Kodi and Plex are two of the best media center applications. They both serve the same purpose but are different in many ways. They are powerful and robust solutions, but each one has unique features and capabilities. We will review both Kodi and Flex, and provide you all the information you need to know about them, so you can decide which one is better for you.
What is Kodi?
Kodi is a media center application that was originally developed for the Xbox gaming console by the XBMC foundation. Later it was developed to become a multi-platform application. It lets you organize and play your downloaded movies and music and also stream content from the web. It has excellent support for a wide range of video and audio formats. Kodi is not a media server application, which means that it is best fitted to work on one device.
Kodi is an open source developed by a huge community of developers and supporters. It is free and will remain free, which means that you don’t need to pay anything for watching high-quality content.
The basic functionality of Kodi is extended using add-ons. There are a lot of add-ons that can be easily installed on Kodi. Those add-ons can stream a huge amount of content including movies, TV shows, live TV, music, radio stations, podcasts and they even let you get a weather forecast. You have many alternatives, so if one add-on doesn’t satisfy your needs, a replacement add-on can be easily found in most cases.
Kodi is known for being extremely customizable. You can easily change its look and feel using many skins available and this gives a lot of flexibility. Almost every aspect of Kodi functionality can be controlled by a wide range of configuration parameters.
You can find here how to install Kodi based on your platform.
What is Plex?
Plex started in 2008 as a fork to the XBMC project. It is a media center application, meaning it can play movies, shows and music, manage your library and stream content, the same way as Kodi does. However, Plex is also a media server application that turns your desktop computer into a hub for your media collection. This hub streams the content to clients that are installed on multiple devices while transcoding the media in real-time to avoid buffering. The clients can run on many different platforms and even Kodi can serve as a client. You will be able to play your media in any location where you have an internet connection.
The compatibility of Plex for different devices is wider than the compatibility of Kodi. Moreover, it has official releases in all of the app stores, including Andriod, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, PlayStation, Roku, Xbox One and more.
The same way as add-ons extend the functionality of Kodi, Plex has a similar infrastructure which is called channels. However, Plex has fewer channels covering fewer niches of content compering to Kodi.
If you want to customize Plex, you will find that the amount of customization is externally limited. There are no skins and there is no ability to change the appearance.
For learning more about Plex and answering your questions, there are hundreds of support articles and a forum.
Plex is propriety software owned and maintained by Plex Inc. This means that Plex has a limited free version, while the most valuable features are not free. It has a subscription service called Plex Pass that includes all the free features and also the following additional features:
- The power to download – Sync your personal movies, shows and music to your mobile devices for offline enjoyment wherever you go
- Advanced settings – Unlock the power to set extra sharing restrictions and allow access to select premium features for shared user
- Dash control – Track your server stats with our desktop dashboard or on the go using Plex Dash
- Streaming brain – Set max upload bandwidth and per-stream caps to ensure the best streaming experience
- Hardware transcoding – Use the dedicated video decoder and encoder hardware support in your computer/device to convert videos and stream HD or 4K video more smoothly to more devices at once
- HDR tone mapping – Goodbye murk. Watch all of your library content, SDR or HDR, in true color on any screen
- Trailers and extras – Enjoy movie trailers, cast interviews, behind-the-scenes features, deleted scenes and more
- Ultimate TV and DVR – Watch and record live broadcast TV, including local news and sports, directly on your device (in HD where available). A Plex Pass, antenna and tuner, are all you need
- Skip intro – Want better binge watching? Get precious minutes of your life back, one episode at a time
- Plexamp – Rediscover the beauty of sound and listen offline anywhere with this app made for music lovers
- Lyrics – See timed lyrics to your favorite songs when available, so you can karaoke (or lip sync) like a pro
- Music player features – Enjoy enhanced listening with visualizers, sweet fades, and loudness leveling. It is an audiophile’s dream
- TIDAL subscription discount – Get your HiFi or Premium TIDAL subscription for a buck less than you can anywhere else
You can download Plex from here.
Which one should you use?
As you can see, the two media center applications provide the same basic functionality, but there are also major differences between them. Below we summarized the points that should be taken into account when choosing which application should be used.
Kodi will be better for you if you want:
- Access to your media from one device
- Free software without paying for extra features and services
- The choice between many add-ons which provide access to a ton of content
- More customization options to fine-tune every single feature
For example, typical Kodi users watch movies and live TV, listen to radio stations and podcasts, and want to do this while enjoying a polished interface.
Plex will be better for you if you want:
- Access to your media from multiple devices
- Compatibility for your device (in case Kodi is not compatible)
- To have professional online support
For example, typical Plex users have a lot of videos and music stored on their computers, and they want to share it with their family on multiple devices.
After reading all this information, if you are still not sure, you can install both and try using them and see which one is best suited for your needs. You can also stream from Plex media server to Kodi, and enjoy the best from those two applications combined.