Kodi / XBMC is without doubt the top HTPC media centre software package on the internet today and well deserved of its popularity. With many of our readers new to the home media centre scene this guide is designed to get your media centre from a basic PC to the point where you are watching movies and listening to music. This will only scratch the surface of what you can do with this piece of software but will get you well on the way to building your system.
Kodi / XBMC is now available on a range of platforms but we are focusing on a PC with a Microsoft Windows operating system installed on it. It will run on the majority of Windows operating systems but we recommend using Windows 8 / Windows 10 for the stability, support and most importantly the fast boot time. Kodi / XBMC is not too resource hungry and will run on the majority of hardware platforms but when you get into some of the more advaced features of the product you will see the benefits of a powerful system. So the first stage of this process is to get your hardware put together and your operating system installed.
What You Will Need to Setup and Install Kodi
- A Windows PC with a current hardware spec
- A Windows 7 or higher operating system
- A collection of media files to play
Next you will need to obtain the latest Kodi / XBMC software package from the official website found at:
The latest available version is Kodi 15.0 Isengard (correct at time of posting). The software is free to use and the installation file is a 65 MB download. Please be aware that to install the Kodi / XBMC software you will need a total of 155MB of free disk space.
- Once downloaded, run the kodi-15.0-Isengard.exe file from your downloads folder. You will be presented with the following screen. Please read all content and then hit “Next”.
- The next screen you will see is the Kodi 15.0 Isenguard license agreement. If you are happy with the terms set out in this policy then click the “I Agree” button.
- The third screen you will see in the process allows you to choose the components available for install. Removing components will reduce the required disk space for your install but if you don’t know what you are doing here leave all components ticked. Kodi needs all of these components to complete different tasks and removing them could take features away from your system. The install will detect your installed version of DirectX and if the install package contains a newer version it will recommend installing this also. Click on “Next” to continue.
- Next you need to select the folder you want to install the Kodi / XBMC software into. The default location is C:\Program Files\Kodi . Hit the “Browse” button if you would like to change this or “Next” to continue.
- Once your install folder has been selected you need to choose what shortcuts to create in your Programs menu. The default location of “Kodi” is usually the best option and this can always be changed at a later date. At this point you have set all of the install configuration Kodi / XBMC requires and you are ready to hit the “Install” button. Kodi will now take around 2 minutes to install the software.
- The initial installation is now complete. Tick the “Run Kodi” check box and then hit “Finish”.
- When you launch Kodi / XBMC for the first time you are presented with the following screen. This is the standard easy to use layout of your new HTPC media centre with the default Skin set. Here you can browse between your different media types like Pictures, Videos and Music and access the settings of your system.
Next we need to tell Kodi where to look for your media files and we have to do this for each media type. We will start with Music. Scroll over to the “Music” option and hover your mouse over it. It will drop down with the two options “Files” and “Add-ons”. Select “Files”.
- The following screen will be presented. Select “ Add music”.
- You are now in a position to add the folders that contain your music media files. First click “Browse” and navigate to the folder that stores your music. It will then ask you to specify a name for this folder. This can be anything you like and if you have just one folder for your music media files just call it “Music”. Each of your albums can be stored in its own sub folder. Kodi will scan everything within the location you specified. If you have more than one folder for your music files then you need to follow this process for each. Click “OK” and you have successfully added you music library to Kodi.
- Now, when you select “Music” on the main Kodi / XBMC screen you will be presented with all of your albums and tracks in your library. Kodi will automatically download all of your album covers and box art for all that it can identify. Simply select an album, browse to the track you want and click it to play!
You now need to follow this exact same process for your Picture and Video libraries to complete your Kodi / XBMC setup.
This post will get your HTPC media centre up to the point where it is useable but the list of possibilities you can do with Kodi is endless. Kodi allows you to customise the look and feel of your media centre with a range of prebuilt skins ready for you to download. There is also a huge Kodi addons library available where you can install additional features like catch up TV and social media. It also allows the integration of gaming and you can give your PC the look, feel and usability of some of the latest games consoles. Browse some of our other guides now to fully customise your home entertainment system and make the most of your Kodi / XBMC media centre.