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XBMC vs PLEX for Windows

I have been an XBMC fan for a few years now. Before this I was always wanting a media center for my home. I have probably over 100 DVD’s and 2 small kids. The issue with DVD’s is that they can get scratched and go missing. With 2 small kids this is the norm probably for most families. What I always wanted is a place where I can store all the DVD’s I have in one location and then I can play them anytime and (without looking all around the house) any time.

I have played with Windows Media Center. It’s OK but it would not play all the different media versions I have (.avi,mp4, etc). Then I came across XBMC. The greatest thing I saw was it would play anything I could put through it. I have had standard Windows not play by default all the different versions of media that XBMC could play. I don’t think there is one media version that it can’t play. It is great. I can have 1 PC that holds all my media (Not just movies but music and pictures) and then I can have another PC running XBMC and access the same content. Life is great.

Then I heard about Plex ( I believe a division team from XBMC decided they could make it better) . I thought there are some things with Plex that I like that XBMC does not have. One is that its a Server/Client type system that allows me to start a movie on one PC. Pause it and then resume from another. XBMC does not have this by default. There is away to setup this and I have not tried yet with a SQL database metadata. I figured Plex has this from the start so it should be easy and it is.

The other thing that Plex has over XBMC is that it has a client that works on iOS (iPod,iPhone,iPad) that I can play movies directly on my iPad and I can resume movies AND if I sign up with myPlex (free) I can play through the Internet anywhere I like. XBMC does have this option BUT you have to jailbreak your iOS device. Something I don’t really want to do just for this option. And I have been using a 3rd party utility called Air Video that does the same thing without jail breaking it to play either through my local LAN or through the Internet. The only thing is it does not have the pause and resume feature that the Plex does.

One other thing I have found on the difference between the 2 is the add-ons. Both XBMC and Plex have a lot of add-ons. For example they both have a video add-on for Twit. I watch Twit (This Week In Tech) and a lot of their video pod casts that they produce. They have some great tech stuff and they are getting better. Know how and This Week In Enterprise Tech are starting to be very good. The Security Now is an essential and Windows Weekly is usually pretty good for the Windows tech guy. Any how the difference between the add-ons is this. I find the majority of the video add-ons for Plex work better for me (being a Canadian) than the XBMC. I install the add-on for Plex on the main PC and they work. XBMC I find (other than say Twit or Revision 3 etc) they are hit or miss if the videos work. For example the CTV add-on works pretty good in Plex but XBMC it has issues.

Now down to the nitty gritty. Why have I not fully switch to Plex over XBMC! Well the biggest thing is stability. Now it might be different in the Apple camp (where Plex started and just ported over to Windows and Linux) but for me the XBMC is far Superior in stability (For Windows) than Plex. And from what I have heard XBMC is very stable in Linux compared to Windows. I know Apple (Based on Unix/Linux) and Linux are the open source defaults and both XBMC and Plex both are based on the open source code/team so for whatever reason the Windows version get shafted. HELLO PROGRAMMERS. Who has the world domination of OS for the last 15 years!!! Windows!! Why not dominate the market and follow the leader!!. I own a company that is mostly Windows OS both PC and Server side. I have played with Linux also. I know the benefits that you get with Linux (and Apple OS based on Unix) BUT get with the program. Linux/Unix/Apple OS will not dominate the market for A LONG TIME!!.

OK so I have drifted from the topic. Sorry for that (Hay I am Canadian, I apologies for everything :-)) Anyhow on the comparison of XBMC and Plex I have found (during playing things remotely on the video add-ons) the Plex server part would crash. And not a nice crash. I tried to stop and start the server part of Plex and that would not work. I had to restart the PC. XBMC would not do this (Again since its not a server/client app). It would have the issue when it would freeze and all I had to do is end the app (through task manager) and start it again and all was fine.

The other part (that really bugs me) is the Plex is maybe to simple. For example in XBMC I can start playing a video add-on say Twit episode. I want to bookmark it and then play it later at the bookmark I can easily do this. Plex has no bookmark and the only play from resume is local content. No add-on video has the bookmark option. The local media has no bookmark option also, the only thing it has is resume from last played.

These detail things make a difference and these are the things that have me still using XBMC over Plex. It is still simple compared to XBMC. Also I have not explained is that XBMC is more customizable than Plex. By default XBMC has many skins. For Plex you have to download a separate Skin manager to change the major things in Plex.

Plex is nice for novice’s. It also has nice client things for iOS and even Roku box add on but for Windows its stability is a major issue. When they fix these issues I can see them being a major contender for XBMC. In the mean time I will stick to XBMC.

There are a few article comparison between the two. Just google it (probably where you got this one) and you will see the difference. One article that I like is this one. It goes into detail of the history of the 2. You should really read this also.

Thanks and again any comments would be appreciated. Let me know how you feel about either software.


EXTRA STUFF: Found this that is a really good article about XBMC and PLEX

6 comments to XBMC vs PLEX for Windows

  • lisa

    I just want to get plex off my computer. It constantly tries to run the get started window. when I start up the PC or try to shut it down. I have tried refresh, re-enroll, and any window to get get me to help with my account. I just want it gone, i cant even find the procedure on google. Would anyone like to help?

  • If you installed this on Windows PC then have you tried uninstall from either Add/Remove Programs (XP) or Program and Features (7) in the Control Panel. If this is on a MAC then Google it and there are many posts about removing Plex.



  • lisa

    Thanks steve, i will know the next time I log in if it goes to start up. It would go to the IP address that My TV generated.

  • XBMC is a great program. I use a SkystreamX Android Box that came preloaded with all of the good XBMC Add Ons. It was simply plug and play. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to cut there cable and start watching free TV.

    Android TV Box

  • Hi am from Canada too I’ve the xbmc mx6 box. I was wondering if you’ve trouble watching the latest movies?Is there anyway of watching the news live. I was trying global or cbc news having no luck. How do I type in http://www.tvaddons.ag/update-kodi? Thanks

  • Hello Shelley,

    I have tried to get live news also. The xbmc mx6 box is an Android box I presume. (I have a MX Box). The only way I can get Global or CBC news is using an app in Android associated with my TV provider. I have Bell Satellite and Bell makes an Android app for Global and CBC to watch news etc. Issue is you have to have a subscription already for TV (Bell,Rogers etc). There is an add-on called Canada On Demand (http://addons.tvaddons.ag/show/plugin.video.canada.on.demand/)
    But its a hit or miss on what works.
    If you want to update to Kodi or the latest Kodi on the mx6 you need to go to the browser on the box. Go to kodi.tv click on the download for Android. Once downloaded you have to find the downloaded file and run it. It will then update to latest Kodi.