Kodi alternatives

Last updated: September 29, 2020
Kodi alternatives

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If you’ve ever hit up the web to find an all-in-one player for your media collection, then you’ve probably heard of Kodi.

Robust and flexible, Kodi offers an easy and efficient way to organize and view your entire media library on your computer, TV, phone, or tablet. With tons of customizable features and add-ons, it’s no surprise that this free, open-source software has become one of the most popular choices for streaming TV shows, movies, music and more.

So, if Kodi is so great, why would anyone look for Kodi alternatives?

Well, no software is perfect, and Kodi certainly has its downfalls. For starters, some beginners struggle to get to grips with Kodi. Its user interface isn’t the most intuitive out there, and you may need to customize the software quite a lot to get it working how you want it to.

On top of that, as Kodi grows ever popular, more and more of its add-ons are being targeted and shut down by the authorities. While the Kodi media center software is completely legal to use, many of the Kodi add-ons which allow users to access paid channels and free movies infringe on copyrights. Since add-ons are one of Kodi’s most appealing features, these increasing court cases and prosecutions are a big downside.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of alternatives to Kodi out there. Whether you’re looking for Kodi alternatives for Firestick, PC, phone, or any other device, you’ll have plenty of options. Of course, with so many to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for your needs. That’s why we’ve put together a handy list of the best Kodi alternatives. Take a look at our top choices below.

1. Plex
(for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)

The first Kodi alternative on our list is also one of the most popular by far: Plex. At its core, Plex is very similar to Kodi. Both apps act as a media library for all your video, image, and audio files, allowing you to view them as and when you want to. However, while both Plex and Kodi serve similar purposes, they’re actually two very different media players.

The main difference between Kodi and Plex is that Plex is a much better choice for users who want to be able to stream their media across multiple devices. With Plex, you can easily set up a server on your computer to host your media library, then access it from your mobile, tablet, or any other device with the Plex app. While streaming between devices is possible on Kodi, it’s much more complicated to set up. Also, Kodi isn’t capable of transcoding media files, so you might run into compatibility errors if you try to stream certain videos or songs on your phone.

Another benefit of Plex is that it’s very simple to use. As soon as you create your account, Plex will guide you in setting up a server with ease. However, one of the factors that make it easy to get to grips with is its lack of customization. There are no custom skins, for example, and no ways to organize your content by category like Kodi offers. Whether you see this is a pro or a con depends on what you want out of a media player.

Finally, if you have a lot of devices at home, one of the biggest benefits of Plex is that has apps for so many platforms. This makes it one of the ideal Kodi alternatives for Roku and other set-top media players.

In short, Plex is one of the best Kodi alternatives for Android, iOS, PC, and more if you’re a beginner, you’re looking for simplicity, or you want to access their media library from different devices or on the go.

2. Stremio
(for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)

The next Kodi alternative on our list is Stremio. According to the Stremio developers, this software was inspired by both Kodi and Plex. However, despite being a popular alternative to Kodi, Stremio is quite different from these apps. While Kodi is designed to manage your whole media library, including home videos and personal photos, Stremio’s main purpose is entertainment.

Instead of trying to pack in as many features as Kodi offers, Stremio presents a more streamlined solution to watching TV shows and movies. All the app’s main features are centered on the video entertainment experience; you’ll find handy tools like trailers for each movie and even the ability to buy cinema tickets through the app. Aside from simplicity, one of the biggest benefits of using a more focused, stripped back app like Stremio is the lack of buffering. The more complex a media player is, the most slack occurs when streaming. Stremio’s minimal features ensure that you can watch videos in smooth, crisp quality.

Like Plex, Stremio is also simpler than Kodi in many ways. For example, installing Kodi add-ons can be complex for beginners who aren’t familiar with online repositories. With Stremio, on the other hand, you can quickly and easily install add-ons directly within the software. On top of that, Stremio add-ons are also far less likely to be shut down than Kodi add-ons. Since Kodi add-ons are all developed by small teams or individuals, it’s easy for copyright holders to take legal action against them. Stremio add-ons, however, get their data directly from torrent websites. In order to take down a Stremio add-on, a copyright holder would need to win a court case against the entire website.

So, if streaming your favorite TV shows and movies is what you’re looking for in a media player, Stremio could be right for you. It’s also one of the best Kodi alternatives for Firestick and other set-top media players, though you’ll need to put some work in to get it running.

3. Emby
(for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)

Next up is Emby, a relative newcomer to the market. First developed in 2013, Emby is more similar to Plex than Kodi. However, it’s still one of the best Kodi alternatives for Android, iOS, and computer.

Emby’s library is its first strong point. Using the same server/client model as Plex, Emby allows you to set up a server on your computer and use it to access your media library from any other device. The Emby library is very intuitive to understand, and it also has some good customizability options. For example, you can edit metadata (like artwork and descriptions) from inside the app for easier media organization.

Emby has tons more great features, but there’s one specific group of people who will benefit from it most: those looking to ‘cut the cord’ and escape from traditional cable subscriptions. That’s because it’s capable of streaming live TV as long as you have a digital antenna. While Plex is another Kodi alternative that supports live TV viewing, it doesn’t offer the feature for free. On Emby, you won’t have to pay to stream TV channels (although you will need a subscription to record broadcasts).

Finally, one interesting thing to note about Emby is that it actually integrates seamlessly with Kodi. The Emby add-on for Kodi can import all your content from Emby if you ever decide to make the switch to Kodi or use the two apps simultaneously for the best of both worlds.

In short, Emby is a good middle ground between Kodi and some of its other alternatives. It’s great at managing media and makes organizing your movies, TV shows, and music a breeze, and it also offers some of the customisability options Kodi is loved for.

4. MediaPortal
(for Windows)

If you’re a Windows PC user, one Kodi alternative you might be interested in is MediaPortal.

If you like Kodi’s user interface, you’ll probably like MediaPortal’s too. Both apps have similar navigation panels and clear controls. One advantage of MediaPortal, however, is that streaming your media library is more of an automatic experience. It’s much easier to find to your chosen audio, video, or photo files and play them on MediaPortal than it is on Kodi, where more manual work is needed.

Like other Kodi alternatives on this list, MediaPortal can also be used to watch live television as well as your own collection of media. It’s a great choice for users who have a TV tuner for their computer and are looking to replace the insufficient software that came with it. MediaPortal is definitely more than sufficient, and TV is where it really excels. With MediaPortal, you can pause and rewind live TV, view TV guides, and more right within the app. Better yet, unlike some of the other suggestions on this list, MediaPortal also allows you to record your favorite shows. You can even save your favorite series regularly without any hard work that’s to the built-in record scheduling feature.

All in all, if you were thinking of using Kodi to make your cord cutting dreams come true, you can’t go wrong with MediaPortal. It’s a highly capable media player, and it’s less hands-on than Kodi.

(for Vero, Raspberry Pi, Apple TV)

We’ll close our list of Kodi alternatives with the last but not certainly least – OSMC. If your favorite thing about Kodi is the set-top media player “Kodi boxes” that plug straight into your TV and give you an instant home theatre platform, you’ll love OSMC. The OSMC Vero 4K is one of best media player devices on the market. The cost runs higher than most Kodi boxes, but the Vero 4K makes up for its price with its features.

It’s incredibly easy to use from the get-go, setting up your sources and importing our library in 10 minutes or less. Another area where OSMC excels over Kodi is add-ons. First of all, OSMC has its app store, which takes all the hassle and confusion out of installing add-ons. But better yet, on top of the OSMC apps, you’ll also be able to install any Kodi add-on you want to. OSMC runs on the Kodi framework, so all the community Kodi apps are compatible with it.

And, if you’re not keen on the Vero box, you can also run the OSMC system on your Raspberry Pi or AppleTV. All around, it makes a great Kodi alternative for people who want to stream media directly on their television.

Final thoughts

So, while Kodi is undoubtedly one of the strongest and most popular media centers out there, it’s clear that there are many other great competitors. When it comes to all-rounded solutions, the best Kodi alternatives combine Kodi’s best features (like its add-on library and customisability) with other benefits like easier setup and a more simple interface.

While every Kodi alternative on our list is great, our recommendation is Plex. Anyone can get to grips with it, and it one-ups Kodi by allowing you to stream your media library on any device hassle-free. It’s also one of the best Kodi alternatives for Roku, Firestick, and other set-top media players if you’re sick of the built-in operating systems. Of course, Plex isn’t perfect for everyone. If you have more specific needs in mind, don’t hesitate to try one of the more specialized options on this list, such as Stremio or OSMC.

That wraps up our list of Kodi alternative suggestions, but before we go, we’d like to leave you with one last tip: consider using a VPN with your Kodi alternative. If you plan on using your media player to stream copyrighted media like TV shows and movies you didn’t pay for, you’re at risk of being caught and prosecuted by the authorities. A VPN will reroute and encrypt all your internet traffic so your ISP can’t see what you’re doing online, keeping you safe from trouble.

The list of great VPNs is even longer than the list of great alternatives to Kodi, but we’d recommend trying ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN is very committed to keeping you private and secure online, plus it has lightning-fast speeds that are capable of streaming your media library with no lag or buffering.

If you have experience with any of these Kodi alternatives, don’t forget to leave us a comment and share your verdict. Are there any options we’ve missed? Feel free to share your favorite!

Recommended reads:

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  1. CWalker

    I’m using Kodi on my Roku device using screen mirroring with Windows and was wondering if there’s a better way. I use PureVPN so I can stream safely without letting my ISP know. I’m also considering some of the alternatives you’ve suggested.

  2. Tessa

    I was thinking Stremio would be the right fit for me, and you sold me at the lack of buffering! Buffering content is one of my biggest pet peeves.

  3. CashMeOutside

    I actually never heard of Kodi, it’s too bad, it seams like a great thing. I’ve been using Plex for a while know, it’s great to use with a seedbox to store all you movies, TV shows and stuff and stream them directly with Plex. Plex as the advantage of being available almost on every platform. Streamio sounds interesting too, I’ll check it out.

  4. ts10

    I always like to have alternatives no matter what we are talking about. You never know when something gets taken down or just disappears overnight. Will have a closer look at all the alternatives you’ve provided and see which one is suited to my taste.

  5. Christian del Caño

    I love Kodi, it’s amazing! Why would anyone be looking for alternative? Ok, maybe it’s kind of difficult to understand, but once you get the hang of it it’s quite easy.

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