Plex and Kodi are media servers that enable users to store and stream their personal content and tune into live radio and TV stations.
Plex is a streaming media service that provides a media server and storage application, as well as live broadcasting and on-demand content. Plex launched a free video streaming service in December 2019, which contains thousands of movies and TV shows from studios like MGM, Legendary Pictures, Lionsgate, and Warner Brothers. Find out more about the service in our Plex review.
Kodi is a free, open-source home media server that enables users to store all their movies, music, photos, and TV shows in one place and access that content on multiple devices. It also enables users to stream live radio and TV shows, as well as providing add-ons for them to access other music and video streaming services. Discover everything about the service in our Kodi review.
This article will explore the differences and similarities between Plex vs. Kodi and help cord-cutters choose the right service for their streaming needs.
Plans and pricing for Plex vs. Kodi
|Live TV streaming
|Number of on-demand titles
|Number of official content add-ons
|Original content available?
The basic versions of Plex and Kodi are both free. Plex’s free service comes with an ad-supported on-demand streaming service that contains more than 20,000 movies and TV shows but doesn’t offer live TV streaming or the option to download content to watch offline.
Kodi’s free service doesn’t include an on-demand option but does provide add-ons for users to watch other streaming services through its platform. However, Kodi does enable free live TV streaming and enables users to download content to watch offline.
Plex provides two paid-for services, Plex Pass ($4.99/mo.) and Tidal Hi-Fi + Plex Pass ($19.99/mo.) Both of these options unlock live TV streaming and offline downloads, while the Tidal Hi-Fi add-on gives users access to the Tidal music streaming service’s library of 60 million tracks.
Comparing the Plex vs. Kodi experience
Plex users can store their own digital media, such as movies, music, photos, and TV shows, on the Plex Media Server. This enables them to consume this content from other devices and platforms without having to transfer or transcode it. It also uses metadata to tag users’ media files with information like descriptions, subtitles, and thumbnails that make it more user-friendly and easier to browse.
As an open-source tool, Kodi has an active online community that constantly adds new features, interface designs, and functionality enhancements.
Both Plex and Kodi are available across a wide range of devices, including popular computer operating systems, gaming consoles, mobile phones, and streaming media players.
Plex Media Server users can download the system onto most computers and network-attached storage (NAS) devices. These include:
- Drobo, Netgear, QNAP and Synology NAS devices
- Mac OS X
- Microsoft Windows
- Netgear Nighthawk X10 router
- NVIDIA Shield
The on-demand Plex streaming service is available on any device that supports its app or web media player, including:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android phones and tablets
- Apple iOS phones and tablets
- Apple macOS
- Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari web browsers
- Google Chromecast
- LG, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, and Vizio Smart TVs
- Microsoft Windows
- PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gaming consoles
- Roku and Sonos streaming devices
Kodi is available to access on the following devices:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android phones and tablets (5.0 or higher)
- Apple iOS phones and tablets (iOS 6.0)
- Apple TV 2-5
- CompuLab Utility
- Google Nexus Player
- Intel NUC
- Mac computers (OS X 10.8 or later)
- NVIDIA Shield
- Raspberry Pi devices
- Razer Forge TV
- Ubuntu Linux
- WeTek Play
- Windows computers (Windows 7 or later)
- Xiaomi Mi Box
- x86 hardware
The major difference between the Plex and Kodi services is that Kodi is an open-source project, which makes it highly customizable.
Plex provides a clean interface that’s fairly simple to download and begin using, without any major personalization options. It offers extra personalization with the Plex Plus pass ($4.99/mo.), which unlocks offline downloads, parental controls, and access to additional content.
Kodi enables users with programming expertise to dig into the service and fully tailor it to their needs. It also provides plugins that allow even technology novices to personalize their service using multiple plugins and skins.
Plex doesn’t provide a cloud DVR feature for users to record live TV on. However, users that have the Plex Media Server can record content from live TV streams onto their computer or laptop, which also determines the amount of content they can record.
Kodi enables users to create multiple user profiles, each of which can create separate media libraries and lock their preferences. The simultaneous streams of third-party services through the Kodi platform will be dependent on the subscription that users have with those services. For example, a basic Netflix plan only allows 1 stream per account at any time, but a user with the standard plan could watch it through the Kodi Netflix add-on and on another device.
Plex vs. Kodi content
Plex’s ad-supported on-demand library is home to thousands of movies and TV shows that rotate and update on a regular basis. Popular movies on the service include Almost Famous, Battle Royale, Enemy At The Gates, Let The Right One In, Minority Report, The Big Short, The Illusionist, the original The Italian Job, The King’s Speech, and The Ring. The service also contains TV boxsets for shows like Charlie’s Angels, Dog The Bounty Hunter, Little Dorrit, M.I. High, Starsky & Hutch, and S.W.A.T.
Plex users that sign up for Plex Pass ($4.99/mo.) can access live TV, which includes popular channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, and Univision.
While it’s not a streaming service itself, Kodi does provide add-ons that enable users to watch movies and TV shows through its platform. This includes add-ons for popular streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Sling TV, as well as free channels and live TV services like Crackle, Documentary Storm, and Tubi.
The final cut
Plex and Kodi both provide media servers that enable users to store their digital content and stream it across multiple devices and platforms. Plex is a polished, user-friendly service that provides a huge library of on-demand movies and TV shows. It also has paid plans that unlock live TV streaming and music streaming through Tidal.
Kodi’s service is free to use and benefits from being an open-source project that’s highly customizable and more technical than Plex. It also provides add-ons for users to watch live TV and access their favorite on-demand streaming services.