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Plex vs Emby: A Comprehensive Comparison

If you’re like me, you’ve spent a considerable amount time thinking about and weighing the different considerations of Plex vs Emby (formerly Media Browser) when deciding which to use for your HTPC experience. You may have asked yourself the question, is Emby better than Plex? There is so much information out there that the Emby vs Plex comparison quickly becomes a challenge to keep all of the different considerations in mind when making this decision! So, this post will attempt to summarize many of the key considerations you may have when thinking about Plex vs Emby. We’re even going to take a crack at rating them too!

Plex Emby Comparison Chart (with a bonus Kodi comparison!)

We’ve put together a Plex vs Emby comparison chart which details the differences and similarities; pros and cons of Plex vs Emby. We’ve taken some of the most popular considerations and commented and rated each for the different media centres. This is building upon the Kodi vs Plex comparison we completed earlier and as a bonus, we’ve also compared Plex and Emby vs Kodi! There are couple of notes regarding this comparison table:

  1. For Kodi, we’ve done the comparison based on a standalone version of Kodi (that is without the advantage of using a Kodi Plex plugin or Kodi Emby plugin and being integrated with a Plex or Emby server)
  2. Some rows aren’t scored because it didn’t make sense to do so
  3. We’ve tried to keep an HTPC beginner’s perspective in mind when scoring each application
  4. Ultimately the ratings are somewhat subjective

We would, however, love to hear your thoughts (or your own ratings) in the comments below – remember that these comments also help other users when they are considering which media centre software to use.

Feature Kodi (Stand Alone) Score Plex Media Server Score Emby Server Score
Centralized Database for Multiple Clients Possible through MySQL with Advanced Setup 2/5 Yes 5/5 Yes 5/5
Database Management (Ease of Use) Client Interface 2/5 Web Interface 4/5 Web Interface 5/5
Client Device Availability Lots 4/5 Lots More (Purchase Required) 5/5 Lots (Purchase Required) 4/5
Development Model Open Source Closed Source (Proprietary) Open Source
Support / Maintenance Active Community Professional Active Community
Requires Dedicated Server No Yes Yes
Transcoding Flexibility Only Handled by Client 3/5 Handled by Server and/or Client 5/5 Handled by Server and/or Client 5/5
Ease of Installation and Setup Moderately Complex 3/5 Very Simple 5/5 Simple 4/5
Flexibility / Customization Very Flexible / Customizable 5/5 Limited Flexibility 2/5 Flexible Options / Open Source 3/5
Kodi Skin Availability and Integration n/a Limited Skins / Support 2/5 All Skins / Full Support 5/5
Add-ons Many 5/5 Some 3/5 Limited 1/5
Remote Streaming Difficult at Best 2/5 Yes 5/5 Yes 5/5
Live TV/PVR Supported 5/5 Not Supported 1/5 Limited Support / Under Development 2/5
Cost Free 5/5 Free, $5 per Client and/or Optional Subscription 4/5 Free, $5 per Client and/or Optional Subscription 4/5
Scraping Accuracy Very High 5/5 Very High 5/5 High 4/5
Android / iOS Companion and Remote Control App Yes – Android and iOS (free download) 5/5 Yes – Android and iOS ($5 each) 4/5 Yes – Android and iOS ($5 each) 4/5
Maturity of Media Centre Platform Mature 5/5 Established 4/5 Becoming Established 2/5
Total 51/65

As you can see when comparing Plex vs Emby and Kodi all three applications, despite their differences all score pretty close! In many cases, one application’s strength is another application’s weakness. However while an overall score is a kind of fun to do, you really should consider your individual needs when evaluating which program to install and select a program which can most effectively meet them. If you want access to your library via your mobile device, for example, Plex or Emby might be the right application for you rather than stand alone Kodi setup.

Plex vs Emby – Detailed Comparison

So, lets delve a bit deeper into some of the comparisons of Plex vs Emby noted in the table above. Generally, most of the differences between Plex and Emby arise from either the open / closed source difference, or from the level of maturity of each program (i.e. the amount of time they’ve been in development and had to polish their product).

Centralized Database Management

Both Plex and Emby offer centralized database management which can be accessed through a web based management tool. Both are pretty easy for most users to get the hang of, however I find that Plex seems to be oriented to the less tech savvy user and offers a way to make changes to your library which is a bit simpler and more straight forward. The Emby database manager offers a few more features than what you see in Plex. One of the best methods to manage your database in Emby is through the built in “Metadata Manager” which lets you see a list of all of your movies and shows graphical icons next to the list indicating what metadata (images, trailers, subtitles, etc) might be missing. The image below gives you a peek at what this looks like.

Metadata Manager Plex Vs Emby
Emby includes a great metadata manager

If simplicity in database management is what you’re looking for and you would classify yourself as a beginner, you may want to consider Plex; if a few more features is what you really need and you’re a bit more tech savvy, then Emby may be what you’re looking for.

Go to Page 2 – Plex vs Emby comparison…


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About the author


Techno-tinkerer, HTPC hobbyist, Canadian cord-cutter and movie and TV aficionado. Husband. Father of two.