Kodi and Plex are pushing cable out of our lives, especially Android users. The feature rich services make it possible for users to watch what they want to watch with no disruptions and ads and from the device of their own choice. However, the two offer services that are different and quite unique in their own right.
One of the hallmarks that separate Kodi from Plex is that it is open-source, and is maintained by a passionate community of developers who constantly upgrade the software that offers an appropriately scaled experience to users on phones, tablets, PCs and Android TVs. The client is available on Android, Windows and jailbroken iOS, and even the Raspberry Pi. Making local media accessible to the Kodi app is very easy, and Kodi can handle almost all types of media so you won’t have to worry about file types. You can also stream media from a networked PC but that is a bit of a mess to set up by yourself. The customisability offered over Plex is amazing, you can download and use your own skins and the latest update has put in place a skin that is very mobile friendly, so the change is skin is actually only cosmetic.
Another hot Kodi product is the Kodi box, which are basically Android TV with the Kodi app pre-installed. These are cheap, and with expandable memory, they let you put in all your favorite media to boost your home entertainment experience.
The prime feature of Kodi are the add-ons, which basically function like apps on the Kodi application itself. While there are plenty of legal add-ons like that for Spotify and DropBox (even Plex has Spotify) that let you integrate your Kodi experience, there are also the third-party add-ons that let you stream TV shows and movies for free – and this is illegal and constitutes media piracy. The Kodi website states that it wants no part in the Kodi box industry that has popped up, but this has become a contentious issue. If you object to media piracy, Kodi may not be for you.
Plex will be anchored by an internet-based media server, which you can download off the internet itself. To use Plex, the first and foremost thing you will need is a dedicated device that will host all your content. The device may be running on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X or any network-attached storage device. You can load all the media you want on the device and access it from a Plex web-based client on your PC or any mobile device.
Plex is supported on Android, and no matter what device you want to connect to your TV, there will be a Plex app for it – video game consoles, smart TVs, streaming devices such as Apple TV and Chromecast and your mobile devices. Your media content is hosted on a web-based server, so you can access it from across all platforms and share it with friends and family like a Netflix connection.
The user interface is very smooth, and the smart thing that Plex can do is to pull data on your media from reliable sources so you get great preview images and more organisation to your media than you can expect from other apps. Playlists are available for both your music as well as your TV shows, and all this is true for both the free version as well as on all the devices.
The integration with voice control from the Amazon Alexa is something that has separated it from Kodi. If you have an Amazon Echo with you, you can load up your music and video library on Plex and then use Alexa to send commands to Plex.
There is also the Plex Platinum, which offers better and additional features such as the media sync that allows for offline access on devices that have been synced, and ability to create multiple accounts. You also get access to the latest features added to Plex. The newest feature called Plex Cloud lets you access your media without the need for your an always-on PC as your Plex Media Server.
Which is better?
Plexa offers the better user interface and features, and the addition of Alexa sound recognition is an exciting new development. The centralized storage lets you access media across all platforms. On the other hand, Kodi is open source and very customisable with its skins and add-ons. NVIDIA Shield TV users and other Android TV users have a lot of options to customize their boxes and get a great viewing experience, although this takes some effort and time.
If you are planning to use just one device to watch media, Kodi is better with its constant stream of add-ons and skins. You may also appreciate the fact that it has been kept open source, and does not need a dedicated server to run things.
Plex offers more dedicated support for your setup needs being a commercial software, and the new Plex Pass even lets you circumvent the need for a dedicated media server to host your content. Even so, the interface is smooth and lets you access content remotely from a variety of devices.
The final call will depend on your specific needs, but the general guidelines should help you choose well.