TV Show video files into their respective season folders.

You should now be in a position where within your TV Shows folder you have a sub folder called “The Walking Dead” and within that you have sub folders for each season. We now need to rename the actual media files to the Kodi Tv show naming convention. The standard used is:

show name_s01e01.extension

For an mp4 file containing the Walking Dead, season 1, episode 1 we would name the file:

The Walking Dead_s01e01.mp4

If for example you are using a file that contains multiple episodes such as an ISO ripped from a DVD you can use the following:

The Walking Dead_s01e01e02e03e04e05e06.iso

The diagram below shows how your TV show files should appear in the correct folder structure. MP4 files have been used in the example.

Kodi TV Show Folder Structure

Kodi TV Show Folder Structure & Naming Convention

This simple Kodi Tv show naming convention tells Kodi exactly what your video files contain and it uses these to determine what box art to apply and what preview to give. Rename all files within your collection to this naming convention and you have completed stage 3.

Stage 4: Update your TV Show Libraries in Kodi

You have arranged your files into the Kodi Tv show naming convention and you are now at the final stage of the setup TV shows in Kodi process. You are now ready to pull in all of the box art for your TV Shows. On the main Kodi menu select “TV Shows”. On the screen that follows press “Left” on the directional buttons and then choose “Update Library”. Kodi will now run through all of your TV Show folders and try to identify what the files contain. It will automatically download box art and previews for everything it can work out. Once this process is complete you will see all of your TV Show content including box art and previews.

Have a run through and see if there are any files that it could not identify or any that it has downloaded the wrong information for. To correct these simply navigate to the show in question, press the “c” button and select refresh. Kodi will provide a TV Show list to choose from and search functions for if the correct show is missing. Choose the correct TV show and it will correct the selected item.

You are now finished and you have successfully setup TV shows in Kodi! On the Kodi home screen select “TV Shows” and you will now see your complete TV Show collection with full box art and text based previews.

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