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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been using KODI (XBMC) for about a year now on a HTPC I built. I'm getting to a point where I would like to expand what I have and setup another PC to run a file share or a server (Plex Server) to centralize all of my movie/tv files onto one system and possibly expand to further HTPC clients to connect to those files.

I like Kodi, the problem however, is Kodi isn't always so smooth. There are bugs, the plugins have bugs and mostly I went for Kodi originally for one particular plugin, PseudoTV. I love the idea of PseduoTV, create your own tv channels into a EPG and use the channel surfing experience through your own library of media (and with PseudoTV Live also live streams). So I can have an HBO cloned channel using my own media that would particularly fit on live HBO or one of my favorites, A found footage horror channel.

Mostly I like this because I just enjoy keeping my TV running 24/7. I like to keep background shows/movies running on it and I can be very indecisive when it comes to what I want to watch and this plugin helped me randomly find something on that was suitable, perhaps even something I haven't seen in a while or wouldn't have bothered to select when browsing through my collection. even better it would incorporate new upcoming movie trailers inbetween shows/movies so I didn't have to actively go check out what's coming up.

PseudoTV though, constantly being updated every week seems to have more and more bugs every release. I have to recreate all my channels practically every week. Sometimes in the middle of the night my whole screen freezes, random exits, sometimes the channel configuration doesn't even work.

The only other thing I use on my Kodi setup is Sportsdevil and Live News. Now I'm not a big sports watcher but I love watching Winnipeg Jets NHL Games, I'm not in Winnipeg nor Canada, I'm from Atlanta, so be able to watch them (and for FREE on Kodi) was always a plus. Live News I absolutely need. Not all of it, maybe just 1 live channel that has what's going on right now as I watch it. I love Alex Jones and alternative news as well.

So basically these are the only decisions keeping me from moving over to Plex, because honestly I love the idea of Plex. I love that Plex was made with a server in mind and streaming / sharing your library with as many devices as you want and I want to get here one day. I know Kodi supports it but it takes a lot of tweaking as well. Plex is more streamlined and seems generally more accepted, easier, less buggy / problematic, and over all more supported on devices.

If Plex had some way to incorporate these features I think I would have to switch immediately, I figured someone here would have more experience on what is / isn't possible on Plex because I've been searching all over and heard a lot of different answers.
 

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Plex is good (I use for it for the kids movies with Roku clients), but for real next generation stuff check out Emby (formerly Media Browser - MB - get it?). This is where it's all at for me now. Very slick with a growing list of supported clients. You can even access Emby server from within Kodi with the Emby plugin.

It's not as mature as Plex or Kodi, but it's stable, works well, and has a very active community. Just myt 2c.
 

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Work correctly.

Honestly, that's my main thing. I can watch movies all the way through on Emby that do not work on Plex.

Also, paying for Emby is optional. Plex clients typically cost money, for example Plex for Roku is $5.

There also isn't a Plex offering that compares to Emby Classic (Emby for Windows Media Center).
 

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What does Emby do that Plex doesn't?
In many respects, they are very similar products. Both will allow you to serve media from a central library to various clients both inside and outside the house. Emby has a very robust plugin that works with Kodi, allowing you to take advantage of the full functionality of both platforms. Emby also has their own HTPC client, Emby Theater, which can be used in place of an external players, which makes use of MadVR for those into customization of picture.

Emby is free to use with an unlimited number of titles and clients. There are some paid contributor additions that are nice, but they are the cherry on top, not the bells and whistles. Client apps for Emby range from free to $5, though even the paid ones are regularly on sale as the continue to work on their market presence.
 

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Work correctly.

Honestly, that's my main thing. I can watch movies all the way through on Emby that do not work on Plex.

Also, paying for Emby is optional. Plex clients typically cost money, for example Plex for Roku is $5.

There also isn't a Plex offering that compares to Emby Classic (Emby for Windows Media Center).
I've run plex for years. I've never had an issue with playback, I just add the media files to PMS and I'm good to go. there has to have had been something wrong with your set up and/or drivers.

The other thing for me is that I run PMS on my NAS, until emby releases a server for synolgy/intel, it's gonna be a non-starter.
 

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Specifically, the issues are on the Roku 3. The Amazon Fire TV was even worse.

And before someone asks again, the backend server is:
Intel Xeon E3-1246v3 on Intel server board
Windows 7 64 pro
12GB RAM
Intel gigabit NIC on server board, all devices are wired, no wifi.
 

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Emby supports a good number of stuff out of the box
-XBMC/Kodi metadata (will read your existing nfo files and create new ones -- watches your scan folders, auto adds all artwork including disc/clear without running artwork downloader)
-Plots/actors, different ratings, etc
-Can pull watched states from Trakt (as can Kodi, kind of a third party sync for the two databases if you don't end up running emby/kodi integration)
-MULTI-USER - each person can have their own watched states/resume points and passwords
-Emby add-on for Kodi is better than anything PleXBMC dreamed of being (current one still has some limitations and bugs, older one was limited to powerful box for lots of json/python crunching, experience is still growing but the new add-on is fairly stable already--for a beta--and getting better)

Plex does a few things better
-Gets written about by lifehacker, android forums, and other bloggy sites so that all the newbs have heard of it
-Doesn't support very much metadata (this sounds worse, but it means something like PleXBMC worked decently before upnp library stuff ever showed up in Kodi and did a better job because it only pulls in a title and thumbnail . . . doing that little made it seem much faster and by that regard to the end user it was "better")

Then there are things Plex doesn't really do for everyone
-Like I said already, hardly any metadata, actors, art in PleXBMC
-Trailers only for supporters
-Multi-user only for supporters (if you think "sharing" works nicely try being on the other end of the share, the server sharing is implemented in the apps and PlexHT very poorly IMO, multi-user would be a nice change)
-No guarantee that supporter features will ever be available for non-supporters (sync)
-Unclear direction / vision . . . they haven't really been working on much for a while that is very interesting other than catch up stuff


Also, don't let plex fool you into thinking they are doing big projects. They are a lot like apple, the majority of their functionality comes from existing (sometimes open source) projects and while they have funding to do non opensource stuff now (like if freebase goes away they could use imdb -- no other metadata scraper project out there could even think of humping that cost) they got where they are with very little code and a whole lot of laser-type focus. Plus they were the only name in the game that mattered up until about 2 years ago, the other options like ps3mediaserver, Orb, firefly, subsonic weren't anywhere near the same league.

Emby (formerly MB) does more for less, and with transcode throttling now implemented their "performance" will appear the same to the end user

TL;DR -- Emby is the better long-term choice for Kodi. Plex does very little, and it does those things well but it won't solve your Kodi add-on problems. Emby might (plugins and dev are more active IMO), but Kodi / Emby metadata live side with great ease
 

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The one thing that keeps Plex on my server is Sync to mobile devices. Emby has just implemented syncing to PC clients, but my Android doesn't have it yet. I just fire up the Plex server before travel and sync my media and turn it off when I get back.
 

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Specifically, the issues are on the Roku 3. The Amazon Fire TV was even worse.

And before someone asks again, the backend server is:
Intel Xeon E3-1246v3 on Intel server board
Windows 7 64 pro
12GB RAM
Intel gigabit NIC on server board, all devices are wired, no wifi.

Ah, I only run Plex with connected computers at each TV. I have a question for you... you have a very powerful PMS, why are you running a bunch of rokus as clients? you spent all that money on a power hungry server, why not get a couple of cheap computers and get the full blown plex ht experience?
 

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I have other WMC machines too. I like the Roku better for some things - it does Amazon and Netflix a whole lot better than other solutions for example. And the server does more than just act as a PMS server, I'm an IT guy so I use it for all sorts of things. But, I've made sure nothing else is running when I test to determine the root cause of the issue. In reality, it has 16 GB of ECC RAM, but 4 GB of that is dedicated to a Windows Server Essentials box, which also runs my Blue Iris video surveillance system, Spiceworks, a few websites, etc. I have them all VM'd off of the W7 machine so that Blue Iris or any other server functions do not interfere with Emby, PMS, or WMC on the W7 VM. Each machine has at least one dedicated NIC with dedicated switch port, the WSE has two dedicated NICs because the cameras are on a separate network and switch.

Just to fill in the picture, the only Roku I have is in the bedroom. If I could just get a few things working better (live TV for one), it would be the PERFECT bedroom solution. In the guest rooms, I have XBOX 360 Slims as extenders off the server. In the game room, I have an Amazon Fire TV Stick - for $19, I'm OK with the issues it has; plus an XBOX 360 slim and a PS3. In my office, my wife's office, and in the main movie room, I have Windows 7 machines set up to run WMC and Emby. Of course the one in the movie room is configured to run everything optimally for movie watching. And then a second PS3 in the movie room for Netflix, Amazon, and non-game room gaming. Then, outside, in our RV is a Kodi box I built from the $70 PC deal from Fry's.

So I do try to take advantage of the power I have in the server where I can, but it isn't always the best solution.
 

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Ah, I only run Plex with connected computers at each TV. I have a question for you... you have a very powerful PMS, why are you running a bunch of rokus as clients? you spent all that money on a power hungry server, why not get a couple of cheap computers and get the full blown plex ht experience?
Your logic is backwards. If you spend money on a powerful server, why would you then put cheap computers at your TVs? A powerful server can transcode, so the question is then why not run Fire Sticks or RPi (rasplex) and transcode?

Cheap x86 is still more expensive than truly cheap (RPi, roku stick, fire stick, chinese android, etc)

The logic for running a full-blown htpc (x86) at each TV defeats the need for any transcoding, so a less powerful server suffices (unless the power is for something else most of the time -- which it seems to be in tornadotj's case)

Question for you though, if you are running real x86 boxes at each of your TVs . . . why not ditch PlexHT and run a full-blown HTPC front end like Emby, Kodi, or Jriver? The only thing PlexHT offers over the much cheaper way of running Plex (tv sticks, or smart tv apps) is HD audio. The interface has very few skinning options and misses a plethora of features you'd get with Kodi instead
 

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Your logic is backwards. If you spend money on a powerful server, why would you then put cheap computers at your TVs? A powerful server can transcode, so the question is then why not run Fire Sticks or RPi (rasplex) and transcode?

Cheap x86 is still more expensive than truly cheap (RPi, roku stick, fire stick, chinese android, etc)

The logic for running a full-blown htpc (x86) at each TV defeats the need for any transcoding, so a less powerful server suffices (unless the power is for something else most of the time -- which it seems to be in tornadotj's case)

Question for you though, if you are running real x86 boxes at each of your TVs . . . why not ditch PlexHT and run a full-blown HTPC front end like Emby, Kodi, or Jriver? The only thing PlexHT offers over the much cheaper way of running Plex (tv sticks, or smart tv apps) is HD audio. The interface has very few skinning options and misses a plethora of features you'd get with Kodi instead
Why a x86 at every TV? I thought in this forum, unlike all others, the answer would be obvious: speed and quality. I love that I can watch my entire blu-ray collection at full resolution, with HD audio wherever I want, whenever I want. I love that my system boots in seconds, is instantly accessible, has gorgeous menus and transitions and has a UI that no other commercial setup can offer. Yes, Plex is locked down just like Apple gear, but so what? It does the things I need it to do, and it does it seamlessly. This is just like the android/iOS debate, android does a ton more things with dubious stability, while iOS does fewer things but does those well.

I have tried XBMC/Kodi at various iterations, I never got it to play well with my stuff. For instance, their metadata scrubbers wouldn't pick up some of my media (and it wasnt obscure anime stuff either). Kodi just has *too* many options; while plex has a couple of scrubbers and works right away, every time. Kodi will not replace WMC and let me watch every channel. Kodi has no central server capability. I know there's a plex/xbmc intermediate thing, but again, its some plug-in that may/may not work all the time, and I'd find out that it doesnt work at some future date when I have friends over to show off my system and end up with egg on my face. I am not an endless tinkerer. I dont want to have to turn on each tv and constantly wonder which plug-in didnt load or what needs updating. I want to have it set up one time and just enjoy the media, versus fretting over my setup and constantly playing around with settings. A lot of people here love to play with the settings and controls more than they enjoy watching their content. That's totally fine, i'm just not one of those people. There's no commercial system that can rival my current setup, if there was, I'd have gladly bought into that instead. getting to this point was hard enough. If Kodi/Jriver/Emby start supporting NAS server builds I'm happy to perhaps try it out in the future. Until then, its a moot point because I am not adding yet another computer into the chain, just one more thing that can go wrong or that I'd have to keep up with.

When I was planning the system and what I wanted out of it, I identified two main goals: Be able to completely replace a whole house DVR cable system, and watch my own personal media library at any TV around the house. The only way to do this is by putting an x86 box at each TV. All the cheap stuff comes up short in some way. Xbox 360 extenders will do HBO Go, netflix, comcast ondemand and let me watch tv, but its so unbelievably slow, and wont work with Plex, or let me stream my stuff. In my setup, the NAS runs PMS and uses 50 watts and each computer when operating uses 10, max. I get perfect video and HD audio, any time I want. Hopefully windows 10 comes out with WMC support, and developers build IR-supported netflix, hbo go, etc clients. That would be the ultimate set top box, but until then I'm cool with limiting streaming sticks use just for what they were meant for: services like netflix and hbo go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Maybe I am just getting sick of Kodi? Want something new... I like Kodi overall but I think it's just behind both Plex and Emby (which I just checked out). It's open source yes but it's also not as streamlined and does have quite a bit of bugs with their plugins.

I'm looking at Emby and it looks great. I like what I've seen on the theater too. So my questions again...

Switching to Plex or Emby...

1-What would be the best client device to use (ease of use, affordability, fast and overall looks good): Roku, Chromecast, FireTV etc? Raspiberry PI? And if I went full-blown Emby what about some sort of Linux Distro or what is the best overall way of running Media Browser Theater on it's own?

2-Do any of the above clients and/or Plex/Emby support any sort of NHL games through streams, that you know of?

3-What about some sort of live news ?

Thanks guys I like the recommendations I've received so far and are really helping me out!
 
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