Gone are the days of traditional televisions that could only receive a few channels. Now, more and more households are turning to “smart TVs.” These internet-enabled televisions are designed to work as all-in-one entertainment hubs. Most of them have official apps for all the popular streaming sites, including YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime and more.
While the selection of entertainment apps on Samsung Smart TVs is great, it does leave a lot to be desired. Those who love binge-watching or are selective about the movies and TV shows they choose will quickly find themselves running out of content when restricted to the official Samsung apps.
That’s where Kodi comes in. Kodi is undoubtedly one of the best and most popular media player apps on the market. This free, open-source software gives you the ability to stream video files (as well as music and image files) from any source. You can use it to watch content on the web, or you can use it to stream your home video collection to your TV. Kodi also has numerous add-ons—far more than the Samsung Smart TV official app collection. There are Kodi apps that will let you access free films and TV show episodes, stream live channels like ESPN, and completely customize the software to your liking.
If Kodi sounds like a must-have for you and your family but you’re not sure how to get started, we’ve put together a handy guide on how to install Kodi on Samsung Smart TV below.
Before you start: get a VPN
Before we get into the guide, there’s one important thing you’ll need if you plan on using Kodi on smart TV: a VPN.
Using Kodi in its base form or with official add-ons is not illegal. However, if you start using your Kodi app to download unofficial add-ons that let you watch pirated content (like TV channels and movies that you haven’t paid for), you could get into a lot of trouble for copyright infringement. A VPN will protect you against prosecution by routing all your traffic through a remote server and keeping it encrypted. This makes it impossible for your ISP or the authorities to see how you’re using your Kodi box.
On top of that, although some Kodi add-ons can make copyrighted materials available for free, they can’t always make them available in any country. In some cases (such as with certain foreign TV channels), you’ll get a geo-blocking error if you try to stream from the wrong country. However, when you have a VPN, you can connect to servers anywhere in the world. The VPN will mask your real location and trick TV providers into thinking you’re in their country, eliminating geo-blocks for good.
There are many VPNs out there, but our favorite for Kodi on Samsung Smart TV is ExpressVPN. This provider has thousands of high-speed servers all over the world, so you can stream in HD without any lag or buffering. On top of that, their privacy and security features are top-notch and leak-proof. With ExpressVPN, you never have to worry about getting into trouble for infringing on copyrights.
Check out our list of Best VPNs for Kodi
Can you install Kodi directly to your TV?
Many of today’s Smart TVs are powered by Android operating systems. Since Android is one of the platforms Kodi has an app for, it’s easy to install the software straight to an Android smart TV. However, Samsung is one of the more unusual companies that runs on a less popular system (Tizen OS), which Kodi isn’t compatible with.
As a result, it’s not possible to install Kodi directly onto your Samsung Smart TV like you would with an official Samsung app. Thankfully, however, there are many other ways to use Kodi on Samsung Smart TV. The 3 most popular methods are:
- via Chromecast
- via Roku
- via Android TV Box
If these 3 methods already sound like more hassle and confusion than they’re worth, fear not. This guide will explain how to follow each method with ease.
How to install Kodi on Samsung Smart TV
Method 1: Chromecast
The first method we’re going to show you requires a Google Chromecast – a small, stick-shaped device, which plugs straight into your Samsung Smart TV HDMI port. Once you’ve set your Chromecast up, you can stream Kodi to it via your phone or computer.
- Add Chromecast to your device: the first step to streaming Kodi to your TV via Chromecast is by adding the Chromecast functionality to your device. If you’re using a phone or tablet, you can do this by downloading and installing the Google Home app. If you’re a computer user, you can enable casting by opening Google Chrome and selecting Cast… from the settings menu. If you want the Cast button to stay in your toolbar permanently for easier use, just right-click it and select Always show icon.
- Install Kodi on your device: next, you need to install Kodi on your device. Phone and tablet users can find the Kodi app in the Google Play Store. Computer users can download the app from https://kodi.tv/download. Once the app has finished downloading and installing, open it and complete the setup process.
- Cast your screen: once you have Kodi installed, it’s time to cast your screen to your Chromecast device. Make sure your TV is turned on, and your Chromecast should turn on with it. Once it’s on, select Cast screen from your Google Home app, or click the Cast… button on Chrome and select Cast desktop from the drop-down. If all goes well, you should see your phone or computer screen mirrored on your Samsung Smart TV.
- Open Kodi and play your media: now all that’s left to do is find and play your video or media file of choice. Just open the Kodi app on your device, navigate to what you want to watch via your media library or add-ons, then click play. Your media will then begin streaming right to your TV. Note that since Chromecast mirrors your device’s screen, you won’t be able to use it for other tasks while casting.
Method 2: Roku
Roku devices have become very popular over the last few years, and many people with Samsung Smart TVs own one. Whether you have the Streaming Stick, Express, Ultra, or Premiere, if you’re a Roku 2, 3, or 4 user, this next method is for you.
- Install Kodi on your device: first things first, it’s time to get Kodi on your device. Again, you can install the Kodi app on your phone, tablet, or computer (or even all three). Just head to https://kodi.tv/download to get the computer version of the software, or find it on the Google Play Store using your handheld device. Then, make sure the Kodi app is set up properly before continuing.
- Activate screen mirroring: as with the Chromecast method, you’ll need to mirror your screen to watch Kodi via your Roku. Before you can do that, you’ll need to enable to feature on your Roku device. Thankfully, it’s a simple process. All you need to do is head to the Settings panel, choose the System menu, then head to the Screen Mirroring tab and enable it.
- Install a casting app on your device: you’ll also need to install a casting app on your device to initiate mirroring. There are tons of apps available out there—some are general, others are made for specific phones. You can find them by searching for “cast” or “view” or “mirroring” apps on the Google Play Store. As for computer users, the Chrome cast tab may work for some Roku devices. If not, the same search terms will help you find the right casting software for your computer. Once it’s installed, start casting your screen to your Roku.
- Open Kodi and play your media
Method 3: Android TV Box
Android TV Box is another popular set-top media device that works well for streaming Kodi on a Samsung Smart TV. It’s also the easiest method on the list by far because (as the name suggests) the Android TV Box is powered by Android OS. This means you can install the Kodi app directly onto it.
- Install Kodi on your Android Box: Getting the Kodi app on your TV Box is simple. Just connect and switch on the Box like usual, then open the Play Store. Type Kodi into the search bar and you’ll quickly find what you’re looking for. Then, just download and install it like you would with any other app.
- Open Kodi and play your media
And there you have it: Kodi on Samsung Smart TV. No matter which installation method you’ve used, as soon as the software is up and running you’ll be free to use it however you want. Set up a server to stream your home media library, or learn how to install third-party Kodi add-ons if you want to watch free TV and films—the choice is yours.