How to make Kodi accessible to the blind through the Kodi Screen Reader service

Kodi is, quite possibly, the most well known and widely used media streaming solution out there. You can view all different types of media from video files to image files; you can even play games with it! But there's just one problem. When you first install Kodi on your device, be it your PC, your mobile device or smart TV, there is no screen reader support for the blind/visually impaired. I was very frustrated when I discovered this. However, after some online research, I found the reasoning behind this. Kodi actually has its own built-in screen reader that can be downloaded and installed as a service add-on from within the Kodi program itself. In this guide, I will describe how blind/visually impaired Kodi users like myself can take advantage of the Kodi Screen Reader.

About the screen reader

Kodi Screen Reader is a powerful tool that allows blind/visually impaired users to use the Kodi Media Centre program by speaking aloud items on the screen. It uses the operating system's built-in speech engine, like SAPI in Microsoft Windows, to provide speech output to the user. This, of course, means that you cannot change the voice of Kodi Screen Reader without first changing the default voice in your operating system's text to speech (TTS) speech settings. KSR will announce items such as buttons, dialog boxes and progress bars.

How to enable KSR

This guide assumes you are running Kodi on either the Windows or MacOS operating system. The mobile (Android/iOS) versions sadly don't have KSR. The below procedure is pretty much the same for both Windows and Mac, but there is 1 small difference.

  1. Inside Kodi, press Shift + A and press Enter to access the add-ons menu.
  2. Press Shift + D and press Enter to access the download menu.
  3. Press Shift + S and press Enter to access the services menu.
  4. Windows users, arrow down 9 times and press Enter twice. Mac users, arrow down 8 times and press Enter twice. You should hear clicking sounds as you arrow down.
  5. Wait a short while for the add-on to download and install itself. Once the installation process is complete, you should hear 2 quick beeps and the speech should start. This means you did everything right and the Kodi Screen Reader service is now activated.

Congratulations! You have successfully enabled the Kodi Screen Reader! Now you can independently stream and download movies and TV shows to your heart's content. The great thing about all this is that you don't have to manually reenable KSR every time you fire up Kodi; it will automatically activate on startup.