When it comes to managing media locally, regardless of the platform, the most popular choice is Kodi. There’s good reason: it can easily manage many types of media, has support for live TV, and even has a pretty large selection of add-ons.
Still, for as much praise as Kodi gets, the software isn’t for everyone. A lot of people find themselves stuck with this media center, even if they’re not entirely happy with it, due to the fact that not many viable alternatives are known.
In this article we’ll go over the best Kodi alternatives across the three major platforms: Mac OS, Windows and Linux. How do they stack up? Are they good enough to replace Kodi? Let’s find out!
If you don’t want to stray too far from the Kodi you’ve familiarized yourself with over the years, but just want something a little more open and versatile, then the Open Source Media Center (OSMC) is a no-brainer. It’s actually an entire Linux distro based on Kodi, bringing a modified version of the Kodi front end to a number of platforms that wouldn’t be able to have it by default, such as Raspberry Pi and Apple TV.
It has a slightly different interface to the default one that ships with Kodi, with a nice radial menu home screen that points you to all the features of OSMC, which include live TV, local library streaming, TV tuner support and, of course, support for all the wonderful Kodi addons you could dream of.
It is impossible to talk about alternatives to Kodi without mentioning Plex. This software makes it easy to have a centralized solution that can manage your media, just like Kodi. The benefit to Plex is that it runs from a server instead of from a dedicated PC or appliance. Media can be accessed and streamed from the web and several different operating systems via apps.
Plex is the perfect alternative, as it can run on all sorts of servers, not just Linux. Officially, it supports Linux, macOS, Windows and even FreeBSD server operating systems.
Emby has long been considered the open-source alternative to Plex Media Server. Like Plex, Emby runs on a server and has official support for Mac, Windows, Linux and BSD server operating systems. Media can be accessed via the web interface or by many of the Emby apps available for mobile and even game consoles.
If you’ve tried Plex as an alternative to Kodi, but want to try something else, consider giving Emby a try.
Stremio is a local media center program for Mac, Linux and Windows that supports playback of live TV and local media. Features include support for add-ons, auto-detect subtitles, “instant HD playback,” as well as the ability to broadcast media via DLNA to the Apple TV, Chromecast and other devices. If you prefer a centralized media center like Kodi, but need a solid alternative, give this software a try. You won’t regret it!
Media Portal is a Windows-only media center that operates very similarly to Kodi. Like Kodi, users can tune into live TV, record live TV, and install plugins. Additionally, the software can be customized with different skins as well as handle multiple types of media (music, photos, etc.). If you’re a Windows user and are in need of a good media center alternative, this software should be your first stop.
Looking for a good media management system for macOS? Try out Usher. This software makes media management easy on the Mac, as it can handle your iTunes library as well as your photo and other media libraries on the system. A lot of the media solutions on this list are packed full of features. Things like add-ons, DLNA, and mobile support are nice but not essential. Usher is for those just looking for an easy way to manage and watch media on the Mac, and little else.
Kodi is on a lot of PCs, tablets, and even hobby boards like the Raspberry Pi. Still, this software isn’t for everyone. Some might find that it is a bit lacking in terms of looks or features. That’s why it’s so important to shed light on some quality Kodi alternatives. From Plex to Media Portal, for those looking to get off of Kodi and onto something else, this list has you covered!
What’s your favorite Kodi alternative? Tell us below!
This article was first published in March 2017, and was updated in Decemeber 2017.
Image credit: gsloan