Originally Posted by Mfusick
MB server is the key... it lets you do so much more. I love the ROKU support and APP, and the ipad app is awesome too. The iphone app is ok. The web interface is outstanding. I would't want to give up any of these, so I second ReneTHX suggestions. MB3 server is a good foundation for a lot of things. You can use WMC and MB3 Classic if you want DVR and WMC functionality- it looks and works great and you can even set up external players like POwerDVD, or TMT for Disc/ISO support with menus or 3D- and you can set up external player like MPC-HC (or BE) with MadVR/SVP and whatever. If you don't like WMC or MBclassic you have more options. For those that prefer XBMC for whatever reason you can feed XBMC from MB3 server and retain your XBMC interface (called XBMB3C) - and if you want the better player you can still configure external players. Or for those that want to stay in the MB3 family MB3Theater supports MadVR and LAV audio and Vs filters and runs native with MB3 server with a single install and it's very easy to set up. It's only beta still but it's very promising too. And you can even use external players with that too. Lots of options. WMC fans will like classic, XBMC guys will like XBMC (XBMB3C), and MB3 fans will like the MB3 project flagship "Theater" product. All three are good options and all three will support external players too (although MBtheater supports madvr).
I would imagine almost anyone could find happiness with one of those options^. And you can even use them all, in different places. That is the strength of MB server IMO. I could have one of each type of system in my house, or I could have an HTPC that had all three solutions on it and they would work seamlessly. No reason you need to only have 1. Without MB3 server you would lose a lot of functionality and multi product support for tablets, ROKU, phones and all that too. You'd give up transcoding and remote access too. MB3 project is advanced past PLEX at this point.
The ROKU app craps all over the PLEX ROKU app. One last thing left is for MB3 to fix the Fast Forward and Rewind (in process) and after that it's really not a contest which is better. PLEX developers blame the limited ROKU OS code but the MB3 ROKU app in the beta channel proves a lot more can be done with good developers and creative out of the box thinking. I could write a book on the small details the ROKU app for MB3 gets right while the PLEX app gets it wrong. MB3 server does so much more in terms of metadata, notifications, trailers, actors images and bio, metadata management, it has a way nicer user interface too. MB server is clearly better than PLEX server. And I think MB front ends are better than the PLEX front ends generally. At first I used PLEX more because it was straight forward and just works, but recently MB is emerging as the clear favorite - it is also becoming a lot more straight forward and easy to use and set up- and the beta problems are fixed quickly and the project keeps advancing rapidly. XBMC or PLEX never showed the promise that MB3 does, and the lightning fast blitzkrieg of apps and features is amazing and doesn't seem to stop. Even long term hardcore XBMC front end users should find value in MB3 platform.
I'm trying MB3 now, bot MBS and MBT. I have already flooded MB support forum with many questions. I agree a server that host all meta data and provide streaming service to other devices is a must today, and I also think MB3 is more promising than Plex. When MBT matures, it will also be a killer client with the best PQ with MadVR/VS filter/LAVF.
However I do have several issues with MB3 which will prevent me from using it as a production system:
1) It doesn't support subtitles in other encoding scheme. XBMC isn't flexible in terms of subtitle support either, but at least I can manually configure the encoding. MediaPortal uses MPC-HC subtitle engine which I think is the best subtitle engine which choose right encoding automatically based on language
2) The iOS app isn't as good as plex which support both streaming to the mobile device as well as controlling the Plex theater.
I love MB3, and I definitely hope it will be better.