Emby brings all your personal media – videos, music, and images – into one place so you can access them from anywhere. The software automatically converts these files to make them available for streaming. It features a server and client application.
You can use the client on Android, iPhone, and Windows amongst others. The server application supports a lot more platforms.
Setting up Emby for other users can be somewhat technical and you need a paid license to access most of the features. These reasons and more might be why you’ll need an alternative.
Here are the 15 best Emby alternatives available in 2021.
Plex lets you watch your movies and TV shows from anywhere. It’s quite similar to Emby but a lot more flexible. With Plex, you can enjoy Live TV and DVR which is also available on Emby. Emby only allows you to stream your movies and TV shows. On the other hand, Plex allows you to do that and more.
You can stream content from different content providers with Plex. This includes more than 20,000 free on-demand videos from MGM, Liongate, Crackle, and Warner Bros. You also have access to more than 130 Live TV channels. Like Emby, Plex is a freemium platform.
This Emby alternative is free and easy to use. All you have to do is to point the server to where you store your media files. This can be on your computer or an external hard drive. Plex will sort and organize the files automatically and intuitively.
Afterward, download the Plex app on any supported device to stream content. Both Plex and Emby apps support major devices including Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Roku, Amazon Alexa, Xbox, and PlayStation to name a few.
Plex is well ahead of most of its alternatives, both in terms of features and performance.
At number two on this list of 15 best Emby alternatives, we have Kodi, formerly known as XBMC. Unlike Emby, Kodi is 100 percent free and open-source which is its main advantage over Emby. Media files you can manage with Kodi include music, movies, images, etc.
With Kodi, you can play these files from a local and network media storage or over the internet. Kodi and Emby will only work with your content; they don’t provide any media for you. However, you can point Kodi to a third-party online service.
Another advantage of Kodi is add-ons. Emby has native support for add-ons/plugins but the Kodi catalog has more add-ons than Emby’s. There are about 1,000 official add-ons in the catalog and more are added daily. As an open-source platform, Kodi add-ons are also customizable.
You can watch live shows and record with Kodi with an add-on. You can also listen to internet radio. Like Emby, you can install Kodi on just about any device. The major devices supported include Windows, Android, Linux, Raspberry, and iOS.
Kodi is an ideal Emby alternative if you need quality support thanks to Wiki and a large forum.
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Jellyfin is a fork of Emby. It was built as the open-source version of the platform and it’s available for free. It’s a relatively new platform but very reliable thanks to the skilled developers working on it.
With Jellyfin, you can stream media files from your server to any connected device. This includes movies, TV Shows, music, Live TV, and DVR.
This platform is one of the best Emby alternatives for privacy. When you use it, it doesn’t collect or track your data unless you opt-in for it. Similar to Emby, Jellyfin will only display media you own.
You can migrate data from Emby to Jellyfin using API scripts. This will also work with Plex. Jellyfin is open-source so you can customize it to meet your interests. The platform welcomes more developers to add and improve its features.
You can install the Jellyfin server on about 12 different operating systems. Emby supports more but with Jellyfin, you have the option to build directly from the source code. The Jellyfin client app can be accessed on Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Roku, Windows, Mac, and Linux, to name a few.
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Currently in its 7th version, Infuse is described as an elegant video player. It’s a freemium platform but compared to Emby, it has more free features than Pro features. The platform was developed by Firecore.
Infuse works relatively faster than Emby as it doesn’t convert or transcode media files. This is because, unlike Emby, it doesn’t work with a server. The uploaded media files are synced across multiple devices via iCloud.
You can integrate videos from multiple sources including your local storage, Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and more. Infuse can also collect videos from an Emby server, Plex, and other alternatives.
All videos are automatically and neatly organized. Infuse imports their metadata, categories, and artwork amongst others. It automatically groups movie series and sequels into collections making them easier to access.
Infuse can play almost any video file with its powerful and super-efficient playback engine. Some supported ones include MKV, MP4, AVI, ISO, DVD, and BDMV. You can easily add subtitles to any movie using the Opensubtitles integration.
A con of Infuse is that it can only be used on Apple devices – iPhone, iPad, and Mac – unlike Emby that supports a variety.
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Here we have another free media server and player. With the Universal Media Server platform, you can stream and transcode different media types just like Emby. The platform supports a variety of media file formats and requires minimal confirmation compared to Emby.
The first thing to love about Universal Media Server is the beautiful web interface. This allows you to access your media files from a browser and you can send them to any device as well. None of the actions you take while using this media server and player are tracked; you enjoy total privacy.
Just like Emby, Universal Media Server doesn’t provide you with content but it integrates with IMDb and MusicBrainz. These integrations allow you to copy correct metadata and cover photo for movies and songs.
Universal Media Server also has an advantage over Emby when it comes to subtitles. You can download subtitles on the fly using the Live Subtitles feature.
With Universal Media Server, you can connect to more devices than with Emby. This is because the platform supports connection via DLNA, UPnP, and HTTP/S. You can connect with TVs, gaming consoles, audio devices, smartphones, and computers.
6. Media Portal
Media Portal is software that transforms your computer into a complete media solution. In contrast to Emby, it’s open-source and completely free to use. It’s an ideal Emby alternative for watching your movies on big screens – Plasma TV, Projector, etc. You’ll find the interface very friendly.
The platform can do everything a TiVo can. With Media Portal, you can play movies and listen to music and radio. You can also watch pictures and the platform supports many media file types. Media Portal supports a web-based server like Emby and also a mobile application.
A unique feature of Media Portal is that it supports DVDs and BRDs. The platform also supports watching and recording Live TV. Radio can be recorded too. Once connected via HTPC, you can control the platform remotely.
Other things you can do with Media Portal include checking the news, weather, playing games, and more. Both Emby and Media Portal support plugins.
There are hundreds of Media Portal plugins available and they are all easy to integrate. You can style your portal using any of the available skins. By default, Emby supports more devices than Media Portal.
This Media Center platform is an open-source project on GitHub. The Streama server will work on Windows and Linux computers. It is accessible via the web.
Streama makes it easy for you to digitize your media files. It works similarly to Kodi and Plex to Emby. You can easily manage your media library with simple drag and drop actions. You can set up local or remote connections and the video player featured is a beautiful one. It was modeled after Netflix.
To use this platform, you just have to define the local directory where your media files are. Streama will import these media files. Whenever you add a new video to that location, it’ll show up on your dashboard homepage. You can also view your recently watched videos and the progress bar of ongoing videos.
As an open-source media center, Streama can be used for free. With server support for just Windows and Linux, Emby supports more server devices than Streama. An advantage for Streama, however, is the Episode browser. This browser is optimized to function like Netflix.
TVersity is a platform for media sharing and screen sharing. With the Media server, you can do almost everything you can with Emby and with the Screen Server, you can do more. Similar to Emby, TVersity has a free and paid version of both servers.
The TVersity media server allows you to create a personal library of photos, music, and videos. You can share these and access them on about any device. TVersity also supports online content including internet audio, podcasts, and more.
Thanks to the friendly user interface, you’ll find this Emby alternative easy to use. You can control your server locally using the desktop app or remotely via a web browser.
Both TVersity and Emby media servers use a UPnP A/V connection. The advantage you enjoy with TVersity is that the platform brings you premium content from other providers. Some of these platforms include Hulu, Twitch, Crackle, CBS, NBC, ESPN, and MTV amongst others.
The TVersity media server is optimized to hold up to 100,000 media files. In some cases, TVersity will load videos faster than Emby. This is because the platform uses real-time seamless transcoding and not all videos are transcoded.
9. VidOn Server
At number nine, we have VidOn Server – a platform that lets you enjoy your media your way. This platform is relatively more advanced than Emby in terms of features. It works hand in hand with VidOn Cloud and all you need is the server application to upload and the mobile app to stream.
VidOn Server supports more video formats than Emby. This allows for faster video streaming as the system won’t need to always convert videos. There’s the optimized VidOn Media Format (VMF) for easy and faster deployment for home networks.
Once you upload videos to the server, it automatically collects the metadata and arranges the videos according to their categories. While in use, the application doesn’t consume too much CPU resources as it harnesses GPU power.
VidOn Server supports external and internal subtitles which Emby also supports. With VidOn Server, these subtitles are decoded separately from the media files which makes them load faster.
This alternative might not support as many server/client devices as Emby but it features innovative settings for each device. Plus, you can customize the transmission rates on every supported device.
The Serviio media sharing server is a freemium Emby alternative. You can stream your content to a variety of devices and access them from anywhere using this server. Supported media files include music, video, and images while supported devices include computers, mobile phones, game consoles, and Blu-ray players.
Serviio supports a range of media file formats and playlist formats. Videos are categorized according to their type – movie or series. The server updates automatically once a video is added or deleted from the defined storage location. It also updates if the meta-information of a media file is changed.
Unlike Emby, it doesn’t support Live TV and DVR but allows you to enjoy content from online sources. You can access Live Streams with Serviio by providing a stream URL. Serviio and Emby support plugins and if you’re a developer, you can make use of the Serviio API for integration.
You can use Serviio for free but to enjoy the best features, you’ll have to purchase the pro version. This is very similar to Emby. With the pro version, you get to access MediaBrowser web-based player, mobile app for streaming, and you enjoy on-the-fly transcoding.
Playon works as a media server and video recorder. It’s relatively different from Emby. While Emby lets you stream your own content, Playon lets you record and download shows from streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and The CW amongst others.
In total, there are 23 streaming providers supported by this media server. Playon and Emby have more premium than free features. Recording and downloading videos from streaming platforms is easy as they require just a click. With the Playon app, you can easily find shows and movies you want and while recording, the app skips any ad.
There are different recording quality to choose from including SD, HD, or Full HD (1080p) video quality. This Emby alternative saves your recorded content to cloud storage. With this, the content is synced across different devices so you can watch from anywhere.
You can set up Playon to record and download videos at a particular time. Just like Emby, Playon features mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices. You can watch your videos using your mobile phone or tablet or you can cast them to your TV.
Mezzmo was developed to help users stream media content to their TVs, DLNA devices, Chromecast, and Web Browsers. Like Emby, this platform features a server app and a client app. The server app is available for PCs and Laptops while the client app is available for mobile devices, TVs, and many other devices.
With Mezzmo, adding media files is a lot easier than with Emby. This is because you don’t necessarily need to arrange the files in specific folders although it’s recommended. Mezzmo will automatically find all media files on your computer and present them in your dashboard according to type.
Mezzmo will work with any popular DLNA and UPnP-enabled device. For movies and music, the Mezzmo server extracts artwork and metadata directly from media files or any available external file.
The platform transcodes these media files on the fly for a faster and smoother streaming experience. To enable more transcoding speed, it supports hardware acceleration. You can download Mezzmo for free but you can purchase the Mezzmo Pro version for unlimited features.
13. Nero MediaHome
Nero MediaHome is one of the best Emby alternative and with this platform, you can create, play, stream, archive media files, and more. Nero MediaHome is sold as a desktop package and thanks to its AI, it’s more advanced than Emby.
With Nero MediaHome, you can send media files to your computer via your mobile device – iOS or Android. You can also import media files via external hard drives and USB drives. The platform uses Gracenote technology to import original music and movie covers.
Emby features an image editor for editing cover apps. Nero MediaHome, on the other hand, allows you to edit any photo in your library using various effects and automated tools. You can also create slideshows using your images and videos.
With the Nero MediaHome app, you can stream media content from different devices. Similar to Emby, the Nero MediaHome app supports mobile devices, TVs, PlayStations, and XBOX amongst others. You cannot use Nero MediaHome for free – either you purchase the standard desktop application or the full Nero Platinum Suite.
14. VLC Streamer
This is not an Emby alternative from VideoLAN. VLC Streamer was developed by Hobbyist Software and has no affiliation to VLC. The app does have an interface and media player that looks similar to the VLC player.
VLC Streamer doesn’t compare with Emby in terms of supported devices as it only supports Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. The advantage of using VLC Streamer is that the app is relatively faster than Emby. This is because it doesn’t involve complex conversion processes.
Also, the VLC Streamer app is more affordable than Emby. You’ll find VLC Streamer very easy to set up. It takes just minutes
With VLC Streamer, you can watch movies on your computer with your mobile device over WiFi. Not to mention, you can download them on your mobile device. If you’re an iOS user, you can share movies on your TV via Apple cables or airplay.
Like Emby, VLC Streamer supports different media formats. Some unsupported formats are converted and as mentioned earlier, the process isn’t complex. In addition to streaming videos from your computer, VLC Streamer can stream non-DRM videos from iTunes.
The last Emby alternative on this list is MythTV. Unlike Emby, you don’t pay to use MythTV. The platform features two applications – the frontend application and the backend application.
The backend application works similarly to the Emby server. With it, you can manage your media library and record and schedule TV shows for recording. Also from the backend application, you can share media content for streaming on frontend applications.
The MythTV frontend application works like the Emby client app as you use it to watch movies and TV shows. You can do more with MythTV as the platform allows a frontend app to connect to more than one backend application. It also allows multiple frontend apps to connect to one backend.
To play music, you have to install the MythMusic plugin. Just like Emby, MythTV supports plugins and there are many plugins to choose from. Another similar feature is the parental controls. With MythTV, you can monitor what media content your kids watch and restrict them from watching what you don’t want them to.
To many users, Emby is a reliable media player software available. But, if it doesn’t meet your needs, there are other similar platforms you can consider.
I have listed the 15 best Emby alternatives in 2021 in this article and among them, Plex is the most recommended.
Learn more about the two tools, Emby and Plex in this post.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.