Originally Posted by smokarz
Will there be conflicts if I run both Plex and XBMC at the same time on the HTPC? I am asking for troubles? I really hate to removed XBMC from the HTPC because I've been running it for years and spent quite a bit of time to get things set up properly and look the way I like.
Plex has two components:
1) Plex Media Server. This is the server back-end that will handle the storage of your movie / TV show metadata all in a single database. You would install this on a PC that you will leave on 24/7.
2) Plex Home Theater. This is the client front-end. It is open source and based heavily on XBMC. The Plex devs remove some features from XBMC and include some features of their own and a single common UI. Rather than have "add ons" like XBMC, Plex has a similar concept they call "Channels".
If you have a computer that you plan to use for both #1 and #2, you would install both pieces of software (separate installs). You could also install XBMC and it should not interfere with Plex Home Theater. Alternatively, you could choose to not install Plex Home Theater at all, and only install Plex Media Server. Then, on your PC, you could use the PleXBMC add-on for XBMC that will tie into Plex Media Server's metadata database.
I personally haven't settled on a favorite for my clients yet. On my main server I have both Plex Home Theater and XBMC installed. On my living room client (an Acer Revo 1600 Atom/ION nettop) I have OpenELEC w/XBMC and the PleXBMC add-on.
So the really big reason for using Plex, IMO, is Plex Media Server. It will manage all of your metadata in a single place as well as allow for streaming to a lot of low-power clients (like iOS devices) thanks to its built-in ability to transcode high bitrate content on-the-fly. It attempts to make smart decisions about what your client devices are capable of and will stream the content as-is if your client is powerful enough (like a modern PC). In the case of Roku, I'm not certain if it always does some level of transcoding or if there are some formats where it streams it as-is.
I don't think you mentioned whether or not you already had a Roku. If not, you may be interested in knowing that you may get similar results from streaming to an iOS device and then pushing it via AirPlay to an Apple TV. They've also recently added ChromeCast support, but I believe that the ATV (and maybe Roku) may offer a little better quality (this info comes directly from the main dev for Plex).
Another thing to be aware of: The Plex software is free, except for the mobile apps (e.g., for iOS or Android) where those cost $5 (if memory serves). However, they also have something they call PlexPass which costs money to become a member and gives you access to pre-release software and I think something else I don't make use of. I believe that the ChromeCast support currently requires a pre-release version of Plex Media Server, so you'd need to pay to be a member to get that, but I believe you could join for a month to get it.