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The days of watching television through cable networks and satellite television are seemingly coming to an end, with the emergence of several streaming platforms available for media consumption. Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ are some of the most popular streaming platforms, but you also have companies such as Apple, Amazon, and even YouTube with their own versions of streaming. While many television sets today come with these streaming services already downloaded, some don’t. This means you’ll need another way to access these platforms on your TV, and that’s where media center applications and platforms come in. You may have never heard of these platforms, or probably thought you’d have to get a Roku, Firestick, or a new TV in order to access streaming services— but that isn’t always necessary.
This web-based media streaming platform grants you unlimited access to your music, as well as videos. Here, you can download hundreds of gigabytes worth of music, podcasts, and videos of different genres. Airsonic is more comparable to music streaming services, such as Pandora, Spotify, and iHeart Radio, except that you have access to a wider selection of music and other audio. It’s free to use and you can access your files from any device.
If you’re looking to save money, Emby is the more affordable option to go with. It’s also very user-friendly and compatible with a lot of devices and operating systems, making it easy for you to find software that will work well with it. Emby also supports all kinds of media: music and other audios, videos, and pictures. However, like other media center platforms, it does require high-speed internet and other methods (such as dial-up internet) may not work.
Kodi is another multimedia platform that offers videos, audio, and photos. It’s very similar to other platforms but comes with other features such as audio decoding, video transcoding, and more polished sound and video effects. It’s available on Android, Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. The best part about Kodi is that it can also support add-ons that extend the functionality of the software. These additional features are constantly changing, so there’s always an update, usually about every month.
PlayOn is one of the more diverse multimedia platforms that allows you to manage your music, videos, video games, and internet service. Like Emby, it’s also very user-friendly, so it’s great for those who have never used media center software before. You’re also able to record your favorite TV shows and movies from streaming apps such as Netflix, Paramount+, Hulu, and HBO. It also offers a cloud-based version where recorded programs aren’t stored on a tangible device but let you download remotely to your Android/IOS mobile devices.
Plex is a unique platform, as you can stream both video and audio, record the videos that you stream, and it even makes your internet faster. You’re able to stream all of your media from your computer (it can be installed on both Windows and macOS), television, and any other devices that are compatible with Plex. This is the most popular streaming app due to its video playback, clear audio, and its library organization.
Subsonic is the parent software to Airsonic and offers both music and movies for your entertainment. It’s available in over 25 languages and is compatible with more than 25 apps available to download on your devices, and you’re able to check to see if it’s compatible with your device before you download it. There’s also a premium version of the subscription that eliminates ads.
If you love having access to TV shows, movies, videos, and music, then definitely check out one or more of these media center applications. Most are compatible with any type of device and operating system on your computer, where you’ll be able to have your own collection of your favorite media sources.