New Kodi 19 'Matrix' release offers major interface and playback improvements

If you’re a Kodi user, then the next big release of the hugely popular home theater software is probably something you’ve been eagerly awaiting.

Development has been continue apace, despite a Windows crisis last year, and today the team rolls out a brand new Kodi 19.x 'Matrix' preview build.

Alpha 2 is still a very early release, so definitely won’t be for everyone, but it comes with a sizeable list of changes and improvements, which include:

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Playback

  • Music: Display album duration in info dialog. Album duration can be used in smart playlists in the same way as for songs
  • Music: Read tags and and album art from music files served from an http(s) server
  • Music: Fix list view of files containing multiple streams
  • Feature: Audio decoder addons can now pass more information on Kodi (album, year, notes ...) 
  • Audio decoder addons can now pass more information to Kodi (album, year, notes ...) 

Subtitles

  • ASS: Fixed timestamp overlapping overlays

Skin/Look-and-Feel

  • Improvements to both music and video library artwork
    • Better "out the box" behavior, optionally use all image files found in media folders
    • Artwork levels -- max, basic, custom, none
    • GUI settings for custom configuration of whitelists (replacing awkward editing of advancedsettings.xml)
  • Redesigned SeekBar that will auto-hide when video playback is paused

Platform Specifics

  • Apple TV
    • Fix Kodi crash on start after a manual install with dpkg -i command (jailbroken devices only)
    • Fix TopShelf feature after a manual install with dpkg -i command (jailbroken devices only except Unc0verTV devices, needs investigation)
    • Fix missing thumbs on TopShelf items

Python/Addons

  • Fix scripts/plugins not being notified of abortRequest intents on app close 
  • Deprecate xbmc.translatepath in favor of xbmcvfs.translatepath towards convergence with the binary addon API
  • Broken/deprecated add-ons are now highlighted in the add-on list, and you're now prompted when you try to activate one
  • Fix: Prevent VFS addon changes (update, disable and uninstall) if in use
  • Fix: VFS addon problem, where Kodi needed a restart before showing a newly-installed version
  • Binary addon system revised to ensure higher security in data exchange between addon and Kodi (only inputstream missing)
  • Revised binary add-on system documentation for outside developers (only inputstream missing)
  • Internal binary add-on settings dialogs cleaned up, plus updated help text (audioencoder.kodi.builtin.aac, audioencoder.kodi.builtin.wma, screensaver.xbmc.builtin.dim)

If you don’t mind taking a risk running pre-release software, you can grab Alpha 2 from here.

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