Like many new Kodi users, you may have done a hop, skip and a few jumps when you discovered the Kodi app. Streaming video online is more popular than it’s ever been, with video streaming taking upwards of 70% of online bandwidth during peak hours. Much to the chagrin of ISPs, streaming video is here to stay. But for many of us, services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are not quite what we’re looking for. This guide will teach you how to get live TV on Kodi, so you can watch all your favorite shows as they air.
Whether you’re out of town, stuck on the late shift in the office, or simply don’t have a TV that allows you catch your favorite shows, getting access to live TV on Kodi is simple and easy. There are dozens of different live streaming add-ons on Kodi. Here are the top 5 best live TV addons for Kodi, with simple, easy instructions on how to install them on any device.
Please read our disclaimer before proceeding.
We highly recommend using a VPN to watch live TV on Kodi. Kodi users have been known to receive copyright infringement notices for streaming movies, sports, and TV shows through various addons. If you would like to keep your streaming habits private, our recommendation is IPVanish – a complete privacy solution for Kodi users.
How to Watch Live TV on Kodi – A Video Guide
Before we get down to business, you may want to consider following along with the accompanying video guide to this article below. Everything you need to know from this article, compressed into just over ten minutes!
Similar to UKTV Now, USTVNow also allows you watch live TV on Kodi by granting you streaming access to dozens of U.S. cable networks. Follow these simple steps to get USTVNow on your Kodi. USTVNow offers 7 basic network channels for the free version (ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, NBC, PBS and My TV). Cable channels can be acquired for a cost of around $24.00 a month. The paid subscription includes all of the major cable channels such as History, SyFy, CNN, Fox News, and others, as well as a select few movie channels. The benefit of USTVNow is the freedom to avoid worrying about whether you’re receiving live streaming illegally. USTVNow follows all laws regarding streaming rights.
U.S. TV Now requires creating an account on their website. The account is free, but you will need to do it in order to access it. Go to their sign up page to create an account. The initial account gives you all access, but will eventually limit you to only 7 channels. The full 29 channel access is available with a subscription fee.
The BBC iPlayer addon (WWW iPlayer) allows you to access all of the BBC’s live TV streaming content as well as their on-demand content. This player works well, and the BBC casts their content in very high quality. You’ll find that accessing the content through here is easy, and as the content comes through the official BBC website, streams are rarely down or have buffering issues. There are some stipulations, however. If you are a British resident, you will need a TV License. Those who live outside of the UK are restricted from accessing this content.
Sanctuary is not just one addon. Instead, the addon hosts content for a large number of different addons. If you’re looking for the popular Oblivion addon, you won’t find it anywhere but here now. The original Oblivion addon can still be installed, but you will find that the plugin no longer works as a standalone addon. Sanctuary has a special section just for live TV, which includes the live TV streams for Oblivion IPTV, as well as a handful of others, to include BAMF IPTV, Pyramid Live, Ultra Live, Fido Live, FreeView (VPN required outside of UK), Lily Sports Live and Supremacy Live. Each of these has different live streams to offer, although there are some noticeable crossovers, especially in regard to US and UK channels.
While Castaway as an addon has long since served its purpose, and its primary features no longer work, it still hosts functioning links to live TV streams. You can find these under hte “Live TV” section of the addon, where you’ll see a long list of different websites that stream live content. You’ll find varying success with these websites. However, the one that we have found that works the best is the “shadownet.ro” link. This one will provide you with live TV links to a large number of US and international TV streams.
cCloud TV is one of the “must have” live TV addons. This addon includes a large number of options housed under one addon, with thousands of channels listed. You’ll find most every US and UK channel here, but also a significant number of international channels as well. cCloud TV is easy to use with a great interface that makes it easy to navigate as well. Stream quality can be spotty, but that’s more an issue with the stream source and not cCloud TV.
This addon may specialize in sports, but you’ll find a section labeled “Live TV” that looks similar to what you’ll find with the Castaway addon. There are a number of sites listed here that stream live TV, including shadownet.ro as well as some other services that work well. You will have to sift through these to see what’s there, as there are hundreds of options available when you combine the lists together, but we do suggest Shadownet.ro for most live tv needs.
Live TV on Kodi
Many Kodi users are interested in accessing live TV through Kodi for various reasons. Sports continues to be one of the most popular go-to reasons, while popular shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead attract a fair number of users to different Kodi addons.
However, it’s important to note that not all addons you use to access live TV will be legal. In the case with the BBC iPlayer, if you are not a UK resident you cannot legally utilize a the addon. While the BBC requires you to have a valid TV license, on its website, it does not actually do much to verify that you have one. Instead, it flashes a message asking if you have a TV license, to which you either agree or disagree. Many viewers have been using VPNs to access the BBC’s content for free as a result.
Additionally, the British news website Mirror notes that some loopholes exist in recent updates to the TV License purchase requirements, meaning individuals using battery-powered devices may be able to access the iPlayer for free without having to worry about incurring a fine. Additionally, the BBC attempted to crackdown on VPN use to access its content, with little success.
With other live TV addons, streams may violate copyright laws. This is particularly the case where the streamed channels are not coming from free, over-the-air networks. Cable channels that typically require a paid subscription to access may not be legal to view through a streaming addon. Many users turn to VPNs to mask their identities in this case, although DMCA notifications from ISPs related to streaming live TV content is not common.
Instead, users may find access to working streams for certain networks may be difficult to find. For example, while researching our recent piece on how to watch Superbowl 51 on Kodi we discovered that working streams to all local Fox affiliates were completely non-functional. As Fox had exclusive writes to show the SuperBowl this year, it appears that they moved quickly to shut down any online live streams of their networks and affiliates in the run up to the SuperBowl. We know this to be true as we tested those links and found them working only months earlier when we wrote about addons that provide access to regular season NFL games.
Live TV Addon Functionality Issues
If you find numerous non-functioning streams within an addon, you may want to check the last time the addon’s source database was updated. All addons work by pulling streams from different websites. At times, those sites that pull these streams go down. Many addon developers regularly update their addon to pull from different websites. Regularly updated addons are less likely to experience this issue.
However, older addons that have not been updated in months or even over a year are likely to have issues with dead links. Most addons are listed on the website GitHub, where you can find their changelogs and see when they’ve been last updated.
However, some dead link issues may simply be the result of the live TV stream owners cutting off access to third parties streaming the content. This was the case with Fox and is also the case with major American sports networks like ESPN. Sometimes it takes a bit of diligence to find working streams. For this reason, we recommend installing more than one addon.