silvine Wrote:I've used both. XBMC begat Plex so they're quite similar and it really comes down to personal taste as well as what devices you use and own.
Plex has a couple of nice features such as 'on deck' which does a nice job of highlighting recently added media. The Plex media server is also great because it organises and downloads metadata about your media automatically and it makes organising media easy and painless. This media server also makes it very easy to run Plex and access your media on a range of devices from the iPad to a laptop to a smart TV. If you use multiple devices in the one home, Plex is worth taking a look at. Some users reckon Plex doesn't run great on a Windows machine as it can prove unreliable. This is probably because Plex for Windows is a relatively new offering. However, Plex runs and looks particularly good on any mac machine and I think it was originally designed with OSX in mind. That said, it looks to me like Plex is slowly moving towards a more monetised offering as evidenced by the Samsung TV partnership and the more pricey iOS app. I also have a feeling they're going to release a dedicated Plex box similar to the Apple TV. It's also worth mentioning that the Plex media server app for iOS runs without jailbreaking where as the XBMC app requires the user to jailbreak.
XBMC is way more customisable than Plex and sometimes it can seem a little more complicated, as evidenced by the requirement to jailbreak iOS devices. I think XBMC has more plugins and skins than Plex and the community surround XBMC seems to be much larger and much more willing to implement new features. That said some of these features or plugins require the user to have a basic understanding of how the OS works. This might not be an issue for most people here but it can be for girlfriends, kids etc. There's also a Plex plugin for XBMC which replicates the features of Plex called PleXBMC. XBMC also has a variety of alternates which people can install e.g. XBMC Live, Openelec. XBMC will as far as I know always be free and open-ended. In short, there'd be no Plex without XBMC and if you a like a HTPC you can tweak and personalise XBMC is worth a look.
Currently I use the openelec version of XBMC. Why? Because it boots within ten seconds into XBMC and it makes XBMC run exactly like a device such as a DVD player. This means I never have to mess around with the OS. As seamless as Plex worked with OSX it couldn't quite replicate this experience. The only real feature of Plex I miss is the media server as I find organising my media a pain. My favourite add on is the Sabnzbd suite which includes Couch Potato and Sickbeard. It automates the process of downloading movies and TV shows. However, I think there's a similar version for Plex.
You can install and run either app for free right now and decide which suits you best. Then there's Boxee, Windows Media Centre, Mediaportal...
Further reading here: http://www.tested.com/news/xbmc-vs-plex-...emacy/390/
(a year out of date though)
I agree with Silvine. I've installed and using both but predominantly XBMC.
Why? XBMC is more feature rich, there are more skins in existence and development and more addons that are relevant for myself eg Australian catch up TV services.
I'm running Plex on Mac and Win7 as well as the PlexBMC addon and haven't had any problems with performance. I do like the Plex concept of running a separate media server and client as it provides easier administration if wanting to share libraries across multiple devices within your home instead of running separate instances of XBMC which will always need to be installed separately, scraped separately and installed separately. I also like how PMS automatically filter your media collection into useful groups like "Recently Added" Recently Released" which are more extensive than the default settings within XBMC.
With PMS you can also filter out your library when first scraping when you add content so there is no need to create smart playlists eg. Location of all my kids movies were added separately to the PMS and titled Boys Movies so when scraped they appear separately on the main home menu to the main movie collection. This is different to XBMC where you scrape your entire collection and then create a smart playlist to perform the same filter and create a separate menu item for that same playlist, unless you use login profiles in XBMC all movies scraped will appear in the main movie collection.
"Collections" are similar to the movie sets addon in XBMC where you can dynamically create collections and add or remove titles. However there is no weather included in PMS now and limited support for subtitles.
I also like how in Mac OS you can install Preen manager to manage skins. My favourite skin in Plex is Blur and Retroplex.
However despite these positives, I open and use XBMC 90% of the time to watch my content.
Also the client versions for LG and Samsung TV's don't look anything like the computer versions so if you like the aesthetic of Plex you'll be disappointed with these.