Kodi is a great piece of software for playing back media but it has long suffered from one damming problem. Through no fault of its own, the Kodi name has become synonymous with piracy thanks to the huge number of so-called “Kodi boxes” that are sold worldwide.
These boxes run Kodi at their core but also have numerous piracy-related add-ons installed that make them perfect for anyone wanting to watch copyrighted material without paying.
That has left Kodi with a problem, especially as it continues to try and re-brand itself as a legitimate media player for legitimate use. Starting last year, the Kodi team started making noises about adding DRM support in an attempt to bring big publishers on board, and now that’s starting to happen.
With Kodi 18 Leia Alpha 2, publishers can now develop official add-ons that give them the ability to play encrypted content, preventing that content from being pirated. Without the addition of DRM capabilities to Kodi, publishers would simply never jump on boad as confirmed by Martijn Kaijser, Project lead of the XBMC Foundation.
In the past, we have talked to publishers and in almost all cases the first question was if we supported DRM. If not, that was the end of the talk. Others did have interest if we were going to add it and would come back to us if we would.
This being said, there are no official add-ons from the likes of Netflix as yet although there are add-ons like Eurosport Player and YouTube plugin which take advantage of DRM in order to work. Whether the likes of Netflix, HBO and Amazon will see fit to launch their own Kodi add-ons remains to be seen, but the possibility is now at least there thanks to the addition of DRM support to Kodi as a whole.