“Plex vs. Kodi vs. Emby , What do you prefer? What do you guys use for managing your library and streaming it locally to other devices? I tried using Kodi but the interface was plain stupid for the PC and couldn't figure out how to stream my library to my Android phone. I loved the fact that Kodi is open-sourced which mean more customization and more add-ons. I guess so I might head for Plex or Emby but I heard they are not completely free. What do you guys think and what should I do?”

If you’re just getting into cord-cutting, you’re probably wondering what media center is the best for your needs: Emby, Plex, or Kodi? There are a lot of different options available for streaming your media library to your devices, but these 3 have been the top popular options. Choosing the right media player is tough - we are simply spoilt for choice. Even we consider only these 3 media servers, we have a lot of things to consider to figure out which is better for us. In this page, we are going to show you the differences between Emby vs. Plex vs. Kodi so as to let you know which one if better.

Part 1: Comprehensive Comparison Between Emby, Plex and Kodi

There is so much information out there that the Emby vs. Plex vs. Kodi comparison has become a challenge to keep all of the different features to be included in this comparison. So, this page will attempt to summarize the similarities and differences between Plex, Kodi and Emby. We will describe these 3 media services one by one.



In the comparison between Emby vs. Plex vs. Kodi, Emby is the first option as it’s the newest media center of the three. It focuses on improving the client’s online entertainment experience. Its innovative interface makes it easier for users to navigate all their movies, TV shows, and other media files. Emby focuses on streaming on various devices and lives TV streaming. Its server-client setup allows the users to organize their media files and play it from anywhere.

Emby attaches metadata and gives the users a facility to access their media files through the web. Hence, it becomes easier to keep the downloaded media in a proper way in a centralized database. Emby also supports streaming the content live from remote locations. You can stream your digital content on any wireless network, although this feature comes only if you’re subscribed to its premium version. Emby supports streaming  TV live with the help of a digital OTA antenna, and with a Premiere subscription, you can record live TV screens with a compatible DVR.

Another plus for Emby is that it allows third-party extensions, which are mentioned as plugins. You can directly install them from the Plugins menu on the dashboard. Emby is compatible with Linux, and Mac OS X. Its apps are available on Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and Samsung Smart TV, NVidia SHIELD, Xbox 360, PS4/ PS3, and online HTML playback. You can also install it on Android phones, iOS, and Windows.


  • Apps available for various platforms.
  • Great account management features.
  • Hardware-accelerated transcoding.


  • Many features require a paid license.




The original Plex program was created as a substitute for Kodi, which was earlier known as XBMC. Now, Plex has become one of the most accepted and used media centers. Plex provides you with a platform to stream your digital media and organize it. You can organize, tag, and keep all your digital media, and even set up separate media directories with “Libraries” for your TV shows, movies, music, and photos. It pulls metadata from the computer network.

Like Emby, Plex also focuses on server-client interaction, where you and the client can stream and organize your content from anywhere after installing the software. It also supports streaming your content live from non-local networks without any extra setup. Plex has introduced Live TV and DVR to their Plex Pass subscribers, for which you’ll have to pay a periodical charge. This is an exclusive feature for Plex users, but Emby and Kodi provide Live TV for their normal customers too.

For Plex Pass subscribers, another benefit is that they can sync selected segments of media to devices like smartphone or tablet and view them offline. Emby provides a similar feature to its clients, but it doesn’t support iOS devices yet.

Plex has third-party extensions also, known as Channels, which allow you to expand your media selection. Plex Media Server is compatible with computers having Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. And it has multiple mobile versions for Android, iOS, Windows, Xbox 360/ Xbox One, PS 3 and PS 4, Smart TVs, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Roku, and TiVO.


  • Easy setup and intuitive interface
  • Fairly platform-independent
  • Automatic transcoding


  • Many features need a Pro license


Kodi was originally created as a media center for Xbox and was known as XBMC. You cannot stream your content online, but you can arrange and play the content stored on your hard drives, local network attached local (NAS) devices, and USB drives. It has a classy user interface, with a simple yet stylish theme and gives a detailed view of its features and services. You can easily customize this center according to your choice with the help of third-party extensions.

By using online “scrapers”, you can organize your media on Kodi. Just like Emby and Plex, it collects metadata to make your browsing easier. It supports to play DVD discs, Blu-rays, .ogg, RealMedia, and VIVO, which is fairly a plus for Kodi users.

Kodi has an OTA antenna and a DVR which allows you to watch and record live TV, while not paying for any subscription. That means these services are completely free, unlike Emby and Plex. While all three, Emby, Plex, and Kodi support third-party extensions, Kodi stands out by delivering a variety of options and addons to the user.

Kodi is compatible with a variety of operating systems, like- Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, Android. You can use it on various hardware platforms like- Raspberry Pi, Odroid, NVidia SHIELD, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and WeTek Play. Kodi is absolutely free for every platform.


  • Fairly platform-independent
  • Supports even non-standard platform like Raspberry Pi
  • Supports a wide array of external plugins


  • The user interface is not the best

Through the above description, you may have a brief impression upon these 3 media services. We have here made a detailed comparison table below to show you their differences of detailed features.




Kodi (standalone)

Supported Server Platforms

Multiple operating systems, gaming consoles, NASes,  and Docker

Multiple operating systems, gaming consoles, NASes, Routers, and Docker

Not applicable

Supported Client Platforms

Linux, and Mac OS X. Apps are available on Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and Samsung Smart TV, NVidia SHIELD, Xbox 360, PS4/ PS3, and online HTML playback, Android phones, iOS, and Windows.

Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux, Android, iOS, Windows, Xbox 360/ Xbox One, PS 3 and PS 4, Smart TVs, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Roku, and TiVO.

Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, Raspberry Pi, Odroid, NVidia SHIELD, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and WeTek Play.

Ease of Installation and Use


Very Simple

Moderately Complex


Flexible Options

Limited Flexibility

Very Flexible / Customizable

Local and Remote Streaming

Easy local and remote streaming (may not be free)

Easy local and remote streaming (may not be free)

Local streaming is limitless. Remote streaming is very difficult

Metadata Management

Web Interface

Web Interface

Client Interface

Centralized Database for Multiple Clients



Possible through MySQL with Advanced Setup

Free Content

Almost none

Ad-supported Movies, TV, News, and Podcasts

Lots through plugins

Plugins / Add-ons / Channels




Offline Viewing (no Internet)

Good support

Good support

Not applicable

User Management

Local, online (optional), and more control

Online account required for admin

Local and more control

Library Sharing

Can be shared with others for free

Can be shared with others

Cannot be shared easily

Virtual Reality

No support

Plex VR available

No support

Development Model

Mostly closed-source. Some parts of it are open.

Closed-source (Proprietary)


Support / Maintenance

Developers are responsive. Active Community.

Developers slow to respond. But active forums.

Active Community.

Maturity of Media Centre Platform

Becoming Established



As you can see when comparing Plex, Emby, and Kodi all four applications, despite their differences all score pretty close. In many cases, one application’s strength is another application’s weakness.

Part 2: Total Solutions to Streaming Any Video (including DVD/Blu-ray) via Media Server - Leawo Prof. Media


As we know that all these 3 media services and other popular media services could stream videos over your computer server, what would you do when you are trying to stream video, DVD or even Blu-ray movies over these media services? Obviously, streaming Blu-ray/DVD movies won’t be able to be done by these media services. What would you do? You get the total media solution to stream any video (including DVD and Blu-ray) via these media server services. That is Leawo Prof. Media.

Free Download Free Download

Actually, Leawo Prof. Media is an all-inclusive total media converter ultimate solution that offers you almost all media conversion solutions covering Blu-ray, DVD, video, audio, image and online videos. With Leawo Prof. Media, you could:

  • Play back Blu-ray, DVD, video, audio, and even ISO image files just like a region-free media player.
  • Decrypt, rip and convert Blu-ray/DVD to video/audio files in 200+ file formats for various uses for streaming over these media server services.
  • Convert video and audio files between various formats for different media players and devices, supporting even 4K video output for streaming over Plex, Kodi, Emby, and other media services.
  • Convert and burn videos files to Blu-ray/DVD content in disc, folder and/or ISO image file, and even burn image files to Blu-ray/DVD photo slideshow easily.
  • Decrypt, copy and backup Blu-ray/DVD content to blank disc or computer hard drive, in full-movie or movie-only backup mode as you need.
  • Download videos from YouTube, Facebook, Veoh, VEVO, and 1000+ other video sites.
  • Turn photos into photo slideshow video for saving in various formats, and edit generated photo slideshow.
  • Edit Blu-ray/DVD/video files to trim, crop, add watermark, adjust effect, apply 3D effect, etc.
  • Choose disc menu for DVD/Blu-ray burning, and even design disc menu with preferred items.

You see, Leawo Prof. Media not only helps you convert Blu-ray/DVD/video files for streaming over media servers like Kodi, Plex, Emby, and others, but also handles other media conversion issues between Blu-ray, DVD, video, pictures, and audios. It is the ultimate solution you could ever get for better digital entertainment.

Part 3. Conclusion

Actually, it’s hard to say which one in Kodi, Plex and Emby is the best one for you since different people would have different demands. Through the above comparison, you may have been clear about the features and advantages/disadvantages of these 3 media server services. You could make your own choice according to your needs. However, no matter which one you choose, there would be media file incompatibility issues. For such case, Leawo Prof. Media offers you solutions. It helps you solve media file incompatibility issues easily for better media streaming and digital entertainment experience.