Emby vs. Plex: Is Emby Best than Plex?

Emby vs. Plex: Is Emby Best than Plex?

Talk about Emby vs. Plex: Is Emby Best than Plex? Are you also following the expanding list of cord-cutters and available to set up a home media server? Which media server software do you a favor, Emby or Plex? Shouldn’t you make up your mind yet? No problem. We’ve got you included. You’ll learn to know what Emby vs. Plex are and discuss their differences in the Emby vs. Plex comparison on this page. Hope this article could help you make a choice.

While the world of home media, two media server giants, Plex and Emby, are vying for first place. What is Plex? What is Emby? Is Emby best than Plex? Find your answer in the following Emby vs. Plex details.

Emby vs. Plex: Is Emby Best than Plex?

About Emby vs. Plex

Several people think Plex and Emby as Kodi alternatives for the software share related functions like media streaming. However, in effect, they serve entirely different purposes. Kodi is a media player who originally played your local media files (the Internet is not required). Plex and Emby, on the other hand, do client-server media players to stream videos, photos, music to your client devices both locally and remotely (the Internet is needed). BTW, Emby was developed from Plex if Plex chose to go closed-source.

The two software is now generally used to build one’s personal media library. You might argue the point of creating a media library when Netflix, HBO, and Hulu are available for available media streaming. Well, emphasize the word “personal.” This means you can curate any content you like, say, the rare old songs, family photos, 4K movies, and anything you cannot get from the online streaming services to your media database. Plus, you own them forever with free access to the content anytime, anywhere. It’s a bit like DIY your version of Netflix. By media server software like Emby and Plex, one can have a much more colorful audiovisual experience.

How do Emby vs. Plex Work?

Plex and Emby follow a server-client model. On installing the Plex and Emby media servers on the computer, NAS, or Xbox game console, the server will organize video, audio, and photos from your media collections and online services. Also, with similar media players on the client devices such as mobile phones and TV, they can access and stream that content locally and remotely. See the picture that shows the method here.

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Emby vs. Plex: Complete Comparison

After acquiring the necessary knowledge of Plex and Emby, let’s delve deeper into their differences in the following Emby vs. Plex comparison:

1. Device Compatibility (Client/Server)

Each Emby vs. Plex are cross-platform supported and installed on computers running all the leading operating systems and a quantity of NAS devices. However, Plex has a relatively wider choice than Emby. View the detail here:

  • Plex and Emby Media Servers Supported Devices
  • Computers: Windows, Linux, Mac, and FreeBSD
  •  Gaming Consoles: NVIDIA SHIELD
  •  Network-Attached Storage (NAS): WD My Cloud and My Passport, QNAP, Netgear ReadyNAS, Thecus, Asustor, Synology, TerraMaster, unRAID
  •  Service Platform: Docker
  • Plex Only: Seagate, Drobo, My Passport Wireless Pro (Mobile Storage), NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 (Router)
  •  Emby Only: FreeNAS, Open Media Vault, Cloudron
  • Plex and Emby Media Players Supported Devices
  • Streaming Devices: Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Android TV, Kodi, Apple TV, Roku, Smart TVs (LG/Samsung/Vizio)
  •  Mobile: Android, Android Auto, iOS
  •  Computers: Windows, Web App, macOS, Media Media Center
  •  Gaming Consoles: NVIDIA SHIELD, PlayStation, Xbox
  •  Home Accessories: Sonos, Amazon Alexa
  • Plex Only: Caavo, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Go, Google Daydream, Lenovo Mirage Solo VR

2. Ease of Use (Client/Server Setup)

Installing client media players is simple for both. Yet, setting up the server software requires a few more efforts. Yet comparing the two’s entire installation process, Plex is much more comfortable to set up while Emby has a higher learning curve. Where Plex explains for the users, Emby cares for the delicates. For example, Emby allows a laundry list of control options, like whether and how to provide thumbnails, while building a library.

In short, Plex is also user-friendly to new beginners, also Emby suits more seasoned users.

3. Customization (UI, Plugins)

Emby outstrips Plex in customization as Emby gives more control over home screen design and more flexibility to apply plugins. Plex, yet, has lagged since the shut-down of the plugin service two years ago (such a pity).

Plex lets you modify your home screen, edit the navigation sidebar, and other basic customization. And that’s much it. Some might find it more honest and kind if they have less interest in personalizing stuff.

Emby, on the other hand, can assist you in creating a more characterized media software that caters to your taste, such as improving Web App via CSS, importing IPTV playlists, and improving features through many plugins.

In a word, Plex focuses on integrity, whereas Emby centers on all-roundness.

4. Free/Premium Features

Emby vs. Plex have their individual free and premium products. These premium versions are provided as Plex Pass and Emby Premium. And the features given by the two software are alike in both free and paid versions. However, there are still some differences.

In free versions (this server and app themself are free), Plex and Emby provide you the privilege to organize your media collections as you like. You are also given access to media full playback on non-mobile, public apps like PC or mobile browser, Apple TV, Roku, Smart TVs (LG and Samsung). Mobile apps on Android and iOS are, though, limited to one-minute playback only. Unlike Emby, Plex also helps full playback on Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and game consoles, the platforms that Emby gives with only limited playback. Besides the playback feature, Plex also offers an ad-supported “Movies & TV” streaming service accessible to all users. Plex “News,” “Podcasts,” or “Web Shows” are also made accessible to the general public.

These paid services of both software are very alike, also with the pricing. Plex Pass costs $4.99/month, $39.99/year, $119.99/lifetime and Emby Premium charges $4.99/month, $54/month, $119/lifetime. The premium features included are:

  • Full playback on all devices.
  • Live TV & DVR.
  • Download/sync media files.
  • Hardware-accelerated transcoding.
  • 4 K support, and more.

Plex now has a dash control to keep tabs on your server from your desktop, including Plexamp, to upgrade your audio listening.

In a nutshell, Emby vs. Plex, Emby gives some more features on its freeware than Plex does. Now you are an Apple user and don’t need to pay for advanced features; go with Plex. However, if you like to experience full features, both Plex and Emby are good options.

Note: Emby and Plex do not support VIDEO_TS, ISO, and different disk image formats. 

5. Local/Remote Streaming

As stated in the last section, both Plex and Emby support streaming media files locally and remotely so long as there is an Internet connection. The only thing merits consideration is that not all client devices support full playback for free. Plex does more freely than Emby on this matter by giving free full playback support to more client devices. But this advantage lost its strength when you require to go premium.

6. Live TV & DVR

Live TV & DVR are great premium features in Emby vs. Plex. So, here are some differences between Plex and Emby Live TV and DVR:

Plex supports more extra tuners and antennas than Emby does. Plex support VBox, HDHomeRun, DVBLogic, AVerMedia, Antennas Direct, Hauppauge, HD Frequency, and Mohu. Emby just supports HDHomeRun and Hauppauge.

But, Emby could compensate for this defect by importing IPTV playlists, which is more comfortable.

Additionally, Emby vs. Plex: Is Emby Best than Plex? Plex can only present about 450 channels, while Emby has no such limits.

7.User Management

One ridiculous thing about building a home media server is sharing the media library with your family and friends. Emby allows this feature for free. As for Plex, the users require a Plex Pass to unlock this feature.

8. General User View

Plex and Emby are well-received by multiple people. But recent years have seen a tendency to move towards Emby. Any Plex old users are abandoning Plex for Emby because of the removal of the Plex plugin service. They are also taking Emby for its rapid development, though Emby still has a long way to go. According to these go-Emby users, Emby has outperformed Plex in many respects, like scrapping information for the movies and more effective database management.

Complaints of Emby still exist, like its inaccuracy in identifying TV series. This also has a lame photo library scanning feature. Plex, though, excels in that fields.

But, Plex still keeps robust in the media server arena, and Emby is catching on fast. And for now, either one works just lovely.

Emby or Plex Emby vs. Plex: Is Emby Best than Plex?  The Verdict

Both Emby vs. Plex have their merits and demerits. I’m incredibly more in support of Emby for its flexible control over the database and its support for plugins. However, it is, in all, a subjective matter. It depends on your preferences, like which device you favor to use, is the free or premium plan that you are going with, and material like that.

You Kodi user can also get an integrated experience by installing Kodi Plex/Emby addon. Although you are only entitled to browse and play the media, not to manage the database in the plugin version of Plex and Emby. I’m currently utilizing Kodi Emby addon on my PC, and it works well, particularly if I need to view the disk image formatted videos (the type of video supported by Kodi, but not by Plex and Emby)

Final Words

Initial of all, Emby vs. Plex: Is Emby Best than Plex? I need to thank you for your indulgence in reading this article and hope you already have an answer in mind about which media server to take after this Emby vs. Plex debate.

Next, a piece of side information for you, apart from the most known Plex and Emby, there is but other media server software available out there. The most likely one is Jellyfin, an open-source server developed from Emby if it became proprietary. All the Plex and Emby features we discussed above are entirely free in Jellyfin. However, the performance fell short of expectations and is not as durable as the former two. Jellyfin is also less-device supported. This Jellyfin media server can only run on Windows, Linux, macOS, and Docker. The media player client is limited to Android TV, Kodi, Fire TV, Android, iOS, Roku, and Mopidy. However, it is still developing, and I have the feeling that it can make it large in the foreseeable future.

Lastly, welcome to the world of home media and enjoy yourself!



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