Kodi has an official remote app called Kore, but it’s rather basic. Yatse is a third-party Android app that takes Kodi to a whole new level, adding voice commands, PVR support, and a whole lot more. Here’s how to use it.
Sure, you can control Kodi with an MCE remote or a Logitech Harmony remote, and there are certainly advantages to a hardware with real buttons. They’re tactile, a bit more familiar, and guests don’t need to install an app just to watch TV.
But your phone is always with you, and it can do all sorts of things a hardware remote cannot. That’s where Yatse comes in. Just download the app from Google Play, then go through the quick setup wizard.
Assuming your phone and your media center are on the same network, Yatse will point it out when you first launch. Tap it to get started.
At first glance, it has the same basic functionality you’d come to expect from Kore, the official Kodi remote. Most obviously, it can control your media center with a series of on-screen buttons, that act just like a hardware remote.
The arrows and center button let you browse menus: press them and it’s like pressing the arrow keys and enter key on your keyboard. It takes a little getting used to, especially if you’re used to a physical remote, but works just the same for the most part.
But this being your phone, there’s more than just buttons. If you open the sidebar, you’ll also see options to view your Movies, TV Shows, and Music. Tap any of these and you can browse your media collection.
You’ll see posters, plot summaries, and more. It’s a great way to explore your personal video collection from anywhere in the house, or while something is is currently playing. You can tap anything to start playback.
And, if you’re currently watching something, you will see art, episode numbers and even a plot summary if you scroll down.
But that’s the basic stuff you’d expect from any remote app. Yatse really shines when it comes to its exclusive features.
Yatse’s Widgets and Notifications Give Quick Access to Kodi Controls
Here’s something cool: You don’t even need to open the app to control Kodi.
For example, there are a variety of widgets you can add to your phone’s home screens. Adding widgets varies depending on your Android launcher, but in most casts you can tap-and-hold an empty space on your home screen, then tap “Widgets”. Scroll down in the list of options until you get to “Yatse”.
Tap and hold any of these and drag it wherever you like. You’ll get a widget that shows you what’s currently playing, and be able to pause, play, and skip media, all from your home screen.
Alternatively, you can enable an ongoing notification in Android’s menu bar, similar to the one used by most media players. In Yatse, open the side menu and tap “Settings”. Then, head to “General Settings” and enable the “System Notification”.
The notification should show up any time media is playing on your Kodi machine. This will let you know what’s currently playing, and also allow you to pause or skip ahead–again, without ever opening the Yatse app itself.
What’s really cool about the notification is that it’ll show up on your lock screen. This means you can pause your music as you leave the house, or quickly hit next track in the middle of your workout, without even unlocking your phone.
Control Kodi with Your Voice
Recently, we pointed out how Kodi users can control their TV with an Amazon Echo. It’s cool, but not everyone wants to spend money on an Echo (and go through a bunch of setup) just to talk to their TV. And they don’t have to: Yatse comes with built-in voice control.
You can find this option in Yatse’s sidebar. First, tap the top-left three line button to pull up the sidebar menu.
Now, look for the microphone icon beside the word “Remote”. You may need to scroll down to find this.
Tap this icon, and you can say things like “Listen to Rural Alberta Advantage” or “Watch the next episode of Game of Thrones”, and Kodi will do just that. It’s magic when it works, but if you have trouble, check out the official list of voice commands.
Of course, opening an app and heading to the microphone isn’t exactly quick, which is why Yatse can optionally take over a key Android gesture. After installing Yatse, tap and hold the Android Home button and swipe up. Usually this launches Google Voice Search, but you can set other options, including Yatse.
Select it as your “Always” choice, and you’ll have a fast way to control your media center with your voice.
Browse Your TV Listings and PVR Recordings From Your Phone
If you use NextPVR to watch live TV in Kodi, Yatse allows you to browse current TV listings and your saved recordings from your phone, via the “PVR” section in the sidebar.
You can check out what’s on now, or explore the schedule of any specific channel. Sadly, you can’t schedule recordings from here, but it’s is a great way to see what’s on without interrupting whatever is currently happening on your TV.
Swipe right from here and you’ll see your list of recorded shows, too. Just tap on one to start playback on your home theater PC.
And don’t forget, even if only one of your home theater PCs has a TV tuner, you can stream those recordings to any Kodi box in the house.
Browse Your Add-Ons, Without Interrupting Your Show
It’s not just movies and TV–Yatse also lets you browse your Kodi add-ons from within the app, without interrupting playback on your media center.
So if you’re watching a YouTube video with your friends, you can search for the next one on your phone without interrupting what’s currently playing.
Not every add-on is supported, only those that make use of Kodi’s default interface. So anything listed in Kodi under “Programs” isn’t likely to work, but anything under “Video” or “Music” probably will. Unsupported add-ons will appear greyed out in Yatse.
It may not be the “official” app, but Yatse is, in our opinion, the best remote app for Kodi out there. Most of the above features aren’t offered by other remote apps, and once you get used to controlling Kodi with your voice, it’s hard to go back.