Despite the influx of several video and music streaming apps, media server apps are here to stay. They offer an enhanced and seamless management of files. And with plenty of customization tools, you can create your own Netflix and keep your entire library not only ideally organized but also available for streaming across platforms. Speaking of media server apps, “Plex” stands out as the most efficient option. However, its freemium version doesn’t offer access to some notable features including parental controls, DVR & Live TV, and mobile sync. Also, while Plex is a good media server app it’s not for everyone. In this article we are going to take a look at some of the best Plex alternatives that you should be using in 2019.

Best Plex Alternatives in 2019

Fortunately, the market is flooded with a variety of media server apps. However, not all of them have the goods to provide convenient media streaming and management. To save you from extensive research, I have handpicked some of the best media server apps that can replace Plex. If you are toying with the idea of creating a massive collection of your videos, music and even memorable photos, take a peek at this extensive roundup to choose a versatile app for your device right now!

1. Emby

If there’s a media server app that can match Plex in most aspects, it has to be “Emby”. It’s pretty simple and offers you enough flexibility to keep all of your songs, videos, and photos organized just like Plex. The auto-organization functionality ensures you don’t have to spend any time in keeping your media in the right order. The best part about it is that it automatically converts your media in real-time so that you can seamlessly stream it on any device.

Emby media server app

Another good feature of Emby is the neat interface, which allows you to navigate your files conveniently and also access them with ease. You can stream live TV to your favorite device without any buffering or latency issue. When it comes to managing DVR, it does an impressive job as well. To keep you in the loop with all the important actions, the app keeps you notified with the instant alerts whenever any notable actions take place.

Like Plex, Emby also offers a super handy parental control feature, allowing you to control what type of content your children access. Plus, you will also be able to keep a tab on their session so that their media watching never goes beyond limitations. The support for multiple platforms and seamless cloud syncing further enriches its reputation as one of the best Plex alternatives. Do not that the free tier won’t let you access all the features. And you will have to go for Emby Premiere ($4.99/month) to unlock all the pro features.

Key Features: 

  • Auto-organization functionality
  • Real-time file conversion
  • Solid parental control
  • Seamless cloud-syncing

Platform Availability: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Web, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, NAS Devices

Visit the Website: Free, Emby Premiere starts at $4.99/month

2. Kodi

Formerly known as XBMC, “Kodi” is a robust open-source media player and an entertainment hub. You can play and view music, videos, photos, podcasts, and several other media files from the Internet, local, as well as network storage media. Thanks to the support for almost any media formats, the app provides you maximum liberty to keep all of your files in line with your demand. And that’s exactly what makes Kodi a fine Plex alternative.

Kodi

With the neat artwork and categorized sections, the app makes sure your movie collection always looks in the apple-pie-order. The personal slideshows bring more fun into the way you share your photos. Another feature worth mentioning is the full-on customization, which means you can add more personalization to the app so that it is in line with what you want. Even better, it comes with a 10-foot user-interface designed to be used with televisions and remote controls.

With the unique add-on support, Kodi offers you the freedom to further enhance the functionality. Depending on your needs, you can choose the add-on that will let you not only bring in some cool customization into the mix but also change the way you manage your media. Compared to Plex Kodi has one big drawback. The app only allows you to stream content on local WiFi network. However, if you don’t require online streaming capabilities, it’s one of the best Plex alternatives that you can use for free.

Key Features: 

  • 10-foot user-interface
  • Full-on customization
  • Unique add-on support
  • Impressive file organization

Platform Availability: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi,  Amazon Fire TV, Nvidia Shield, Xbox, and more

Visit the Website: Free

3. Universal Media Player

When it comes to offering reliable performance, “Universal Media Player” is a trusted name. Though it lacks an elegant interface, it offers several user-friendly features to let you manage your media efficiently. It boasts a powerful transcoder and has the support for many media formats. So, it doesn’t matter which media formats you have to deal with, it would allow you to get your job done with the needed proficiency. And because of this proficiency, I find it a highly-competent alternative to Plex.

Universal Media Player

Besides, it also has support for DLNA compatible devices. That means you can stream your media to a wide range of devices including Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) and PlayStation 4 (PS4), Microsoft Xbox One and 360, many TVs (Samsung, Panasonic and more). Aside from compatibility, it lets you access content locally, which is yet another plus. And with the free media server app at your disposal, you have a bit more convenience to not only manage your files but also keep a track of them.

Key Features:

  • Offers free Media Server app
  • Fully compatible with DLNA devices
  • Highly efficient transcoder
  • Supports many media formats

Platform Availability: Windows, macOS, Linux, NAS Devices

Visit the Website: Free

4. Serviio

Simply put, “Serviio” has long been a noted media server app. And, if you desire to perfectly organize your entire media in one place, you can’t go wrong with it. The app does a reliable job of streaming media files like music, videos and even image to supported devices such as TV set, Bluray player, games console and smartphones on your connected homework. It’s this versatility in streaming media that makes Serviio a worthy Plex alternative. More importantly, it also supports Alexa skills, which means you can take advantage of the smart virtual assistant to stream media.

Serviio

As for the transcoder, I have found it up to the task (if not at par with the best in the business). The availability of the free media server app for most devices ensures the media management task remains a comfortable experience for you. Keep in mind the free version of the app won’t let you access content from anywhere, which is a bit disappointing. And to break the limitations of the free tier, you will have to spend $25.

Key Features: 

  • Allows you to access content from anywhere (Paid)
  • Supports Alexa Skill
  • Reliable transcoder
  • Compatible with several media formats

Platform Availability: Windows, macOS, Linux, NAS Devices

Visit the Website: Free, pro version $25

5. Media Portal

As someone who always appreciates more flexibility, “Media Portal” has stood up to my high expectations. The app works as a versatile entertainment hub, which plays a pivotal role in not only handling media but also monitoring the entire library. And with so many media organizing tools put in place, it provides the much-needed convenience to deal with a variety of different files just like Plex. If you have to manage a plethora of media files, this is exactly what you would want to keep your stuff in sync with your needs.

Media Portal

On the streaming front, Media Portal excels thanks to the compatibility with tons of media formats. During my test, I didn’t notice any buffering or sluggishness, which speaks volumes of its quality. That’s not all, it’s also designed to work with plugins that can bring in both desired efficiency into the way you manage your files and also useful customization.

Key Features:

  • Offers several media organizing tools
  • Performs as a top-notch an entertainment hub
  • Access content locally
  • Plugin support

Platform Availability: Windows, Android, Web

Visit the Website: Free

6. OSMC

Frankly speaking, “OSMC” looks and works pretty much like “Kodi” (mentioned above). So, if you are looking for a free and open-source media server app that has a striking similarity with Kodi, it would be a safe way to go. The app has a modern-looking design that instantly calls for attention and also puts it in the same league as Plex. You can easily create a dependable media server with OSMC and export your entire media files to one secure place.

OSMC

With the help of FTP, SMB, or UPnP protocol, you will be able to quickly access your media on the local network. But what makes this app a real deal is the availability of an App Store that lets you download plenty of music and TV services. If you find yourself often looking for out-of-the-box music or fun-loving TV shows, this native App Store would fit into your taste admirably.

Key Features:

  • Modern-looking design
  • Looks pretty much like Kodi
  • Native App Store
  • Allows access of media on a local network

Platform Availability: Vero, Raspberry Pi, Apple TV

Visit the Website: Free

7. MediaGoblin

Though not as feature-rich as Emby or Kodi, “MediaGoblin” is one of the better alternatives to Plex. The app comes with easy-to-use tools to let you manage your media and also share them conveniently. Due mainly to the support for a range of media types such as audio files, videos, books, 3D models, and even ASCII-art, it makes sure you don’t have to run into incompatibility issues.

MediaGoblin

Well, if you have to handle tons of media files, the compatibility with a large number of files would be something that you wouldn’t want to compromise. Talking about the user-interface, I have found MediaGoblin as intuitive as Plex. Furthermore, the option to add a new media type and authentication provider could come in very handy when you don’t want the limited functionality to become a roadblock for your experience.

Key Features: 

  • Simple interface
  • Support for several media files
  • Neat files management tools
  • Option to add a new media type

Platform Availability: Windows, macOS, and Linux

Visit the Website: Free

8. Streama

Ever wanted to have your personal Netflix? If yes, “Streama” can prove to be a smart pick for you. The app has got a very impressive user-interface and comes with a Netflix-inspired player. You can quickly navigate through your entire collection and also organize the files as per your specific taste. When it comes to organizing media and offering maximum liberty, Streama can give Plex a run for its money.

Streama

There is an “Episode Browser” which can help you keep a tab on your episodes and access them conveniently. It shows all of your recently watched movies and also allows you to start from where you to left off. Personally, I like this feature a lot as it makes it a tad easier to continue to watch after an interval.

Key Features: 

  • Impressive user-interface
  • Episode browser
  • Netflix-inspired player

Platform Availability: Windows, Linux, and Android

Visit the Website: Free

9. Ampache

Both as a media server app and file manager, “Ampache” is a reasonable option. The app features an extremely simple interface that’s quite easy to handle. After exporting all of your music, you can create a massive collection and design it in accordance with your requirements. You can stream music to your desired player and also control it with ease. And if I were to compare Ampache with Plex on flexibility and convenience fronts, I wouldn’t hesitate in putting the former very close to the latter.

Ampache

Like listening to your music on the web? Well, it offers you the efficient HTML5 player to let you stream music directly on the web. Thanks to the compatible client, you will be able to listen to your music on not only smartphones and tablets but also on TV. Overall, “Ampache” is a safe bet for taking control of music files.

Key Features: 

  • Simple interface
  • Many music organizing tools
  • Efficient HTML5 player

Platform Availability: OS Independent 

Visit the Website: Free

10. JRIver Media Center

“JRIver Media Center” claims to be a comprehensive media software. After trying out this software, I can say that it has the quality to be more than a handy replacement of Plex. Whether you want to manage a lot of audio or keep your music/videos in sync with your specific demand, it shouldn’t disappoint you. It has some pretty neat editing tools that come in handy in letting you manage your media files as elegantly as Plex.

JRIver Media Center

Courtesy DLNA support, it allows you to stream your video almost any device including smartphones, tablets, and computers. Moreover, JRIver Media Center also offers much-needed security and privacy to your data. So, your files will be ideally safeguarded and easily accessible.

Key Features: 

  • Pretty neat file management tools
  • DLNA support
  • Offers needed safeguard to your files

Platform Availability: Windows, macOS, and Linux 

Visit the Website: Free

11. TVersity

For more personalized media management, “TVersity” is worth serious consideration. It automatically indexes your music, movies, and photos so that they always stay organized. Plus, it also keeps a close eye on your folders and offers tools to manage them in a better way. You can use this software to stream both your personal and web media from your PC to TV and even mobile devices.

TVersity

Due mainly to the on-the-fly transcoding, you will be able to play almost any content (which you play on your PC) on any supported devices. In terms of trasncoding, TVersity can’t just match Plex but might even surpass it as far as efficiency is concerned. You can also use plugins for seamless integration with external media sources. What’s more, TVersity also provides Command-line tools to help you automate your tasks. One thing worth noting is that the free tier of this app has very limited functionalities. So, if you want to try out all the features, you will need to choose either full or pro version of the software.

Key Features: 

  • Personalized media management
  • Automatically indexes your files
  • Command-line tools
  • On-the-fly transcoding

Platform Availability: Windows, iOS, Android, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Roku, Chromecast and more 

Visit the Website: Free, full version comes for $14.99 and Pro variant is available for $24.99 

12. Windows Media Services

If you are a Windows user and wish to have a native service to handle your media, “Windows Media Services” would be more than good enough for you. Based on your needs, you can comfortably generate streaming media (audio/video) and manage your files with useful tools.

Windows Media Services

Unlike Plex and many other media server apps explained above, it has the support for only a few formats such as Windows Media, JPEG, and MP3 formats, which makes it a very basic tool. Aside from compatibility, Windows Media Services features a clean looking UI. As it doesn’t have a lot of high-end features, you can effortlessly master it. Keep in mind, it doesn’t come installed with Windows and therefore you will need to download it to get started.

Key Features: 

  • Support for Windows Media, JPEG, and MP3 formats
  • Clean interface 
  • Pretty easy-to-use 

Platform Availability: Windows

Visit the Website: Free

SEE ALSO: 25 Best Comedy Movies on Netflix You Should Watch

Manage Your Media with the Best Plex Alternatives

With some of the finest media server apps at your beck and call, media sharing and management should now be a pretty simple affair for you. Plex may still be a cut above the rest in some aspects, however, Emby,  Kodi, Streama, and other apps on this list have got the qualities to beat it on quite a few fronts. Do let me know your favorite Plex alternatives by writing in the comments section below.