Nowadays, viewers are consuming multimedia content more than ever. Believe it or not, an average viewer uses a media server to watch his favorite movies, TV shows and download music for more than seven hours each day.
While services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are getting expensive by the day, users have no choice but to get their media files from an open source like Plex.
Using this media center or media server, users can watch their personalized content and store it on their computers. Besides that, they can access content from other external hard drivers and stream it through their computers.
Plex is an excellent choice for a media center as it offers incredible features like Live TV shows, parental controls, and cloud storage.
However, the media server is not perfect and lacks in a few areas. To help you out, here are the best Plex alternatives so you can choose the correct media server for your mobile devices or home theater.
What is Plex Media Server?
Before discussing Plex alternatives, here’s a brief overview of the Plex media software to give you further insight.
Plex is a reliable media server that lets you stream media files in multiple formats, including movies, TV shows, news, music, and even podcasts. Usually, you would have to sign-up for various paid media servers to access your favorite content. But with Plex, you can enjoy it all through one media center.
Another appealing aspect about Plex is that it’s compatible with Windows Linux, Windows macOS, and Windows MacOs Linux. Similarly, you can even run it on online media browsers like Microsoft, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Google Chrome.
To get started, all you have to do is install Plex on your personal computer. After that, add your media files into the software and let it categorize them for easy access.
Now that you have compiled all your media files on Plex, you can access them from any device, including your smartphone, smart TV, tablet, and even your gaming console.
What’s more, you can share your media files with your friends and family using Plex. Besides that, you can even stream TV shows and movies from different streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
What Should You Look for In Plex Alternatives?
After going through the introduction of Plex, you probably think it is the best media server that exists. Unfortunately, however, that’s not the case.
You won’t get many features in the Plex basic version, which means you’ll need to buy the Premium membership to get all the benefits.
Similarly, many users report that the primary interface of Plex is not user-friendly and requires some time to get the hang of it.
Luckily, these are the features you can look for in the ideal Plex alternative for yourself. A good Plex alternative should help you organize your media files and stream them across multiple devices.
Multi-User and Multi-Device
Besides that, it should also let multiple users access the content on various devices. So, for example, if your friend is watching a movie on your smart TV, you should be able to listen to the news on your phone.
Moreover, it would help if you looked for the video streaming services you like. Most media servers support Netflix or YouTube, attributing to their popularity. But, if you want other options, that’s what you should look for in the best Plex alternatives for yourself.
Now that you have the basic information about Plex and its features, you can quickly assess each plex alternative from this list. So let’s get started without further ado.
Best Plex Alternatives
As mentioned, there is an abundance of media servers and media centers available on the internet. These servers help cater to the vast multimedia demand generated by the global population.
However, each of these servers has a different set of features and requirements, which set it apart from Plex.
If you think Plex is not working well for you, you can try out some of the options in this list to enjoy content across multiple devices at a nominal price.
KODI is a well-known media server for an open-source, also known as XBMC. It is a complete entertainment hub where you can stream content for free on your computer and other devices.
The best part is, unlike Plex, KODI is entirely free to use. Once you install the media server, you can use it to organize your media content.
Additionally, you can customize your personal media server on KODI by adding pictures and slideshows to match your personality.
Apart from the outlook, you can also change the media management format to fit your needs. This means KODI can turn into your tailor-made media solution on-demand.
The media center is compatible with Windows, macOS, Raspberry Pi, Android, Amazon Fire TV, and Linux.
Stremio is another popular alternative to Plex launches in Bulgaria back in 2015.
It is mainly an open-source media center that lets you organize your videos, music, podcasts, and other content on your personal computer.
Besides that, you can enjoy on-demand TV shows and movies from Netflix and Amazon Prime through Stremio. Stremio has a similar user interface to Plex or KODI, but its integrated calendar makes it stand out.
Not only can you categorize your content, but you can also use the calendar to keep track of new episodes, latest releases, and current news affairs through your media server.
It is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Windows Linux. Similarly, it has dedicated applications for both iOS and Android smartphones as well.
Once you open the main interface, you can select content to stream from your library or click on popular streaming services to enjoy the latest content.
Emby is one of the best Plex alternatives in the market. The esteemed open-source media server is highly accessible.
Features to Look for
It has an auto-organization feature that maintains all your media by itself without any extra hassle on your side.
Besides that, Emby automatically converts your medial in real-time. This means you can stream it on any device without any hassle.
Also, Emby is one of the best Plex alternatives when it comes to DVR. You will get immediate alerts regarding your media center, so you are always aware of the actions taking place.
Just like Plex, Emby provides valuable features like parental control that let you filter the content you want for your children.
Additionally, you can add a time limit to the streaming sessions on your devices. This way, your kids won’t be able to watch beyond the time limits.
However, all these fancy features, along with the impeccable cloud storage, come for $4.99 per month. The media server is supported on Windows, Apple TV, Android, macOS, and Amazon Fire TV.
Media Portal is a well-known competitor of Plex with all the essential features you’ll need in your personal media server.
Not only can you create your own media library on your computer, but you can also use Media Portal to record and watch live TV content across multiple devices.
Furthermore, unlike Plex, the main interface is not cluttered and confusing. Instead, it is user-intuitive and neatly organized to let you select content from a wide array of media sources and playlists.
For example, if you want to organize the episodes you recorded for a binge-watching session, you can do so on Media Portal and enjoy perfect entertainment.
Moreover, you can enjoy your downloaded and recorded content through your smartphone whenever you have a strong internet connection.
Another exciting feature is the WifiRemote system. This allows you to assign any of your connected devices to control streaming on other devices remotely.
JRiver Media Center
JRiver media center is an ideal alternative to Plex for those looking for advanced features. However, the media server comes at a high price compared to the other Plex alternatives listed here.
Why JRiver Media Center
Still, you can opt for a free trial to give the platform a test drive before you part with your money. What’s intriguing about the JRiver media center is its straightforward and informational approach for users.
The platform comes with extensive documentation, guidelines, and tutorials. You can use these resources to find your way around as a first-time user.
Most importantly, the JRiver media center supports more file formats than any other media server in the market.
You can download it easily on Mac or Windows and start organizing your media content right away or stream content from your favorite portals.
If you are a die-hard fan of streaming services like Netflix, Streama is one of the best Plex alternatives for you.
The platform has an easy-to-use interface that’s bound to remind you of Netflix as soon as you sign in.
The popular streaming platform inspires the organization to select what you want to watch across multiple options and categories.
Furthermore, it has a dedicated ‘Episode Browser’ that lets you store the TV shows and web shows you usually watch and keep track of the latest episodes.
Similarly, just like Netflix, Streama records all the incomplete content you watched so you can easily continue where you left off. In addition, the software is compatible with Android, Windows, and Linux.
TVersity is a paid Plex alternative that lets users stream content from their personal computers across multiple devices.
What to Look for
The software uses DNLA/UPnP technology to synchronize the content you love through web browsers.
Besides that, the media server offers automatic real-time organization of all your videos, movies, music, and podcasts so that you can skim through your collection effortlessly.
Also, it provides on-the-fly transcoding that lets you play your content on any supported devices.
However, just like Plex, TVersity’s free version lets you access only limited features. To get the whole deal, you’ll have to purchase the pro version billed per month.
The platform is compatible with Windows, Android, iOS, Xbox One, and Chromecast.
Universal Media Server
Universal Media Server is another Plex alternative that facilitates media streaming from your personal computer across multiple devices. What sets it apart from Plex is the vast array of devices it supports.
Why Choose UMS
These include PnP and DLNA devices as well, so you can easily stream any images, movies, videos, and music on devices like smart TVs, Xbox One, Android, and iOS smartphones.
Besides that, Universal Media Server is a safer option than Plex because it is updated regularly. In addition, this screens any bugs and viruses from your media center so that your content does not malfunction or cause any security threats to your devices.
Additionally, other appealing features of Universal Media Server include SoundCloud integration, a web browser interface, and a file transcoder to make any content compatible.
The best part is, Universal Media Server provides all its services for free, so you can get all the facilities like Plex without paying any extra money.
That concludes my list of the best Plex alternatives available on the internet.
Although Plex offers some great features and is compatible with multiple devices, some platforms might fit your needs better.
The ideal way to choose the suitable Plex alternative for yourself is to streamline your needs and preferences. After that, assess each platform based on your criteria.
Remember, the best Plex alternatives for you don’t have to be the most highly-rated ones. Instead, try to go for those that cater to your interests and support your existing devices.