How to Cast YouTube and Other Web Videos to Kodi (Like the Chromecast)

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Ever wish you could send YouTube and other web videos from your phone or laptop to your TV? It’s a trick you’ve probably seen Chromecast and Apple TV users pull, but don’t feel left out: you can get it working in Kodi too.

Kodi has plenty of add-ons that let you play videos from YouTube, Twitch, and other streaming sites, but sometimes, you don’t want to navigate Kodi with your remote just to play something–especially if you already have it up on your phone. With these tools, you can send videos from your phone or laptop right to your TV, like you would on a Chromecast.

Unfortunately, the way this works means you can only cast videos from services that Kodi has an add-on for–which means no Netflix. But YouTube and plenty of other services should work, as long as you install the appropriate add-on first. Here’s how to set it all up.

First: Enable Remote Control in Kodi

Before we can send media over to Kodi, we need to enable a few things. On your media center, head to Settings > Services.

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From here, head to the Web Server tab.

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Make sure “Allow remote control via HTTP” is checked. You can set a custom port number if you’d like, though it’s fine to leave the default “8080” if you don’t have a specific port in mind. You can also set a username and password, which is a good idea if you share a network and don’t want anyone else taking control of your TV.

Next, head to the “Remote Control” tab.

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Make sure that “Allow remote control by programs on this system” and “Allow remote control by programs on other systems” are both enabled.

Finally, for your own reference, find your media center’s computer’s local IP address by heading over to System Information > Network.

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Remember this IP address. Ideally, you’d also set a static IP address on your router so you don’t have to change your settings later. You might need both this IP address and your port number to set up the other programs in this article.

Send YouTube (and Other Web Video) Links From Your Computer’s Browser

On your computer, you can send YouTube links to Kodi using browser extensions. Here are a few for the major browsers:

  • Chrome: Play To Kodi, which supports not only YouTube, but Hulu, Twitch, and a few other sites
  • Firefox: Send To XBMC/Kodi, which also lets you cast local videos from your computer
  • Safari: KodiPlay, which supports YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Hulu, Twitch, and more

Note that, in order for videos to work, you’ll need the appropriate add-on installed in Kodi. For example, to play YouTube videos you need to install the YouTube add-on, and to play Vimeo videos you need to install the Vimeo add-on.

Otherwise, all of these extensions essentially work the same way. Open a YouTube video on your computer, then click the extension’s icon.

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This will either send the video over to Kodi or give you the option to do so. In Play To Kodi for Chrome, seen above, you can also control Kodi entirely from the browser extension, which is a nice added bonus if you like to use your laptop while watching TV.

Send YouTube Videos from Your Mac with These Widgets

Here’s a bonus for Mac users. You probably already know you can set up the Notification Center with all kinds of widgets, and as it turns out, there’s a pretty good widget for Kodi out there, which you can download from the Kodi forum.

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You can use this to control Kodi using the on-screen buttons, or you can click the widget and then control Kodi using your Mac’s keyboard. It’s seriously like magic. But I mention this widget here because you can also paste YouTube URLs on the widget to get them to play on your home theater PC. If you prefer old-school widgets, there’s a Dashboard widget that works the same way.

I haven’t found any tool quite like these for Windows or Linux, sadly, but they’re a good alternative for Mac users that don’t like the browser extensions mentioned above.

Send Video Links From Android With Kore or Yatse

We’ve talked about Yatse, the ultimate Kodi remote for Android. There’s also Kore, the official remote for Kodi. If you have either of these programs set up, you can share YouTube and other links from your Android phone over to your home theater PC. In the YouTube app, tap the “Share” button for any video.

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From the list of options, select “Play on Kodi.”

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Just like that, the video will start playing on your TV.

YouTube is the only site that’s supported by Kore, the official Kodi remote. The third-party Yatse remote, though, supports a few more sites: Vimeo, Justin.TV, DailyMotion, and any video you have a direct URL for.

Send Music, Photos, and YouTube Videos from iOS or Android Using Pushbullet

If you’ve already set up Pushbullet to see Android notifications on your PC or Mac, you’ll be happy to know there’s also an extension for Kodi. Head to System > AddOns > Install From Repository > All Repositories > Services, then you’ll find Pushbullet.

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Install the add-on and you’ll find it under “Programs”. Once configured, you can push content from any Pushbullet device over to Kodi.

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Supported media will start playing automatically, or be added to the current playlist. Notably, this is the only way to send YouTube links from iOS over to Kodi.

Send Audio Over AirPlay

It isn’t video, but we thought Kodi’s built-in AirPlay support also deserved a mention here. Kodi offers built-in support for Apple’s Airport standards, but videos are only supported on devices running iOS 8 or older. Audio still works great, however, meaning you can stream music from your phone or your computer.

To enable this, head to Settings > Services > Airplay.

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Enable Airplay support, and optionally set a password. You can now stream audio from iOS devices or iTunes.

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Note that Windows users will need to download Bonjour for Windows in order for this feature to work, and Linux users will need to install avahi-daemon using their distro’s package manager.

Justin Pot is the News Editor for How-To Geek. He lives in Hillsboro, Oregon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, if you want. You don't have to.