MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Maryland, February 13, 2016 – Movie addicts now have three more ways to get their fix. These movie-lovers apps are “Open Source,” meaning they are free to use for individuals. You can buy a license or contribute to the developers, but it is voluntary. They are all available for Windows users and at least two of them are also for Linux.
Formerly known as XBMC (Xbox Media Center) or OpenElec for small distributions of Linux, Kodi is now available in both Windows and Linux. You can install it in a $35 Raspberry Pi and have a high end Media Center.
Kodi allows the user to stream movies, videos, TV shows and music to a computer. The quality varies depending on the original source. You could get content from someone illegally copying a movie with a camcorder in a movie theatre or you could get full HD. Movies still on theatres and not-yet-released films are available in Kodi. You may have to navigate to several sources before you get the movie you want, especially if it is new and popular. Movies from 2014 and before are usually easy to find and available for streaming. The best way to explain how the material gets to Kodi is to think of it as a search engine constantly looking for content on the Internet.
You can view TV shows, sports, politics, documentaries from all over the world. They are normally obtained from what appears to be web sites that offer these media. You could watch a soccer game from Tunisia or news from Brazil, although they may not be current. The best way to understand the full capabilities of Kodi is to try it.
A simple set of instructions for installing and configuring Kodi in Windows are:
- Download Kodi from a trusted site;
- Install Kodi;
- Open Kodi;
- In System->File Manager click on “Add Source”;
- In the next screen type http://fusion.tvaddons.ag on the top box and “fusion” in the bottom, click on “Done”;
- In system->Settings->Addons select “Install from zip file”;
- Select “fusion” the file you just downloaded;
- Install fusion and all the other suggested programs;
- In Programs->Config Wizard select your operating system, in this case Windows.
- You should be presented with the screen shown above.
Video->Genesis is one good place to find movies. Another is Programs->NavyX->NavyX Extreme. Prime Wire has also very good content, and for international TV try Phoenix. You can add other sources by researching your particular preferences.
Be aware that porn is also available in this program, so keep young inquisitive hands off it.
Is some of this content violation of intellectual property laws? YES, caveat emptor.
If you are one of the few people that likes to use Windows Media Center and found out that Microsoft no longer supports it in Windows 10, Kodi can be used with your TV tuner card to give you the same capabilities. It is a little complex and you need to download some companion programs in addition to Kodi.
During the years in which DVD movies were the furor, there was a program that would take the copy restrictions from the disks. The idea was that if you already owned a DVD movie (and maybe if you had paid to watch it), you should be able to make a backup copy.
DVD Fab lets you copy DVD content to a hard drive or another disk. Besides copying DVDs, this program has a lot of other capabilities. Only the DVD decrypter is free for ever. The other programs are only available for a limited time. You can also buy a license to continue using all the functions. These include a program to watch the movies and many others.
New Samsung TVs and probably others have a feature in which you can connect a USB source and it will automatically recognize any media content and play it.
So what is the big deal? Well if you want to consolidate your movie collection, you can put all the titles in an external hard drive. A 3 terabytes hard drive is about $100 today and you can put from 700 to 1000 movies in it. Goodbye several yards of shelfs in your media center. You can travel with the disk anywhere and watch the movies in your new Samsung TV or another compatible device.
VLC Media Player
Those of us who have used VLC don’t have enough praise for it. It has the “codecs” (programs to read different video formats) for just about any type of media file. It is highly configurable and you can change the video and audio features of most movies. It is a veritable high end DVD player on steroids.
It is free forever.
Well, what about old VHS tapes? You can buy the hardware and software for Rocio Easy VHS to DVD or other program for less than $100. You do need a VHS player. The hardware comes with AV connections for the VHS player and USB to connect to your computer. You will not get the quality of an HD DVD or BlueRay, but you can consolidate even more.
You say you already knew all this; what else can you offer?
Purchase a Toshiba or other DVD recorder for less than $150. Be aware that you still need a TV tuner. If you have premium cable, you can record just about anything and use DVD Fab to copy to a hard disk or use it in the DVD format.
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, is an avid videophile. He is in Twitter (@chibcharus), Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook (Mario Salazar).