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9 Best Plex Alternatives (Full comparison) Free Options

9 Best Plex Alternatives (Full comparison) Free Options

Are you tired of using Plex and looking for an alternative? Whether you need something with better streaming capabilities, a more robust media library, or even just a change of pace, there are plenty of alternatives to Plex that are worth considering.

Related: Jellyfin vs Plex vs Emby: Which is better?

With our comprehensive guide, you can find the perfect media server for your needs by comparing the best Plex alternatives on the market. So let’s dive in and explore the world of media servers!

Related: How to get New Movies on Plex (Free)

Key Takeaways – At a glance

  • Jellyfin and Emby are among the best alternatives to Plex. They offer very comparable functionality as media centers (with sharing capabilities).
  • The main advantages of choosing these are the supportive community that can assist with resolving complex issues.
  • Jellyfin and Plex are highly popular options that closely rival Plex in terms of features and overall functionality.
  • There are many other option to choose from if you aren’t looking to choose Jellyfin/Plex.

Ideal Features of a Good Plex Alternative

A good alternative to Plex should be able to offer a wide range of features that are comparable or even better than what Plex offers. This includes streaming capabilities, an extensive library of media files, parental controls, support for external devices, and compatibility with a variety of operating systems and platforms.

Additionally, it should have an intuitive user interface so that users can easily access their entire library and access content from external sources such as Netflix or YouTube.

Related: Best Roku Private Channels: Jailbreak List of Secret Codes

It should also provide real-time transcoding and the ability to transcode video clips into different resolutions in order to optimize playback on different devices.

Finally, the server should be able to run on both mobile devices and more powerful hardware like Raspberry Pi or Windows Media Services.

Plex has been a beloved media center for many years, but with so many alternatives available, it’s important to explore what else is out there. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best alternatives to Plex and see which one might be right for you.

Plex alternatives: Top Media Centers That Can Replace Plex

Best Plex Alternatives Full comparison Free options 1 1

There are many options available for those looking for a comprehensive media solution or a simpler server that can handle audio and video files. Let’s dive in!

Related: Best Streaming Devices for Smart TVs

1. Jellyfin: A Promising Alternative to Plex

Jellyfin 1

Jellyfin is an open-source, free media server that provides many of the features found in Plex and other popular solutions. It is based on the codebase of Emby, a powerful media server with a great user interface and expansive library support. With Jellyfin, users can easily organize their entire library of videos, audio files, and image files for streaming to any device or platform.

Side note: The most challenging aspect of the entire configuration process is configuring GPU passthrough to the Jellyfin container when using it in a Proxmox container.

It supports almost every major video format and can transcode content in real-time for better performance on low power devices such as mobile phones.

Also see: Roku Hacks: How to Jailbreak Roku Unlocked Streaming

I found it integrates with external sources such as online streaming services and physical media collections like CDs/DVDs/Blu-rays.

With its wide range of features and compatibility with multiple operating systems including Raspberry Pi and Android TV, Jellyfin is one of the best alternatives to Plex for managing your personal media server.

2. Mezzmo: A Viable Alternative to Plex


Mezzmo is a comprehensive multimedia solution for Windows, offering users the ability to stream and share content from a wide range of sources.

Thanks to its easy-to-use user interface, Mezzmo allows you to quickly organize your media library and access content from mobile devices, external hard drives, or online streaming services like YouTube.

The software also offers support for Windows Media Services and transcoding of audio files for playback on different devices.

Related: FireStick Keeps Going to Screensaver

Mezzmo can be used as a media server that can stream media to any compatible device within your home network or over the Internet.

Whether you’re looking for an all-in-one solution to manage your library of audio and video files or just need something simple enough to stream content on the go, Mezzmo could be the perfect fit.

3. Kodi: A Popular Media Center as an Alternative to Plex

Kodi 1

Kodi is an open source media center developed by the XBMC Foundation and distributed under the GNU-GPL license. It allows users to organize, view and play audio and video content from a wide range of sources, such as local storage devices, external hard drives and online streaming services.

Kodi also supports hardware transcoding for real-time video playback as well as parental controls for restricting access to certain types of content. I’ve used Kodi on my Samsung TV before i swapped to Vizio.

Related: How to Add Apps to Vizio Smart TV Not in App Store

With its easy-to-use user interface and comprehensive library management tools, Kodi provides an intuitive way of organizing your entire library of multimedia files.

Whether you’re looking for a way to manage your media collection or just need something simple enough to stream your favorite movies and TV shows, Kodi could be the perfect solution.

4. MediaPortal: A Comprehensive Media Center Alternative to Plex


MediaPortal is a free and open source media player for various operating systems, including Windows, macOS and Linux. Developed by the MediaPortal team, it provides users with an intuitive way to enjoy their entire library of multimedia files.

It supports a wide range of audio and video formats, as well as external media sources such as TV cards, online streaming services and internet radio. Additionally, MediaPortal also offers powerful library management tools to help users sort content according to their preferences.

Related: 9 Best Streaming Devices with a Web Browser

With its user friendly interface and versatile features, MediaPortal allows you to easily manage your personal media collection on any device – from PCs to mobile phones and games consoles. Whether you’re looking for a universal media server or just need something simple enough to stream your favourite videos and music in real-time, MediaPortal is the perfect solution for all your multimedia needs.

5. MediaMonkey: A Media Manager for Serious Collectors and a Good Alternative to Plex

MediaMonkey 1

MediaMonkey is the media manager for serious music and video collectors. It offers a powerful yet intuitive way to organize, sort and play your entire library of music, audio books, podcasts and videos – all from one easy-to-use interface.

With MediaMonkey you can store over 100,000+ songs, audiobooks and videos on your hard drive or network device such as a NAS. You can also stream content from cloud storage or other online sources if needed.

Thanks to its user friendly interface, powerful library management tools and available upgrade to a gold license, MediaMonkey is the perfect Plex alternative for serious media enthusiasts. With MediaMonkey you can customize your experience with addons and skins that match your tastes. Whether it’s organizing large libraries of music or streaming real-time video clips, MediaMonkey is the go-to solution for all your multimedia needs.

6. Universal Media Server: A Reliable Alternative to Plex for Media Streaming

Universal Media Server

Universal Media Server is an open source media server written in Java. It is a powerful alternative to Plex and it offers a great range of device compatibility, allowing users to stream music, videos, and images onto devices that support DNLA (Digital Living Network Alliance) and UPnP (Universal Plug & Play).

This includes PS4, Xbox 360, iPhone, Android devices, and various smart TVs. Universal Media Server runs on Windows, Linux, and macOS systems so you can use it on any operating system. With its multiple versions and user friendly interface it is easy to set up and manage your library of multimedia content. It also offers parental controls for added security.

Thanks to its real-time transcoding capabilities you can even access external media sources with ease. Universal Media Server is the perfect software media solution for anyone looking for a powerful personal media server.

7. Stremio: A Feature-rich Media Center Alternative to Plex


Stremio is an innovative media center that offers users a wide range of online content, including movies, TV shows, YouTube videos and audio files. It is designed to be easy to use with its user-friendly interface and its advanced search function makes it simple to find exactly what you are looking for.

Stremio also has the ability to play your entire library of video files from Windows Media Services or Plex in the same application. With access to a vast range of streaming services, you can easily access all your favorite content from one place.

Additionally, hardware transcoding allows for smoother playback on mobile devices and games consoles.

For those who want more control over their media library, Stremio Premiere offers a premium tier with cloud storage and automated backups so you don’t have to worry about missing any of your favorite content. Whether it’s streaming on demand or managing your own media library, Stremio provides an impressive solution for everyone’s entertainment needs.

8. TVersity: A Versatile Media Server Alternative to Plex


TVersity is an innovative multimedia platform that allows users to access their media library on any device including PCs, tablets, and gaming consoles. TVersity’s mission is to provide an easy-to-use interface and rich video experience for users.

It supports all the major video formats and provides real-time transcoding so you can stream your videos in the highest quality, regardless of what device you are using.

Additionally, TVersity offers parental controls so parents can make sure their children only see appropriate content. Its advanced search capabilities allow you to quickly find the content you want without having to navigate through menus or type out long queries.

With its universal media server, TVersity also allows users to access external media sources such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and more from one place. All these features make it one of the most comprehensive software solutions for managing your personal multimedia collection across multiple devices.

9. Emby: A Robust Media Center and a Competent Alternative to Plex

Emby 2

Emby is a powerful and feature-rich media server that allows users to access their entire library of audio and video files from anywhere. It enables users to quickly and easily stream their own personal media across multiple devices, including mobile phones, tablets, PCs, gaming consoles, smart TVs and more. It also provides automatic content recognition for added convenience. With Emby’s intuitive user interface, users can easily navigate through their entire library with just a few clicks.

The platform also offers hardware transcoding for better performance on mobile devices or other low-powered systems. Additionally, Emby supports Windows Media Services in order to provide an even wider range of online content. Finally, the Emby Premiere subscription provides unlimited streaming of video clips as well as advanced features such as parental controls and remote access to your media library. All these features make Emby a great choice when it comes to managing your personal media server solution.

Comparing the Best Alternatives to Plex: Table Comparison

Many users are seeking media server alternatives with improved features and user experience.

This table compares various options to Plex, taking into account factors such as operating system, Raspberry Pi and Android TV support, video and audio content types, gaming console and external media compatibility, ease of use, and real-time transcoding capabilities.

Some alternatives include Universal Media Server and solutions that work well with Android mobile devices and Chromecast. This comparison is useful for those seeking a media server solution that meets their requirements.

FeaturePlex Alternatives
Operating SystemWindows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD
Raspberry Pi SupportEmby, Jellyfin, MediaPortal, Universal Media Server, Kodi
Android TV CompatibilityEmby, Jellyfin, Plex, Stremio
Video Content SupportEmby, Jellyfin, MediaPortal, Kodi, Stremio
Games Console CompatibilityEmby, Jellyfin, Plex, Universal Media Server
Wide Range of Media FormatsEmby, Jellyfin, Kodi, MediaPortal, Stremio
Audio File SupportEmby, Jellyfin, Kodi, MediaPortal
Universal Media ServerEmby, Jellyfin, Plex, Universal Media Server
External Media SourcesEmby, Jellyfin, Kodi, MediaPortal, Stremio
Software Media SolutionEmby, Jellyfin, Kodi, MediaPortal, Universal Media Server
Android Device CompatibilityEmby, Jellyfin, Kodi, MediaPortal, Plex, Stremio
Real-time TranscodingEmby, Jellyfin, Kodi, Universal Media Server

Direct Playback on TV or Media Streamer: A Key Feature of Plex Alternatives

Many people with a personal media server are looking for the simplest and most convenient way to access their library. Direct playback on a TV or media streamer is an option that many users overlook.

Many TVs, consoles, and media streamers can play media directly from an attached USB drive. Support and exact methods will vary from device to device, but this can potentially be the simplest way of accessing your library.

All the more so if you’re using a portable drive, since you can take your collection on the road. If you decide to go down this route, just make sure that you have a backup handy in case the drive gets lost, damaged, or corrupted.

Related: Streaming Device Comparison Charts & Tables (Visual Guide)

Using a USB drive to directly access your library can be a simple and convenient way to get the most out of your media server. But which free media server is best for you? That’s the question we’ll answer next!

Free Media Server Options: Which is the Best Alternative to Plex?

Choosing the best free media server for your needs can be a difficult decision. It is important to consider factors such as the number of devices you need to access, the types of files you will be streaming, and any specific features you may need. Generally speaking, if you are looking for a powerful media server with a wide range of features and options, then Plex or Emby Premiere may be your best choice.

If you are looking for something more lightweight that runs on a Raspberry Pi or other low-power device, then Universal Media Server or Windows Media Services might be better suited to your needs. Additionally, if having parental controls and ease of use is important to you, then Android TV or Android devices running Emby may offer the most user-friendly experience.

Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and what works best for your particular setup. Each platform has its own unique set of features and capabilities so it pays to do some research before making a final decision.

Our Criteria for Rating and Choosing These Alternatives to Plex

This section of the blog post outlines the criteria used for rating and selecting alternatives to Plex. Choosing the right alternative can be difficult, which is why factors such as features and functionality were taken into account.

Certain Plex alternatives were ranked higher due to their support for operating systems, compatibility with various devices, types of media content supported, and ease of use.

By considering these criteria, users can choose an alternative that best fits their needs.

Why you may not need Jellyfin, Emby, or plex

There is a simple solution for streaming media without the need for a powerful computer or a specific platform.

The solution involves streaming everything from a web server and organizing media with Kodi. You can set up a web server using Nginx on an Orange Pi Zero LTS and adding a network location in Kodi to access the media.

The method is easy to set up and works on various devices, including smartphones, tablets, and TV boxes. Let’s dive in

How to use Kodi instead of Plex

To use Kodi instead of Emby, Plex, or Jellyfin, you need to install a web server like Nginx, serve media files from the server, install Kodi on your device, add a network location in Kodi by entering the IP address of your server and the folder containing your media files.

Next, name your source, refresh the media library in Kodi and (optionally) customize your media library by adding artwork and descriptions. This is simply a brief glance at this, but may be helpful for many with this knowledge.

This setup allows you to stream your media files without the need for Emby, Plex, or Jellyfin, and Kodi is a powerful media player that supports various file formats and is easy to use.

Why the file name is the most important part for using Plex and plex alternatives

Ensuring that files are identified correctly, proper file naming is crucial. A consistent and standardized way of naming files is necessary for best results, especially for long-term Plex users.

While pre-named files may have different formats, one simple way to ensure proper naming is to replace dots with spaces. It is unnecessary to replace spaces with a period as Plex can recognize it.

There are bulk file renamer tools available to streamline the process, or it can be done manually. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Plex and Its Alternatives 

Is Plex Still the Best Media Server?

Recently, media servers have become increasingly popular due to the rise of streaming services. Many people are now considering whether Plex is still the best option when it comes to media servers. The answer to this question is not a simple one, as there are many great alternatives available today.

One of the most attractive features of Plex is its compatibility with a wide range of devices including computers, mobile phones, tablets and smart TVs. It also offers parental control options and real-time transcoding with compatible hardware devices. However, some other free media servers such as Emby Premiere, Universal Media Server and Windows Media Services offer similar services.

External sources such as Android TV can also be used with these alternative software solutions for content streaming. Additionally, many of these platforms provide access to live shows and channels which Plex does not support.

Plex or Emby: Which is the Better Media Server Alternative?

The debate of which is better, Plex or Emby, has been ongoing for some time. Both platforms offer a comprehensive range of features and services, making the decision of which to use difficult.

Plex is well known for its user friendly interface and compatibility with a wide range of devices. It also offers real-time transcoding with compatible hardware devices, along with parental control options. On the other hand, Emby Premiere offers access to live shows and channels not supported by Plex, along with a library management system that can be used to organize your entire library.

When it comes to streaming content from external sources such as Android TV, both solutions work well. However, when compared side by side, Plex does seem to have the edge in terms of its user interface and overall user experience.

Ultimately, which platform you choose will come down to personal preference and individual requirements. If you’re looking for an affordable solution that covers all your needs then either platform could be suitable. However if you need more comprehensive features then choosing Plex may be the best choice for you.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ