If you enjoy watching TV shows and movies but don’t have the time to remember every release date and find the best new content as it comes out, it may be time to consider Trakt.TV. Trakt.TV is a service that keeps track of the movies and TV shows you watch, connecting you with recommendations based on your history and aiding you in discovering content highly-rated by the community. It also happens to have an official add-on for Kodi, which we’ll discuss in-depth later.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about Trakt.TV, and how to install Trakt.TV on Kodi.
What is Trakt.TV?
Simply put, Trakt is an add-on for Kodi and other major media centers including Plex, MediaPortal, Emby, and more, which scrobbles, or keeps track of TV shows and movies that you watch. Trakt uses this data to find similar shows and movies to offer as recommendations, helping you discover popular content suited for you. While the information must be fed manually when you first install Trakt (through a simple process of liking and disliking certain shows and movies), the tracking process is done automatically as you view content through your media center.
Trakt started as a scrobbling (content tracking) plugin built by Sean Rudford and Justin Nemeth. Rudford and Nemeth initially launched Trakt’s public beta in the fall of 2010, focusing on Xbox Media Center (now known as Kodi) users. In its first few months of infancy, Trakt spread solely through a handful of the creators’ friends through the XBMC forums, with the first public announcement found in this thread. Although their numbers were small and limited to the XBMC community, the active user base provided the two creators with enough feedback to tweak and adjust Trakt to reach a larger audience.
In March 2011, a feature on Lifehacker caused its user base to grow from 1,200 to 3,000 users overnight, starting Trakt’s slow but consistent growth. Trakt worked with third-party apps to increase their growth organically, and in 2012 they hit nearly 200,000 users. However, Trakt’s rise coincided with the advent of the Social TV industry. Several large competitors rose seemingly out of nowhere, using millions of dollars from investors to build user bases much larger than Trakt’s in much shorter timeframes.
To counter this, Trakt’s team spent a year working on Trakt 2.0, updating the interface and user experience to stay in line with current design and feature trends. They created a new version of Trakt that could more easily scale to millions of users, and rebranded themselves with a professionally-made logo and website. In December 2014, with just over 800,000 users, Trakt 2.0 was launched.
After a rough start, with negative feedback from both API partners and users, Trakt 2.0 soon began to grow.
By the end of 2016 they had hit over 2.5 million users, and by June 2017 they reached 3 million members and over 10,000 applications built with the Trakt API. Trakt continues to grow and improve, focusing on consistent and reliable service.
Trakt offers a variety of features, with a free option for Standard features, and a paid option for VIP features, at $2.50 per month.
The Standard features include:
- Automatic scrobbling or tracking of the media you watch
- Full viewing history
- “Watch Now”: A guide on the best sources to find certain movies and TV shows
- Real time social network sharing, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Medium
- Personalized TV show and movie recommendations
- Option to create and store your own personal lists for movies, actors, shows, seasons, and episodes
- See what shows and movies are trending in the community
- Email notifications
- Push notifications
- Allows you to check data and profile manually from the website and mobile apps, when you’re away from your media center
- Catalogue your collections
- Automatic personalized viewing calendars
- Track your show progress
- Watchlists, to keep track of everything you want to watch
- Community discussions through reviews and shouts
- Featured lists
- Follow other members and find friends
- No Spoilers
The extra VIP features (for $2.50 per month) include:
- Access to annual “Year in Review” stats
- Calendar notifications, reminding you of your personalized calendar every day and week
- RSS feeds for IFTTT
- Filter through the popular “Watch now” filter to more easily find your preferred streaming sources
- Advanced search
- Image and embeddable widgets, allowing you to share your stats
- List cloning: copy other popular lists instead of making your own
- VIP badges
- Amazon Alexa integration
- No ads
- Early access to new and upcoming features
- iCal feeds, allowing you to collect any user’s complete history and calendars
- CSV Exports
- Advanced filtering
- Profile header: choose your favorite movie or TV show and use it as your profile header
- Custom calendars: mix and match your calendar with other popular lists
- Data refreshes
- Private VIP discussion forums
Some other features not listed specifically on the Trakt website include:
- Automatically sync your TV show and movie collections to Trakt
- Automatically clean your Trakt library, allowing it to match directly with Kodi
- Sync your “watched status” on your TV shows and movies between Trakt and Kodi
- Rate your content after viewing
Additionally, you may also subscribe for the $5 per month VIP plan, granting you Executive Producer credit.
The first thing you’ll come to appreciate with Trakt is the functionality that opens up once you start using it. Having the freedom to easily switch between devices and media centers without worrying about manually updating your library and watchlists is a convenience you would not expect to soon become a necessity. The ability to access your complete viewing history through any device and from any location will grow on you.
However, it does take some time to get used to the interface. Using Trakt for the first time may be slightly jarring, for one major reason: most of the options to access Trakt’s features are fixed in a drop-down list that only appears if you hover over your account name in the corner of the page. Forgetting this can leave you scratching your head when looking for the various pages and features offered by their site.
Tailoring your profile
Once you’ve set up your account, the first thing you have to do is tailor your profile and viewing history. This is as simple as going through a couple of shows and movies that you like and adding them to your Watched History or Collection (the difference being whether or not you own a copy of the content). You also have the option to rate the shows and movies as you go through them, adding to the Trakt community’s overall rating.
Keeping track of your shows
After indicating the shows you watch or have watched, Trakt will then automatically organize a calendar that will help you remember when the next episodes of your favorite shows will premier, or when upcoming movies will come out. They offer both a simple calendar, as pictured above, as well as a more traditional calendar with rows of dates.
One thing you will take note of immediately is Trakt’s constant reminders to upgrade to a VIP account. These reminders are present on most pages as you navigate throughout Trakt, and while they can be ignored, it may bother you to the point of signing up for the paid account. With the VIP account you would be able to create custom calendars, in which your calendar is populated by items from your lists and other users’ lists.
Recommendations and lists
Now we introduce perhaps the most convenient feature Trakt offers: easy content discovery. After feeding your preferred shows and movies into your profile, Trakt will start recommending certain shows to you. While it isn’t indicated specifically by Trakt, you can assume that the more shows and movies you input into their system, the closer their algorithms will come to matching you with content you would enjoy.
However, discovery isn’t limited to content that is recommended for you. Trakt also offers top lists of shows and movies that can be found on the Internet, including lists from Reddit, Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDB, as well as lists of award-winning movies and popular movies in shared universes. VIP users also have access to private lists and discussion forums where other recommendations may be located.
Understanding your stats
As Trakt tracks all the content that you are viewing, it also translates this data into digestible stats and visuals. While the free account has access to certain stats, including how much time you’ve spent per week and month watching shows and movies, these stats are mostly limited and are reserved for VIP accounts and the “Year in Review” feature. The Year in Review offers stats on how many episodes were watched per month, the time of the day you watched your content, which shows you rated highest, which actors you watched the most, and much more.
Trakt Privacy Issues
While many Kodi users make use of Trakt for its seamless integration with several Kodi add-ons—allowing you to keep your library and watched status synced on all channels—there is a slight concern when it comes to privacy issues. As can be seen in its features, Trakt publicly lists what its users are watching. It tracks your TV show and movie activity while actively publishing their stats on their website.
It is possible, therefore, for Trakt to hand over the information of users who are suspected to be watching shows or movies illegally, if Trakt is presented with a subpoena by a copyright holder.
Is Trakt a privacy hazard?
While the points above may be slightly concerning, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t think too much about them. Trakt.TV has been trusted by millions of users and thousands of developers, and no reports of Trakt abusing this condition in their policies have come about.
There are also many ways to protect yourself. Assuming you take the right precautionary measures to protect your privacy, using Trakt shouldn’t be an issue. The two ways to protect your privacy include:
- Set your Trakt.TV profile to private
- Hide your IP through a VPN
A VPN would tunnel your traffic through a server located elsewhere in the world, keeping your IP address hidden from Trakt.TV. For this, we recommend IPVanish, the complete privacy solution for Kodi users.
Using Trakt With Kodi
While Kodi’s library integration is successful when it comes to grouping your favorite TV shows and movies according to genre, title year, actors, directors, and other advanced filters, some Kodi developers have actually begun to move away from this Kodi feature and instead use Trakt. Trakt’s integration with Kodi is so seamless that it is in some ways preferable over Kodi’s own library feature. This is due to a variety of reasons, including:
- Trakt support works over several add-ons
- Trakt’s library allows you access to many additional features
- Trakt allows you to view and edit your collection from mobile interfaces
Because of this, Trakt is one of the most popular add-ons for Kodi users, and is seen by many as being an essential part of the Kodi viewing experience. Below you can read the installation guide to set up Trakt on your Kodi system.
How to Install Trakt.TV on Kodi
The following steps will allow you to download and install the Trakt add-on with Kodi’s interface:
- Open Kodi
- Select the Search button
- Select Search Add-ons
- Type Trakt
- Select Script—Trakt, then select Install
How to connect Kodi to your Trakt.TV account
- After you have installed the Trakt add-on (confirmed by the Add-on enabled notification), a pop-up should appear, linking you to https://trakt.tv/activate
- Go to that link in your browser
- Enter the PIN that was found in the pop-up in Kodi
- Select Continue
- Select Yes to initiate Trakt.TV on Kodi
How to configure Trakt.TV for Kodi
To configure Trakt for Kodi:
- Go to the Kodi main menu
- Select Add-ons
- Select My add-ons
- Select All
- Select Trakt
- Select Configure
Recommended Trakt configuration settings
- Exclusions: Enable Exclude Live TV
- Scrobbling: Enable all choices
- Synchronize: Select Service, and enable all choices
- Rating: Enable all choices, although this can be changed for personal preferences
These configurations will allow Trakt to automatically run when your Kodi device is activated, allowing your library to sync. It will also scrobble to your Trakt account every time you watch content or update your library, keeping your Trakt-enabled devices synced.
How to Configure Covenant For Trakt
Trakt is compatible with many third party Kodi add-ons, including Covenant. To configure Covenant for Trakt, follow the steps listed below:
- Open Kodi
- Go to the Covenant main menu
- Select Settings: Accounts
- In the Accounts tab, select Trakt: Authorization
- Write down or copy the authorization code generated by Covenant
- Visit https://trakt.tv/activate
- Enter the authorization code and press Continue
- Press Yes, allowing Covenant access to your Trakt account
Your Trakt account is now enabled on Covenant. This will allow you to interact with Trakt with Covenant through Kodi.
Final Thoughts on Trakt.TV: Should You Use Trakt.TV?
Trakt.TV is definitely one of the most efficient ways to do two major things: keep your history and library synced between various add-ons and devices, and find new recommendations based on your history.
Many things are admirable about Trakt and their company and design philosophy. Having begun with no capital, Trakt launched as a service created to improve its users’ viewing experience, and hasn’t lost track of those goals with its constant attention towards support, continued integration with Alexa and other upcoming devices, and a blog dedicated to defining its vision and communicating with its audience.
Trakt makes it easier for users to sift through shows and movies, finding only those that would work for them. Instead of spending hours testing new shows and movies that you inevitably fail to continue, Trakt focuses on linking you with content that is made for you. And with its own growing community of TV show and movie enthusiasts, it’s only a matter of time before you make a friend or join a group that shares your interests.
Need Extra Help?
If you’re looking for more help with the installation process or have a question about Trakt.TV that we didn’t cover, leave us a message in the comment section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.