Even now, when most of the TVs we have at home are Smart TVs, devices like Emby, Plex and Kodi are very popular. Many people prefer such media center devices because they offer them more personalization and freedom. But it is a bit hard to choose when it comes to the best media player software considering that all the options are amazing. In this article, we will compare three of the most popular options — Emby vs. Plex vs. Kodi. Keep reading to find out which one will be the best for you.
Let’s kick it off with Kodi. If you are a long-time Kodi user, you might remember that once it was released in 2004, it was actually named XBMC. It has developed much since then and is one of many people’s favorite media player software. Kodi is available for all the major streaming devices as well and is very straightforward to install. For example, if you have a Fire Stick at home, this step-by-step guide will show you how to install and start using Kodi in minutes. And this is one of the benefits of Kodi — it is supported on many devices and is very easy to install.
Another benefit is that Kodi is fantastic as it is, but you can make it much better using a variety of addons. Those add-ons will make watching, organizing, and managing your content easier than you can imagine. Of course, Kodi is not only for local content, but you can use it to steam anything you would like using popular platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, etc. Kodi supports almost any format you can imagine, making it the preferred choice for people who don’t want to be limited. Same for when it comes to users that prefer to be able to highly personalize the interface of their device — thanks to many addons and skins, this is possible with Kodi.
Emby is considerably newer compared to Plex and Kodi. It was released in 2013, and when it was revealed to the public, it was presented as the perfect alternative to Plex. Since it is an open-source media browser, it is very attractive for developers or people who have some technical knowledge and like to play around with their software solutions. We say it was because recently, Emby changed its strategy. They still offer the open-source part of their product, which consists of all the main functionalities, but they have apps for different devices that are closed and can’t be modified. This also allowed the possibility of introducing functionalities that are considered premium ones and therefore are paid for.
In terms of functionalities, Emby is very close to Plex, as you can expect, since it was released as a leading alternative to the already popular media center software. So, you can easily store content on your Emby in order to organize and manage it easier. You can watch your local content and other streaming platforms and live TV. One of the great things about Emby is that it greatly facilitates content management on multiple devices. You can access the content from different devices and watch something on your phone when you are on the move or your TV from the comfort of your home. Emby offers a bit more than Plex but still can’t compare with Kodi when it comes to customization.
Let’s now have a short look over Plex, which may be the most popular media center used by millions of people. Not many people, however, know that XBMC developed it. That’s right, the same developers of Kodi. Plex was released a couple of years after Kodi, and it was developed and released as an OS X version. After that, things changed, and now Plex is available in many other operating systems and is the preferred choice of people that want to get a media player software because of its excellent performance. Like the other two options, Plex’sx main feature is to facilitate the organization, management, and streaming of your local content.
Compared to Kodi, which is entirely free, Plex is a freemium service. This means that the main parts are free, and you can use them without paying additional fees, but certain functionalities are premium, and you will need a subscription. The prices are quite affordable, especially if you get their lifetime deal. For example, if you want to watch Live TV or use DVR, you will have to go for a Plex Pass. Similar to Kodi, plex offers many extensions that you can take advantage of, but the personalization options are still more limited. Plex is a bit better than Emby when you compare the functionalities, and this is normal since it’s been longer on the market, but Emby is fastly catching up.
Which media center is the best?
The answer to this question very much depends on your needs and what you would like to do with your media center. Plex and Emby are pretty close and are both freemium solutions. On the other hand, Kodi is entirely free and offers you many personalization possibilities and add-ons. Whichever you choose, you will definitely enjoy long hours of entertainment.