UPDATE: For the latest Kodi build news, check out our February 2017 Best Kodi Builds Roundup.
The developers behind the best Kodi builds are like expert bakers that give out their cakes for free.
When a new addon pops up, Kodi build makers try it out to see if the “ingredient” is any good. If it is, they included it in the next cake– but addons that have stopped working get pulled out of the mix.
A build’s “icing”– its skin, color scheme and widgets– matter, too. Also, size and performance is an issue for people who want to run Kodi on small devices like thumb drives and Amazon Fire TV sticks.
In this article, we’ll be taking a critical look at 5 builds that you may have noticed appearing on your feed this October if you follow Kodi on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook. But before we find out if these Kodi builds live up to their promotional hype, here’s a quick guide that will teach you how to quickly install a Kodi build.
Please read our disclaimer before proceeding.
- 1 How to install a Kodi Build
- 2 Nemesis by KodiUKTV
- 3 Apollo by Ares Project
- 4 Wookie by Team Wookie
- 5 Ultra TT by Top Tutorials
- 6 Horus by Echo Coding
- 7 Which of these builds is the best?
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How to install a Kodi Build
To install a Kodi build, you have to download and install its wizard. Some wizards are packaged in stand-alone zip files. Others are only available through Kodi repositories. Once you’ve installed a wizard, all you have to do is open it up and press the install button to finish the job.
Need more info? Read the step-by-step breakdown below for more detailed instructions.
Step #1: Tell Kodi where the install files are
Some Kodi build wizards are contained in repositories. You can find links to Kodi repository files on Twitter and on various Kodi related websites. For example, the Nemesis Kodi build is contained in a repository called Kodi UKTV. The Kodi UKTV repository is located at http://kodiuk.tv/repo/.
Once you find where a build’s install files are, point Kodi to the files by setting up a file source. You can do that by navigating to system → file manager → add source. Once you’re at the add source screen, click where it says <none> and then type in the repository’s URL.
Be sure to name your file source so that you’ll know what it is later. If you’re installing Nemesis, you might choose something like “Nemesis repository.”
Step #2: Install the repository
Now that you’ve got a source set up, all you have to do is back out to the Kodi’s main menu and then navigate to system → settings → addons → install from zip file → [SOURCE NAME].
The zip file that contains the Nemesis source files is repository.kodiuktv.x.zip. If you click the zip from within Kodi’s addon menu, Kodi will install it for you automatically.
Once the installation is complete, a popup will appear in the bottom right corner of the screen.
Step #3: Install the Wizard
Once you’ve got the right repository installed, you’ll be able to navigate into it and look for the build’s installation wizard. To get into a repository, go to system → settings → addons → install from repository.
The Nemesis installer is located in KODIUKTV Repo → program addons → KodiUK TV Wizard.
Once you run the wizard, Kodi will download and install all the files you need for your new Kodi build. When the build installation is complete, Kodi will automatically reboot.
Nemesis by KodiUKTV
Beginner Kodi users will like Nemesis’s simplified, streamlined interface. Unlike the vast majority of Kodi builds out there, you don’t have to scroll left or right to see all of Nemesis’s main menu pages.
All of Nemesis’s addons have been organized into 5 main categories: TV Guide, Movies, TV shows, Sports and Kids.
Here’s what it looks like:
You don’t have to be familiar with any Kodi addons to use this build. Just hit one of the 5 large main menu buttons to quickly watch TV, movies, sports or kids shows.
My biggest gripe about Nemesis is the fact that its digital TV Guide doesn’t seem to work at all. But aside from that, Nemesis is a very solid, easy-to-use, visually appealing build.
For more screenshots, a detailed install guide, pros and cons plus a full list of Nemesis’s submenu buttons, check out my in-depth review of Nemesis here.
Apollo by Ares Project
Apollo is built for and designed by addon freaks. You could literally spend all day exploring all the addons that Apollo has to offer.
The Ares Project’s Ares Wizard is one of the coolest wizards you’ll find– and you can easily get to it from Apollo’s main menu. It has lots of neat settings for advanced users, links to the Ares social media pages and a ton of community builds to try out.
Here’s what the wizard looks like:
Apollo’s menu has 24 pages to explore. Each page has rotating wallpaper, widgets galore and a ton of submenu items.
The movie menu page alone has over 50 submenu links. Each link leads to an entirely different movie addon.
Here’s Apollo’s movie menu page:
Weighing in at nearly 500 megabytes, Apollo is quite huge. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your personal preferences– and the type of hardware that you’re using to run Kodi.
Luckily, if you suffer performance issues while using the big version of Apollo, you can easily switch to a lite version via the Apollo Wizard.
Check out my full review of Apollo here for a detailed Apollo install guide, a full list of Apollo’s movie addons and more info about Apollo’s most interesting menus.
Wookie by Team Wookie
I instantly liked Wookie’s cool black-and-red color scheme and its large and active user community. I also liked that several of my personal favorite addons (Joker’s TV, UK Turk, Phoenix, and Exodus) are listed prominently on Wookie’s main menu pages.
Wookie comes in 3 flavors: New Look, Retro and Lite. New Look is really two builds in one, because you can switch to the Retro skin by logging into the Retro profile from the power menu.
The screenshots below should give you a good idea of what all 3 versions of Wookie look like:
Lite Wookie was updated at the end of September. However, New Look Wookie and Retro Wookie haven’t been updated in quite a while. As a result, some of those builds’ submenus generate errors.
Aside from a few minor but irritating issues with New Look and Retro, Wookie is pretty solid overall. If you like the four popular addons listed on the main menu bar and the Wookie design style, you’ll probably enjoy this build.
Check out my full review of Wookie for more details about the differences between its 3 flavors, screenshots of every single menu page and an in-depth list of Wookie pros and cons.
Ultra TT by Top Tutorials
If you’ve ever tried searching for Kodi build info on YouTube, you’ve no doubt run across Ultra TT by Top Tutorials.
Ultra TT is the Spiderman of Kodi builds. It’s not Hulk-sized huge like Apollo, but it is smart and quick.
It’s obvious that the Top Tutorials team put some thought into this build. You don’t get hundreds of addons with this build, but you do get all the ones that matter.
Here’s what Ultra TT’s skin looks like:
Unlike many builds, this one features a digital TV guide addon that actually works. Ultra TT’s TDB TV Guide isn’t perfect yet by any means, but at least it shows you what’s currently on TV.
My main gripe about Ultra TT is that its music and kids menus are very thin compared to other builds.
For a full listing of Ultra TT’s main menu and submenu pages, more screenshots and a detailed pro and con list, hop over to my full review of Ultra TT here.
Horus by Echo Coding
Echo Coding is a newcomer to the Kodi world. In late September, Team TBD turned over all of its Kodi related projects to Echo.
Though the Echo project just got started, they do seem to care about the fanbase that they inherited from Team TBD. The Echo Wizard is the only wizard I’ve seen so far that has a built-in trouble ticket submission system.
Horus comes in two different styles: Horus V2 and Horus XXL. Horus XXL was one of the worst builds I tried, mainly because of the broken links caused by the ownership change. However, Horus V2 was an entirely different story.
Horus V2 is a simple but extremely fast build designed primarily for people who want to use Kodi on their Amazon Fire TV sticks. Weighing in at under 100 megabytes, this build still manages to pack quite a few interesting addons into its small size.
Here’s what Horus V2 looks like:
The Echo TV Guide didn’t work at all when I tried it out, probably because the developers are still working out its kinks. But aside from that, I didn’t run into any major errors while using this Horus V2.
Horus V2’s main menu has 13 pages: Quit, Settings, Echo Wizard, Addons, YouTube, Music, Kids, Evolve, Misc, Sports, TV Shows, Movies and Live TV. My favorite menu page is Misc. Via Misc you can find links to stand up comedy shows, documentaries and live webcam feeds from around the world.
If you’re an Evolve fan, you’ll appreciate the fact that it’s featured on the main menu bar. I think Exodus would have been a better choice, though.
Horus V2 sports an ultra-clean look with no widgets or distracting background images. But if you like fancier builds, you’ll think it looks a bit dull.
Check out my full review of of Horus for more info about Horus XXL and a complete list of all of Horus V2’s submenu buttons.
Which of these builds is the best?
My personal favorite addon in this bunch is Apollo. It’s a ginormous Hulk-like build that’s packed full of addons. I’ve been using it for several days and I still haven’t fully explored it all.
Kodi fans in search of a slim, fast medium sized build might want to try Ultra TT. It offers a good blend of reliability, performance and addon variety.
Amazon Fire TV fans will definitely want to check out Horus V2. It’s the smallest, fastest build in this batch of reviews.
Kodi noobs might have the best luck with Nemesis. Its streamlined menu will help get beginners acquainted with some of the most popular Kodi addons.
Wookie doesn’t fit into any particular category– but that’s what makes it so unique. I loved Wookie’s distinctive look, Team Wookie’s quirky sense of humor and the large, supportive Wookie community.