Best Kodi Builds for March 2017 – Top 4 Kodi Builds

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A screenshot of CellarDoor's movie page.
A screenshot of CellarDoor's movie page.

UPDATE: For the latest Kodi build news, check out our April 2017 Best Kodi Builds Roundup.

Welcome to the March 2017 edition of our monthly Kodi build roundup!  For this month’s roundup, we decided to put the spotlight on 4 of the very best Kodi builds out there right now: CellarDoor, Shank’s Build, Ultra TT and Wookie. Read on to find out where to download them and how to install them.

Before you proceed

We highly recommend using a VPN anytime you use Kodi.  Kodi streamers have been known to receive copyright infringement notices for watching 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.

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The 4 best kodi builds, reviewed

Please enjoy this roundup and leave a message in the comment section if you know of any builds that you’d like us to cover in the future.

1.  My personal favorite build: CellarDoor TV by Ares Project

I first heard about CellarDoor from a Top Tutorials survey.  CellarDoor beat out all the other builds in the questionnaire by a landslide, so I decided to try it out myself.  I’ve been a big fan of CellarDoor ever since.  It’s got plenty of addons, yet it’s streamlined and fast.  Also, it looks amazing.  What more could you possibly want in a build?

How to install CellarDoor TV

  1. In order to get CellarDoor, you have to first download the Ares Project repo by going to https://repo.ares-project.com/magic/repository.aresproject/.  The file you need is repository.aresproject.zip.
  2. Next, navigate to system → settings → addons → install from zip file.  Wait for the “installation complete” popup.
  3. Now, go to system → settings → addons → install from repository → ares project → program addons → ares wizard
  4. Finally, open up ares wizard and then go browse builds → cellar door tv (jarvis)

From the Ares Wizard main page, go to the builds section and select CellarDoor TV.  It’s a 300 MB download.  When it’s complete, Kodi will reboot into CellarDoor TV.

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CellarDoor TV comes in many different flavors.  My personal favorite is Xonfluence skin, which looks very nice.  Several other cryptically named skins are available as well:

  • CDTV Fusion Hybrid Dev Skin
  • CDTV Athena Madnox Skin
  • CDTV Envision MQ7 Skin
  • Athena Fire Hybrid CDTV Mod Skin

Overview

Overall, CellarDoor TV’s menu system is slick, fast and nice looking.  Some builds’ pages are crammed full of widgets that you’d never use, but CellarDoor TV’s widgets blend in well and might actually come in handy from time to time.

Most interesting menu pages

Here’s a screenshot of the TV Pro page:

This is what CellarDoor's TV Pro page looks like.
This is what CellarDoor’s TV Pro page looks like.

This is the excellent movies page:

A screenshot of CellarDoor's movie page.
A screenshot of CellarDoor’s movie page.

Here’s the page that MetalliQ fetched when I clicked on the Suicide Squad movie poster:

A screenshot of CellarDoor's movie info page.
A screenshot of CellarDoor’s movie info page.

I liked CellarDoor’s IMDB integration feature a lot because it allows you to read about the plot of the movie and learn some basic facts about it before you watch it.  With most builds, a picture and the title is all the info you get.

Addon selection

This build relies on a small handful of addons to deliver content, primarily: MetalliQ, cCloud TV, Castaway, Zen, Exodus, S.A.L.T.S. and Release Hub.

When I first saw this build’s addon bundle, I wasn’t all that thrilled.  But after I tried out the build, I discovered that many of the addons that I didn’t like so much before (cCloud and MetalliQ in particular) have received big revamps in recent months.

2.  Best family build: Shank’s Build

Many 3rd party Kodi build-makers have tried fill the demand for kids’ builds by offering shiny kid-friendly interfaces and addons that have lots of cartoons and animated films.

The problem is that most so-called “kids’ builds” is that they allow easy access to mature content.

In my December 2016 Kodi Build Roundup, I demonstrated how Beast Kids and SpinzTV for Kids both allow easy access to violent and disturbing content.

The only build I know of that comes with built-in parental controls is Shank’s Build.  Unlike “Beast” brand builds, Shank’s Build has no ads and is 100 percent free.

How to install Shank’s Build

  • In order to get Shank’s Build, you have to first download the Ares Project repo by going to https://repo.ares-project.com/magic/repository.aresproject/.  The file you need is repository.aresproject.zip.
  • Next, navigate to system → settings → addons → install from zip file.  Wait for the “installation complete” popup.
  • Now, go to system → settings → addons → install from repository → ares project → program addons → ares wizard
  • Install Shank’s Build by navigating to programs → ares wizard → browse builds → shanks → install

Built-in content control

Back in December, Eric Shankman– a member of the programming team known as Ares Project– updated his flagship build with content restriction functionality.

The addons contained in the update update help you place limits on both content and time spent watching movies and TV shows.

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I personally checked out Shank’s Build a few weeks back.  I locked down a few addons– then I pretended to be a naughty teenager.

I tried a few sneaky methods to find my way around the content blocks I had set up.  But no matter what I did, I couldn’t find any loopholes that would allow me to access mature video streams.

PinSentry

The key to locking down addons in Shank’s Build is an addon called PinSentry.

Here’s what PinSentry looks like:

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A screenshot of PinSentry’s main menu

If you try to open up PinSentry before you configure it, nothing will happen when you click it.  You have to set it up first before you use it.

Here’s how to configure PinSentry on Shank’s Build:

  1. Go to system → addons → my addons → all → pinsentry.
  2. Hover over PinSentry and trigger the context menu by pressing C (or by pressing the menu button if you’re using a remote.)
  3. Choose configure addon once you’re in the context menu.
  4. Select set pin value.

Once you’ve completed all of the 4 steps listed above, you’ll be able to bring up PinSentry via programs → pinsentry.

Lock down your addons

With PinSentry, you get 5 different options that allow you to control content: movie sets, music videos, plugins, file source and classifications.

To lock down plugins, open up PinSentry and click plugins.

You should see a screen that looks like this:

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A screenshot of PinSentry’s addon lockdown page

To lock down an addon, simply click its box.

Once an addon is locked down, nobody will be able to get to any of its menus unless they know your access code.

Screenshots of Shank’s Build

Currently, Shank’s build is only getting 1 or 2 downloads per week.

I think Shank’s Build’s design scheme is holding it back.  If it had brighter colors and better wallpaper, Shank’s Build would probably be a lot more popular than it is.

Here’s what the latest version of Shank’s Build looks like:

A screenshot of the addons menu page.
A screenshot of the addons menu page.
A screenshot of the US Sports menu page.
A screenshot of the Premium Networks menu page.
A screenshot of the Premium Networks menu page.

Though Shank’s Build dark, moody layout might not be what you’d expect out of a family build, the interface is fairly user friendly.

If you live in the United States, you’ll probably enjoy how many of the Shank’s Build menu screens cater to American cable cutters.

3.  Best lightweight build: Ultra TT

Do abandoned addons or addons that are clearly not finished get on your nerves?  If so, Ultra TT might be the Kodi build for you.

Top Tutorials is constantly pushing out updates for their flagship build, Ultra TT.  Because it’s so lightweight and well-maintained, you’ll hardly ever run into dead links and broken addons if you use this simple but awesome build.

How to install Ultra TT

Follow these 3 steps listed below to install Ultra TT.

  • Go to https://toptutorials.co.uk/kodi/builds/ and download plugin.video.ttwizard.zip.
  • Navigate to system → settings → addons → install from zip file → tt wizard, then select plugin.video.ttwizard.zip.  Once the installation is complete, a popup will appear in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  • Open up Top Tutorials wizard, then choose ultra tt latest version from the menu.  After the build installation is complete, Kodi will automatically reboot into Ultra TT.

Screenshots

Ultra TT’s interface is basic, but it works.  The nav bar features several big buttons with smaller suboptions underneath.

The large and small menu buttons make it easy for Kodi novices to get around and do basic stuff.  And if you’re a Kodi pro, you can easily get to your favorite Kodi addons directly without having to dig through lots of different submenus.

Here’s what Ultra TT’s skin looks like:

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A screenshot of Ultra TT’s system menu.
A screenshot of Ultra TT's movies menu.
A screenshot of Ultra TT’s movies menu.
A screenshot of Ultra TT's Sport PPV menu.
A screenshot of Ultra TT’s Sport PPV menu.

Ultra TT is one of the fastest builds I have tried out.  I didn’t notice any user interface issues or lagging problems while clicking around the main menu system on my MacBook Pro.

However, I did encounter this one slightly annoying issue.

  1. TV Guide doesn’t work out-of-the-box.  You have to go into Echo TV guide’s settings page and select reset everything to get the TV guide to work.

4.  Quirky, but cool: Wookie

It’s obvious that the Wookies behind this build are well acquainted with the Kodi universe.  All the best Kodi addons are listed prominently on every Wookie build flavor.  Plus, you have to give the Wookies kudos for their unique sense of humor and distinctive design style.

How to install Wookie

Here’s how to install Wookie in 3 easy steps.

  1. Go to https://wookiespmc.com/wiz/ and download Click me – succumb To The Wookie.zip.
  2. Back out to Kodi’s main menu and then navigate to system → settings → addons → install from zip file → Click me – succumb To The Wookie.zip.
  3. Navigate to programs → wookie → install wookie.  From there, choose “New Look” Wookie.

“New Look” Wookie 

New Look Wookie is two builds in one.  You can easily switch to Retro Wookie by logging into the Retro Wookie profile from the power menu.

Both New Look and Retro Wookie rely on the same addons.  However, the menu screens do look a little different.  Let’s take a closer look.

New Look’s Main Menu Pages

The Wookie crew recently revamped “New Look” Wookie.  Now it looks even better than it did before.

In my opinion, the best menu on New Look is the movies page.  There you can find nice looking movies widgets plus a submenu that contains some very cool specialized movie lists and links to all the most popular movie addons.

Here's what Wookie New Look's movie page looks like with widgets hidden.
Here’s what Wookie New Look’s movie page looks like with widgets hidden.
If you hover on the movies button, these widgets appear.
If you hover on the movies button, these widgets appear.

Unfortunately, the Wookie team recently removed the “Docs Zone” menu page.  However, you can still find documentary films via the UK Turks menu page.  There you can watch all kinds of documentaries there, from gritty mafia investigative reports to weirdo conspiracy themed exposés.

Retro Wookie  

Are you the  the type of person who prefers to look at icons instead of text?  If so, you will probably prefer Retro Wookie to New Look Wookie.

The Retro Wookie menu takes up a bigger portion of the screen compared to New Look.  However, you don’t have to scroll through the submenus as much to get to what you want.

Retro Wookie’s Main Menu Pages

To switch from New Look to Retro, first press “S” and logout of New Look.  Then when you get the login prompt, select Retro.

If you want to switch to Retro, press the "S" button on your keyboard and logout of New Look.
If you want to switch to Retro, press the “S” button on your keyboard and logout of New Look.

For the most part, Retro Wookie’s menu is very similar to New Look Wookie’s.

Retro Wookie’s submenus seem to be identical to New Look’s.  The biggest difference between the two builds is that Retro Wookie has icons leading to different addons and content lists on the bottom of the page.  New Look doesn’t have any icons, but it does have popup widgets that appear on some menu pages when you hit the up button.

Here are a few screenshots of Wookie Retro:

Retro is more visual and less text oriented compared to New Look.
Retro is more visual and less text oriented compared to New Look.
Retro's addon set is identical to New Look's. However, the widgets and the navigation bar are different.
Retro’s addon set is identical to New Look’s. However, the widgets and the navigation bar are different.