Plex vs. Kodi: Which One is the Best?

PLEX VS KODI

You have two alternatives when it comes to media streamers: Plex and Kodi. While they both perform the same basic purpose of allowing you to watch movies and TV shows from your local library rather than streaming them from the internet, the two media players operate in completely different ways. 

Examine both to determine what makes them tick and which is the best.

Kodi is a free and open-source media player that was first developed for the Xbox 360’s first-generation platform. Back then, it was known as XBMC (Xbox Media Center). However, it has since changed its name and evolved into a standalone media player that can stream movies, music, and images to a variety of devices.

Plex is a media center application as well. Plex, on the other hand, is a server-client program that can broadcast media material from a server to any client device, unlike Kodi. Plex does, however, share certain similarities with Kodi, as a portion of Plex was pulled from Kodi’s source code.

As a result, you’ll notice certain similarities between the two software, such as the ability to access one’s local collections of movies, TV shows, music, and images, as well as manage and playback the media content. 

Customization

Plex

Because Kodi is open-source, you may anticipate more customization flexibility. Users with some computer experience can personalize the menu presentation, function improvement, and other characteristics as they see fit. Less-experienced users can also utilize the software’s off-the-shelf plugins to adapt it to their preferences. 

Plex appears to offer no customization options other than some minor tweaks to the home screen and sidebar navigation. It also lacks a plugin service that allows users to alter the Plex interface all at once. Plex, on the other hand, already has a clean user interface that adheres to popular aesthetics, and most casual users don’t see the need to change it further. 

Plex is no match for Kodi when it comes to customization. And if you’re a seasoned user who values personalization, Kodi is the best choice. 

Plex may be the best option for non-techies.

Kodi

Media library organization

Though they both scan and organize your local media libraries, Plex and Kodi store the media libraries, and Plex and Kodi store the media database in quite different ways.

Kodi and Plex both have excellent indexing engines. So you can download media meta-data like album artwork, movie posters, ratings, synopsis, lyrics, subtitles, and more from sites like IMDB, themoviedb.org, and opensubtitles.org once and save it locally for offline use. They’re both terrific for categorizing your material by genre, artists, years, directors, and actors, among other things. 

Transcoding

Transcoding is related to the database location. Because each new device has its own database, it’s easy to see that Kodi must rely on the device where Kodi is installed to execute the transcoding. As a result, your device can’t be too power-hungry.

Plex, on the other hand, allows for real-time media conversion or transcoding. Plex will try to convert a media format to a compatible version if your device doesn’t support it.

For instance, I have AVI movies on my hard drive, but my TV won’t play them, so Plex converts them to mp4 on the run. Because transcoding is a CPU-intensive process, this capability is only as useful as your device’s CPU power. 

Because the ARM-based CPU in my Seagate personal cloud NAS drive running Plex server isn’t very strong, it can’t do on-the-fly transcoding. 

Pricing

Kodi is an open-source media player that is hence absolutely free. Plex, on the other hand, is proprietary software that comes in both free and paid editions. Plex Pass is the premium version of Plex, and it costs $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, and $119.99 per lifetime. Plex Pass capabilities include the ability to play media on some client devices, sync media offline, and share libraries, among others.

Plex premium plans
Plex premium plans

Plugins availability

Add-ons are the name for Kodi’s plugins. With Kodi’s add-ons, you’ll get the finest experience possible, as they push the boundaries of media viewing. It’s reasonable to assume that the add-on’s functionality is what has made Kodi what it is today. However, not all of these add-ons are legal, so be cautious when utilizing them. 

Plex had a plugins service called channels in the past. Plex, however, shut down the service two years ago. Only a few ad-supported TV stations are currently available on Plex. However, there is a solution for watching IPTV on Plex. 

Platform compatibility

Plex and Kodi are both available on a variety of platforms, including common operating systems, game consoles, mobile phones, and streaming media players.

Users can install Plex Media Server on most computers and network-attached storage (NAS) devices. These are some of them:

  • Drobo, Netgear, QNAP, and Synology NAS devices
  • Linux
  • Mac OS X
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Netgear Nighthawk X10 router
  • NVIDIA Shield

Plex is a streaming service that works on any device that has a Plex app or web media player, such as:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android phones and tablets
  • Apple iOS phones and tablets
  • Apple macOS
  • Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari web browsers 
  • Google Chromecast
  • LG, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, and Vizio Smart TVs
  • Microsoft Windows
  • PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gaming consoles
  • Roku and Sonos streaming devices
  • TiVo

The following devices can be used to access Kodi:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android phones and tablets (5.0 or higher)
  • Apple iOS phones and tablets (iOS 6.0)
  • Apple TV 2-5
  • Chromebox
  • Cubox-i
  • CompuLab Utility
  • Google Nexus Player
  • Intel NUC
  • Mac computers (OS X 10.8 or later)
  • NVIDIA Shield
  • ODROID
  • Raspberry Pi devices
  • Razer Forge TV
  • Ubuntu Linux
  • WeTek Play
  • Windows computers (Windows 7 or later)
  • Xiaomi Mi Box
  • x86 hardware

Features

Plex does not offer a cloud DVR for customers to record live television. Users who have the Plex Media Server, on the other hand, can record content from live TV feeds onto their computer or laptop, however, the amount of content they can record is limited.

Users can establish several user profiles in Kodi, each of which can have its own media library and preferences locked. The number of simultaneous streams of third-party services available through the Kodi platform will be determined by users’ subscriptions to those services.

A basic Netflix package, for example, only enables one stream per account at any given moment, but a user with the standard plan might view it on another device using the Kodi Netflix add-on.

Conclusion

Both of these media centers are excellent for organizing and streaming your own media across several home devices. Plex and Kodi are both media servers that allow users to store and stream digital content across a variety of devices and platforms.

Plex is a well-designed, user-friendly service that offers a large selection of on-demand movies and television shows. It also includes subscriptions services that allow you to watch live TV and listen to music on Tidal. 

Kodi is a free service that benefits from being an open-source project that is more technical and customizable than Plex. It also has add-ons that allow users to watch live TV and access on-demand streaming services