We love to watch movies and TV shows on the internet. But, we also love to play the content stored locally on our device storage. Yes, it is true that there are plenty of media players out there, such as VLC, which can easily play back the content. But, we want to do more than just play the content locally. We want to convert our device into a media server so that we can stream the content from it on other devices.
Kodi and Plex are the two most popular media applications that transform your device into a media server. They create a media library on the system and let you access and play the content from other platforms. Android Users often wonder which media server is best for their device. Well, there has been an ongoing debate on this matter. The choice largely depends on your personal preferences. In this article we will lay out the differences between Kodi and Plex so that you can make an informed decision.
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Home Media Library Setup
Setting up the home media library from your local Android media repository is perhaps the most important aspect of any home theatre or media player software. It could also be the most tiresome task whether you are using Kodi or Plex.
The way these two media applications set up the media library on the Android device is very different. Honestly, as far as this part is concerned, telling one better than the other is difficult. However, it often boils down to the type of device, system or hardware you want to connect with your Android.
Plex may score a little hire in this respect though. We have found that it is much easier to use Plex with most systems and devices. You could stream the local media just about anywhere. However, you need to make that the device or computer where your media files are saved is on and is connected to internet at all times. There is Plex Pass subscription that bypasses this requirement.
The way Plex works is pretty simple. First of all, you need to download the application on the device or computer on which your content is saved. Once you install and open the application, it will prompt you to sign up and create an account. This is the account which you will use to sync the media across devices. After signing up, set the application up on that device which you will be using as the server. Now all you have to do is use the Plex web interface to stream the content from the server.
Kodi too can stream the content on multiple devices. But, the biggest problem with this media application is that all the devices must be connected to the same internet network. This pretty much means you cannot stream the content remotely.
If you intend to watch the content on the same Android device, which you are also using as the media server, Kodi setup is the easiest. However, it gets complicated when you wish to set it up on multiple devices. It can be even more difficult when the streaming platform isn’t the same as the server platform.
Verdict: In this regard, Plex seems like a winner. It not only offers easier setup, it also lets you stream content remotely.
Plex is very well known for its multiplatform compatibility. There probably isn’t a device you cannot use Plex on. Whether you use Android, iOS, Windows mobile, Mac OS, Windows OS, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, or modern gaming consoles, Plex is compatible with almost everything. In fact, most of the platforms offer preinstalled Plex app. Most importantly, you could stream the content on your Android from anywhere using Plex. As already mentioned, you only need to create an account and log in with it on the server and web interface.
One of the best things about Plex is that it transcodes your content. It converts your video into the most suitable device compatible content. In simple words, it eliminates the file format and compatibility issues completely. If you can play the video on one device, you can play it on any device of your choice. But, Plex isn’t free and that’s probably the only drawback.
Kodi on the other hand is a completely free to download and use media application. But, when it comes to multiplatform availability, Plex again seems like a stand out winner. Kodi is available only on a handful of platforms including Android, Mac OS and Windows. You could use it on iOS too but you will need to jailbreak it. That’s not something everyone would like to do. Kodi is not available on popular devices such as Xbox, Apple TV and Roku. There are some workarounds to get Kodi working on some of these devices, but the performance is rather clumsy.
Kodi looks and functions almost the same on all devices. This is good in a way that you don’t lose the sense of familiarity and there is some level of consistency. But, that’s about that. It takes some doing to get it properly working on some devices. The touch interface of Kodi is also not very responsive.
Verdict: Plex is supported on almost all the platforms. Kodi, on the other hand, is available on a select few. But, Kodi is free while Plex is always not. If price is no concern, Plex is again a winner here.
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Interface & Customization
When it comes to customization of the look and feel of the interface, there is absolutely no denying that Kodi outscores Plex. Kodi has a highly customizable interface and you can change the appearance of some elements almost completely. There are tons of high quality skins and themes to alter the front of the app. It allows you to change the looks of the home library as well as other sub interfaces. You can modify the layout of the list of the movies on the home screen. Whether you are using Kodi on your Android or desktop, you will be presented with same customization choices.
Plex uses Orange as it primary theme colour and seems to be pretty rigid about it. It does not have any custom skins and thus you can barely change anything about its appearance. If you love the functions and features offered by Plex, you will have to live with the looks it offers.
Verdict: If you love to customize the interface of a media player, Kodi is clearly better for you.
Add-ons are also, in one way or the other, the part of customization. However, unlike the skins and themes that offer cosmetic modifications to the media player, add-ons let you customize its functions.
Kodi is an open-source application and is supported by a large and strong community. This is the reason why it offers a huge collection of add-ons. In fact, one of the best things about Kodi is its support for some incredible add-ons. What you must know is that while there are plenty of cool add-ons that are also legal to use, many are not.
Plex doesn’t score well on this count. There are hardly any additional add-ons or builds for this media player.
Verdict: When it comes to add-ons, Kodi is better than Plex.
Hope, the competitive analysis is going to help you to choose the best one media server for Android in Kodi vs Plex.
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