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Kodi vs Plex – Which Is Better?

To enjoy media playback, you need to install a media player application on your device. Media players can play files on a disc, on local storage, or in the cloud.

There are literally hundreds of media players to choose from. Two of the most popular are Kodi and Plex. Both of them offer a plethora of features to help you with your entertainment.

Deciding which of the two is more suited to your needs, can sometimes be a challenge though. That is because both offer exceptional experiences.

They are lightweight and compatible with different devices and operating systems. But if you have the right information about each of them, making a decision would be a lot easier.

Come along as we take a deeper look into Kodi vs Plex.

What is Kodi?

Kodi is one of the most popular media players. It is an open-source software meaning that anyone with advanced knowledge in programming can help improve it.

This software application was developed by XBMC Foundation, which is a non-profit technology consortium. The application was first released to the public in 2002 and has over the years grown in popularity.

Kodi is compatible with various operating systems and that is part of the reason why it has grown in popularity.

A report on Express says, over 38 million people have downloaded and installed Kodi on their devices. Kodi is a media player and does not develop or produce any films or movies.

It also doesn’t operate any TV channels. Instead, it only makes it possible for users to access videos and other forms of media from third-party entities.

What is Plex?

Plex is a media streaming service and a client-server media player platform. It was developed and is managed by Plex which is an American company.

Plex was first released to the public in 2010 and has over the years grown to become a reliable source of entertainment for thousands of people across the globe.

According to Plex, it has over 20 million active users. That is slightly lower than Kodi but still a huge number by any standards.

Plex allows users to curate videos, audio, and photos in an organized manner. This makes it easy for individuals to retrieve their favorites with a few clicks of the button.

Plex makes it possible for individuals to enjoy streaming movies and videos from their favorite online service providers. The application is also compatible with multiple operating systems.

Getting Started

Kodi

To get started with Kodi, head over to the official website, Kodi.tv, and navigate to the download section. The download button is situated on the upper right side of the website.

Once you click on it, you’ll be redirected to a page with various operating systems. Choose your operating system and click on it to initiate the download.

You can download Kodi on

  • Android
  • Linux
  • Windows
  • macOS
  • tvOS
  • iOS devices

Once the software is on your device, follow the installation wizard to have it up and running.

You do not need to register with Kodi using your name or any other details. The program will start working straight away.

Plex

To get started with Plex, you’ll need to head over to Plex.tv and look to the upper right side of the home page. You’ll notice the download section.

If you are using a laptop or desktop computer, simply hover your cursor on the download section and it will open a drop-down. There, you’ll find options for downloading the application that is compatible with your device.

If you are using a mobile device, simply click on the download section and then choose your device. You will then receive a prompt to initiate a download.

Once the software is on your device, you’ll need to follow simple prompts to ensure that it installs on your device. Plex differs from Kodi because you’ll need to sign up for an account.

But don’t worry, the process of signing up is pretty simple and straightforward. All you have to do is enter your basic details and then verify your email address.

You can also sign up using your current social media accounts like Facebook. Alternatively, you can sign up with your Apple account.

Plex offers a free account with basic features. There is also the option to subscribe to one of its paid accounts which unlocks more sophisticated features and makes your experience even better.

Below are some of the devices and operating systems that are compatible with Plex

  • TVs like Roku, Fire TV, and Samsung
  • Mobile devices with Android and iOS
  • Consoles like PlayStation and Xbox
  • Desktop computers with Windows, Mac, and Web browsers

Verdict

Getting Kodi on your device is as simple as it gets. All you need to do is identify your operating system and hit download. Installing the app on your devices is simplified by the installation wizard.

Installing Plex on your device is also pretty simple and straightforward. However, it may take a slightly longer amount of time because you need to sign up for an account.

Otherwise, both apps offer a simplified way to download and install.

The Interface

Kodi

Kodi features a simple interface that allows you to navigate to different sections easily. On the left side of the interface, you can find different sections including Movies, Music, Music Videos, TV, Settings, and Power.

Right at the top of the interface, you’ll find categories of movies or TV shows. There is also the option for you to filter results according to genre, year, actors, and title.

Kodi’s interface is pretty clean and you won’t have to worry about annoying ads popping up while you are navigating through different sections as long as you are watching media on your local device.

On the other hand, you may experience some pop-up ads when you connect the application to your online streaming service provider.

Keep in mind that Kodi allows you to watch ad-supported movies or videos online.

Plex

Plex has a clean interface that offers a refreshing feel to your entertainment. It has a sidebar that automatically contracts when not in use.

However, if you hover your cursor on the sidebar, it expands and lets you have a glance at sections that are available.

Some of the things you’ll notice on the sidebar include Settings, Movies, TV Shows, and so forth. The interface also features posters of recently added TV shows and movies.

You can navigate to the upper part of the home page to refine your searches. This can be done by year, genre, title, and category.

You can also increase or reduce the brightness of the interface by moving a meter placed right at the top of the home page.

Plex places a lot of emphasis on the use of colorful images, clear labels, and logical organization. That makes it easy for new users to find whatever they are looking for quickly.

Verdict

Kodi has a simple user interface with clearly labeled sections for ease of navigation. However, the home page is plain and lacks any exciting content.

That means you may have to customize it or add certain plugins before it pops out as an entertainment center.

On the other hand, Plex is designed to be attractive. It incorporates top-quality images and labels to enhance its attractiveness.

It also comes across as an interesting media center. In this regard, Plex scores higher than Kodi.

Customization

Kodi

As noted earlier, Kodi is free and open-source software. That means anyone can download it and work on it to make it better.

Because of that, it is one of the most customizable media players available today. One particular way you can customize your Kodi is by introducing new skins.

Different developers create unique skins on a continuous basis and that means you can always download them and use them as you wish. Keep in mind that Kodi has a default skin that is called Estuary.

However, if you want to switch up the look, you can go for alternative skins including Aeon Nox, Amber, Confluence, Unity, Black Glass Nova, Mimic, and Nebula, among others.

Another cool thing about Kodi is that it allows users to personalize how everything looks. You can even determine the sections that go up and those that go to the sidebar.

In case you want to get rid of certain menu items that you never use, do the following:

  1. On the homepage, navigate to the gear icon and click on it
  2. Move to the Skin tab
  3. Go ahead and select Configure Skin
  4. On the left side of the screen, you’ll notice the Main Menu items
  5. Click on the items that you do not want
  6. Look to the right side and you will find the option to deselect any items you don’t need
  7. Once you are done, click on the escape button a couple of times to return back

Another cool thing you can do is to either remove or change the artwork that appears in the background. Additionally, you can change the color scheme of your Kodi’s interface or skin.

Still, on customization, Kodi allows users to change the font of the texts that appear. This may be important when dealing with either small or large screens.

Obviously, big screens may require larger and clearer fonts while smaller screens may also look better with relatively smaller fonts.

Another way you can customize Kodi is by enabling a music visualization screen. There is also the option to show, add, and remove animated posters.

Users also get to hide episode plots to avoid spoilers. Finally, you can choose to display or hide the list of actors in a movie.

Plex

While Plex allows users to customize their applications, it is not as elaborate as Kodi. Nonetheless, users still get to decide how their Plex looks and works to some extent.

First off, you can customize the home screen of your Plex media player. Here, you are free to reorder items so that the most important take prominence over those you do not use consistently.

Another thing you can do is remove items that you do not use at all. That action can help decongest your app’s home screen.

You can also add items from any part of the app. As long as the item is available within the app, you can drag it from one area to another.

Another thing you can do is to turn off the photos on Plex. Remember, that some people only use Plex to watch movies and TV shows so the photos tab becomes irrelevant to them.

At the bottom of the home screen, you can also find tabs that make navigation much easier and faster. Those tabs let you navigate to media types like movies, music videos, documentaries, and so forth.

You can reorder the tabs as you wish to make your navigation much easier. You can even arrange the tabs differently on various devices.

Verdict

When it comes to customization, Plex pales in comparison to Kodi. The latter allows you to personalize just about anything you want.

However, you may need to be a little tech savvy to ensure that everything goes as it should. On the other hand, Plex is a good option for individuals that don’t care much about personalization.

It is a pretty straightforward media center with the aesthetics to please those who are not too concerned about too many features.

Plugins

Kodi

Plugins, or add-ons, are software that can be incorporated into an already existing application to add a function or boost performance.

Kodi is constantly getting updated and this makes it easy for it to work with many plugins. For instance, you can download and install a Kodi plugin for skins.

Such a plugin allows you to change skins at will. You can also install a plugin to add an online streaming service to your Kodi application.

Such a plugin may help in boosting the selection of movies at your disposal. There are also plugins for audio, subtitles, and wallpapers.

Plex

While Plex was compatible with various plugins in the past, its recent offering no longer supports plugins. That means there is nothing much you can do to alter the functionality or look of the application.

However, if you are fairly knowledgeable when it comes to using software applications, you can find your way around the problem by installing specific add-ons manually.

Verdict

When it comes to plugin support, Kodi is without a doubt your best bet. It is compatible with hundreds of plugins that can easily make your experience better.

What’s more, installing third-party plugins into Kodi is fairly easy and straightforward. In most cases, the process takes a few seconds to complete.

Plex is pretty limited when it comes to add-ons and may therefore not be the ideal pick for individuals that love using third-party extensions.

Features and Functionality

Kodi

Kodi supports just about all the popular audio formats. Some of these include MP3, WMA, FLAC, WAV, AAC, and Apple Lossless Audio Codec.

This application makes it easy for you to create unique playlists and save them with cool artwork for easy retrieval. Kodi also supports different video formats including MP4, FLV, MKV, WebM, AVI, and WMV.

The application allows you to organize video collections as you wish. You can even save them with unique artwork to make them easy for people to identify.

It also classifies videos according to the genre. If you are connected to an online streaming service, Kodi can retrieve information about specific movies and display short written previews for quick reading.

Kodi also organizes TV channels in such a way that you can navigate to each quickly. If you love taking pictures, you’ll be pleased to know that Kodi lets you share photos on any screen.

It even incorporates a slideshow feature so that you can view different photos without lifting a finger. Another impressive feature of this application is that it allows you to record live TV.

It works with various backends including MediaPortal, Tvheadend, NextPVR, and MythTV. Kodi also supports gaming which is why you are free to pair it with different simulators.

There is also the option of playing standalone games and even connecting to certain game controllers.

Note that Kodi organizes your collections depending on the media available on the particular device. That means your Kodi library will look different from one device to another.

Plex

Unlike Kodi, Plex actually makes it possible for you to enjoy free TV channels within the app. You do not need to download software or connect to a third-party provider.

It is also important to note that Plex gives you access to over 50,000 movie titles. These fall into different categories including Action, Drama, Thriller, Comedy, and more.

Of course, there is also the option of connecting to third-party movie and TV show providers. Plex also organizes your personal media library.

It does that by importing artwork, album covers, and adding plot summaries to different movies. This application allows you to pause media, save, and even resume from the last point.

Like Kodi, Plex offers a DVR feature that allows you to not only stream live TV but record it as well. Finally, it is worth pointing out that Plex is compatible with different media files.

Verdict

When it comes to features and functionality, both platforms offer a myriad to choose from. Both platforms also support multiple media files and allow you to connect to third-party providers.

It is easy to note that both platforms are exceptional in this regard and therefore score the same points.

Pricing

Kodi

As noted earlier, Kodi is available free of charge. You don’t even have to worry about paying an initial amount or paying to have features upgraded.

However, it is also important to note that Kodi does not offer any form of media. There are no movies, TV shows, or music tracks within the application.

Instead, it only plays the media that you already have on your device. It also allows you to source entertainment from third-party providers such as paid movie websites.

You can also connect to thousands of online entertainment providers like YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu, Vevo, DailyMotion, IGTV, and Twitch.

Plex

Plex is available to download and install free of charge. You can also get a free account which grants you access to a limited amount of media and app functionality.

To unlock the full potential of this application, you’ll have to subscribe to its paid offering called Plex Pass. This can cost $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or $119.99 for a lifetime subscription.

The paid subscription unlocks multi-color themes allowing you to change the look of your application. It also unlocks over 60,000 million music tracks from different categories and artists.

Another cool feature you get when you subscribe to Plex Pass is mobile sync. This means you can sync media on all your devices.

Mobile sync makes it possible for you to start watching a movie on your mobile device and finish it on your big screen. Your media library will also look the same on all devices.

Verdict

If you are looking for a media center you can customize as you want without having to pay, Kodi is definitely the best choice. However, you’ll need to work a little harder to get the entertainment you need on the application.

If you are looking for an application that already has millions of media options and collections, Plex is definitely the right pick. The good news is that you have the freedom to choose a subscription that is friendly to your pocket.

Pros and Cons

Kodi

Pros

  • Available free of charge
  • Compatible with third-party plugins
  • Easy to customize
  • Enables live TV recording
  • Compatible with different operating systems and devices

Cons

  • Does not have any media content
  • It may require some tech-savvy knowledge to customize

Plex

Pros

  • Offers a huge media library
  • Features a nice interface
  • Provides different options for subscription
  • Does not require any special skills to use and customize

Cons

  • Requires paid subscription to unlock full potential
  • Is not as customizable as Kodi

Similarities & Differences

KodiPlex
CustomizationExtremely customizableLimited customizability
CompatibilityMultiple devicesMultiple devices
CostFreeFree and paid options
Mobile syncUnavailableAvailable
Media contentUnavailableAvailable
Compatibility with 3rd party servicesYesYes
Compatibility with pluginsYesNo
Live TV recordingYesYes

Conclusion: Kodi vs Plex

After carefully looking at Kodi vs Plex, it is easy to choose Kodi as the better media player. It allows individuals to customize both functionality and overall aesthetics.

It is also compatible with many plugins and streaming services, which means users get a huge variety of entertainment options to choose from. Best of all, Kodi is available completely free of charge.

On the other hand, Plex comes across as more than a mere media player. It doubles up as a media provider because of the library of music and movies available on it.

You can also sign up for a free Plex account though you’ll need to subscribe to its Plex Pass offering to truly unlock its full potential.

Overall, Kodi is the best pick for anyone that wants a free media player that is compatible with hundreds of streaming services.