Previously known as Xbox Media Center (XBMC), home theater software Kodi has been released on the Xbox One store for the first time. Detailed within an official blog post, the downloadable release is currently in early stages of development and is missing some of the functionality found in the PC version of the software.
Some of the missing features include a lack of access to the Xbox One Blu-ray drive or attached external hard drives, limited access to a portion of the Xbox One video and music folders, and network access being limited to NFS:// shares only. Beyond that, additional plug-ins and add-ons may not be available or even work within the Xbox One interface as of yet.
Detailing development progress, a Kodi representative wrote “What you should really understand and keep remembering is that it is still in early stages of development and has very rough edges, might not be as stable as the regular version and may even be missing some functions. Due to the nature of how UWP works our hands are tied in some areas.”
This Xbox One release constitutes a full development circle as it relates to Microsoft consoles. The first version of the software, XBMC, was created to operate on the original Xbox console 15 years ago. Of course, owners of the original Xbox had to hack the console in order to install XBMC. Conversely, Xbox One owners just have to search for Kodi in the app store and install without any hacking required.
Going forward, the plan is to continue to update Kodi for the Xbox One and the Windows Store simultaneously. On the Kodi forums, early reported problems of the Xbox One version include an inability to work with the Plex plugin, temporary audio distortion issues when watching live TV, issues with the weather app, and difficulty accepting commands from an IR Remote.
Over the past few years, the Kodi software has become extremely popular within the piracy community. While Kodi is completely legal to use when streaming video and music that you own, a variety of third party add-ons have made illegally streaming Hollywood films or watching live, copyright-protected events like UFC fights extremely simple.
This led to the sale of “Kodi boxes,” basically taking hardware like an Amazon Fire TV stick, converting the software to Kodi, downloading the illegal add-ons, and reselling the hardware to people that don’t want to pay for premium cable anymore. The primary customer for these devices is typically the private home user, but some resellers have targeted local bars and restaurants that want to provide access to live sporting events without paying any fees.
If third-party developers customize their illegal apps to work with Kodi on the Xbox One platform, Microsoft may simply remove Kodi from both the Xbox One store and the Windows Store. Apple has already refused to offer Kodi on the App Store, specifically citing the use of third-party add-ons as a potential problem. Similar to owners of the original Xbox, iPad and iPhone owners have to hack their devices with custom software to utilize Kodi.
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