Wednesday, April 17, 2024

This is what’s new and changed in the latest new Kodi 21 ‘Omega’ release

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Kodi 21 — codenamed ‘Omega’ — is the next version of the hugely popular home theater software.

The Kodi Foundation rolled out a major update to Kodi 21 two weeks ago but didn’t officially announce it until now, along with the long list of changes to be found in this latest, and possibly last beta release.

SEE ALSO: Kodi 20 ‘Nexus’ gets yet another ‘final’ release

These are the changes in Kodi 21 ‘Omega’ Beta 3:

Build/Dependencies

  • Support for building with swig 4.2.0

General

  • The way in which buffer fill was handled was changed to care more for low-power CPU devices. Under certain circumstances, and with especially high manually-configured readbuffer factors, the buffer filling thread caused high CPU usage and introduced stutter by itself.
  • Implemented new “Adaptive” setting in Services / Caching / Read Factor that allows a variable read factor based on cache level. This means that the cache fills faster, while at same time using a less aggressive read factor when it’s already filled.
  • Fixed media served through plugins not being accessible when a master lock is used.

JSON-RPC

  • Add command to change playback speed (tempo).
  • Add a command to activate screen saver.

Music

Platform Specifics

  • Android:
    • The audio changes for the Android ecosystem were documented in https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=376161.
    • Due to various firmware bugs on multiple devices we were forced to add some opt-in audio settings for (especially) the widely-used FireTV Cube 3rd Gen, which were enabled by default until this beta, but sadly regressed on half-broken firmwares of other devices. It’s not possible to maintain a deny list as available systems and versions change too quickly, plus Kodi release cycles can’t be synchronised with every big vendor putting out fixes. As such, we decided to move this into an advanced setting, with more information available in the linked forum thread. Feel free to open new issues if you see regressions of some sort, but please don’t forget your debug log, as help isn’t possible otherwise due to the sheer variety of differently-broken boxes.
    • Another advanced setting now allows the output of high-precision 32-bit float from within Kodi for multi-channel PCM files. This is again an advanced setting because some devices fail silently when opening this combination. Float32 is the highest precision Android’s Audiotrack Soundserver can handle. It was tested and is working on Shield and FireTV 4K 2nd Gen.
    • We received a whole lot of bug fixes from external contributors this time, with the focus on HDMI Hotplug after refresh rate changes and also Audio device enumeration. The long-standing bug of losing Android IEC devices during IDLE is solved. We are very thankful for these contributions.
    • @quietvoid has implemented a new setting in Player / Processing that allows filtering of HDR dynamic metadata HDR10+ and/or Dolby Vision to improve compatibility on devices that had issues, especially with hybrid videos that includes both types at same time.
  • iOS/tvOS
    • Disable VTB (hardware decoding) for real-time interlaced videos.
  • Linux:
    • Pipewire sink got a fixup for sample rate switching. With that updated code, the back-end server of Pipewire will switch the base sample rate whenever Kodi is run without additional other clients. This way, Kodi’s audio will be output in the best possible and lossless way throughout the audio chain, including soundserver and audio device.
    • Adjusted dependencies to build packages compatible with Ubuntu Focal to Noble for CPack building
    • @fightforlife has fixed an issue with RenderCapture used by things like Hyperion that fixes sporadic black screen captures
  • webOS
    • Map info key on webOS remotes.
    • Disable core dumps by default to reduce less storage being used on webOS TVs.
    • Implement shutdown/reboot .
  • Windows:
    • Improved chroma upscaling when using Pixel Shaders or Software render methods, and also DXVA only in specific cases: AMD + old drivers + 10-bit SDR.
    • Improved channel layout match in WASAPI when audio drivers do not support the exact speaker layout. This is only relevant for PCM (not passthrough).
    • Increased the number of video surfaces in DXVA H.264 decoding to prevent video corruption in some rare H.264 streams.

Pictures

  • Long time contributer @notspiff added avif image support.
  • @enen92 fixed an Exif parsing regression that was introduced in Matrix (v19).

Scraping

  • .nomedia files can now be used to exclude folders inside a TV show: https://github.com/xbmc/xbmc/pull/24330
  • @78andyp fixed what looks like has been broken for a long period – the ability to scrape episodes in Bluray folders (BDMV).

Skinning

  • The estouchy skin has been retired from default installs. If anyone would like to continue working on the skin for future use/availability, you can find the new home for the skin at https://github.com/jjd-uk/skin.estouchy for now.
  • The player control dialog for Estuary has been updated, along with other changes to bring the skin up to date for 5.17.0 API.
  • A fix for duplicate music flags was made by @jjd-uk.

UPnP

  • @enen92 has once again made an assortment of fixes for UPnP, such as fixed broadcasting of item updates and ‘mark as watched’ state.
  • An option was added to avoid volume synchronisation to a UPnP target.

Known Issues include:

  • There are seek issues with multi-part MP4 files on Android (https://github.com/xbmc/xbmc/issues/23673).
  • We’ve had reports that the new splash screen looks like an OpenGL corruption; we know, it’s not a problem, so don’t panic. We’d be happy to have your artwork contributions if you’d like to work on an alternative.
  • If remote sources are unavailable at startup, users are seeing significant delays while waiting (https://github.com/xbmc/xbmc/issues/23958).

You can get Beta 3 from here. Select your platform of choice, and grab the new build from the Prerelease section.

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