Multimedia content consumption is now at an all-time high and the trend continues to skyrocket with each passing day. This has made it necessary to have a solution that can bridge the gap between the media files stored in the computer system and the home theatre system.
Plex Media Server, with an intuitive interface, provides instant access to a wide range of media files as well as online streaming portals including the likes of Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, HBO Now, Sling TV, and many more. Users can also stream their own live programs, sporting events, and music files through Plex.
Versatile library feature allows you to organize your media into different libraries
Another huge advantage of using Plex is its versatile library feature. It allows you to organize your media into different libraries, automatically fetching metadata from the internet and displaying the libraries in a visually appealing manner for easy retrieval. With the Plex mobile app, you can remotely stream music and video to your smartphone over wifi. It also lets you use your smartphone as a remote control for your home theater system.
Practice safety when using media software
For the most part, it’s important to practice safety when using Plex or any of these 10 brilliant Plex alternatives. Many users end up using unofficial third-party plugins or apps so that they can stream live sports, watch movies and TV shows, or listen to music, all for free.
Depending on where you are, that could be either frowned upon, or completely illegal. In that case, you’ll need a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to keep you safe. After all, VPNs will encrypt your data (so that no one can see what you’re doing), as well as reroute your traffic through their servers (so that no one can know that you are doing it). This helps to anonymize you online, so you can safely enjoy your content.
By the way, it’s also great for getting around geo-blocked content. If you are outside the US, you can use a VPN to access the US version of Netflix or Hulu. For high quality VPNs that won’t disappoint you, we highly recommend our two top-ranked providers – NordVPN and Surfshark. If you’d like some more options, go to our list of the best VPNs.
Why look for Plex alternatives?
While Plex is no doubt a competent media center solution, there are apparent drawbacks which may put off users and force them to switch to the alternatives to Plex. For example, a user must go for the premium version to unlock all the cool features like mobile sync and parental control – which does cost money.
The basic free version is watered down to a certain extent
The basic free version is watered down to a certain extent. If you are an ardent multimedia consumer, you won’t be entirely satisfied without the paid version or until you find some other Plex alternative which offers those advanced features at no extra cost.
Moreover, limited file sharing can be another valid concern. Geo-restrictions apply on streaming of some of the channels – which can lead to the unsatisfactory user experience. Troublesome integration with Linux-based system is another reason why some of the users are inclined to using one of the Plex alternatives.
Top 10 Plex alternatives
If you’re looking for a feature-rich alternative to Plex, here’s a list of 10 impressive options to choose from. It includes both open source and premium Plex alternatives.
It’s a simple multimedia player application for Windows and Android devices which comes under one-source licensing. This free software can be used to stream movies and TV shows from multiple online sources. There are official add-ons that require a paid subscription, but you can always count on third-party developers creating cool unofficial add-ons. If your primary objective is to keep your media library organized while enjoying a decent pool of online video streams, Stremio can serve the purpose well.
Kodi has been in the market for quite some time and it has a loyal user base. This amazing media server is an open-source Plex alternative that allows you to enjoy unlimited streaming without any paid subscriptions. Kodi can provide you with access to some of the most popular online streaming sources for the latest movies and TV shows. It also supports music files of all formats.
Mezzmo has been developed and marketed by the Australia-based Conceiva. It mainly relies on a freemium model just like Plex, but the basic free version is loaded with quite a few advanced features – making it a formidable Plex alternative. It mainly caters to the Windows users, however, there has been a recent release for a paid Android version. Besides streaming online movies and TV shows, Mezzmo’s integrated digital media server (DMS) allows the users to stream local files stored on the device itself.
MediaPortal is a GPL-licensed open source program which is slowly getting momentum as a competent alternative to Plex. In addition, to live streaming media content from multiple online sources, MediaPortal supports TV cards, allowing you to watch television programs directly through your media center.
On top of that, this free Plex alternative can be used to play FM and internet radio stations. It also offers the ability to organize your media files through an intuitive user interface. Community collaboration for plugin development translates to cool add-on features with greater access and newer sources.
MediaPortal only supports Windows users and there is no supported app for Android or iOS – which is the only drawback that we could find out in this otherwise comprehensive media center solution.
Emby, formerly known as the Media Browser, is one of the oldest and most popular alternatives to Plex. It’s basically a media aggregator solution that can provide you access to quite a number of online streaming sources. It boasts of an easy-to-use, dynamic interface and offers multi-platform support including Windows, Android, and iOS. This is an open-source media server but requires a subscription to use the complete functionality.
It’s an absolutely free app with no hidden charges. It offers a simple interface, somewhat similar to Netflix, to fetch media content from various online sources. Everything you stream over Popcorn Time is free and no subscription is required. It allows you to download and stream the available media content in HD quality.
It’s a Linux specific Plex alternative. GMediaServer acts as a repository of UPnP compatible media players. Besides streaming video content, you can also listen to your favorite music libraries online through this software. It is compatible with popular Linux-based online media players like NETGEAR Wireless Digital Music Player and Linksys Wireless-B Music System.
When it comes to Plex alternatives, it’s a crime not to mention Madsonic. It’s a cross-platform compatible media center solution which supports Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android devices. This is rated among the most sought after alternatives to Plex which offers open source media library with jukebox functionality. It can be used to catch live streaming of movies and TV shows from multiple free sources without spending a dime as the subscription fee.
If you are primarily interested in a digital video recording and streaming solution, then MythTV can serve you well. Alongside streaming your own media files, this program allows users to fetch live TV streaming from multiple sources. It’s an open-source program that doesn’t have any paid subscription.
It’s a premium Plex alternative which requires you to buy a paid subscription. Using DNLA/UPnP technology, the TVersity media server enables the users to stream content from their own devices.
You can use this Plex alternative to retrieve free video streams, RSS feeds, and podcasts from several online sources. The performance is simply outstanding and you get true HD viewing experience. TVersity is also a very able media organizer. It automatically indexes photographs, music and video files in the background, ensuring that your collection always remains up to date.
If Plex is not meeting your requirements well enough, you can take care of all your streaming needs with the help of the Plex alternatives that we mentioned above.
So, which one is your best pick? Do let us know in the comments below.
Mikaela is an investigative journalist that likes to cover the ever-changing world of technology. She tries to keep her finger on the pulse of digital trends and share her insights on the most relevant topics, including big tech, security, privacy, and data breaches.