Plex vs Kodi – Introduction

Building a media hub and comparing Plex vs Kodi? Plex and Kodi are two of the most popular home media applications. The merits of Plex vs Kodi are debated heavily on Reddit and Linux forums. As a result it can be hard to distill which is right for you. And further it’s not an apples to apples comparison. There are nuanced differences between Plex and Kodi. One might be a better fit for you depending on your use case. After reading this post you will understand the differences. And hence be ready to make a choice.

Plex vs Kodi – Media Library Basics

Media library platforms such as Plex and Kodi provide the following core functionality:

If you are like me, you are storing your media collection on USB drives or your laptop. A media library on the other hand runs on a dedicated computer. From your television you can enjoy your media library.

Plex vs Kodi

On the surface Plex and Kodi appear to be very similar. As mentioned earlier though, there are key differences between the two platforms. It is these differences which will inform you to decide between Plex vs Kodi.

Extensive mobile client support is a feature of Plex.

Plex Overview

Plex is a commercial media library product. There are two components to Plex, the server hosting the media and the clients playing the media. The server is installed on a computer. A computer has access to all your media. Either on its local storage, external storage or network storage. The client apps communicates with the server. From the client you browse the library and stream on demand. Additionally you can access the server through the web interface and stream in your browser. However if you are on a mobile device the app experience is best.

Plex is freemium, meaning you can install it for free with limited functionality. If you want advanced functionality you must purchase a Plex pass.

A Plex pass gets you the following features and probably more:

Plex Use Case

What are the core features of Plex?

Plex does a lot more but at its core its a media hub server. In my opinion the streaming functionality is the best feature of Plex. I easily connect to my Plex server from any of my devices and I can access all of my media.

Kodi Overview

Kodi originally known as XBMC (X-Box Media Center) has been around since 2004. It is completely open source. You can find the source code on the Kodi github page. As a result you can inspect the Kodi source code if desired. If you have privacy or security concerns you can dig in and see what Kodi is doing behind the scenes.

Screenshot of the Kodi interface.

Kodi Use Case

Kodi is a media player that you plug directly into your television or monitor. For example a small PC or a Raspberry Pi with an HDMI connection to your television. If that is your use case then Kodi is a solid option. Kodi has an extensive plug-in ecosystem that adds additional functionality and online content sources. But beware some Kodi plugins have questionable legality. This is because they stream content from online sources who may not legally support Kodi.

Conclusion, Which one to pick?

In conclusion I believe Plex is going to be the right choice for 80% of the people who are building a home media hub. Kodi definitely has a place in some homes. However I believe most people are looking for the ability to share media across multiple devices. To decide if you should use Plex or Kodi, answer these questions:

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