XBMC or Plex?

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pecinko Offline
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Post: #16
Hotkey Wrote:I've been running XBMC on XBox 1 for years. Just got a new Mac and wasa thinking of moving XBMC to it. I read about Plex being a very nice Mac fork of XBMC and was wondering if anyone here knew the pros and cons for either?

Thanks.

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=60146

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phrehdd Offline
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Post: #17
davilla Wrote:XBMC for Mac is the best, Plex is an imitation that caters to eye candy. If you like eye candy, use Plex. If you want a media center application use XBMC.

I think both apps have a learning curve and Plex might be a bit simpler or seem friendlier to a person who is strictly a Mac user. They have also added in items such as a limited but useful built in help tool in the form of a video etc. These "little" items do make a difference to someone who is just starting out. Also, there is an area in video for adjusting the playback settings on movies that is dumbed down but useful with "normal, agressive" etc which sacrifices some image quality for smoother playback. This is very handy on slower systems unless you want as sharp as possible and don't mind pauses and jutter. XBMC will also let you do this but you have to manually edit an XML file.

I find XBMC to be more a purist's choice which is what I prefer usually. However, the above point about the video setting is a lesson both teams should learn from. It is far easier to have "template" screens that write back to the appropriate XML or other file than for an end user to search and modify. The template style screens can be extremely useful to not only make tweaks but a smart template would not let one put in values that would fail.

If Santa could grant me two items for XBMC (and PLEX) in 2010 it would be

1) ability to test/measure a movie file and offer up suggested setting PER a movie. The end user choice would be then stuffed into a template offered and be written back to the database. When the movie is played, that information would be used for that particular movie. PLEX has an area related to video that lets you pick how frames are handled with H.264 media files. This is very useful. Unfortunately, its either set each time or one setting for all movies. So, its half baked. Let's get a more refined way to optimize movie playback and make it easy to enter beyond editing directly the XML file (as in a template fill in).

2) I am sure some folks with a Mac Mini would like to try and install Linux and exploit the GPU. While this is a niche group, it would be good if there was a script install for Linux on the Mini akin to Asrock Ion. A Mac type isn't one to easily convince going to respositories etc but rather, would like a script to do the calls for them.

Btw, I use both Plex and XBMC. Lately I use XBMC more - about 80 percent of the time.

- Phrehdd
(This post was last modified: 2009-12-27 04:49 by phrehdd.)
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Lokheed Offline
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Post: #18
The comparisons between XBMC and Plex are just horribly out in left field...

Plex isn't anymore user friendly than XBMC. Nor is it any more "Mac-like". Whether you're running Windows or Mac OS X, you won't find any more intuitive. They are nearly 99% identical after all.

The Plex guys have spent their time integrating their fork to better handle the varying media content. Pooling from iTunes, iPhoto, and Aperture are seamless. They have also added refinements to the shutdown timer, the music visualizations (provided you use their skin), have integrated Plex to handle files through Finder, provided the option to choose system audio control (instead of native app), more options for post-processing and audio output normalization, and many more...

However, the biggest change is the inclusion of online content via the Plex Media Server. Think Boxee on steroids. Through plugins, Plex can pull video, images, and nearly anything from the net and deliver it for your viewing pleasure. If you are into that kind of thing, check out Plex.

So how does it compare to XBMC? It suffers from higher CPU usage in nearly all respects (playing content may be the same). The crew have been pulling code from XBMC to solve the multitude of redraw problems that sees upwards of 50-60% CPU usage by just sitting or scrolling through your library. However, their team is small, and each bit of code can't just by C/P'ed. So they are actually quite far back now.

Camelot drops CPU considerably compared to Plex. Some areas have improvements of over 300% from my testing. This made me switch. Other areas have already leapt past Plex. Notably the clean up of the settings area, the presence of studio and media file tagging, far better skinning support, and a handful of other tweaks and modifications.

Plex trails daily because the XBMC coding community is just bigger and there exists more resources. While each new version brings something new, the gains are not there. However, there has been talk of an entirely new backend db in the works, so Plex is always something to keep an eye on. But to date, there has been no word on anything remotely resembling information on whether the project will indeed bear fruit. It's the fabled Plex unicorn at this point.

Hope that gives you some idea, but ultimately the best way to find out which you like, is to simply use them. Make note, however, that the DBs are not cross-compatible. You may have success copying over your DBs to Plex to retain your library, but you can't go back. I learned that the hard way a while ago, and it may be the case that that may not even work anymore.

Best.
(This post was last modified: 2009-12-27 10:14 by Lokheed.)
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phrehdd Offline
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Post: #19
Lokheed Wrote:The comparisons between XBMC and Plex are just horribly out in left field...

Plex isn't anymore user friendly than XBMC. Nor is it any more "Mac-like". Whether you're running Windows or Mac OS X, you won't find any more intuitive. They are nearly 99% identical after all.

The Plex guys have spent their time integrating their fork to better handle the varying media content. Pooling from iTunes, iPhoto, and Aperture are seamless. They have also added refinements to the shutdown timer, the music visualizations (provided you use their skin), have integrated Plex to handle files through Finder, provided the option to choose system audio control (instead of native app), more options for post-processing and audio output normalization, and many more...

However, the biggest change is the inclusion of online content via the Plex Media Server. Think Boxee on steroids. Through plugins, Plex can pull video, images, and nearly anything from the net and deliver it for your viewing pleasure. If you are into that kind of thing, check out Plex.

So how does it compare to XBMC? It suffers from higher CPU usage in nearly all respects (playing content may be the same). The crew have been pulling code from XBMC to solve the multitude of redraw problems that sees upwards of 50-60% CPU usage by just sitting or scrolling through your library. However, their team is small, and each bit of code can't just by C/P'ed. So they are actually quite far back now.

Camelot drops CPU considerably compared to Plex. Some areas have improvements of over 300% from my testing. This made me switch. Other areas have already leapt past Plex. Notably the clean up of the settings area, the presence of studio and media file tagging, far better skinning support, and a handful of other tweaks and modifications.

Plex trails daily because the XBMC coding community is just bigger and there exists more resources. While each new version brings something new, the gains are not there. However, there has been talk of an entirely new backend db in the works, so Plex is always something to keep an eye on. But to date, there has been no word on anything remotely resembling information on whether the project will indeed bear fruit. It's the fabled Plex unicorn at this point.

Hope that gives you some idea, but ultimately the best way to find out which you like, is to simply use them. Make note, however, that the DBs are not cross-compatible. You may have success copying over your DBs to Plex to retain your library, but you can't go back. I learned that the hard way a while ago, and it may be the case that that may not even work anymore.

Best.

I think you missed the point here when saying it is more "mac like" (Plex).

Plex by far, is easier to handle when it comes to upgrades, plugins and more. It also includes the ability to "tweak" (though for now a general setting) playback of H264 ts/mkv/m2ts 1080p content. For Mac folks and perhaps non-Mac users, access to the above is a big deal. While XBMC uses standard repositories etc., the general public WILL absolutely find Plex easier and friendlier in this particular area right up to the help/set up screens.

Candidly, I don't usually participate in "which is better" discussion but prefer a more "pros and cons" type of forum. Obviously, XBMC and Plex have their strengths and weaknesses.

- Phrehdd
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akg4y Offline
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Post: #20
I personally prefer XBMC to Plex because of the customizability and some of the skins, but I stick with Plex because on my old 1.83ghz mac mini Plex still manages to play 1080p videos without much of a problem and XBMC is unwatchable. Even on 720p movies that play fine in Plex XBMC stutters. Many people have this issue and the most common recommendation seems to be the skiploopfilter change but Plex has that set at 0 and even with the change XBMC has judder.

Im just waiting for the new Apple TV to be released so I can run 1080p movies on it with XBMC.
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jayhawk785 Offline
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Post: #21
I enjoy watching the dev's jump in and smack people around that don't search. You could spend hours reading on the for/against in either forum. in the end, it's personal preference--and what you use it for.

some people love the plugins for plex (hulu all that crap) - i don't use it so it doesn't weigh on my likes dislikes.

I find XBMC skins (of late) much better than plex. I also enjoy the auto media tagging (x264 vs xvid vs dd51 dts etc). I'm pretty sure plex is still behind on that one.

They also seem slower to develop lately--or maybe they work more on the development of the app engine and crap, I don't know--maybe it's the ability to compile builds here that have fixes in them for crap that was broken--plex you gotta wait months for a new release with very little news in-between.

finally, XBMC seems like it does need more hardware behind it. Someone mentioned 1080p playing on their box with plex, but not xbmc. Lately I've found this to be true as well. i don't know what's changed, but i see a lot of judder in my 1080p files where i dont in plex (with the same basic settings). Who knows why this is, it can be worked around with advancedsettings, but point being--it wasn't doing it in older builds.

Both are great communities--it won't hurt to install them both and get a feel for what you like.
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althekiller Offline
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Post: #22
When taking people's opinions into account, be sure to consider post counts. akg4y over there signed up JUST (post #1) to tout plex. Unbiased? You be the judge.
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akg4y Offline
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Post: #23
althekiller Wrote:When taking people's opinions into account, be sure to consider post counts. akg4y over there signed up JUST (post #1) to tout plex. Unbiased? You be the judge.

Perhaps you should re-read my post. I am by no means 'touting' Plex. In fact, for many reasons I would PREFER to run XBMC, but it simply cannot play these 1080p files using the same hardware that Plex can, and that is a problem. In fact, the second I heard Camelot was out I installed it immediately hoping that it would be better at playing these files than the previous version but it is in fact more hardware intensive, at least at baseline. Ive read that it is less CPU intensive on some threads, but real-world on my mac-mini and on other people's mac minis that is simply not the case.

Now, I am by no means an expert at any of this but some basic searching on this forum has led me to believe this is a common issue, and the suggested fixes do not solve the problem.

Yes, I am new to this forum in terms of posts, but have been reading off and on for a while.
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jayhawk785 Offline
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Post: #24
akg4y Wrote:Perhaps you should re-read my post. I am by no means 'touting' Plex. In fact, for many reasons I would PREFER to run XBMC, but it simply cannot play these 1080p files using the same hardware that Plex can, and that is a problem. In fact, the second I heard Camelot was out I installed it immediately hoping that it would be better at playing these files than the previous version but it is in fact more hardware intensive, at least at baseline. Ive read that it is less CPU intensive on some threads, but real-world on my mac-mini and on other people's mac minis that is simply not the case.

Now, I am by no means an expert at any of this but some basic searching on this forum has led me to believe this is a common issue, and the suggested fixes do not solve the problem.

Yes, I am new to this forum in terms of posts, but have been reading off and on for a while.

They can both play 1080 on the same hardware--there's just more features added in to xbmc, so you'd require a bit of searching to figure out what needs to be done to make your media watchable again.

Just because plex was developed for yesteryears mac, doesn't mean it runs better on the older hardware.

I used to think of plex as something great for mac, because development seemed to slow down here for a while when they forked and start osxbmc or whatever. Then davilla and the other guys stepped up, and things have been swell. .

Plus, look at the development with the broadcomm chip... that IS awesome.
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jayman978 Offline
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Post: #25
We will not bite your ass off in the Plex community like they do here. If you would like to ask a question without fear of the repercussions of entitled Devs, come on over and check us out.
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davilla Offline
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Post: #26
jayman978 Wrote:We will not bite your ass off in the Plex community like they do here. If you would like to ask a question without fear of the repercussions of entitled Devs, come on over and check us out.

LOL, hahaha jayman978. You only bite my head off over there.

I think the merits here are clear. Open development process, nightly builds. We can even trigger a specific build for on any branch for any platform and it's built, packaged and uploaded to our many mirrors around the world.

All this is aimed at lowering the bar for users to access all the new features (like crystalhd) as they enter svn trunk.

And I would not cherry pick crystalhd code just yet for Plex Smile there are changes coming with both driver, library and application code and you will just have to grab it and re-code again.


MediaInfo : http://mediainfo.sourceforge.net/
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
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jayman978 Offline
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Post: #27
Ahh Davilla. I thought I might try out your forums since you seem to like ours so much Smile
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Lokheed Offline
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Post: #28
jayhawk785 Wrote:I enjoy watching the dev's jump in and smack people around that don't search.

I don't. I DO use the search feature. And it makes it hard for people that actually do use the proper channels when they have to wade through everyone and their dog writing about "use the search", "RTFM", etc. And then blood pressures rise and you get subtle flame wars, that skirt outright bans.

I wish people just left stupid questions to die. Then when people search, they would come up with 0 responses, and they would know to move on and not waste their time on dreck...

PS: Yes, I realize the irony of stating my views in a reply that adds nothing to the original posters questions (but I already added my 2 cents, so I think I'm allowed a bit of leeway Wink )
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tokyovigilante Offline
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Post: #29
To be fair, I bite people's heads off on our forums too, phredd has recently felt my wrath Wink.

Thanks davilla, I have been keeping an eye on your CrystalHD work, and we may take advantage of it at some stage. Although I imagine the Broadcom API is relatively fixed?

As to the religious discussions of Plex vs XBMC, Plex owes it's very existence to XBMC. I as well as most of the Plex devs used it on Xbox hardware, and enjoyed the **** out of it. Similarly, the Mac port of XBMC was started by members of the Plex team.

I don't think the developers on either side really care what media center you use. Just pick the one that has the features you want.
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davilla Offline
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Post: #30
tokyovigilante Wrote:Thanks davilla, I have been keeping an eye on your CrystalHD work, and we may take advantage of it at some stage. Although I imagine the Broadcom API is relatively fixed?

The API is fixed, it's usage is not and there are many additions that did not make it in the initial push from private code to public code. The OSX kext will also undergo changes to support multiple devices and other driver APIs. In other words, this is just the start of public development and private development with Broadcom devs will also continue.


MediaInfo : http://mediainfo.sourceforge.net/
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
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