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Setup Kodi Media Center Using a Windows Network Share "Samba"

Updated on March 5, 2015

Why Kodi?

Kodi is an open source media center that offers a free solution to organize and play your media content. This media center is rich with features, and offers many benefits to households with digital content or for those looking to become "cord-cutters."

Some of the features of Kodi include:

  • Unified collection of files from multiple sources
  • Automatically downloads media details such as: Titles, Synopsis, and Actors
  • Tracks season progress
  • Intuitive media displays and menus
  • User configurable with a variety of skins available
  • Native support for MCE Remotes
  • Many advanced features available via plug-ins from the Kodi Repository

Although Kodi is very intuitive at times it may seem overwhelming for the average user. Some advanced features require advanced knowledge. That is why this guide will detail each step using information from the latest stable release of Kodi, 14.1 Helix, and the default skin, Confluence.

Why Samba?

Let's start with "What is Samba?"

The word "Samba" comes from SMB (Server Message Block). It is the default protocol used by windows for printer and file sharing. Samba is actually its own software that is commonly incorporated as a system service, and is supported natively by many operating systems including OS X (Jaguar and later) and many linux distributions.

Due to the wide acceptance of Samba, and it's basic configuration chances are you have the tools necessary to setup your own share. you're you're reading this guide you may have already setup your share, and are asking yourself "Now What?."

While this guide does cover how to configure the Samba share in Kodi it does not cover how to setup a Samba server. There are many solutions for configuring your server depending on where the files are located; PC, external hard drive, netowork attached storage.



Router Based Share

Example of a Samba Network Share configured in an ASUS router. This share is using an external hard drive connected directly to the router via USB.
Example of a Samba Network Share configured in an ASUS router. This share is using an external hard drive connected directly to the router via USB.

Add Network Share as Media Source

Click thumbnail to view full-size
From the home screen, locate the "Videos" tab and select "Files".Select "Files"Click "Add Videos"Click "Browse"Select "Add network location"Enter your Samba share IP address into "Server Name" and the folder path into "Shared folder." Username/Password are required if guest/anonymous login has not been enabled. Click "OK"Your Samba share is now an available source in Kodi. Select your share from the list.Your share folder will be displayed. Individual files are not displayed here and it may appear empty. Click "OK"The "Add Video Source" window will now display your videos folder location. If you would like you can change the media source name. Click "OK"Select the content type contained in the media source by clicking the up/down arrows. "Scan recursively" needs to be checked if you have subfolders such as movies organized by Genre. "Exclude path" should not be selected if  content will be added.When asked to refresh information click "Yes"Congratulations! Your media is now added to Kodi. The processes can be repeated for multiple sources (such as a Movies and a TV folder).
From the home screen, locate the "Videos" tab and select "Files".
From the home screen, locate the "Videos" tab and select "Files".
Select "Files"
Select "Files"
Click "Add Videos"
Click "Add Videos"
Click "Browse"
Click "Browse"
Select "Add network location"
Select "Add network location"
Enter your Samba share IP address into "Server Name" and the folder path into "Shared folder." Username/Password are required if guest/anonymous login has not been enabled. Click "OK"
Enter your Samba share IP address into "Server Name" and the folder path into "Shared folder." Username/Password are required if guest/anonymous login has not been enabled. Click "OK"
Your Samba share is now an available source in Kodi. Select your share from the list.
Your Samba share is now an available source in Kodi. Select your share from the list.
Your share folder will be displayed. Individual files are not displayed here and it may appear empty. Click "OK"
Your share folder will be displayed. Individual files are not displayed here and it may appear empty. Click "OK"
The "Add Video Source" window will now display your videos folder location. If you would like you can change the media source name. Click "OK"
The "Add Video Source" window will now display your videos folder location. If you would like you can change the media source name. Click "OK"
Select the content type contained in the media source by clicking the up/down arrows. "Scan recursively" needs to be checked if you have subfolders such as movies organized by Genre. "Exclude path" should not be selected if  content will be added.
Select the content type contained in the media source by clicking the up/down arrows. "Scan recursively" needs to be checked if you have subfolders such as movies organized by Genre. "Exclude path" should not be selected if content will be added.
When asked to refresh information click "Yes"
When asked to refresh information click "Yes"
Congratulations! Your media is now added to Kodi. The processes can be repeated for multiple sources (such as a Movies and a TV folder).
Congratulations! Your media is now added to Kodi. The processes can be repeated for multiple sources (such as a Movies and a TV folder).

About Your Library

Now that you have added your media source you can enjoy your media. While from "Videos" you can now browse the files that are contained in your media source content is best viewed from it's respective tab; Movies, TV Shows, and Music.

Music is added to the library the same way as videos, however at the beginning select music and then files from the home screen.

Many settings can be adjusted to suit your preferences, and you can experiment by visiting "System" and then selecting "Appearance." Skins can be installed that change the overall viewing experience, and each skin has it's own settings. Below I will show how to view your movies, and quickly adjust the view style for movies using the default skin.

Movies

Click thumbnail to view full-size
To view your movies select "Movies" from the home screen.A list of your movies will be displayed. To play a movie simply select it from the list. Display the "View Options" by clicking the arrow on the left hand side of the screen. From the view options you can quickly adjust your view style as well as some additional options such as sorting. Remember different skins will have different settings.
To view your movies select "Movies" from the home screen.
To view your movies select "Movies" from the home screen.
A list of your movies will be displayed. To play a movie simply select it from the list. Display the "View Options" by clicking the arrow on the left hand side of the screen.
A list of your movies will be displayed. To play a movie simply select it from the list. Display the "View Options" by clicking the arrow on the left hand side of the screen.
From the view options you can quickly adjust your view style as well as some additional options such as sorting. Remember different skins will have different settings.
From the view options you can quickly adjust your view style as well as some additional options such as sorting. Remember different skins will have different settings.

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