The third unusual feature is that VidOn’s expecting to make money based on subscription services rather than just hardware sales. All of these things make the VidOn Box an interesting media player… whether they make it a good media player depends on what you want to use it for. At the front you’ll see a small infrared receiver designed for use with the included wireless remote. The box is made of plastic, but it has a classy metallic look thanks to a gold-colored plastic panel that wraps around the top and bottom.
It comes in an attractive, well packaged black box that also includes an instruction guide for setting up the system (basically it tells you how to plug it into your TV) and a Top Up Card with a scratch-off code for your first year of VidOn Membership. Note that with only two USB ports, there’s not a lot of room for connecting peripherals. There’s an infrared remote control in the box with buttons for home, back, menu, volume, and power as well as direction keys and a select button in the center. You’ll have to remove a bit of plastic from the battery compartment before you can use the remote for the first time, and when you do this you may notice that the remote uses a watch-style CR2032 battery instead of the AA or AAA batteries more commonly used in remote controls.
For instance the YouTube app allows you to use the wireless remote to navigate to the search box and an on-screen keyboard to enter a search term.
Fortunately XBMC works pretty well with the remote, which is good because the main selling point for the VidOn Box is probably its XBMC features.
When the VidOn Box first runs, you’ll have to navigate through a series of setup menus to connect to the internet, adjust your screen resolution, and check for updates. From Files you can view files stored on the built-in storage or on a USB drive or on a shared network drive or UPnP device. In practice, I found that some of the add-ons I downloaded didn’t work all that well. On the other hand, VidOn promises pro support and updates to subscribers as well as additional features which could be released in the future. If you want to give VidOn XBMC a try without buying a VidOn Box you can just buy a membership and install the app yourself.
The Rikomagic MK80 with an Allwinner A80 CPU, the Probox 2 EX with an Amlogic S802-H processor, and the Rikomagic MK902 II with a Rockchip RK3288 chip all ran circles around the VidOn Box in the Antutu, CF-Bench, and 3DMark Ice Storm tests. But if all you want is a decent media player that can handle 1080p videos and some online media, most of those devices are probably overkill. As a basic XBMC-based media player, the VidOn Box is a decent little device that would probably sell for an even lower price if VidOn would sell the thing without a membership card.
The same is true of games, web browsers, and other apps which weren’t really designed to be used with a remote. Devices that are designed specifically for use in the living room need different user interfaces than those which are designed for you to hold in your hands — and VidOn did a pretty good job of making the VidOn Box into a living room-friendly machine with a home screen, settings, and XBMC apps that all work well with the included remote.
But once you start installing apps from the Google Play Store you’ll find yourself encountering app after app that expects the VidOn Box to have a touchscreen, which it does not.
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Just handles the cordless air mouse + keyboard in the air, you can quickly and exactly remove the cursor and type directly on the screen to control the PC, Smart TV and Android TV Box. Like many other open source projects, it is driven by a very technical community, and it is not necessarily user-friendly enough for the average person to use and customize.
Fortunately, with a bit of time and the right skin, you can set things up properly and make Kodi (XBMC) very user-friendly and rock solid.
I have spent countless hours crawling forums and websites, trying to get the live TV setup, premium online content, automatic light control, and all the other settings right. Note: These step-by-step instructions have been tested with Kodi v15, but they should also be compatible with v16 (codename Jarvis).
In this extensive and updated guide, I will walk you through the relevant customization tips and tricks needed to take your Kodi installation to the next level. Free Bonus: Do you need to print this guide or download it to your tablet to follow these instructions? This guide is written to be read from start to finish, but you can jump ahead using the links in the table of contents if you feel like you have the basics covered. The latest Kodi 15, like its predecessor version 14, is mostly about minor improvements and cleaning up of the code, which means for us media center enthusiasts, some new features, a faster speed and a lot of bug fixes. You will find that most of the instructions and the tips in this guide are also applicable to the previous Kodi 14 Helix and XBMC 13 Gotham. I have tested all the steps included in this guide with the latest Kodi version 15, so this guide should save you a lot of time in configuring the system properly. Kodi open source media center (formerly known as XBMC) was originally developed for the first-generation Xbox game console. Today, it is available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android (now in the Google Play store) and iOS operating systems and many hardware platforms such as Raspberry Pi. You can use Kodi to play movies, TV shows, home videos, PVR & live TV, music, pictures, and games. In addition, Kodi has a huge list of add-ons for online content like YouTube and Spotify, as well as beautiful skins (themes). Now that you know what Kodi is, let’s dive right in to install, configure and customize it.
The Kodi Entertainment Center is a truly multi device platform, and it can be ran on many different hardware.
After installing the Kodi and launching it for the first time, it is good to perform these basic configuration steps. An RSS feed that scrolls at the bottom of the screen consumes a little computing performance and can be irritating over time, so I would recommend disabling it, unless you really need it.
Now, go back to the main menu by pressing the back key on the remote control or ESC-key on the keyboard.
You may want to change the language of the user interface or select the formats for temperature, time, and date.
If you don’t have much content yet, you can download this free Big Buck Bunny short movie in various formats to test your system.


In order to set up your media library, you will need to add sources to video, music, and photo menus. Tip: You should take the time to rename movie folders with correct titles to avoid wasting time when downloading incorrect covers.
While there are free plugins to get online services working with Kodi such as NetfliXBMC, most of them are quite buggy and limited in terms of functionality.
The easiest way to add almost 60 channels of premium content to Kodi is with the PlayOn Media Server for Windows. In addition to streaming movies, PlayOn allows you to record your favorite shows from Netlix and other services and watch them anywhere, even offline. Once you have the PlayOn media server running on a Windows PC, you can watch Netflix, Hulu, etc. Tip: You can access Netflix and Hulu from any country with a great DNS redirection tool called UnblockUS. You can change the way you present the media library, if you do not like the default view in the movie, music, and photo library. Alternatively, you can use the Advanced Library Filtering which allows you to filter movies by title, genre, and much more. If you have a collection of movies, such as a trilogy of movies, you can also show them as collection. Go back to your movie library, and you will find that all sequels have been grouped as collections. In order to get the most out of your HTPC, there are many apps that will add more functionality to the Kodi. You can go back to videos menu, and you will find the new YouTube add-on under the Video Add-ons folder.
You can go back to music menu, and you will find the new Spotimc add-on under the Music Add-ons folder. If you prefer high fidelity music (even lossless format is available) and music videos, then I would suggest using Tidal instead of Spotify or other online music streaming services. PseudoTV Live is a fantastic add-on that gives you the ability to define your own TV channels and watch all of your movies and TV shows just as you would watch normal cable. For example, you can use PlayLater to record TV shows and movies of Amazon and Netflix, and add them to your library and make channels on Kodi using PseudoTV Live. According to my tests, the latest version of the Pseudo TV Live works fine with Kodi Helix edition.
LazyTV is a great way to randomly discover what to watch next after finishing watching an episode of your favorite TV show. In the settings screen, you can set, for example, whether LazyTV will automatically produce a list of next episodes for each TV Series, or it will create and launch a randomized playlist. I would recommend to check out a Multi Slideshow Screensaver add-on that allows you to view your family photos while listening to music. I would recommend reading my advanced DVR guide for the ultimate TV experience which will show you in detail how to setup a back-end PVR hardware and software system. There are several PVR back-end software, but here are the ones I have tested successfully with my reference HTPCs.
After you have built and configured the back-end server, it is time to configure the front-end server. In general, the steps to set up different PVR clients are quite the same, so these steps should be applicable to most of the PVR clients.
If you do not want to use a back-end server and you just want to stream live TV to your Kodi system, I would suggest using an HDHomeRun network-attached TV tuner. While the default Confluence skin has developed well in the past years, there are many beautiful Kodi (XBMC) skins, such as Arctic: Zephyr, Amber, Aeon Nox, Eminence and Mimic that will improve the overall look of your user interface.
I have listed the top 5 Kodi skins that you should try to find out which one fits to your preferences. In this guide, I am using a skin called Mimic as an example that works very well on all different platforms, including Raspberry Pi.
In this example, I will show you how to add Spotify add-on to main menu using the Mimic skin. Go back to main menu, and the new Spotify menu item has been added with a custom background. If you want to have an easy way to consume media files around your home, I would recommend to use Plex Media Server as a back-end.
Emby Media Server is another great alternative to centrally manage all of your media files. Emby organizes your media files so that it never takes more than a few clicks to find the latest movie or TV show. Emby has an add-on for Kodi (download it here) that brings you a super easy way to view your content. I would suggest using Arctic: Zephyr skin with Emby add-on as it will look great and integrate media nicely into the media library.
Once the installation is complete, you can go to add-on settings to change your media server’s IP address if needed.
If you want to play games on Windows-based HTPC, you can integrate Steam Big Picture with the Kodi main menu using a Steam Launcher add-on.
After downloading and installing Steam, let’s continue to download and install the Steam Launcher add-on.
If you are using a custom HTPC running, for example, a dual-core Intel Core i3 processor, you can use software acceleration and enable video post processing to improve picture quality. If you want to maximize picture quality, you should use Kodi with DSPlayer, which is a DirectShow-based media player for Kodi.
Here, you can learn more about how to setup Kodi DSPlayer with LAV Filters, MadVR, and other advanced stuff. I have always found MadVR and other codes quite complicated to set up, so I would recommend taking DSPlayer route only if you are ready for more advanced tinkering. The add-on is called XBMC Hue Ambilight that allows you to dim lights when a movie starts and put lights back on when the movie stops, or you press the pause button.


Do you want to keep your kids’ programs separate or does your partner prefer different view settings?
You can easily create new Kodi profiles so that you can tailor settings and user interfaces according to each user’s needs. Next time you start up Kodi, you will be prompted by the login screen to select your Kodi user profile to login and continue.
Now that you have spent quite a bit of time configuring Kodi, I will show you how to backup your settings and restore them on another Kodi device. The software doesn't just load a template into the device, there are way too many different remote manufacturers for this to be a viable option, A you manually program each computer key to a button on your remote.
Using the Full Keyboard view you will need to program each letter on the back of your remote to the corresponding letter on the full keyboard view. If you're using XBMC be sure to check the box in the settings "Remote sends keyboard commands", or something similar. Also, the VIZIO equivalent, for the same base price and around $10 cheaper on shipping with most sellers. The VidOn Box comes with a 1-year VidOn membership, but if you want premium features after your first year is up you’ll have to pay for a subscription.
It’s thin, light, and made of soft touch plastic that has an almost velvet-like feel. But once the results popped up, I couldn’t actually click on any of them with the remote. No matter how much companies spruce up the home screen and user interface to make them easy to navigate with a remote control, the apps themselves expect you to be using a touchscreen and they may not play well with remotes. You can also select any audio or video files you find through this file browser to start playing them immediately, with no need to launch XBMC or another media player app. Overall the settings are far more remote control-friendly than the default Android settings menus. It’s loaded on the box and once you login with your username and password you can download and install third-party apps.
Some video files I was able to play with other apps didn’t open properly in VidOn XBMC.
It officially supports devices with Allwinner A20, A31, and A31S processors as well as hardware with Amlogic S802, S805, and S812 chips. As I’ve mentioned, the YouTube app is practically impossible to use unless you plug in a mouse or use a third-party remote control or air mouse. If you have an older version of Kodi 14 Helix or XBMC 13 Gotham, you can simply install the new version over the old one.
Here are my popular installation guides for Windows, Linux, Raspberry Pi, and Android platforms.
You can change the keyboard layout from the International section of the Appearance tab and select Keyboard layouts. If your files are located on a network attached storage, you will need to add the SMB or NFS share from the NAS server. Kodi will automatically scrape the movie, TV show, or music information after you have set up the media content.
For example, the Netflix plugin only launches the Netflix website on a separate internet browser window. With the PlayOn running, you can stream online shows and movies via an UPnP share to other Kodi powered computers (e.g. In this list, you will find the top 10 most useful add-ons that will allow you to bring YouTube, Spotify, and many other online services to your media center. Customize the settings and categories by pressing the C-key on in the Programs menu and selecting Add-on settings. In addition to the back-end software, you will need a USB TV tuner or network attached TV tuner such as HDHomeRun. If you don’t have the Plex Media Server already running, you can follow this guide to set it up. You can change the settings such as selecting server or changing playback quality settings. In addition, you can setup customized views of your library for each member of your family with the ability to pause and resume from different devices. I have written a complete guide to build your gaming HTPC, but here is the summary of the main steps.
Furthermore, you can use the Ambilight add-on to find average colours on the movie and use lights behind your TV.
When I press play button, it will automatically dim other lights in my living room and start the ambilight behind the TV.
If I choose xbmc config, how will I map the other side of the remote (the keyboard) and if I use the full keyboard template, how will I map the other side (regular remote). A IE: you're in the XBMC remote in the Flirc GUI, all this does is give you virtual buttons on the screen like "Play" that is already tied to the corresponding keyboard button "P". Last but not least, the process of applying firmware updates is quite a bit easier than it is on many inexpensive set-top boxes.
But if you want to run just about any app other than XBMC, you may need a mouse or a different remote control. This can be used to create a custom playlist and menu for children’s movies or filter only HD movies from your media library. Click OK and then choose whether you want to copy default settings and sources or start fresh.
Next, go to Image Source tab and set the source as Folder and locate the folder where you have stored the photos.



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