Attention, would-be cord cutters: If you’re going to tell the cable man to shove it, you’re going to want a full-featured media center app to make browsing your digital movies, music, and pictures as pretty and painless as possible. Two of the top no-cost contenders are the open-source XBMC and Plex, a partly proprietary fork of XBMC that focuses on streaming media to multiple devices. Which is the blockbuster and which is the dud? Let’s find out.
Note: This article first appeared in the December issue of the magazine.
The Plex media server is purdy, flexible and capable of handling gobs and gobs of metadata, but one major hurdle has been holding it back: relatively skimpy device support. Yeah, you could run Plex on Google TV, some LG products and (starting recently) Roku, but that was about it. That's poised to change with a new beta release that adds support for the widely utilized DLNA protocol.