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Plex Vs. XBMC


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#1 rip-addict

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 05:08 AM

I am very new to this whole media center thing. I just discovered Plex last month and shortly after, I found XBMC. I am using the Aeon skin on both so they both look the same but I was wondering if anyone had preferences over one or the other.

Just after using both for about a month, I can say that Plex seems a little more user friendly and intuitive. I am also on a mac so the media manager is a HUGE help.

I am mainly using them for watching movies. Plex seems to have more trouble with the audio codecs (True HD) than XBMC does but that might be fixed in the future.

Transferring libraries to another mac seems to be easy on Plex and no so easy with XBMC (although I'm sure the fault lies with me on that one).

I realize this forum might be a little biased but I'm sure there are XBMC users who have switched over or users that use both. I would like to hear your stories.

Thanks.

#2 Smithcraft

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 08:50 AM

As much as I love Plex, with the current A/V sync issue, it's worthless to me.

For now, this pretty much pushes me into XBMC. I've been spending time trying to get XBMC to be more like Plex, but I'm not sure I'll ever get that to happen.

A new beta for Squire just came out so I'll give that a try and see how that goes.

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#3 dkcp

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 08:53 AM

Haven't used XBMC since the Xbox days. What I like about Plex though is the centralized media server and the possibility to view my media on mobile devices.

There's still lots of things I can envision in Plex but it works well for my needs.

#4 boots2x

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 09:10 AM

I have to admit, I'm biased as I've spent a long time with Plex now. Smithcraft correctly mentions that he has playback issues that will be addressed soon. Not everyone has these playback issues (juddering, AV Sync problems etc). so, the differences are:

Plex has a central database which means all clients get their metadata from a central place. This allows global 'watched', 'resume from', metadata edits etc. XBMC is a distributed model. Each client has it's own database which means you can'd do things like start watching in the lounge and 'resume from' the bedroom. Also, the central database metadata editing is awesome once you have a couple of clients.

Thin Clients - the central database is teamed with a transcoding engine. If you have multiple thin, low-powered clients, the Plex Media Server can serve them easily. You can read up on the wiki about the Mobile clients. XBMC has a full ATV client/server but again, it's not served from a central DB - it's a full client. This means that it has to deal with full HD video if that's what's in your library.

If you have a standalone machine, the differences seem to boil down to metadata editing on Plex v's not on XBMC. As soon as you add more than 1 client, that's when you really see Plex shine. Not being an XBMC'er I may have this wrong. I wonder if Smithcraft can say why he'd prefer to use Plex if it didn't judder?

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#5 LinPlex

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:39 AM

Plex excels in every area except one. Playing media.

Plex has better metadata, better UI, better plugins, and support for remote clients via the Plex Media Server. Unfortunately it still can't smoothly play all HD video stored on a local internal disk. It will play 3 out of 10 720p HD MKVs episodes with desync/stutter while XBMC plays everything flawlessly.

Another flaw for the moment is the lack of 3D video support (not unique to Plex). XBMC has a plugin to start Bino automatically, but it won't work with Plex.

#6 pooploser

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:50 AM

that's really strange about mkv's. are these self-ripped or from a certain source? if they are available online, will you pm me a link for me to try it out aswell? i haven't come across a single file yet where i've had sync issues. and i have 20 series and over 600 movies in my library. in various formats from 1080p, .vob, mkv, avi, xvid, mp4, etc etc etc. i haven't found a single file yet which plex won't play, and that on four different machines. maybe it's something to do with system's after all?
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#7 hippojay

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:51 AM

For me, Plex really wins when it comes to Library and remote access:
* Centralised data with graphical editing. No longer need to wrestle with the xbmc scraper system.
* Remote access. Access library and media remotely. Manage remotely if you like.
* transcoding support. Play back your media remotely on low power/bandwidth limited devices.
* no jail braking required or iOS support

So for me, I can watch my stuff on TV or on my iPad whilst in the house or on my phone when I'm in Starbucks. Or two of these at once... And I don't have to worry about library syncing or where the media is. It just works. Not possible with XBMC

What XBMC has going for it:
* player works on Windows and Linux
* slightly better support for h/ware decoding
* a whole heap of crazy plugins from a larger community (due to the wider support)
Turn XBMC into a Plex Client:
PleXBMC - Play Plex media through XBMC
PleXBMC Helper - Integrate Official/Unoffical Plex remote control apps into PleXBMC
PleXBMC Repository - Install all addons from one place
PleXBMC on the Raspberry Pi

Modded Skins:
QuartzV3/4 for PleXBMC - Integrate PleXBMC into home menus

#8 pooploser

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:57 AM

Plex wins on all aspects except music playing, and a few others, most of which are just a matter of time until they will work for us here aswell.
XBMC features:
• Compilation support
• Perfect gapless playback
• Trailer support
• Manual online subtitle choice

Plex's centralized media, amazing metadata management (thank you for not needing to "scrape" anymore) and smooth interface & playback (for me actually smoother than xbmc's) are exceptional. i could go on about many other things.
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#9 hardcopi

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 02:55 PM

For me it is the mobile device support above all else. I had the sync issue too, but changing the refresh rate on the hdmi output to 60hz fixed it right up.

#10 aljrob

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 03:07 PM

Plex excels in every area except one. Playing media.

I think your point is a little OTT but I know exactly where you're coming from. My biggest bugbear is the appalling support (or lack thereof) for optical media. I've posted a couple of times on this and it's clear I'm far from the only person concerned by this, but there's not been any response from any of the devs. Not one. I am so so impressed with Plex, but incredibly frustrated that this simplest, most essential of features for a media centre hasn't been addressed.

Small selection of threads on the issue:
Thread 1
Thread 2
Thread 3

Never mind XBMC, even Frontrow (which is otherwise useless to me) can do this. Grrnnnaaarrrgghhh!!! So frustrating!

#11 elstreif

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 05:50 PM

XBMC has two features that I desperately want in Plex.

1) The ability to manually search for and download subtitles.

2) The ability to manually delete media from within the interface.
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#12 BAB

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 11:11 PM

For me it is the mobile device support above all else. I had the sync issue too, but changing the refresh rate on the hdmi output to 60hz fixed it right up.


Is this setting in the Mac OS, Plex or the TV directly? I have exactly 0.275s of delay on all mkv's (both ripped via Handbrake and downloaded), and I cannot find a refresh rate option on my 2011 Mac Mini, nor in Plex, nor on my television. I tried changing the display options of the OS from "720p (Television)" to 1360x768 as it is the only place where I can find "59.9 Hz", but then the sync starts fine, and gets worse and worse as time goes by.

#13 migueld

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 03:30 AM

XBMC has two features that I desperately want in Plex.

1) The ability to manually search for and download subtitles.

2) The ability to manually delete media from within the interface.


I agree, their subtitles search is great and I miss that a lot. I do miss the ability to remove videos, I have to go to my server constantly to remove the files. I also miss refinements in the skin from Confluence as well as mouse support. It's been said that Plex is aimed at the living room, but lets face it, many of us use Plex on a daily basis with our macs, it can be used as a media player to replace VLC many instances, and mouse support is certainly a plus in such scenario.

Overall though, in a world of multiple devices, laptops, desktops, TVs, ipods, ipads etc, Plex blows XMBC out of the water with the client/server structure as well as iOS and Android support, and the ease of use is also a big plus.

#14 pooploser

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 06:17 AM

there is mouse support… :) go to settings, you should find it somewhere (under 'system' i think)
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#15 hippojay

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 06:47 AM

What XBMC has going for it:


Just thought of another one (sorry) - automatic refresh rate (non-OSX). This was one of the reasons I tried XBMC as my main player.
Turn XBMC into a Plex Client:
PleXBMC - Play Plex media through XBMC
PleXBMC Helper - Integrate Official/Unoffical Plex remote control apps into PleXBMC
PleXBMC Repository - Install all addons from one place
PleXBMC on the Raspberry Pi

Modded Skins:
QuartzV3/4 for PleXBMC - Integrate PleXBMC into home menus

#16 unisonruss

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 06:57 AM

I like Plex much better, but (as mentioned) XBMC has some advantages. My big ones: XBMC has a WAY better skinning engine. Their skins are more complex, and can do more as a result. My favorite stuff is having Recently added on the homesceen...I also like that you can delete content from within the app from your HD; sometimes, you just need to make room, but don't want to deal with the Mac finder! Plex is so great though, I made the jump and haven't gone back...and I'm sure Plex will implement this (or something similar) one day. They also have Trailer support, which I love! Pulls in links, and opens them up for any movie (and they are usually HD, too). Once again, I'm sure Plex will have something similar.

Why I like Plex better: Centralized database, works better on my Mac overall, has way better internet apps/plugins, and the Media Manager is pretty cool, too.

That's all I guess. Hope all this is helping :)

#17 Phillie14586

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 07:27 PM

I am a light weight user so my mileage differs a little. I mostly use it to watch recorded TV shows. The XBMC interface has one less click getting to my shows than Plex does. Some said "get used to it you'll like it" but one useless click for me is one too many. Others may use the options in that extra menu but I don't. I was also looking for Flash support. With Flash 10 lots of things broke which was not Plex's fault. Plexfix fixed the problem by forcing Flash 9. Also the Hulu plugin got screwed up and the video was shifted. Some of these things may have been fixed since I started using XBMC. Now XBMC has no Flash support but no support and screwed up support are about the same. I also like the ability to remove items form within the program instead of having to go back to the Mac and open the media manager. If I was running more than one client my opinion might be different. I also don't need to stream to iOS devices. I also made aliases to my recorded TV shows to keep from using storage space for multiple copies. XBMC handled this with no problem but Plex does not like aliases. I have now moved to SymLinks which work great with both XBMC and Plex so I might come back and give Plex another spin. I find both very nice but neither is perfect and will never be perfect for everyone.

#18 Soul

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 09:57 PM

Plex has a central database which means all clients get their metadata from a central place. This allows global 'watched', 'resume from', metadata edits etc. XBMC is a distributed model. Each client has it's own database which means you can'd do things like start watching in the lounge and 'resume from' the bedroom. Also, the central database metadata editing is awesome once you have a couple of clients.

James


Not strictly true, as there is a way to run all clients from 1 mysql DB. This *does* have issues though, like your thumbnails are cached on each client, so you end up with clients missing poster thumbs etc. Again can be worked around with network folders and other hackery.

Definitely not plug'n'play though.

Plex makes it easier to manage my media, and the ability for my 3yr to play her shows/movies on the ipad is a huge+. So Plex is what I use ;)

Hopefully it will catch up skin-wise eventually....

#19 boots2x

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 10:29 PM

Not strictly true, as there is a way to run all clients from 1 mysql DB. This *does* have issues though, like your thumbnails are cached on each client, so you end up with clients missing poster thumbs etc. Again can be worked around with network folders and other hackery.

Definitely not plug'n'play though.

Plex makes it easier to manage my media, and the ability for my 3yr to play her shows/movies on the ipad is a huge+. So Plex is what I use ;)

Hopefully it will catch up skin-wise eventually....

Yeah I did see an article on Lifehacker on how to set this up. Definitely not for your average user though! I think Harley's PleXBMC sounds a bit easier...

James

These resources are your friends! The Plex Help Center | The Plex Forums | Forum Search is DEFINITELY your friend!

Check the Plex Media Preparation Guide! | Learn how to collect Log filesGet MediaInfo to analyse video files

Plex Media Server: Mac OS X and ReadyNAS Pro 6 | Plex Clients: Mac Mini 2010 2.66Ghz, 2Gb RAM, AppleTV Gen 2, iPhone 3GS | LG 56" DLP-TV | Sherwood AV Amp | Storage: ReadyNAS Pro 6 with 6 x 2Gb Hitachi HDD for 8Tb storage | Network: Cat 6 cabled, 1000BaseT


#20 Harley Hooligan

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 11:17 PM

Hippo, how are you not mentioning PleXBMC? It would seem to bridge the plusses and trim the minuses of both systems!




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