New Kodi 19 'Matrix' release is the build you've been waiting for

The next major version of Kodi, has been in development for two years now, promising a number of big changes from its predecessor, Kodi 18 Leia.

The Kodi Foundation has been hard at work finishing the next iteration of its hugely popular home theater software, releasing alpha builds of Kodi 19 at the rate of one a month for the past three months. Today the developers take the biggest step yet towards what they're calling the 'Great Unveiling'.

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Kodi 19.x 'Matrix' Beta 1 is -- as you can tell from the name -- the first beta version in the new branch, and from now on the focus will be (primarily) on fixes rather than adding new features.

With this version of Kodi, the developers have switched to Python 3, which makes for a better, more secure product, but it's also the reason that development has been a bit slow at times.

So what’s new in Kodi 19 'Matrix'? The team details the following highlights:

Audio/Music

  • Improvements covering multi-disc CD sets and box sets; metadata improvements such as better handling of album release dates, album durations, etc.; new full screen/visualization settings; new Matrix-inspired visualization; support for file tags over http(s).

Music Videos

  • Improved links with the music library to e.g. fetch related album/artist information, display both videos and albums when searching, display more linked information in info dialogs, etc.; improvements around grouping of all music videos by artist (vs album only); enhanced .nfo handling for multiple performers.

Skin/Look-and-Feel

  • Multiple improvements to Estuary, particularly around music and music videos, including: a redesign of the fullscreen/visualization music window; additional metadata display; new "Now Playing" view; chapter information for music videos; enhanced "now playing" and "next item" views; a generally improved "out of the box" behavior with regard to music and video library artwork.

Games

  • Improved game controller support on iOS; improvements to image quality in Pixel Art games.

Playback

  • Software decoding of AV1;subtitle improvements with new dark grey color and selectable opacity; ability to provide a subtitle URI (URL, local file, etc.); static HDR10 and dynamic Dolby Vision HDR support (platform- and client-dependent).       

PVR

  • A host of improvements, including PVR reminders; TV/Radio channel groups, home screen widgets and dynamic PVR categories for Estuary; enhancements to the Group and Channel manager; navigation/usability improvements such as context menus, selection persistence, and EPG controls; info dialog enhancements; improvements to PVR handling via the API.

Security

  • Various improvements to user information, e.g. the security implications of enabling external interfaces or a prompt when enabling a broken/deprecated addon; a requirement for a web interface password by default; new origin enforcement for addons and dependencies, so third-party addons can’t overwrite code of other, unrelated addons.

Information Providers/Scrapers

  • New Python scrapers for music, TV and movies (linked to the Python 3 move).

There’s been a fair amount of code and platform-specific fixes and improvements made too.

You can download Beta 1 from here now. If you're on Android, you can enroll in the Beta program and get updates directly from Google Play.

All of the changes made since Alpha 3 can be viewed here.

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