Confusion about OSMC and Kodi, apps, add-ons and programs


I’ve been using OSMC just over 3 weeks now and I’m a bit confused about the few things:

  1. Where does OSMC stop and Kodi begins? I’ve asked few questions here thinking it was OSMC related and I’ve been referred to a Kodi Forum. I thought OSMC was just a new branding of Kodi or another branch thereof. The interface of OSMC doesn’t really give me a sense of what is what. It all seems seamless.

  2. What are the differences between apps, programs and add-ons? The menu interface is confusing.

a. I can go in Videos and then Video Add-ons, then if I go in Get More, and go back (selecting … ) I end up in a Add-ons menu, of which Video add-ons are a subset.

b. If I go to Programs from the main menu, I find more add-ons under Get More, and going back from there (again …) I’m also back to the Add-ons list of which Program Add-ons is one subset.

c. Over there I can find a Subtitle section, which doesn’t seem like an add-on to me.

d. From the main menu I can also go to the App-Store which contains only 6 apps.

e. Nowhere can I find a direct access to the the all Add-ons list.

Can you please help me understand how this works? Thanks.

Hi Ben,
Its a bit confusing, you are right. Lets start from the beginning.
At first there was XBMC, which was then renamed to KODI i think for legal issues. Kodi is a media center platform that you can either use it locally (share some movies from a network drive that kodi ‘sees’ and plays them) or download and install legal/illegal addons (depending where you live), that stream media content of the internet. These are called Video Addons and usually through the SYSTEM->File Manager, you add some ‘sources’ first (called repositories) that host the addons. Of course you can just download an addon in a .zip format, and then you go to SYSTEM->Settings->Addons->Install from zip, to install it.
There are many types of addons. Some, like Services Addons, add different functions to your Kodi system…Like for example a Service addon that automatically finds and downloads subtitles to the movie you are watching.
There are also Music addons, like Pandoki, Shoutcast etc, where you can stream live music from internet radios.
What i always do at least once a year is go to Youtube and search for : Top Kodi addons 2016…It will give you some info on the latest addons available.

Now, OSMC is a linux distro that has built on top of kodi (i think), to add a faster GUI interface and functionality to the Rasberry pi (or Vero, osmc’s own machine). Its way faster than any other typical linux distro out there. (Openelec used to be the fastest one at one point…way before osmc/raspbmc showed up).
They’ve created some extra menus like the OSMC settings menu that you find under Programs, or the AppStore were you can install the most common used linux apps that people use. (Samba for windows file sharing, Transmission, a utorrent client etc).

The confusion with the menu comes from Kodi. It has some pre-built in functions that i guess developers can use. For example “Add to library” option never worked for me…I dont know what that thing does and i’ve been using kodi for 3-4 years now.
The most common menu options are :

  • Videos → Add-ons
  • System → Settings → Addons → Search (or install from repository…but you’ll have to add some repositories first)
  • System → Settings → Addons → Install from zip (zipped addons/plugins, usually found in Github repositories)
  • Videos → Files (for locally shared folders, like you shared a folder from your Windows machine and read it in osmc)

You’re probably wondering, what the hell is a repository…Well think of it as a root folder somewhere on the internet…that has subfolders, that contain plugins/addons. (Like the ‘Kodi Add-on repository’, which you should see in System->Settings->Addons->Install from repository). Installing these addons would usually create an ‘app’ inside Videos → Addons.
Like i said there are legal repos and illegal repos. What i mean by illegal is repos that have plugins that share Hollywood movies with a click of a button. Unfortunately i cant give you any names…because we all live in the school of Hogwarts, and Lord Voldemort’s name shall not be spoken of here :stuck_out_tongue: but you can check on youtube about that.

So to recap. The vanilla OSMC/Kodi/Openelec/whatever distro you got install, is basically crap when it comes to variety. You have to install addons and repositories to really understand what Kodi is all about. You can stream torrents, watch legal/illegal content, listen to music radios, share your media files, airplay from your phone, set up an alarm, watch the weather forecast, interact with IMDB,, play old MAME games, even watch/record live TV if you have a usb TV stick, or even watch live TV from around the world with the proper addon.

The only way to learn how to use Kodi, is to play with Kodi. Go through a few youtube videos or google search using keywords like “Kodi addon repository”. In a day or two you’ll see what i mean.

Btw, if you live in Germany or the USA, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into with the ‘illegal addons’. I suggest you use the official kodi forum ( to figure out if it’s safe to use them. I have a friend who lives in Germany, that streamed a movie using a torrent addon in Kodi, and got a 800euro fine a few days after.

I hope i covered everything. Let me know if you have any further questions.

A list of “illegal” addons can found here:

1 Like

The difference between OSMC and Kodi is covered in the Wiki

I generally don’t think it is that confusing, But let me try.

As it is clearly explained in the Wiki OSMC is the operating system that runs Kodi. So basically OSMC is the underlying operating system which is optimized to run Kodi on the devices OSMC is provided for (currently Raspberry Pi and Vero)

While there is no clear cut to say where OSMC stops and Kodi starts it could be said everything that you you see as a GUI (after the system has fully booted) and also all the media management are provided by Kodi.
There is one more twist to this topic as the OSMC also have provided a skin for Kodi (the OSMC skin) which provide a nice and simple look and feel of the GUI. But this is basically just a skin addon that is provided as any other skin that could be installed.

  1. Add-ons are additions to Kodi that give more functions to Kodi they are normally independent from the Operating System and only change the Mediacenter (Kodi) but some of them can be quite intrusive and actually impact the stable operation of the underlying Operating System (OSMC).

  2. Programs is actually just a menu point in Kodi in which a specific category of Add-ons will be installed that are considered “Programs” which means they have a certain function that don’t fall into any of the other add-on categories.

  3. App’s and App Store is something that OSMC has added. While App’s can be installed from within Kodi they are not directly related to Kodi. App’s are programs/applications that will be installed as part of the underlying Operating System. The differences to applications that just would be installed with the underlying operating systems software management tools is that OSMC has packaged them and also added some initial configuration which make those Apps directly usable by the users.

→ System → Settings → Add-Ons → Install from repository → All repositories
You might before that want to manually update the repositiiers via > System → Settings → Add-Ons → Install from repository than go on each repositiry and press ‘c’ and choose “Check for updates”

Hope I was able to help you.

1 Like

Well I have to say I was a bit surprised by your explanation considering that you normally show quite a good understanding of OSMC on your replies on the forum and the support you have given to the community.

@Sandbird, I don’t think it is too confusing but my feeling is you unfortunately god some basics wrong in your explanation and also for whatever reason got moved away by the topic of addons.

“on top of Kodi” is obviously either a wrong wording you have used or just a confusion on your side. As OSMC is an operating system it is obvisouly the underlying technology on which Kodi is running.

One again either we talk different languages or your basic concept of Kodi is lost. Kodi is a media-player software application that would run on HTPC’s. Therefore the function “add to library” is a fundamental function that let’s you add your local VIdeo and Audio File to a Library for easier retrieval and enhanced information display for those files.

This is totally a question of what you expect from a OSMC (OpenSourceMediaCenter), Kodi by itself without any add-ons is a providing all functions that a MediaCenter on a HomeTheaterPC should provide.

Hey guys, thanks for the clarification. It kind of makes sense now.

Though, if I have issues, say with subtitles, should I then post here or on the Kodi forum?

On Kodi forum (in the respective addon section) unless it is something that from common sense is specific to OSMC

You are right, i know osmc is a linux distro and kodi runs on top of, i dont know what i was thinking at that moment… probably i shouldnt post things at 12 in the night :slight_smile:

From his questions i got the impression that he was struggling with Addons. Either he didnt understand what the fuss was all about with Kodi since in its vanilla state is pretty empty, or how addons are used in general. That’s why my advice was to focus on addons…and from there on he’ll get all the menu functions, once he starts playing with the them.
At first i was feeling lost as well. I got the general ‘folder-subfolder’ type of structure in menus…but the fact that you could jump from one menu option to another category (‘Get addons’ etc) was confusing me…It was like folder shorcuts inside folders.

Anyways, @Benjamin_t its up to you how you want to use osmc. Its a very powerful tool. You can use it as a media center, or you if you feel more adventurous you can even write scripts using the GPIOs on the Pi and interact with the outside world. I know this is beyond the scope of this thread but check out for projects related to kodi and the pi.