The latest Kodi v15 Isengard, which was released in July 2015, includes an improved Kodi Add-on Manager that helps you to find apps more easily.
But you’re probably still wondering:
There are over 800 interesting Kodi add-ons in the official repository, so which are the best Kodi add-ons that you should absolutely be using to get more video and music content and to improve your experience?
In this post, I will highlight the most useful plugins from the official and unofficial repositories sorted by the frequency I use them.
Please note that this list is based on my personal ranking backed by 15 years of experience in home theater computers and XBMC (now Kodi) media center.
Here is the list of the best Kodi add-ons from the official repository.
If you are not yet familiar how to install official and unofficial plugins, check out this step by step guide.
I have included “Where:” description under each app, so that you know from which category you can find it in the Add-on Manager.
So, let’s dive in…
If you just want to sit back and let your TV suggest what to watch next, I would recommend installing LazyTV.
LazyTV allows you to start watching your favorite TV show playlist and once you have finished watching a TV program, it will automatically suggest the next unwatched episode or show.
You can configure LazyTV to either produce a list of next episodes for each TV series automatically or launch a randomized playlist.
If you are not already using Dropbox to backup your photos from your mobile phone and other sources, maybe now it is a good time to reconsider your backup strategy.
Dropbox is a great way to backup photos from all of the phones in your household into one place.
In order to watch all your photos on the big screen in your living room, Dbmc is a useful Dropbox add-on that allows you to easily view photos from your account.
Trakt remembers everything that you have watched in the past. You can get statistics about your viewing habits and get recommendations on movies and TV shows you might like.
After installing Trakt, it will ask you to authorize your trakt.tv account by entering a provided PIN code from trakt.tv/pin/999 page.
Now, you can launch Trakt and it will synchronize your movie and TV show library with their database.
You can also use Trakt together with Plex and Emby media server applications if you prefer managing your media with a centralized media server app.
Would you like to have a photo screensaver similar to Apple TV on your Kodi device? With this Multi Slideshow Screensaver, you can showcase and watch your photos on the big screen.
I have set up a Multi Slideshow Screen saver so that it will randomly show photos from my library after 3 minutes of idle time.
My kids especially love this screensaver. This is also a good way to relax and take a stroll down memory lane with your old photos.
In my opinion, HDHomeRun network-attached TV tuner is the easiest way to watch live TV streams with Kodi.
If you don’t have HDHomeRun yet, you can read this DVR guide to learn how to get started.
I would recommend getting familiar with this HDHomeRun app while waiting for the upcoming SiliconDust HDHomeRun DVR, which may be the missing piece in your Digital Video Recording system.
TV Guide gives you an overview of the selected channels and tells you what’s on TV right now with a great looking EPG interface.
This TV Guide plugin is especially useful if you want to combine both streams (in.strm file format) from your TV tuner such as HDHomeRun and from online video streaming source.
You can either use your own XMLTV file that includes EPG data as a source or YouSee.tv service.
You can build an XMLTV file for free with MC2XML or if you want more detailed TV listings, you should try Schedules Direct.
Would you like to watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant or HBO directly from the same user interface?
PlayOn Media Server (learn more) is the only way to stream over 60 premium online channels to your Raspberry Pi 2 or any other Kodi device.
You can add PlayOn as a UPnP source, but the PlayOn Browser makes it much easier for you.
The PlayOn Browser categorizes all the media in the PlayOn web interface so that you can browse the content directly with your remote control.
I have recently started using Tidal music streaming service and I really enjoy using it.
Tidal has superior sound quality (Flac 1411 kbps – lossless) compared to services like Spotify (96 – 320 kbps).
Tidal HiFi music streaming service costs $25.99 per month, but if you really enjoy listening to music with lossless high fidelity sound quality, it is certainly worth it.
You can also watch HD music videos (some of them are available exclusively only on Tidal).
YouTube needs no introduction as it is the biggest video-sharing website in the world.
This plugin has some nice features in addition to the search functionality such as quickly viewing what’s popular right now or watching live streams.
Remember to add YouTube to your home screen as well if you are frequently using it.
Arctic: Zephyr by jurialmunkey will make your Kodi user interface clean and minimalistic to improve user experience.
This is my new favorite skin.
As you may have noticed, most of the screenshots I have used in this post are using Arctic: Zephyr skin.
If you prefer a darker theme, there is also another Arctic: Zephyr modification for Emby available with a darker color scheme.
Other very popular skin choices are Aeon Nox and Amber and here you can find a more detailed Kodi skin guide.
Wait! There are still a couple plugins that have not yet made it to the official Kodi add-on repository.
I have tested all these 5 useful apps and they are compatible with v15 Isengard and v14 Helix releases.
Spotimc is a fantastic plug-in to bring Spotify online music service to your media center.
It has been in alpha stage for a long time, but it is still the easiest way to get a real 10-foot interface for Spotify.
The Spotimc allows you to browse new stuff, look for playlists, and search your favorite music.
Where: Emby for Kodi repository
Did you know that Emby Media Server has an add-on for Kodi that brings you a super easy way to view your content?
The new Emby plugin enables smart connectivity to bring your Emby library into Kodi.
Plex Media Center is another great way to centrally manage media files around your home.
Plexbmc is a simple script that integrates Plex media library into your user interface. For seamless Plex integration, I would recommend using an Amber skin.
Using Plex Media Server as a back-end and Plexbmc as a front-end, you can easily view the movies or TV shows on your big screen where you left off, for example, on your iPad.
Where: Angelscry repository
If you play games or simply want to launch external applications such as a web browser from the media center interface, then the Advanced Launcher plugin is the way to go.
You can set thumbnails for each application so that you will get a neat looking application launchpad. Or add new app launchers as favorites and make them accessible on your home menu.
I use the Advanced Launcher, for example, to launch Mozilla Firefox in fullscreen mode to browse certain video streaming websites.
Where: Lunatixz Repository
PseudoTV Live turns your movie and video collection into an EPG that will look like normal cable TV.
This is a great way to browse your local media collection, online channels and HDHomeRun live TV streams as PseudoTV Live helps you to discover what to watch next.
The script allows you to define your own TV channels and rules to discover content on those channels.
This program is a tinkerer’s dream add-on. You can do so much with PseudoTV Live, but it requires quite a bit of research to learn how to configure it properly.
To recap, these are, in my opinion, the top Kodi (XBMC) add-ons and 5 favorite unofficial repositories to improve the HTPC experience.
Now it’s time to actually start using these add-ons and make your Kodi even more user-friendly.
To make the process easy for you, I made a Kodi checklist that outlines the exact steps you need to take to configure Kodi, install add-ons and customize skins (and more).
This Kodi checklist also includes more useful add-ons that I didn’t include in this post.
Download the free checklist now:
Free Bonus: To make your first step easy, I would suggest that you download the PDF version of this Kodi checklist.