Everything you need to know about Kodi 18 ‘Leia’
It’s almost time for Kodi 18 ‘Leia’ to launch, and our guide tells you all there is know about the next version of Kodi, including its release date, how to download the beta, and all the features, skins, and new builds set to break cover in the future – including the new Windows 64-bit support.
Though Kodi 17 Krypton has just arrived, there is of course another version already in the works – and this time it’s named after iconic Star Wars character, Princess Leia. Yes, this time, the Kodi community were not consulted for their input on the next update’s name, with the good Princess’ moniker being chosen as a “fitting tribute” to the late Carrie Fisher.
All good stuff. But what exactly can we expect from Kodi 18 Leia? When does it come out, and how does it improve on the only-just-released Kodi 17 Krypton? You have questions, we have answers. Well, some answers, and some suspicions. Read on for all your Kodi 18 Leia news.
Related: What is Kodi and is it legal?
Kodi 18 Leia release date – When is it coming out?
Kodi 18 Leia may be a way off, but we already have a beta which you can try out for yourself right now.
Unfortunately, there’s no word on just when the full version will be arriving, but you can bet the final release date won’t be until 2018.
Why? Well, Kodi 16 was released in February 2016, while Krypton landed this February. See a pattern?
That means we’re expecting to see Kodi 18 properly launched in February 2018, though the exact date is still mystery.
Until then, read on for a full guide to what to expect from Leia – and how you can get early access and download the latest beta builds today.
Kodi 18 Leia download – Get the latest build today
Tempted to check out the beta?
You can head over to the official Kodi site and choose the right version for you, then go to the Development Builds tab and download the latest Nightly build.
It should be said, before downloading any beta, that this obviously won’t be the final version, and as such, will come with several bugs and is likely to be generally unstable.
We therefore recommend using caution here, as downloading the Leia beta when you’re already running Kodi 17 will upgrade your existing software. If you don’t mind the bugs and risking some add-on compatibility issues, then get downloading now.
But for most users, we’d recommend sticking with Krypton for the foreseeable future
Kodi 18 Leia features – What’s being updated?
As mentioned, ‘Leia’ is in beta for the time being, so the full list of new features is yet to be confirmed.
You can check out the changelog for a list of the current features available, and while it’s somewhat sparse, there looks to be some significant updates for the Android TV version –and a few features worth taking note of coming to Kodi in general.
Here’s a quick rundown of the main new features:
Windows 64-bit support
The Kodi devs have announced that v18 of the software will come as a full 64-bit Windows app – something users have been asking for for years. That means Leia will run in 64-bit mode on all capable platforms.
In an update, the devs wrote: “Kodi is a very complicated piece of software and there wasn’t a simple switch to say give me 64-bit. Since 2012 users have been asking for a 64-bit version as it was supposed to be a lot better.
“…we are finally in a state that Kodi is usable and near feature complete. There are still some missing packages and add-ons but we hope that those get done quite soon to have it on par with Kodi as you already know.”
The 64-bit version of the software is available to try out right now, with users able to download the 64-bit installer and install it on top of their current Kodi version. However, the software is not yet in its final form, so be warned that downloading and installing may lead to some unexpected bugs until the official release of Leia arrives.
Kodi content on the home screen
Here’s how this new feature is described on the Kodi blog.
Related: Best TVs
With Kodi 18, Kodi library content will now appear on the home screen of your Android TV device. It’ll be joined by full voice and search integration, which means you’ll be able to use Google voice search to filter your Kodi library directly from the Android screen. Using voice search will allow you to bring up movies, tv shows, actors, albums or artists.
“You will get suggested content like unwatched random movies,and episodes to continue binge watching them till the end. For the music enthusiasts we show you random albums from your library to keep your listening as diverse as possible. Clicking on one of those tiles will jump straight to the information panel or listing inside Kodi where you can hit play.”
Sick of using a keyboard or other external device to enter text? Well, the developers behind Kodi have managed to get voice-to-text typing working, meaning you can now enter search queries and alike using the same button on your remote as for the Voice search.
As the blog explains: “To make use of this feature simply do the same as you normally do but instead of typing with the keyboard use the microphone button on the remote and speak.”
Here’s a video of the feature in action.
The devs say that the feature will be a bit temperamental, and might require the odd bit of correction now and then, but it’s a great feature to have, and should make things a lot easier for anyone using Kodi on an Android TV device, or any device powered by Android that’s running Kodi.
No more Vista support
If you’re running Kodi on Windows Vista, you may want to start thinking about upgrading your OS as the company has announced Kodi 18 will no longer support the aging Microsoft operating system. If you do happen to be languishing on Vista, you’ll either have to upgrade to a newer version of Windows or keep using Kodi 17.
On the bright side, the devs have confirmed you’ll be able to use Kodi 17 as long as you want, saying it will “continue to run without problems”. Certain add-ons might might miss out on future updates, but as the devs explain: “The main part of Kodi however will never stop functioning and playing your local video files, music or live tv setup will simply keep working.”
Kodi 18 Leia skin – Will it look different?
The interface look was updated from version 16 which sported the old “Confluence” skin to version 17, which has the new “Estuary” skin, but at this point it doesn’t look like much will change in the upcoming version in terms of aesthetics.
Of course, you’ll be able to add your own skins when the full version is released, so you’re by no means limited to the stock experience. The current list of skins can be found on the official site here, but there’ll be a whole host of options available from other resources when the full version launches.
Let us know what you think of Kodi in the comments.