Cord cutting has come a very long way. It wasn't that long ago that cord cutters had to hunt around for solutions to very basic cord cutting problems. Now, the opposite is true: we have so many options for streaming, organizing, and casting content that the difficult part is actually deciding which one to use.
- 1-16 of over 1,000 results for 'home media server' TerraMaster F2-210 2-Bay NAS Quad Core 1GB RAM DDR4 Media Server Personal Private Cloud (Diskless) 3.9 out of 5 stars 749.
- Originally based on PS3 Media Server, Universal Media Server is a DLNA media server that has evolved into a project focusing on stability and file compatibility. This focus on stability and compatibility makes Universal Media Server the best open source media server available.
- Best Linux Media Server Software – Final Thoughts Linux remains a popular operating system (OS) for servers, desktop environments, and a variety of uses. When it comes to homelabbing, Linux is a fantastic choice as a server OS with a variety of different flavors, from Debian and Ubuntu to Elementary and Arch Linux.
Witness the crowded field of media server programs, for example: you have Plex, Emby, PlayOn, and many more. There are ways to rig up Kodi as a server or to integrate these other servers into a Kodi environment. In short, if you want to make your local content available on multiple devices, you have a lot of options – too many, in fact.
On this list, we're cutting through the confusion and naming the best media server applications. Use it as your guide – or take us to task in the comments if you disagree.
The Debian-based Open Media Vault (OMV) is a NAS solution designed for home users and small businesses. Besides desktops, it can also be installed on several ARM-based single board computers like.
The Winner: Plex
As far as stand-alone media server applications go, Plex is the clear winner. It's the most polished and user-friendly of the media server applications, which is a big advantage in a space that's crowded by clunky options that are only a few steps removed from their DIY origins.
Plex is easy to set up and easy to use, and it's quite effective. It's pushing the idea of a media server beyond the concept's power-user origins, and making media servers attractive to more casual cord cutters. But Plex is still quite powerful, and it offers the essential media server combination of local content streaming and “channels” full of streaming content from major networks. Like many of its competitors, it has a free version and a paid “premium” version, which is priced fairly and includes some solid features (like access to your content outside your local network).
Plex isn't perfect, of course – it still has too many channels that don't work on certain platforms, and idealists will note that it's not open source. It doesn't play that well with Kodi (Kodi fanatics, we have your best choice ranked at #2). But overall, the sum of Plex's advantages is greater than the sum of its disadvantages. It's leading the pack in the media server space.
Second Place: Emby
Emby splits the difference between Plex and the less polished media servers that make up the rest of our list. It offers more customization and – importantly – superb integration with Kodi, the best media center (but not the best media server) on the market.
Emby manages to offer all this customization and functionality without asking quite as much of its users as its DIY-leaning brethren. It's not quite as elegant as Plex, but it's much more user-friendly than Universal Media Center and the like. It has an awful lot in common with Plex, but it tweaks the formula to position itself as a bit more appealing to the DIY crowd.
Third Place: Serviio
Serviio is one of several media servers that takes advantage of DLNA interoperability to stream to a wide variety of platforms. It's a little less intuitive than Emby or Plex, but (unlike DLNA competitor PlayOn) can run servers on both Windows and Mac. If this one isn't for you, you could consider Universal Media Server (formerly PS3 Media Server), which is another DLNA media server with a loyal following.
The downside to Serviio is that it's far less user-friendly than Emby or Plex. It's still a good choice for the tech-savvy among us, but be prepared to get your hands dirty.
Fourth Place: Universal Media Server
Best Home Media Server Setup
Speak of the devil! We ranked Universal Media Server below Serviio because we thought its setup process was a little more of a hassle (to be honest, both are far more difficult to set up than Plex or Emby are). But really, Serviio and Universal Media Server are very similar, and they run neck-and-neck for the affections of the DLNA server crowd. Universal Media Server is the old PS3 Media Server, so fans of that product will want to continue on with this one.