The Kodi 21 “Omega” update is finally available in Beta. This release boosts Kodi’s performance and offers several improvements, including greater Dolby Vision compatibility. Unfortunately, Kodi 21 ends support for Windows 7 and 8.0—subsequent Windows releases, including Windows 8.1, are still supported.
Most of the changes introduced in Kodi 21 were announced in April 2023. At that time, Kodi also launched the first Kodi 21 Alpha build, which contained plenty of bugs and wasn’t intended for average users. This new Beta release is also somewhat buggy and “will most likely break things,” according to Kodi. Some skins and other customizations will also be affected. If you’re happy with your current Kodi installation, don’t bother with Kodi 21 until a stable release is available.
Anyway, here’s a quick summary of what Kodi 21 has to offer: an upstream version of FFmpeg 6.0 adds new encoders and decoders (while also making future updates easier), Dolby Vision detection and compatibility are greatly improved, Kodi finally gains support for M3U8 playlist files, and channel groups can now be sorted in PVR. Several longstanding bugs are now resolved on macOS, Kodi audio playback is more reliable on Linux, and Windows gets a boost in SMB read speed, plus expanded DXVA2 AV1 hardware video decoding capabilities. Subtitle bugs that were discovered in Kodi 20 are also fixed.
The Kodi 21 Beta resolves some problems that were encountered in the final Alpha build, including buggy favorites behavior. That said, there are still some hiccups. The Kodi team points out two notable problems that may turn users away from this Beta release—multi-part MP4 files aren’t behaving properly on Android, and FFmpeg issue has temporarily broken OGG music playback. Additional issues (submitted by early testers) are listed on GitHub, and you’ll find some complaints on the r/Kodi subreddit.
To install the Kodi 21 “Omega” Beta, visit the Kodi downloads page, select your platform of choice, and navigate to the prerelease downloads section. A full changelog for the Kodi 21 Beta is available on GitHub. Early testers who encounter bugs or other problems are encouraged to raise GitHub issues with full debug reports.