Last Updated on June 30, 2020 by Husain Parvez
Out trying to find some of the best Kodi alternatives to keep the entertainment spree going? Here are some reliable media streaming services that offer the best of movies and TV shows, just like Kodi and its many add-ons do.
It was the desire of a handful of first-generation Xbox users who saw their gaming console as so much more than just a means to play games. Packing networking capabilities and the hardware to support media playback, the XBMC was founded, which gave the original gaming console from Microsoft, the ability to showcase video and audio content effortlessly. Fast-forward a decade, and XBMC Foundation has blossomed into a million-strong community of Kodi media player users, which now runs across multiple gaming, desktop, and mobile platforms.
As the growth of online content and streaming entertainment is on the rise, so is the practicality of a media platform such as Kodi. Apart from the ability to playback every possible video, audio, image, and even document files known to man, Kodi media player has been popularized by the inclusion of several Kodi add-ons. Bringing together services for streaming the latest and greatest blockbuster movies, award-winning TV shows, plenty of original content from independent film studios, and even online radio shows and podcasts, there’s no limit to the kind of content that Kodi add-ons bring to the fold to be able to watch TV for free.
The Best Kodi Alternatives to Use
Kodi media player and the top add-ons for the platform has garnered plenty of support and both, positive and negative publicity worldwide. While the outreach has enabled Kodi to become a multi-platform service, it has also led to the severe crackdown on Kodi add-ons which tend to stream copyright-protected content over the internet for free, which the billion-dollar production studios are strongly against. This widespread crackdown has led to the shutting down of several popular Kodi add-ons which is the reason you’d be out looking for the best Kodi alternatives.
As a true fan of the Kodi media player, you might be inclined to believe that there is no steaming platform like it out there. However, you’d be surprised to know that there are quite a handful of Kodi alternatives out there that not only offer the convenience of online media streaming but also do it at absolutely no cost.
Possibly the closest streaming platform that you can find to Kodi media player is Plex, which is increasingly becoming the people’s choice to access all of their media content wirelessly. Offering support across Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, and more, the Plex media player allows you to set up your individual device as a server, which can then be connected to remotely for access to the media files stored on it.
While Kodi is open-source, Plex offers a free, as well as premium subscription service which brings added benefits to upload content from the camera folders of devices, live TV and DVR streaming and recording, and mobile syncing to make all your private files seamlessly available across all screens. Similar to the Kodi add-ons, Plex offers Channels, both official and unofficial ones, which allow you to add more functionality to the platform, including the ability to watch movies and TV shows online for free.
Among the Kodi alternatives that have been contending for the top spot with a simpler user interface and plenty of features, is Stremio. Available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux as well, Stremio has extended support across mobile platforms of Android and iOS, allowing its users to quickly sign up for the service, effortlessly sync all of your entertainment content to one platform, and enjoy it anywhere at any time.
Similar to the way Kodi has been popularized by its add-ons Stremio also maintains an official add-on library from the top entertainment service providers, such as YouTube, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, and several others. However, if you aren’t excited about the premium services, Stremio offers a bunch of ways to get premium content for free, through its dependable and absolutely free add-ons that are created and maintained by the community.
Featured as an “open media solution”, Emby is among the alternatives for Kodi that amalgamates all of your personal media content into a single frame and allows you to watch it at all times, no matter what device you’re viewing it from. Built on the same fundamental elements that make Kodi media player a hit, Emby has made it’s way even farther than Kodi has on some of the smart entertainment platforms.
Extending outwards to desktop and mobile platforms, along with official support for gaming consoles and Smart TVs, Emby gives you a seamless connection to content with a simplified UI. To keep the service legitimate, Emby does not host any content of itself but acts as an aggregator to connect with servers that host movies and TV shows for free.
A worthy name among the best Kodi alternatives that you can find elsewhere, the only reason MediaPortal doesn’t top the list is the fact that it is only available for the Microsoft Windows platform. Nonetheless, this open-source media streaming platform works flawlessly, adopting some of the design elements and functionality directly from Kodi, while being lightweight enough to run on mid-tier devices as well.
Available in an older and stable, as well as a newer version that is still under development, MediaPortal is primarily equipped to bring all of your local content under one roof. However, the ability to install plugins that bring in features such as live TV shows, movies, radio podcasts, and more, gives you the upper edge.
If you aren’t too keen about using the plugins and add-ons that are offered by the various Kodi alternatives and are looking for a streaming solution that gives you a no-nonsense solution to multi-device interconnectivity, Universal Media Server is the answer to your prayers.
Supporting all kinds of DLNA devices from mobile phones and HDTVs, to gaming consoles and even DSLR cameras, Universal Media Server brings the videos, images, documents, music files, and everything else in between to a web interface. Supporting every major file format out there, the service allows you to congregate everything under one roof for simplified management and viewing.
The neat attempt at dethroning Kodi media player may have been made in the form of OSMC (Open Source Media Center), but it hardly had the recognition that the latter does. However, this doesn’t change the fact that OSMC stands tall as a formidable open-source media streaming platform that benefits from a minimalist design with highly capable features.
Apart from supporting all of the major desktop and mobile devices, OSMC also extends its grasp across various TV tuners so that you can find the media streaming platform on the big screen at any time. The best part is that OSMC is built on the foundation of Kodi, which makes it compatible with all of the best Kodi add-ons out there.
7. Popcorn Time
One of the most recognizable names in unofficial online streaming content has to be Popcorn Time, which has effectively been among the best Kodi alternatives for years. Designed to be a multi-platform solution that directly hosts and showcases the latest movies, TV shows, documentaries, and so much more, Popcorn Time differs from Kodi and every other service on this list since it does not act as an aggregator.
Supported across Windows, Mac OS X, and once an official app on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store too, Popcorn Time is no longer available for mobile devices. However, you can still get your hands on a stable build of the app online, which grants you a neat and organized user interface, coupled with a humongous library of content that is available for viewing right away.
Kodi Alternatives work best with ExpressVPN
The rapidly growing popularity of Kodi and its idea of giving the power of entertainment back to people has not been looked at favorably by the copyright protection agencies globally. Similar to the way Kodi cannot be shut down but the best Kodi add-ons can, the best Kodi media player alternatives also are safeguarded in most cases, but piracy protection laws do limit their usage. Whether you choose to stick with Kodi for all your entertainment pleasure or want to venture out with its alternatives, you need a VPN service such as ExpressVPN to keep your browsing experience optimal at all times.
Unlock entertainment content – For those who just want to take a look at the catalog of movies and TV shows that Netflix offers outside of your country of residence, or wish to try out services such as BBC iPlayer which is not available to residents outside of the UK, enabling ExpressVPN grants you access to a world of entertainment that you are yet to discover.
ExpressVPN on all devices – Whether you want to set up the VPN service on your mobile phone to make VOIP calls and go under the detection radar, or wish to unlock the power of Kodi with ExpressVPN, there’s an app to do it. You get support for all of the popular platforms such as Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, and even VPN-enabled routers.
Keeping you secure – To keep your online activities private and away from the prying eyes of your ISP, the government, and especially hackers, ExpressVPN has the highly strengthened 256-bit encryption in place. Since your IP address is hidden, your location and your identity are also safeguarded for complete anonymity.
There have been numerous media streaming services that offer the latest movies and TV shows, some of which that even predate Kodi media player. The reason Kodi has stuck around for more than a decade is the fact that fundamentally speaking, Kodi is completely legal to use, which is the reason it is officially available on the app store of every major platform. But when it comes to the Kodi add-ons the story is entirely different, hence most of the virally popular Kodi add-ons are the earliest ones to be shut down.
Speaking of the Kodi add-ons mentioned above, some follow a similar strategy of providing premium media content only as an add-on, while some have included it into the core of the service itself. If you’re trying to find something other than Kodi media player that works for you and settled with a name in the list above, be sure to mention the name in the comments section below. If you have a few Kodi alternatives that do a pretty decent job as well, but we’ve missed out on them, be sure to list them in the comments as well, and we’ll try them out.
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