Friday, 26 August 2016

My views on using Trakt with Kodi

I've been a long time user of Kodi (+10yrs) and recently started exploring Trakt weighing up the pro's and cons as I look after a few Kodi Pi's for friends. I have an Intel NUC in my lounge and a Pi in another room but as I use a Synology NAS to serve up my library, I already had synced watched states. I must say, the learning curve for Trakt is pretty steep. I was a TV Technician by trade so I pick things up pretty quickly but I didn't find the Trakt website all that intuitive.

Here is what I've found to be the pros and cons over the last eight weeks or so.


Pros:
  • Your Trakt 'Collections' be they TV or Movies are available in all add-ons that support Trakt.
  • With a supported skin (I use Xonfluence), the Movies and TV Shows headings in Kodi can be altered to open your Trakt 'Collection' via your favourite add-on. Makes it look like a library
  • Movies or TV Shows can be added to your Kodi 'collection' via the Trakt website or IOS/Android app. Personally I use the 'Movie Roll' app for Android which supports both the Movie watchlist and TV watchlist which is rare. Don't but the Pro version though as it doesn't work and the developer has gone dark.
  • Correspondingly, a widget set can be made for your TV Shows to show you where your up to in your season playback as Trakt has a progress menu available for TV Shows. This populates after a few seconds when I navigate to my TV Shows menu and is always up-to-date. This is nice.
  • Using 'Lists', you can create a custom list for your child and then modify the main menu in Kodi to display this list directly. I've added my Son's favourite cartoon shows to a Trakt custom list with my Son's name (via the Trakt website) then created a new menu item in Kodi called Cartoons and pointed it to this list on Trakt (via your favourite add-on). That is actually pretty cool and was very well received.
  • Of course, watched state is tracked across all devices that are set up they same. You must have the official Kodi Trakt add-on installed for this though.
  • You can review your entire watched history on Trakt.TV (and others too if your account is not set to 'Private') which is a great feature. You can also 'see' what your kids have been watching and when!
  • The Kodi Trakt add-on will 'upload' your Kodi Movie and TV Show libraries to your Trakt account so your Trakt 'Collection' (then filtered by Movies or Shows) will contain all of your Library items. This feature may also belong in the Cons?
Cons:
  • Learning curve is steep for the average end user
  • Tends to be a lot of confusion between what the Kodi Library is and a Collection or Watchlist and if your friend or Family member has local content, they will most likely have a library.
  • Many of the integrated Kodi library features don't work with Trakt. 'TV Showed Next Aired' which I use and love does not work with a Trakt TV collection. Shows need to be in the Kodi Library.
  • Some of the native Kodi sub menus don't work either like the 'Suggested' or 'In Progress' which I use all the time with the Kodi Library. Having a list pop up on the right showing you all the Movies you're part way though is pretty cool (Suggested) but you can't get this from a Trakt Collection.
  • The level of Trakt integration in add-ons varies between each add-on. e.g. Using the context menu in Exod.. allows you to access the Trakt Manager and add/delete a show from a Collection/Watchlist or Custom List. Context menu in Spect... has no Trakt Manager creating confusion.
  • The terminology between Trakt, mobile apps and Kodi add-ons is not completely standardized so get to where you need to go can be frustrating
There you go...whew! All I can think of for now. So if you want a simple wife friendly experience, stick with the Kodi Library or use an add-on that allows you to add items to the Library like Spect... If you want synced lists between devices and the killer feature of being to add a show to Kodi remotely using your phone, then put the effort into getting to understand Trakt. It takes a bit of time but the rewards may well justify the effort :)