Kodi 21.0 “Omega” Open-Source Media Center Is Here with Major Changes

This release adds support for passthrough formats like DTS-HD and TrueHD on Linux, as well as AudioEngine improvements.
Kodi 21.0

Kodi 21.0 has been released today as a major update to this award-winning, free, cross-platform, and open-source home theater/media center software and entertainment hub for your digital media.

Coming more than a year after Kodi 20 “Nexus”, the Kodi 21.0 “Omega” release is here to introduce FFmpeg 6.0 support, NFSv4 support, support for reading and writing M3U8 playlists, AVIF image support, AudioEngine improvements on Linux, and support for passthrough formats like DTS-HD and TrueHD on Linux.

Also for Linux, Kodi 21.0 adds support for libdisplay-info to help parse EDID information and determine display capabilities. Moreover, Linux users can now select the audio backend with a command line switch when starting Kodi, which lets you see with which enabled audio backends Kodi was built.

Furthermore, Linux users received better VAAPI VP9 Profile 2 playback support, improvements to PipeWire support, a new --gl-interface=<interface> command line switch to replace the old environment variable usage of KODI_GL_INTERFACE, and support for Raspberry Pi devices to report CPU temperatures without using external scripts. Also, Kodi no longer uses Linux’s ping utility as it now has its own implementation.

For Android, this release improves Dolby Vision detection and compatibility and implements a minimize shutdown function in Power Saving settings. There’s also better support for Amazon FireTV 4K devices and improved Amlogic BSP audio support.

Kodi 21.0 also adds HDR10 support for Xbox, support for DXVA2 AV1 hardware video decoding 8-bit and 10-bit on Windows, along with support for “Video Super Resolution” for NVIDIA RTX and Intel ARC compatible hardware, Windows 11 refresh rate switching, and color accuracy changes for 10-bit SDR/HDR color mapping.

PVR has been updated with support for sorting channel groups, UPnP support should now work better with official smart TV apps when displaying and browsing served UPnP Kodi libraries, and the Retroplayer ecosystem received several improvements as well for games.

Improvements were made to the handling of movement keys in certain lists, such as Settings, the generation of thumbnails was fixed for pictures in portrait orientation, there’s support for video information for Movie Sets and TV Seasons, and the default Estuary theme received numerous enhancements.

The TV Shows, Seasons, Movie sets, and Recording folders now expose their ‘in progress’ state, the Estuary theme received media flags for music, artwork cache handling has been improved as well, and there are new settings to control the NFS and SMB chunk size.

webOS support received Audio sink improvements, support for playing AV1 Dolby Vision files on supported devices, suspend to background support, a new behavior to pause/resume media playback when Kodi is minimized/restored, support for mapping info keys on webOS remotes, shutdown/reboot support, and initial support for webOS 4 devices.

Among other noteworthy changes, Kodi 21.0 adds support for .ttc font collections, improves the Teletext browser window, adds support for building Kodi with Python 3.12 and SWIG 4.2.0, improves automatic video rotation from metadata, and adds a default play action setting to control the resume behavior when starting video playback.

It also adds a new “Adaptive” setting in Services / Caching / Read Factor that implements a variable read factor based on cache level, which means that the cache will now fill faster while at the same time using a less-aggressive read factor when the cache is already full.

Last but not least, Kodi 21.0 adds an option to avoid volume synchronization to a UPnP target, a new command to change the playback speed (tempo), a new command to activate the screen saver, and a new navigation method in Music to go from artists directly to songs, similar to how Spotify lets you navigate its interface.

For more details about the changes implemented in this release, check out the GitHub release notes. Kodi 21.0 “Omega” is now available for download from the official website for all supported platforms.

Image credits: The Kodi Foundation

Last updated 2 months ago

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