Android tv box for Kodi Vs Plex ... Or if you use the ancestor of Kodi, it would be XMBC Vs Plex.
Anyway, these applications are the two heavyweights in the harmful media center applications.
tv box for KODI And tv box for Plex What a difference ?
tv box for KODI Vs tv box for Plex Which is the best ?
Or more precisely, which one fits you best?
I have used android tv box for Kodi (XBMC) for a few years, not as long as the French pioniers of the Android box, but long enough to know the system well. I even created a 9000-word tutorial on how to install and configure Kodi. Recently a friend told me that he used Plex to manage his media files from his Android box. So we had a lively discussion about the pros and cons of each, which led me to write the article you are reading right now.
Android tv box XBMC and Plex: Common Beginnings
As you probably already know, Kodi was previously named XBMC. Their name was changed in 2014 (mostly) for legal reasons to give the Kodi team more control over their name and the way it was used. Some manufacturers still provide their devices with an XBMC version. For the most part, the comparisons I'm going to make between Plex and Kodi are also valid for Plex and XBMC.
Plex and Kodi are both media players that allow you to play files on your local network or from a web source. But like any good media center, Kodi and Plex will also provide additional information such as trailers, screenshots, thumbnails or meta data such as actors' names or a summary of the synopsis.
The two media centers have more than that in common. Until recently, XBMC and Plex shared a few similar lines of code. Plex Home Theater was actually a version of XBMC 12.0 "Frodo". In fact, until recently it was the most popular sub-version of Kodi of all time! Plex has now taken a turn to get away from XBMC / Kodi and take his own path.
Choosing between Plex and Kodi really depends a lot on what you are going to watch with and what you are going to watch it on. To help you choose, let's take a look at Kodi and Plex and what can be learned from it.
The rules of comparative
What would be a comparison without some rules? Today, only 2 rules:
I will compare the strengths of Plex and Kodi with any cannal, addon or official feature. I will not mention unofficial Kodi features (legal or not). For example, no mention will be made of channels not supported by Plex. Plex and XBMC / Kodi have thousands of unofficial options and features, but these are often accompanied by security risks or are not always very legal. I think if a useful non-official addon or feature becomes stable and worth it, then it will be added to the next version of the basic firmware, so just wait a bit.
I will also not mention the "hacks" and special manipulations to improve the performance of the box or to access a new feature. I do not care if it's possible to install a Plex feature on Kodi or vice-versa through a flash / Root-kit. I am here to compare two applications without modifications.
When I write "simplicity" I mean any feature that can be easily accessed from the settings screen. Most people want their cases to work right out of the box. With the features I present here the basic setting should be quite simple and the use should be fluid ...
Company Vs Community
Most people do not care but I include this part to explain how new features are being developed and added to both firmwares.
Kodi is developed and updated by the Kodi team and hundreds of developers around the world. The XBMC Foundation is a non-profit organization created in 2009 to assist the development of XBMC / Kodi. Basically, the XBMC Foundation is used to organize travel to conventions and to protect Kodi's patents. At their heart however, Kodi is maintained by people like you and me who are passionate and want to improve a product by giving it new features.
As mentioned above, Plex is a sub-version of Kodi. In simpler terms, a "sub-version" means that they have had a common version in the past and therefore code in common, but they have chosen to evolve differently. The same can also apply to the company Plex. While Kodi is maintained by its community and supported by a non-profit organization, Plex is developed by Plex Inc., a nonprofit company that dates back to 2010. Some parts of Plex are still open-source, like Kodi but others are now proprietary code accessible only to Plex employees.
Much has been said about community development on the internet in recent years. What this management mode entails is the direction of decisions, for Kodi it is the users who develop the small tool they need, at Plex however it is often the Plex team that decides a feature on to work on and then put all its resources into developing this new tool. This can include creating a new app, a new device, creating new features, or fixing bugs. All of this should be done faster (theoretically) because they have the resources to do it. The negative side of this kind of development is that as in all companies some employees are not passionate about what they do.
Kodi as a community, can count on the passion of its developers to create tools they like. You will not find people "here for the money" because no one is paid anyway. However, this also means that available resources are limited. For example right now Kodi has a tender for Android developers to help them with their latest projects.
For you to see, either you prefer the development by the community (like me) or you prefer a company of programmers at your service.
Plex Vs Kodi: Availability
Plex and Kodi are available on a multitude of different platforms, I summarized them in the table below.
Remember our rules: Basic and simple. Kodi is available on Amazon Fire TV and on older Apple TVs, but a jailbreak is needed to enjoy it. If you know how to do that, great! But if you have not understood all the words in the previous sentence or you simply do not know how to do it, I advise you to settle for this table.
Plex has the advantage of being able to run on any platform known today. It is even possible to find Plex for devices that nobody uses as the Windows Phone. The application has a common interface that seems to change a little bit on each device. You can enjoy a more beautiful Plex version (graphics and fluidity) on NVidia shield than on Amazon Fire TV. However their common architecture will allow you to go from one to the other without feeling lost.
Kodi on his side has exactly the same interface on all devices where he runs. This is quite logical because there are not as many compatible devices and they share as much code as possible.
Media Server Vs Media Center
Center or server? What a difference ? The difference is subtle, but that's one of the reasons that caused Plex to split into a sub-version of XBMC.
Kodi was created as a media center, it was reserved for its release to the XBox - hence its name XBMC is "Xbox Media Center". The original application on Xbox allowed to do that, but the interface ... It was horrible! There was no need to connect your device to the network because the hard drives were still too expensive to store all your movies and series. Fast forward 15 years and this is not the case today. Kodi is today a great media center, but he kept his philosophy "Media Center".
Here is an example :
Say you have 3 TV screens in your house. One in the living room, one in the kitchen and one in your bedroom. All have the Kodi app and are looking for continuity on a networked storage. Storage space does not matter, it can be a NAS, a hard disk connected to your router or even a shared file on your computer. Kodi will explore them in the same way.
this is when you will understand the "media center philosophy". Each installation of Kodi will operate independently even if they have to access the same file. So if you start watching a movie on the living room TV, you will not be able to select the next episode on your bedroom TV. The show's Android box will not show which episodes were seen and which one to select next.
Plex stores your information on a Media Server. Before you worry about the extra investment, do not worry this "server" media is software, so you will not buy anything more. You can run it on an old PC, a NAS server or dirrectement on your NVidia Shield if it's the box you chose. Basically it takes a CPU to run it, it will be impossible to install it only on your external hard drive. The reason is simple: it takes computing power for transcription and playback. The transcription makes it possible to adapt the size of the image to the size of the display screen. For example, high-end boxes like Amazon's Fire TV or NVidia's Shield provide access to 4K, but if you have a 1080P TV, the transcript will automatically adjust the image.
Let's go back to our series at the show ...
When you replay an episode on Plex, it is recorded on your media server as "seen". When you connect to the TV room the box will update its information on your server and it will mark the episode you come to see already seen. In fact it goes even further than that: if you decide to stop watching an episode in the middle, you can resume reading where you stopped with Plex. Using Plex connected to a Media Server therefore adds some very interesting reading functionality.
Simplicity Vs Personalization
One of the most noticeable differences between Plex and XBMC / Kodi is the look of the interface and its user experience.
I am sure that by reading the title of this paragraph you have already moved to one side or the other.
People who prefer simplicity will rather head to Plex, just as they are rather attracted by Apple or Audi. The design seems cleaner and more elegant, which gives an impression of professionalism. The welcome interface of Plex shows the latest movies added whether it's a movie, a series or a music. Everything you need is available directly from this home menu. No need to scroll the screen, you can access all types of media or settings.
The Plex interface can change a little from one device to another as I said above. The designs are similar but sometimes it is necessary to scroll the screen if using a device with a small screen. After all my 12 "tablet can not display as much information as my 28" show screen. Whatever happens you will arrive on the homepage with your latest media additions and on the left a menu that looks like that of Netflix.
Les gens qui aiment trafiquer les réglages de leurs appareil adorent Kodi qui dispose d’un réglage pour presque tout. Les rares options qui ne peuvent pas être modifiées depuis l’écran des paramètres sont habituellement modifiables en changeant une ligne de code (pour les experts uniquement !). Je sais, c’est contre nos règles d’en parler, mais l’une des principales forces de Kodi c’est justement cette personnalisation ultra-poussée.
People who like to tamper with the settings of their device love Kodi which has a setting for almost everything. The few options that can not be changed from the settings screen are usually editable by changing a line of code (for experts only!). I know, it's against our rules to talk about it, but one of Kodi's main strengths is precisely this ultra-advanced customization.
The Kodi home screen has an interface with large images and a visible font, some find it a little "2000" personally I find it very convenient to see the film / media file that we go to throw when one is installed in one's sofa at 3-4 meters from the TV. This interface will (unfortunately?) Disappear soon when switching to Kodi 17 Krypton. "Confluence" the old interface will then be replaced by "Estuary". Confluence (below) has a vertical display with side scrolling. You can scroll right or left to access your other features, such as settings.
Personally I tested both - it's free why not use it - so I understand the benefits of each. I used to mount my own PCs and overclock to get the best performance for a reasonable price. In recent years I have learned to be satisfied with the original products and appreciate a product that works out of the box, that's why I started Plex recently.
I advise you to test both to see for yourself what I'm talking about in this page, if you do not have the time remember this: Plex = simplicity and Kodi = features.
Adds-on Vs Chains
What the program looks like is fine, but how do you make Kodi or Plex really like you? With chains and add-ons.
Kodi Add-ons and Plex Channels are two different versions of the same basic idea: How to access, sort and read content from a website on your Media Center?
Let me give you an example to understand how I use both. There is a Kodi Add-on and a Plex channel that allows you to access Youtube videos, they can list the videos of the site and sort them to find the ones that interest me. It is quite legal in fact, and whatever the country where you are. Well, some channels / add-ons might be blocked depending on where you are, but it's a technological limitation, not legal.
For me, access to plex channels is more intuitive. The list is categorized and you can add them in one click: super simple! Installing Kodi add-ons is a little longer. You will need to browse a categorized text list, the Add-ons information appears on the right when you select them, and a short summary of the add-on that created it.
It's important to note that Add-ons are another big highlight of Kodi. At the latest news there are more than 1100 add-ons on the Kodi catalog while there are only 150 Plex Chains.
On site or to take away ?
If Add-ons are Kodi's strength, then this is where Plex will shine.
Kodi has been developed to give you the best experience when watching your movies in your living room. The menus and the interface was designed to meet a classic remote at a distance of a few meters. As we have seen before, Kodi is not very good when it comes to harmonize the experience with the other box and other TV home.
Kodi - and I can not stress enough about it - was designed to play media from one source. If you have a single Kodi home TV could be the best solution for you.
But if you are not at home?
Plex allows you to watch your media files when you are at home but also when you are elsewhere. All you need is an internet connection or, if you have access to the premium Plex Pro service, you will need to syncronize your playback device with your media library. For example, if you take the bus or train to work, you can watch a movie on Plex during the trip. If however you have to travel by plane, you can choose your own films to see in flight and syncronize your library while waiting at the terminal. The media will then be available offline once on the plane.
With Kodi, you can download the Kodi app on your phone or tablet and watch it from a distance, but the difference is that you have to plan ahead. Indeed on Kodi it will download your media files before leaving home and transfer them to your reading support. A much less convenient process.
I told you a little earlier that Plex was a sub-version of Kodi. This is the reason that drove them to separate: Plex wanted to give its users the opportunity to use their services from anywhere.
If you expected me to elect a big winner, you did not come to the right place. This page is not meant to say "Look like Plex is better than Kodi" or vice versa. Besides, it's not something that I or anyone should impose on you. Your situation is unique, just like the mien and what suits me might not suit you at all.
However, I propose a quick summary to get everything back in mind before making your choice.
Who should use Kodi?
- You appreciate the very advanced customization offered by Kodi
- You have a main screen where you often watch TV
- You need a media center to access your content when you are at home
Who should use Plex?
- You appreciate the simplicity offered by Plex. You want to have as few changes as possible.
- You have several TV screens at home and you want to use more than one to play your media.
- You move out of your home and want to enjoy your media when that's the case.
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