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Plex vs Kodi – Which is the Best Streaming Software?

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Plex vs Kodi

Kodi and Plex are competing media centres, which provides access to all your images, videos, and songs from one place. They also enable you to stream the content to various devices and watch live TV channels. Both Kodi and Plex serve a similar purpose, but they are different in many ways. Both of them provides unique features, which makes it hard to proclaims one as being better than the other.

Plex vs Kodi
Plex vs Kodi

Related: Plex vs Emby – Which is the best media center for Streaming?

Setup

Setting up the home library for the first time is the most complicated part of the process. Kodi and Plex handle this step very uniquely. Which one works best for you may depend on the type of hardware you plan to use. Plex is highly useful for streaming the media virtually anywhere, but that feature requires the computer which holds your videos to be turned on and connected to the internet all the time. With Plex, you are prompted to create the account and set your “server” up right off the bat. It’ll tell us the account to sync the library and stream between different devices. Just log in to the Plex on your phone, and everything that is available on your server is ready to go. You can even log in to the web interface for Plex from any device with the web browser. You can have access to your content virtually everywhere. It also transcodes the videos, which will automatically convert videos to whatever type of file it needs on the fly to play anywhere. It is one of the most significant advantages that Plex has over Kodi.

Plex vs Kodi
Plex vs Kodi

Kodi’s initial setup can be simple or complex, which depends on what you are doing. When you install Kodi, you will be prompted to add files or folders to the library. If you are installing Kodi on the same desktop that your data are stored on, the setup is easy. If the files are stored on a different computer such as your home server, or the desktop in your office. You will need to go through the more complicated process or sharing those files with the Kodi over the network. If you wish to start streaming to different platforms, it gets even more complicated. When you have multiple devices running Kodi, it won’t sync your library unless you do even more work. If you want to watch the contents on a single device, then the Kodi system is perfectly fine for that, It gets more complicated when you add more devices to it.

Platform Availability

When it comes to platforms, the Plex is everywhere. It has the dedicated library applications for Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, Roku, Android TV, Apple TV, Xbox One and even Windows Phone. There are plenty of platforms with the ready-made Plex applications that no matter what you have, you are probably covered by the least one or two of your devices. Just log in, and you can access everything which is available on the Plex server immediately. The downside of this is that you can’t use every Plex app entirely for free.

Plex vs Kodi
Plex vs Kodi

Kodi has downloads available for few platforms, including Windows, OS X, jailbroken iOS devices, and Android. They are all the same app, which can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, this gives you the same awesome customisation power no matter what device you are doing. On the other hand, the default interface is not very touch-friendly, and it can still take some tweaking to get everything working correctly. You don’t have to access the popular set-top boxes like the Roku, Apple TV, or Xbox – just computers, tablets and phones. On the other hand, Kodi is always free.

Interface Customization

This is the area where the Kodi shines. If you want to tweak how your home library looks, Kodi provides you with a whole lot more flexibility than Plex does. There’s a vast library to choose from, too. There are an enormous amount of Kodi skins available to select. If you don’t like how Kodi looks, you can find the skin you want. You can even make the smaller tweaks to the interface you do like, organising movies by category, adding custom sections to the main screen, and many more. The best thing among all these is that you can tweak any version of Kodi. You can swap out skins on the Android version just as quickly as you can with the desktop version.

Plex vs Kodi
Plex vs Kodi

Plex has very little to offer on this front. To start with, you can only apply the custom skins to the Plex Home Theater app, which is not even in the development anymore. Currently, the company is focusing all its efforts on the new Plex Media Player, which doesn’t have the customizable skins. You can still download the Plex Home Theater from the Plex’s site, but understandably, the skinning community has faltered. All of Plex’s other apps – including the mobile apps, set-top boxes, and the web client – can’t use the custom skins either. You can create the playlists with the Plex to help organise some of the stuff, but that’s about it.

Addons

Since Kodi is the open-source project with a history of community contributions, it’s not a surprising thing that it has a strong add-on community. The coolest stuff you can do with Kodi is in addons. You can add the custom libraries for the shows like South Park or the Daily Show, watch your torrents, and there are even some slightly sketchy services for things like live sports and newer movies. The app interface lets you turn your Kodi into the Killer video game emulator right on your TV or even record live TV like the DVR. It’s crazy, which you can do with the Kodi Addons.

Plex vs Kodi
Plex vs Kodi

Like other customisation options, Plex falls a little short in this area. You can find some extra content on the Channel Directory, but these are usually the same types of things you would see on the set-top box or dedicated apps already. If you use the Plex on the Roku, for example, why install Pandora in the Plex when you can add the Pandora to your Roku? Some of this is the holdover from when Plex was an XBMC variant, and if you have hacked together the dedicated Plex box, it’s a little handy, but for the most part, it’s not needed anymore. There may be a few channels which are unique, or that makes the interface more comfortable, but many times, it feels like an extra step. You can even add the unsupported Channels to Plex, but there aren’t nearly as many cool channels as you’ll find on Kodi.

Pricing

Kodi is free, If you want to manage your library without spending a rupee, Kodi will never ask you for money, It doesn’t matter which app you are using or how much. It is pretty nice. Better yet, since the project is open-source, you can find some unofficial customisation builds which is also free. These are perfect for hacking together your own media centre on things like Raspberry Pi.

Plex vs Kodi
Plex vs Kodi

Plex, on the other hand, it is mostly free. If you are streaming your Plex library to a browser, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox, or Chromecast, you can do it for free. If you wish to stream contents to Android, iOS, or a few other platforms, though, you’ll need to pay a one-time fee for the platform, the application itself is usually free to try, but there’s an in-app purchase to unlock the full functionality. If you want to stream your content to every device you own, you’ll probably end up paying for something somewhere along the line.

The Verdict

We can’t flag a clear winner here, but it’s straightforward to separate which apps belong to which type of users. If you want the easy way to organise the whole media library, share it to Virtually on any device you have and don’t mind possibly paying the little money, Plex is going to be perfect for you. You’ll sacrifice some customisability, but as the paid service, it tends to work more reliably with less initial effort on your part.

On the other hand, if you are a die-hard home theatre PC user, that needs to tweak your setup until it becomes perfect, and you don’t mind investing some time in the research, In Kodi, you shouldn’t expect that everything will be super easy, but you can usually make things work precisely the way you like them. You can even make it very easy for all the normies in your house to use it. This also means you can do it a lot more with it if you put in the effort.

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