De-Kodi: Understanding the Kodi Ecosystem

Marc Anthony Warrior, Yunming Xiao, Matteo Varvello, Aleksandar Kuzmanovic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Free and open source media centers are currently experiencing a boom in popularity for the convenience and flexibility they offer users seeking to remotely consume digital content. This newfound fame is matched by increasing notoriety - for their potential to serve as hubs for illegal content - and a presumably ever-increasing network footprint. It is fair to say that a complex ecosystem has developed around Kodi, composed of millions of users, thousands of "add-ons" - Kodi extensions from 3rd-party developers - and content providers. Motivated by these observations, this paper conducts the first analysis of the Kodi ecosystem. Our approach is to build "crawling" software around Kodi which can automatically install an addon, explore its menu, and locate (video) content. This is challenging for many reasons. First, Kodi largely relies on visual information and user input which intrinsically complicates automation. Second, no central aggregators for Kodi addons exist. Third, the potential sheer size of this ecosystem requires a highly scalable crawling solution. We address these challenges with de-Kodi, a full fledged crawling system capable of discovering and crawling large cross-sections of Kodi's decentralized ecosystem. With de-Kodi, we discovered and tested over 9,000 distinct Kodi addons. Our results demonstrate de-Kodi, which we make available to the general public, to be an essential asset in studying one of the largest multimedia platforms in the world. Our work further serves as the first ever transparent and repeatable analysis of the Kodi ecosystem at large.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Web Conference 2020 - Proceedings of the World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2020
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages1171-1181
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450370233
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 20 2020
Event29th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2020 - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: Apr 20 2020Apr 24 2020

Publication series

NameThe Web Conference 2020 - Proceedings of the World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2020

Conference

Conference29th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2020
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China
CityTaipei
Period4/20/204/24/20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'De-Kodi: Understanding the Kodi Ecosystem'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this