How to Use Kodi’s Web Interface to Control Your Home Theater PC (or Stream Music)

By Justin Pot on March 9th, 2017

You’re sitting on your couch, browsing the web on your laptop. Some music would be nice, but you don’t really want to put down your laptop, pick up the remote, and browse your music collection with your TV remote.

Happily, there’s a better way. One of Kodi’s built-in features lets you explore your entire media collection, even your add-ons, using the browser on your laptop. With it, you can start playing a TV show on your Kodi box without putting down your laptop and picking up the remote. You can even stream to your music right in your browser, which is great if you don’t have all of your music on your laptop.

A previously third-party add-on named Chorus is now part of Kodi itself, and this beautiful HTML5 interface couldn’t be easier to enable and use. Let’s get started.

How to Enable and Access Kodi’s HTTP Web Interface

To get started, you need to enable Kodi’s remote control feature. On the home screen, click the Settings button, which the gear at top-left.

Next, head to “Service settings,” as seen here.

Head to the Control tab, and you’ll see the option to allow remote control via HTTP.

You can set a custom port number, but the default will work fine. You can also choose a username and password, if you’d like to lock this thing down a little bit. The “Web interface” option should, by default, say “Kodi web interface – Chrous2,” but might be different if you’ve changed your web interface in the past. Make sure you set this to the default, assuming you want to try the new default interface.

Now that you’ve turned it on, you can access this web interface from any computer on your network. Open your browser and, the address bar, type the IP address for your media center, followed by a colon, followed by the port. For example, if your Kodi box’s IP address is 192.168.1.10, and your port is set to 8080 , you need to type 192.168.1.10:8080. Like this:

If you don’t know the IP address for your Kodi setup, you can find it within Kodi itself. From the Settings screen head to System Information > Network and you’ll see all of your network information, including the IP Address. We recommend you set your router to use static IP addresses, so that this IP address doesn’t change on you later.

Once you set a static IP, feel free to bookmark this site for future use.

How to Browse Your Media Collection and Add-ons from the Web Interface

The Kodi web interface basically acts as a remote control for your media center. See those icons on the left? Hover over them to find out what they do.

Each icon more or less represents a type of media in Kodi itself. For example, you can browse your TV Shows.

Hover over any show’s cover and hit the Play button; the entire series will start playing on your media center. Alternatively, you can click the cover itself to browse episodes, or queue the entire show to play after what you’re watching right now.

You can quickly create a playlist for your evening this way, all without interrupting what’s on your TV right now.

Speaking of TV: if you’ve set up your PVR with Kodi, you can use Chorus to quickly check what’s on, and even fire up a particular channel on your media center.

There are also sections for your movies and TV shows, if you want to browse those.

You can even browse your add-ons completely from your browser.

You can browse the complete contents of an add-on, making it possible to browse various everything and queue up a playlist of videos to watch later.

 

This is all really just getting started: I’m sure there’s no end of uses you can think of for all this access. But there’s one key feature we haven’t even gotten to yet.

Streaming Your Kodi Music Over Your Network

When you first start this browser interface, you’ll notice there are three main panels.

Let’s focus on the panel to the right. It has two tabs: “Kodi” and “Local.” Open the “Local” tab, and you can start building a playlist of music to play right there in your browser—streaming from your Kodi media center to the computer in front of you.

If the panel is open, just click any album or song. Note that this works only for audio files: you can’t play videos from Kodi in your browser over the network. It also doesn’t work for music add-ons in our tests, though if you want Pandora in your browser, it’s probably simpler to just open Pandora in your browser.

This feature is by no means a replacement for something like Plex, which lets you stream your media collection from anywhere. But if you just want a quick way to play your music collection on a Chromebook or phone, this couldn’t be simpler to set up.

Justin Pot is a staff writer for How-To Geek, and a technology enthusiast who lives in Hillsboro, Oregon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, if you want. You don't have to.

  • Published 03/9/17
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