XBMC becomes Kodi (entertainment center software)

XBMC is a popular media center application for Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, and other platforms. It provides a full-screen user interface for navigating music, movies, videos, online media and all sorts of other content through its plugin system.

Once upon a time XBMC stood for Xbox Media Center: the earliest versions were designed to turn a first-generation Xbox game console into a media PC. It’s been a long time since that was the case, but starting with version 14 the team of developers behind the software are finally doing away with the vestigial name: Meet Kodi.


This is the software’s fourth name in the past 12 years… Xbox Media Player became Xbox Media Center which became just XBMC. But starting wit the next major release, the team is dropping the X altogether.

The move’s not too surprising. You can’t run the software on the latest Xbox hardware at all. It’s not even just a media center anymore. You can use it to read news, launch games, and perform other tasks that might not even have anything to do with “media.”

Developers have also never been able to trademark the XBMC name. Kodi is trademarked, so while the source code for the software will continue to be available and anyone can distribute or modify Kodi software, there are some restrictions on use of the name and logo. This is a lot like the way Mozilla controls its trademarks for the open source Firefox web browser and in fact the Kodi team is taking its cues from Mozilla.

The new name will kick in when XBMC 13 transitions to Kodi 14. For now the change is a work in progress… as is the logo. The image above comes from the XBMC website, but it’s not the final design.

  • matcarfer

    Horrible name.

    • Carlos Vargas

      I’m glad someone said it, I’m sure there are bound to be better alternatives to Kodi. Personally I think having the ‘X’ in the name should be there despite no longer being associated with that original platform as it’s part of it’s original namesake and still gives a sense of history for those are aware of it’s origins and what the original acronym stood for.

      I would equate this to hypothetically to Microsoft announcing Windows will now be called Chippo as Windows no longer resembles the original product from from 1985, and in fact the IBM XT 286 would never be able to run the current iteration. The Trademark for Windows will be sold off to the FreeDos Project to do what they want with it.

      • Matthew

        I wonder if it even means anything or did they just pick it out of thin air?

      • Carlos Vargas

        I’m going with it’s an Acronym: Keep On Dreaming Ignoramuses … maybe?

    • josh

      Ya, so does anyone know how they came up with kodi and how it relates to multimedia?

    • po

      At least they didn’t go with something even lamer like paranoid, beast, dragon and other names that a typical 7 year old would come up with. Kodi is slightly better.

  • mizkitty


    Why didn’t they just start telling people it was “X” box…as in Android box…TV box…media box…

    And why is it so important to trademark the name…is there a sellout in the future?

    • Aquifel

      Trademarking the name makes it easier to get larger manufacturers to use it in their products. Trying to use the xbmc name could potentially incur the wrath of microsoft if they were really feeling litigious, since the x does in fact stand for xbox, im not saying its likely, but its possible.

  • pok

    Can this play Blu-rays with DRM?

  • Ben Garner

    I used to know a kid named Cody back in elementary school. He was an asshole.

  • texadactyl

    I wouldn’t mind the new name if the project could finally get “kodi” to work on Ubuntu 14.04 without freezing! )-:

  • Michael Thompson

    Could it be THAT simple?

  • XMC

    Call it XMC, X Media Center, where X is Windows, Linux, Android, etc.