Media content consumption isn’t going anywhere. We all love our favorite movies, TV shows, music, and comedies.
You and I indulge our media cravings for 7 hours every day across diverse platforms.
But these things become pretty expensive and switching between several apps isn’t fun.
In comes media server software solutions like Plex.
With Plex, you can watch all the media content stored on your computer and apps. Plus, you can load content from external hard drives or create your personalized media server.
Plex offers multiple capabilities like:
- Live TV
- Mobile and Cloud media sync
- Parental controls, and so on
While Plex offers many capabilities, its setup isn’t user-friendly and it relies on the connection speed between devices and apps.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the best Plex alternatives so you can find the media server software that serves you best.
Kodi was originally published as Xbox Media Center back in 2004. It is a home theater solution, a media player, and an open-source solution for commercial and personal use.
The software allows you to see and play podcasts, songs, videos, and other digital media files online and from a network and local storage.
Kodi does not give you access or contain any media content. But, you can select multiple add-ons to install. This allows you to use your local storage and pull files from online repositories.
Also, unlike Plex, Kodi is completely free. No upgrade plans. You get everything for free.
Platform and Hardware Compatibility
Kodi is compatible with multiple operating systems and hardware platforms. Even more, the software features a ten-foot user interface that can be used with remote controls and TVs.
With support for multiple CEC compatible TVs and remote controls, Kodi allows you to take full control of your media.
Media File Formats
The software’s UI supports different picture, video, and audio formats. This allows you to play and organize all your media content easily.
Also, Kodi provides you personalized slideshows that make your images more appealing. Plus, with the software’s customization capabilities, you can add more personalization to suit your taste.
One unique feature of Kodi is its autonomy. It allows you to download your preferred add-ons for more personalization. Plus, you can tweak how you manage your media to your specifications.
Kodi’s add-on support also allows you to browse media content from streaming services like:
- Disney Plus
Also, though some content might be geo-restricted, you can always use a VPN connection.
Kodi is free to download and use.
- It’s free
- The software is open source
- Multiple customization options
- It offers a wide range of add-ons for watching live TV
- A clean and easy-to-use interface
- Supports a series of remote controls
- Does not support streaming content to multiple devices
Like Plex, this software provides a media server for syncing media files across multiple devices.
The software also offers a simplified and easy-to-use solution that lets you centrally store media files like videos, audio, and photos.
With Emby, you can manage your media files, sync to the cloud, and stream them across multiple devices.
Plex offers you different customization, but Emby takes it further. Emby allows you to manage your DVR and stream Live TV to your device.
The software also automatically streams and converts your media to play on any device.
Some other features of this software include:
Mobile and Cloud Sync
With Emby, you can sync your personal media to tablets and smartphones. This gives you easy access to your media offline.
Also, the software automatically syncs content when you add new files.
More so, Emby allows you to sync your media to the cloud. You can easily convert, archive, and backup on-the-go. Plus, you can store your content in different resolutions for direct streaming on any device.
Emby allows you to easily send Live TV, photos, music, and videos to Chromecast.
The software gives you access to web-based tools for searching for subtitles, editing images and metadata, and so on.
Automatic DLNA Detection
Emby automatically checks for DLNA devices on your network. This way, you can easily send remote control, content, and so on.
Emby offers a Premiere subscription with three licenses. With these licenses, you have a 25-device limit and a single household use option.
- Monthly: $4.99 monthly
- One Year: $54 for a year
- Lifetime: One-time payment of $119
These prices might change over time. Please visit the Emby website for more information.
- It is easy to install
- Easy-to-use interface
- It supports apps for different devices and platforms
- The setup can be a bit tedious
- Limited extensions
- You can only access some features in the premiere subscription
MediaPortal is a GPL-licensed, open-source media server. The software turns your computer into a complete media solution using the underlying hardware.
The software also connects to your TV and provides you with your music, images, movies, and TV series.
MediaPortal helps you organize bulk media files. Plus, with its compatibility with numerous media formats, you can easily stream whatever content you have.
Some other MediaPortal features include:
Record and Watch Live TV
This software allows you to watch recorded or live TV on any connected computer.
Also, MediaPortal has a TV Guide that lets you view program information and group channels. Plus, you can use the mini TV Guide to change channels while watching TV.
Scan Home Videos and Pictures
MediaPortal scans your personal drive and shows your images as a slideshow or as a single image.
You can also organize and view your favorite images, their details, and create slideshows with different effects.
Web and Mobile Device Support
You can access MediaPortal remotely from your iOS and Android devices and on your web browser.
The software also helps you turn any device connected to your network into remote controls.
MediaPortal is free to download and install.
- It has a customizable interface with multiple skin options
- Supports a wide range of TV cards
- Complication setup and installation process
- Its media center can only be accessed on Windows devices
Stremio is an open-source, easy-to-use media center that helps you organize your video content. Even more, it integrates with video-on-demand services like Amazon Prime and Netflix.
Stremio helps you discover new channels, series, TV shows, and movies. You can browse by release date, rating, genre, category, and so on.
The software also helps you organize your video library by easily adding titles. You can also arrange your content by recency, type, and in alphabetical order.
With Stremio’s calendar visualization, you can keep track of videos you watch and add to your library. The Stremio calendar can also be exported and synced, so you’re up-to-date on new videos.
More so, you can cast your video to other devices like TV, tablets, and phones. Plus, the software allows you to install community and official add-ons to access video sources from multiple providers.
This media center is also compatible with Linux, macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
Stremio offers five pricing plans:
- Free plan: Requires monthly renewal
- Standard plan: $75 per month
- Premium plan: $149 per month
- Enterprise plan: $199 per month
- Stremio Pro: $499 per month
The software also offers live streaming services and event and campaign streaming services for $45 and $299 per month, respectively.
Also, unlike Plex, Stremio does not have any in-app purchases.
- Its calendar feature helps you keep track of episodes, series, and recent movie releases
- Easy to use and set up
- Minimal and clean user interface
- It doesn’t have any function for organizing image and music files
- A limited number of official developer add-ons
Universal Media Server displays your images, audio, and videos on any device via HTTP(S) and DLNA.
The software is updated regularly to get rid of bugs and offers more features than Plex.
Compared to Plex, Universal Media Server has broad device compatibility. It supports PnP and DLNA, which makes it a multiplatform base that allows you to easily stream images, videos, and music on devices like:
- Android devices
- Xbox 360
- Smart TVs
Universal Media Server offers developer support and regular updates. Plus, it provides a web browser interface and extends among plugins. This lets you integrate links to SoundCloud.
This software also has a powerful transcoder for converting file compatible formats.
Unlike Plex, Universal Media Server is completely free.
- It is an independent platform
- Supports multiple devices
- It provides an optional web interface
- No support for client apps to access the media server
- A steep learning curve, especially for newbies
- Limited plugins
JRiver Media Center is a multimedia solution that lets you organize your media content. You can also play your content on multiple operating systems and digital devices.
Also, the software helps you sync your videos and music with your preferred demand. This way, you can easily search for and access any file.
JRiver Media Center provides inbuilt editing tools for building a personalized media center. With the media center, you can stylishly organize media files to your taste.
The software also supports DLNA, allowing you to stream videos on multiple devices.
Some of JRiver Media Center’s notable features also include:
JRiver gives you access to tools for a customized digital experience. The software provides:
- Complete device integration
- Customized features that suit your company’s needs
- Custom UI and skins
- Integrated and branded movie and music services
Branded Media Center
You can customize the JRiver Media Center with your brand’s look and feel when sending media services to clients.
The software provides you with multiple customization and flexibility options by partnering with technology, licensing, and content companies.
Customized Look and Feel
JRiver provides you with customized skins that match the colors of your logo and other brand content. You also have access to a dynamic web interface for communicating with clients. Plus, the software provides you with modified feature sets.
With JRiver’s branded Media Center, you can:
- Promote and strengthen your brand
- Create interactive channels for clients
Asides from its trial version, JRiver Media Center offers four licenses depending on your needs. They include:
- Master License: $79.98
- Windows License: $59.98
- Mac License: $59.98
- Linux License: $59.98
Prices for these licenses may change with time. So, visit the JRiver pricing page for more information.
- It is flexible and offers multiple customization options
- Numerous organizing options
- It provides numerous audio formats for better sound quality
- User-friendly interface
- It can be complicated to use sometimes
- Bugs popup often
Serviio is another Plex alternative that lets you stream media files to different renderer devices. You can render devices like mobile phones, game consoles, Blu Ray players, and TV sets as long as they are connected to your home network.
The software is also open source and provides advanced functions and controls compared to Plex.
Media File Streaming
Serviio streams media files like images, videos, and music to supported devices linked to your homework.
With Serviio, you need to title and organize your content to avoid it looking like a mess. But, you can always stream your media to newer Xbox and PlayStation devices.
The software supports Alexa functionalities. This allows you to use the virtual assistant to stream your media.
Also, the software has detailed configuration options. This gives you a long list of things you can do with the software.
Serviio also has a MediaBrowser feature that gives you a browser-based user interface. Viewing your media on a PC, mobile device, and tablet becomes visually appealing. The MediaBrowser also gives you easy access to stream quality options and subtitles.
The software also has a ServiiGo Android app to stream your media and control the media files you share and who you share them with.
Remote Server Access
Additionally, Serviio gives you access to a remote server if you have a compatible router.
Serviio has a robust selection of plugins that support websites like Twitch, Hulu, YouTube, and so on.
Serviio is a free media server. It also has a Pro edition license that goes for $25, a cheaper option than Plex’s paid plan.
This pricing can change with time. Kindly visit the Serviio website for more information.
- It has a free and open-source version
- The software provides remote access
- Supports multiple plugins
- The free version is limited
- It does not support an app for iOS devices
- Setup can be a bit tricky
TVersity combines relevant web content like podcasts, RSS feeds, and video streams with your personal media collection. You can retrieve this web content from the client on your preferred devices.
If you have large libraries of over 100,000 entries, TVersity’s media center makes it seamless.
Access Media Across Devices
TVersity supports DLNA and UPnP A/V. Also, it allows you to access your collection of videos, music, and photos on any compatible device
The software also allows you to play podcasts, RSS feeds, video streams, and internet images and videos on your stereo, TV, and other connected devices.
Multiple Platform Support
With TVersity, you can play internet content on your TV from sites like:
- CBS, and so on
Automatic Media Indexing
The software also automatically detects when your media needs transcoding for playback. Plus, it automatically indexes your videos, music, and photos and takes note of changes to your folder. This way, you can easily manage your media library.
Multiple Device Support
TVersity also supports a wide range of devices like:
- Xbox One and Xbox 360
- Android devices with WEBM support
- iOS devices
- Chromecast, and so on
You can also connect multiple devices to the same media server.
Media Search and Integrations
TVersity also has advanced search capabilities that let you search for media files using keywords. More so, you have access to command-line tools for integrating with other tools and automating tasks.
The software has a REST API that lets you integrate with other tools and join custom workflows. Plus, you can pause live internet feeds while watching TV.
TVersity offers two license packages.
- Media Server Pro License: $24.99 for a single PC license and $39.99 for unlimited PCs in one household
- Screen Server License: $14.99 for a single PC license and $29.99 for unlimited PCs in one household
- Supports an independent web app
- Server app only supports Windows devices
Mezzmo helps you stream images, music, and movies to web browsers and DLNA and UPnP devices. With this software, you can stream your media content from your computer to your digital media appliances, game consoles, home theater, and TVs.
Mezzmo streams media files and subtitles to your DLNA and UPnP-enabled devices. Plus, it gives each supported device a device profile to know what media formats are supported. The profiles also provide optimal streaming and transcoding performance.
Some other features of Mezzmo include:
Media File Metadata and Artwork
The software extracts text metadata and artwork like description, genre, album, artist, title, and so on, from media files. Even more, it extracts metadata and artwork from external metadata files like Sony .modd files, folder.jpg, movie.xml, Samsung MTA chapter files, series.xml, and so on.
Pre-transcoding and Transcoding
Mezzmo transcodes subtitle, image, video, and audio files on-the-go. This way, your media files can be easily played on any DLNA and UPnP-enabled device.
You don’t have to download any extra tools or codec packs to access this feature.
The software also uses multithreaded transcoding, which is optimized for both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.
Google Chromecast Dongles Support
With the Mezzmo server and Android app, you can stream photos, music, movies, and TV shows to Google Chromecast dongles. The software automatically transcodes your media files to make them compatible.
This feature also gives you access to advanced features like:
- Music playlists
- Photo slideshows
- Full metadata details cast to Google Chromecast
Mezzmo’s Network Media Single Source technology allows you to access other media servers like HDD recorder, DVRs, and NAD drives.
Also, you can import content from these servers to Mezzmo for a centralized server solution.
Though Mezzmo has a free version, it also offers a Pro version that starts at $29.95. This price is quite fair compared to Plex’s paid plan.
Mezzmo Pro prices might change with time. So, visit the Mezzmo website for more information.
- Its Android app comes with an independent media server
- It supports multi-user capability
- The Mezzmo media center doesn’t support Linux and macOS systems
- You need the paid pro version to access the web interface
OSMC is another open-source media server alternative to Plex. The software has a modern look and allows you to create a media server and export media files easily.
OSMC is based on the Linux operating system. But, you don’t need any experience with Linux systems to use its features. You can manage everything using the OSMC interface.
The software also has a Debian repository with more than 30,000 packages. Plus, it is licensed under GPL version 2.
Also, OSMC has an active community of users and provides you with a wide range of resources to help you get started.
Platform and Device Support
More so, the software supports major media formats. Plus, with its sharing protocols, you can stream your media files from other devices. Even better, you can serve your media files to other supported devices.
OSMC also has an App store that lets you customize your experience to your taste. Plus, it runs on devices like Vero, Raspberry Pi, and Apple TV.
Unlike Plex, OSMC is completely free to download and use. Plex has a paid plan along with the free option.
- An intuitive and easy-to-use interface
- It is free
- Straightforward setup
- The UI is not optimized for a 4K display.
The Best Plex Alternative
We’ve looked at the different Plex alternatives and brought these ten best alternatives.
Each software on the list has its unique features and capabilities, but Kodi is the winner here.
Besides being an open-source media player, Kodi is completely free, unlike Plex which has a paid plan along with the free option.
However, Plex’s free plan offers limited features and some of the features you’ll find on Kodi for free are available on the paid option of Plex. Even more, Kodi supports multimedia content playback.
Compared to Plex, Kodi provides you with more add-on options. You can easily go through content from multiple streaming services like Spotify, Netflix, Disney Plus, YouTube, Crackle, Popcornflix, Vimeo, and much more.
The software also has a ten-foot user interface that makes it easy to navigate on Android TVs and Smart TVs. Plus, you can install Kodi on any device supported by Plex.