At present, it is common for our computer to be full of multimedia files, such as video, audio, photo, music files… In order to play them correctly, we can use a specific application for each of them or opt for a multimedia player that take care of encompassing everyone within the same application. In this section, Kodi is possibly the most popular option, although not the only one.
It is becoming more and more common to have a tool on our computer with which we can keep all the multimedia elements that we store on the hard drive organized. This type of “all-in-one” software allows us to have all these elements at hand within the same interface. Despite the fact that Kodi is still the most used, it is also convenient to take into account other options that we have available, and that in most cases are also free and can offer us great performance.
- What is Kodi
- Must-Have Features of a Media Center
- Alternatives to Kodi
- Plex, with its own movie and music service
- Stremio, the most similar alternative
- MediaPortal, plays all kinds of content
- Emby, support for Chromecast and DLNA
- JRiver Media Center, payment alternative
- Windows Media Center, a classic that still remains
- Open Source Media Center, based on the same project as Kodi
- VLC Media Player all in one
- Which is the most recommended?
What is Kodi
Kodi is an application developed to turn our computer into a multimedia center from where we can view all kinds of files such as videos, music, photos, etc. It appeared in 2014 as a successor to the XBMC (Xbox Media Center) application, it is free, open source and compatible with practically any type of device. On computers it can be used on Windows, macOS and Linux, on Android and iOS mobiles, on a Raspberry Pi and other devices.
One of the main features of this program is its system of add-ons (complements) that allows us to add different types of functionalities. From watching television on the Internet, to connecting to YouTube services or listening to the radio, all legally. Although it is true that its popularity has grown due to the large number of plugins developed by third parties for the reproduction of protected content, which can cause us to have legal problems.
Because of this, Kodi is always linked to piracy , despite being legal software that does not contain pirated elements. Since there are many users who use it to stream movies, series, music, illegally and for free, it has caused it to have been the subject of many anti-piracy measures, causing many add-ons to stop working and download repositories to sell. forced to close frequently.
That is why, if we are looking for a way to transmit content and organize the content of our hard drive, it is possible that we could consider an alternative to this popular multimedia center.
Must-Have Features of a Media Center
When choosing a multimedia center for our computer, it is important that it has a series of basic characteristics, which are essential to be able to get the most out of it. For example, it must have support for all kinds of file formats, since we surely need to watch videos, listen to audio or view photos. For this reason, the compatibility of such popular formats as AVI, MPEG, MP3, MP4, MKV, JPEG, PNG, etc., is essential.
They should also have support with the most popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Spotify, etc. As with Kodi, it is interesting that they support the possibility of adding new sources through add-ons from which to watch movies and TV shows legally.
In addition, although it is not essential, it is recommended that it can be used on most possible devices so that we can synchronize them with each other. In this way, along with the possibility of using it on our Windows computer, we may also be interested in making it compatible with Android or iOS devices so that it works on our mobile, tablet or Smart TV.
Alternatives to Kodi
Next, we are going to talk about different applications that have the necessary characteristics to become authentic alternatives to Kodi, with which we can legally enjoy all our own content as well as that of third parties.
Plex, with its own movie and music service
We are talking about an application capable of grouping all the multimedia content that interests us. This can be from our own collection to different types of content that are broadcast in streaming , such as watching live television, programs, movies, series, listening to podcasts or reading news. All this gathered in a single application and on different devices. In addition, it has its own service for movies, series, music, etc., which we can comfortably view from our computer legally and free of charge.
The application has both a Server and a Client. The first allows us to create a multimedia server to play files stored on our computer on other devices such as tablets, mobile phones, Smart TVs or even consoles, as long as we have an Internet connection. The second allows us to play the content added to the server anywhere.
Plex has a free version that allows us to access a catalog of more than 1,000 movies legally and that we can download from the developer’s website . In addition, it has a paid version that allows you to stream content up to 4K.
Stremio, the most similar alternative
It is an open source, free and cross-platform application. From it, we are going to see everything we want such as television programs, movies, sports, listen to music, etc. We will be able to see all kinds of content in streaming, making use of complements (add-ons) developed by Stremio to access a wide catalog of audiovisual content, ensuring maximum security.
It is also compatible with services such as Netflix, Movistar, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, among others. The application itself will allow us to receive notifications that we can configure so that they notify us every time new episodes or movies are added that may interest us. In addition, it does not have ads or annoying banners and it is compatible with Chromecast.
Stremio is compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux computers, as well as Android and iOS mobile devices that we can download from this link on its home page .
MediaPortal, plays all kinds of content
We are talking about a free and open source program that we can use to turn our computer into a multimedia center. Its interface will be tremendously familiar to us because it is inspired by the famous Windows Media Center. Through it we can enjoy the reproduction of all kinds of content, such as videos, music and photographs . We can also use it to play our DVDs and Blu-rays, as well as listen to music and even make slideshows.
As with Kodi, this application is compatible with a wide variety of additional add-ons that will allow us to listen to Internet radio, watch movie schedules, sports event results, download YouTube videos, among others. Also, it allows to stream media, radio and TV to any HTPC/PC connected to the network and use a remote control.
If we want to use MediaPortal to turn our PC into a multimedia center, we can download it for free from this link on its official website .
Emby, support for Chromecast and DLNA
This open source media center allows us to organize and store our files so that we can access them from virtually any device. It has the ability to install plugins for customization, offers support for Chromecast, a DLNA service to play content and complete parental control. It also has Cloud synchronization, manage our DVR and make use of your library for our recordings.
Within the application we will find a wide variety of live video channels, we will be able to synchronize libraries with the client installed on the mobile, as well as record television programs. In addition, it offers compatibility with all types of systems such as Windows, macOS and Linux on computers, Android and iOS devices and other devices such as Amazon FireTV, Apple TV, PlayStation and Smart TV.
If we want to enjoy all the possibilities that Emby offers, we can download it for free by clicking on this link to the developers’ website .
JRiver Media Center, payment alternative
This software may not be as well known as the options above. But it can also be considered as a complete multimedia center that can be used as an alternative to kodi. It has different support tools for audio, video, images and TV , as well as compatibility with different devices that are connected to a network through DLNA, allowing its content to be played.
Among its features, it also has the possibility of being able to configure DirectShow filters . In this way, it intends to guarantee the best reproduction of videos in high quality. It also allows us to play videos and music from streaming services such as YouTube or Netflix. In addition, it is compatible with the majority of live television tuners, allowing us to record their content in high definition.
However, unlike other options, we are talking about a paid software that costs $59.98 for a lifetime license, putting it at a clear disadvantage compared to other options. It is compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux and allows you to download a free trial version .
Windows Media Center, a classic that still remains
Despite the fact that it is no longer included by default in the most modern versions, the truth is that this multimedia center was very popular among users of the Microsoft operating system. Specifically on Windows XP where it was included by default, but you can still install externally. With it we can play all kinds of multimedia content , be it videos, music, DVDs and even record our favorite television programs, and all under a single interface, being able to connect to a home network.
It may not be the most modern option, nor the one that includes the most functions, but it can be an interesting option. Above all, it is aimed at those fans of the application, who know its interface and how it works well, so that they don’t want to have to get used to a new program. If that is the case, it can be downloaded for free from this link on the Mega website .
Open Source Media Center, based on the same project as Kodi
Another great alternative to Kodi that we have to consider among the large number of media centers that we have available is OSMC. Not surprisingly, this software is based on the same project as Kodi, since it is open source and free, but it offers a more attractive user interface . With it we can manage our library of movies, TV shows, music, photos, etc.
It also allows us to play almost all the main media formats since it incorporates a powerful transcoder, and even offers compatibility with some of the most popular Kodi addons. It is compatible with platforms such as Windows, macOS, Raspberry Pi and Apple TV and we can download it for free by clicking on this link to its official website.
VLC Media Player all in one
We are possibly facing the most popular and used multimedia file player worldwide. But its functions go much further than simply playing files, so it can also be used as a clear alternative to Kodi, given the number and variety of functions it incorporates . It is free, open source and free, being compatible with practically any audio and video format without the need to depend on external codecs.
Among its features, it stands out for its compatibility to watch and download videos from YouTube, listen to online radio, as well as our favorite Podcasts. It allows you to play DVD and Blu-ray, as well as videos up to 4K quality even in streaming. It has support for subtitles, tags, conversion of audio and video formats, taking screenshots and creating a web server with remote control.
Which is the most recommended?
As we can see, we have a wide variety of alternatives to Kodi to use as a multimedia center on our computer. Most of these programs are free so we can use them without problems or limitations, so that we can find the one that best suits our needs.
Of all of them, the most similar software to Kodi can be found in Stremio , which can be said to be its great rival, since it also supports both its own and third-party add-ons. It does not have advertising and is compatible with Chromecast to be able to send content to another device.
If what we like is to be able to enjoy a wide catalog of free movies legally, in this case the best option is Flex, which has a catalog of more than 1,000 movies, allowing us to create a multimedia server from which to transmit to different devices .