The best add-ons for the Kodi media player and how to install them

Check out these add-ons to enhance your viewing experience

Kodi, the media player formerly known as XBMC, has a lot of hidden talents thanks to its huge collection of Kodi add-ons that bring even more features and functionality to the media player.

But on its surface Kodi is already a fantastic media player that has become almost the default software for many home theatre PCs thanks to its slick interface that has been built especially for TVs. It's also the go-to player on a variety of Android-based media players and set-top boxes.

You can unlock all sorts of new abilities with the wild world of Kodi add-ons. These give you access to a universe of streamed audio and video, making Kodi the only software you need to act as the front-end of your entire home entertainment setup.

How to install the Fusion Kodi add-on manager

7 essential add ons for the Kodi media player

Before we get to the add-ons, we'll need to walk through adding Fusion Installer, an add-on manager for Kodi. The default Kodi install does not come with a full list of add-ons; instead you get a heavily curated selection of "official" add-ons that misses out on some of the best. Fusion fixes that, giving you full access to a whole suite of add-on repositories.

To install Fusion, follow these steps:

1. Fire up Kodi, then go to System > File Manager on the main page.

2. Select Add Source.

3. In the field where it asks you to enter a path for the media location, type in http://fusion.tvaddons.ag

4. You can also enter a name into the field to identify the source (Fusion).

5. Fusion will then be added to your list of sources.

6. Go back to the main page of Kodi, and select System. Click on the Add-ons tab, then select Install from Zip (you may have to click on '..' to navigate up to the top level of the add-ons tree).

7. A list of sources will appear. Select Fusion. Then select start-here. Finally select plugin.program.addoninstaller-1.2.0.zip. (The version number may have changed by the time you read this, of course).

8. A note saying that Fusion is installed and active should briefly flash on screen. In some cases you might have difficulty starting the add-on, but if you close and restart Kodi, it should resolve it. There should be a brief popup saying that it's building a database of add-ons.

9. Now when you click on Programs from the main page of Kodi, Addon Installer should be listed under installed add-ons. Select it, and it will take you to the directory, from which you can select any add-on you'd like – including all the ones listed below.

Now to take a look at some of the most polished add-ons available for Kodi!

Exodus

The best add ons for the Kodi media player and how to install them

Where to find it: Fusion installer

Easily the best TV and movie streaming Kodi add-on around, Exodus is the "sequel" to the Gensis add-on. That was once just about the most popular Kodi add-on in existence.

The Exodus Kodi add-on searches through a whole library of sources for each programme, giving you a much better shot at finding a good stream to chew on. It's a very well-curated library, and deserves to be the first port of call for any curious types new to the Kodi multiverse.

Plex

Where to find it: Plex Forums

The fact that Plex -  a competitor to Kodi - has now released a Kodi add-on that brings its attractive UI, powerful Plex Server software and other great features to the Kodi platform, came as a surprise to many, as the services are often seen as fierce competitors.

While many people may think adding Plex to Kodi is a bit wasteful as they share many of the same features, it's actually a fantastic move. Now users can have the slick and professional Plex experience alongside the flexibility of Kodi.

If you're a home theater obsessive, then the Plex add-on for Kodi is a must, though you do need to have a Plex Pass subscription to use it.

SALTS (Stream all the Sources)

The best add ons for the Kodi media player and how to install them

Where to find it: Fusion installer

The name gives away the lead benefit of the SALTS Kodi add-on, which stands for Stream All The Sources. It scans through a morass of streaming sources, letting you find live links at various streaming qualities to suit your connection and whatever display you're using.

It's a very populist Kodi add-on, focused on the kinds of content the most people are looking to watch rather than odd genre picks found down the back of the TV sofa. As such it's better for catching up with "box sets" rather than expanding your tastes with some bizarro or genre content.

iPlayer WWW

The best add ons for the Kodi media player and how to install them

Where to find it: Default Kodi repository

No prizes for guessing what the iPlayer WWW Kodi add-on is all about. It's a Kodi interface for the BBC iPlayer streaming service.

Bang up to date with more official takes on this excellent service, it even reminds you that you need a UK TV license to watch content.

The real thrill of iPlayer WWW is that its very matter-of-fact interface makes it much easier to find shows to watch, quickly, than the iPlayer UIs you'll find built into TVs and game consoles.

Genesis

7 essential add ons for the Kodi media player

Where to find it: Default Kodi repository

Much like the stand-alone application Popcorn Time, Genesis makes us a little queasy from a copyright point of view. It's an app that streams TV and movies from a variety of online sources, not all of which are legit.

Its legality aside, however, it is an amazing technical achievement. It provides a very convenient curated list of movies and TV shows, drawn from BitTorrent and direct download cloud drives.

From a user perspective, it very easy – just select your sorting criteria (IMDB rating, release date, popularity) or perform an actor or movie search. A list of hits with covers and IMDB info will appear, and you just select the movie or TV show you want. It will show you a list of sources that have that video available. Select the one you want, wait for the buffering period, then watch away.

Navi-X

7 essential add ons for the Kodi media player

Where to find it: Fusion installer

Navi-X is a classic Kodi add-on. It's a gigantic site scraper that lets you search through a giant mountain of uploaded video content from a mass of sources including eBaum's world, the BBC Archive and YouTube's Shows section.

If you're out for an add-on that'll let you leisurely flick through some favourites for something good to watch, this probably isn't it. But it is useful to see what other Kodi'ers are watching. You can filter results by 'most viewed' over the last day or week.

UK Turk Playlists

The best add ons for the Kodi media player and how to install them

Where to find it: Fusion installer

This Kodi add-on offers a particularly well-curated library of links, with some excellent array of genre movie picks on hand.

If you fancy watching something from the 1930s, rather than three months ago, it should be the first add-on you head to.

It also has a very wide-ranging library of oddities too, such as CCTV camera streams from across the world. UK Turk is perfect if you're out for something a little out of the norm.

Castaway

The best add ons for the Kodi media player and how to install them

Where to find it: Fusion installer

If you want to stream live channels, whether they're plain old TV or sport stations, you need to check out the Castaway Kodi add-on. It features many TV channels from across the globe, including lots of favourites from the US and UK.

Castaway aggregates a whole bunch of third-party TV streaming sites. This makes it very powerful, if not the friendliest service to browse around, until you start to get to know its library a bit.