After what seems like an eternal wait, the newest Kodi build, version 17, or “Krypton”, has entered into Alpha 2 testing. This new build promises a lot of new and very interesting changes to Kodi. While some of these changes are primarily cosmetic, there are a number of fixes and alterations happening under the hood that could be both beneficial, or problematic, for long-time Kodi users. We’re taking a look at a few of the more interesting and noteworthy changes, and how these might affect your overall user experience.
Retiring the Confluence Skin in Krypton
Its been 7 years since we were first introduced to the confluence skin. From 2009 to present, Kodi users have been greeted by the blue and black of the Confluence skin. Originally introduced with version 9.11, “Camelot”, the reasons for the skin were multiple. The primary reason, however, was that Confluence provided an improved user experience to new users, making the program significantly more inviting. This helped with the continuing effort to open up Kodi’s usability for users with less development experience and wherewithal. As with most things Kodi, Confluence was a combined effort from the Kodi community to make a skin that made sense.
The new default skins, Estuary and Estouchy, promise to add more predictive qualities to the user experience. For these skins, images are larger, text is easier to read, and there is a clear eye for mobile devices. One of the biggest problems, and complaints, with Confluence is that it does not transfer well to mobile devices. This has been somewhat solved with Estuary, and especially Estouchy, which was built specifically for mobile devices. This is a huge change for mobile users, an area of rapid growth for Kodi.
Choosing Different Video Streams
Although this option already exists in some add-ons, Krypton is opening up the ability to choose different streaming options. IPTV streaming is currently the most popular use of Kodi, and expanding this area is a huge plus for the core user base. This plays directly into one of the more exciting additions: Input Stream add-ons. This quality-boosting feature allows video streaming add-ons to give Kodi the reigns instead of having all of the streaming occurring on the client side. A similar feature is employed by Youtube, which is why most Youtube videos are capable of streaming quickly and with much less buffering involved. It adapts to varying network connections, giving the best playback based on that condition.
Improved Settings Section (At Last!)
The settings section has received a huge overhaul in Krypton. This section has consistently been a point of contention for the community, and has, at long last, been addressed. The biggest change here is in the interface. Users will be greeted with a much easier navigation method for the settings, easier to read descriptions, and more shortcuts to some of the more commonly used settings.
A Small Nod to the Music Library
The music library has consistently underutilized. There are some minor changes which may help make the library more useful. This includes tag reading and scraping.
The pre-release build for Kodi v17 Krypton is currently available. However, keep in mind that the build could still be unstable on some devices.