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10 Best Kodi Alternatives in 2024 – Stream Movies & Shows Legally

April 1, 2024

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Are you searching for the best Kodi alternatives that provide superb media streaming capabilities while staying on the right side of the law? You’ve come to the right place. As a long-time Kodi power user who has built numerous custom streaming setups over the years, I’ve thoroughly tested the top apps like Kodi. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll break down the 10 best legal Kodi alternatives available in 2024.

Why Consider Kodi Alternatives?

Kodi is a powerful open-source media center platform offering endless expandability via third-party add-ons. With the right setup, Kodi enables free streaming access to a universe of movies, shows, live sports, and more.

However, recent crackdowns have targeted illegal Kodi add-ons, forcing many to shut down. While Kodi itself is legal, installing certain plug-ins can put you in a gray area. Using Kodi for pirated streams can lead to legal trouble, malware risks, and unreliable performance.

Crucially, Kodi’s add-on based approach can be clunky for casual users seeking a plug-and-play streaming solution. Configuring a Kodi box requires significant tinkering. Legal Kodi alternatives offer similar media aggregation features in a more user-friendly package.

I’ve shared my experiences building Kodi boxes in numerous Kodi reviews to help others get the most out of the software.

What Makes a Great Kodi Alternative?

The best Kodi alternatives provide an all-in-one hub for your personal media and favorite streaming services. Top options should include:

  • Easy access to your video, music, and photo libraries
  • Integration with major free and paid streaming platforms
  • Live TV and DVR capabilities
  • Intuitive interfaces for a range of devices
  • Robust format support and smooth playback performance
  • Customization options to make it your own

I’ve tested dozens of media center platforms to find the top legal Kodi alternatives. The 10 apps featured below hit the sweet spot balancing ease of use, features, and reliability. But first a word on keeping your streams secure…

Always Use a VPN With Free Streaming Apps

Many Kodi alternatives provide access to free movies and shows of questionable legality. Before using any streaming app, I strongly recommend connecting to a virtual private network (VPN). A quality VPN will hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic, keeping your streaming activity private.

It prevents your ISP from throttling speeds and lets you access geo-blocked content with a click. I personally use ExpressVPN for its airtight security, zero-logging policy and fast speeds. IPVanish and CyberGhost are also great VPN options.

With that crucial caveat out of the way, let’s dive into the best Kodi alternatives you can use for smooth, reliable streaming.

1. Stremio

Stremio

Stremio is the closest direct Kodi alternative thanks to its extensive add-on support and powerful customization options. But its slick, intuitive interface is much easier to navigate compared to Kodi. Stremio acts as a one-stop hub for aggregating video content from official and unofficial sources:

  • Official content from YouTube, Twitch, Filmon TV, and more
  • Unofficial streams from Pirate Bay, Filmon TV+, Torrentio, etc.

Installing add-ons is a breeze – simply browse the catalog and add to your library with one click. Your add-ons and preferences will sync across devices connected to your account.

Stremio’s UI does an excellent job surfacing trending and new movies and shows. You can quickly build and manage your media library with favorites, playlists, and granular sorting options. A handy calendar view tracks episode releases for your saved shows.

Other notable Stremio features:

  • Supports all major video formats: MP4, MKV, AVI, etc.
  • Cast streams to your TV via Chromecast
  • Host online watch parties and co-stream with friends
  • Set age restrictions and parental controls
  • External player support for VLC, MX Player, and more
  • Amazon Prime integration via the premium add-on

Stremio provides full functionality for free. Optional $4.99/month or $39.99/year Premium plans unlock supercharged filters, HD quality, private watch parties with integrated chat, and other benefits.

Is Stremio Legal?

The base Stremio app is 100% legal to use. However, some third-party add-ons provide access to copyrighted content without the proper licensing. Viewing these streams is illegal in most regions.

Always carefully research what an add-on actually accesses. When in doubt, assume unofficial sources are serving pirated material. I recommend using Stremio with a VPN to hide your streaming activity in a worst-case scenario.

If you’re looking for a full comparison of Kodi vs. Stremio capabilities, check out this detailed feature breakdown.

Stremio offers one of the closest experiences to Kodi. However, there are some compelling Stremio alternatives worth considering that provide similar add-on based streaming.

2. Plex

Plex Media Server

Plex shines as a Kodi alternative for its slick centralized media server model. Plex makes it simple to host your entire personal media collection and stream it to any device on any network.

Interested in learning more about Plex’s media server capabilities? Our in-depth Plex review covers all the key features and benefits.

First, you’ll install the Plex Media Server application on the computer or NAS device where your library is stored. Then just download the sleek Plex client app on all the devices you want to stream to – smart TVs, game consoles, mobile devices, and more.

Plex automatically scans your libraries, fetches key metadata, and converts files on the fly for buttery smooth playback on any platform. The app’s clean design makes it a breeze to browse your collections and discover new gems. No add-ons or tinkering necessary.

But Plex isn’t just for your personal files. It also provides free ad-supported streaming for a range of movies, shows, and linear channels. You can even augment your library with podcast, game, and virtual TV subscriptions.

Other handy Plex features include:

  • Offline downloads for viewing without internet
  • Multi-user access with custom permissions
  • Over-the-air DVR for recording free HDTV (antenna and tuner required)
  • Parental controls and managed accounts for kids
  • Alexa, Google Assistant, and Sonos voice commands
  • Camera upload for auto-syncing photos and videos

Plex passes the spouse test with flying colors. With its streamlined setup and vast device support, the whole family will be happily streaming their personal favorites in no time.

How Much Does Plex Cost?

The core Plex Media Server and client apps are completely free. But serious media hounds can unlock premium perks with a Plex Pass subscription:

  • $4.99/month
  • $39.99/year
  • $119.99 for a lifetime membership

Paying members gain access to features like offline mobile syncing, lyrics, skipping intros, and free access to virtual TV stations. Plex also offers rentals and purchases for recent Hollywood movies not included with a subscription.

For guidance getting Plex running on platforms like Roku TVs or Samsung Smart TVs, consult my earlier tutorials.

3. Emby

Emby For Roku

Like Plex, Emby employs a client-server model to stream your centralized media collection to any device. Emby’s server software turns your computer into a powerful media hub serving up your videos, music, photos, and live TV.

Emby’s interface will be instantly familiar to Plex users. Your libraries are neatly organized into categories that automatically grab rich metadata. Quickly filter and sort your collections to find exactly what you want.

Emby’s playback engine is highly optimized to handle any file format or size you throw at it. The mobile apps include a handy sync feature to save media for offline viewing.

Standout Emby features include:

  • Intuitive apps for every major OS and streaming platform
  • Live TV and DVR from connected tuners or network recording devices
  • Granular access controls for managing family member privileges
  • Alexa voice commands for hands-free navigation
  • Plugins for extending core functionality, like Trakt sync
  • Vibrant community for sharing tips and troubleshooting help

Emby Plans & Pricing

Emby’s core server and client apps are open-source and free for everyone to use. To unlock bells and whistles like offline sync, cloud sync, and DVR, you’ll need to purchase an Emby Premiere license:

  • 1 Month: $4.99
  • 1 Year: $54
  • Lifetime: $119 (for up to 25 devices)

What’s the difference between Plex and Emby? Emby gets the edge for its live TV features and developer plugins, but Plex offers a more polished experience overall. You can’t go wrong with either for an easy-to-use media server solution.

I previously covered how Emby enables consolidated personal media access across devices like LG webOS TVs and Apple TV.

4. Jellyfin

Jellyfin On Fire Tv

Jellyfin is a free and open-source fork of Emby. This means all of Emby’s premium features, like offline sync and DVR, are available for free in Jellyfin. Being fully open-source, you don’t have to worry about any functionality being locked behind a paywall.

Jellyfin’s interface strongly resembles Plex and Emby. But you may notice it isn’t quite as refined or responsive. Development is completely community-driven, so features and fixes can take longer to implement compared to venture-backed competitors.

Still, Jellyfin capably handles any personal media library:

  • Direct plays virtually every audio and video format
  • Slick apps for all the devices you could want
  • Live TV from networked tuner devices
  • User accounts with custom privileges
  • Trakt plugin for scrobbling and syncing watched status

For basic media streaming needs, Jellyfin is one of the best free and open-source Kodi alternatives. Combine it with Sonarr and Radarr, and you have an unbeatable cord-cutting setup. Just be prepared to get your hands dirty customizing everything to your liking.

Consider pairing Jellyfin with Kodi via sideloading on Fire TV devices should issues emerge causing Kodi to stop working given the backend media server handles much of the streaming workload.

For a deeper comparison of these two platforms, check out our detailed Kodi vs Jellyfin face-off.

Want to explore more options similar to Jellyfin? Have a look at our roundup of the best Jellyfin alternatives for additional open-source media server solutions.

5. Kast

Kast

Kast takes a different approach than most Kodi alternatives. Rather than playing your own media files, Kast connects you with friends for real-time watch parties. Up to 20 people can video chat while simultaneously viewing synced content.

Kast’s interface revolves around virtual watch parties for movies, shows, or even video games and live streams. The host shares their screen or web browser, and all participants see the same view.

Everyone in the room can react and discuss over video, voice, and text chat. Kast even supports polls and quizzes so you can engage the audience. It’s like hosting a movie night or gaming session without everyone needing to be in the same physical place.

Notable Kast features:

  • Watch parties for 20 participants (100 in a room total)
  • Screen sharing for apps, games, live cams, and more
  • Built-in polls and quizzes for audience engagement
  • Granular room access controls for privacy
  • Up to 1080p / 60fps video quality

Kast Pricing

Kast’s core service is completely free, but interactive features like screen sharing or video integrations require a paid plan:

  • Kast Base ($4.99/month): Co-streaming up to 15 hours per week
  • Kast Premium ($9.99/month): Unlimited co-streaming, watch parties up to 100 viewers, animated effects, exclusive backgrounds

Kast may not replace Kodi for personal streaming, but it’s a stellar platform for socializing and sharing experiences over the web. Host a virtual movie night from your couch or collaborate with teammates on a project – Kast makes it seamless.

6. Media Portal

Media Portal

MediaPortal is an open-source media center application designed specifically for home theater PCs (HTPCs). Like Kodi, MediaPortal transforms Windows computers into customized entertainment hubs for all your video, music, gaming, and DVR needs.

The highly-configurable MediaPortal software automatically scans your local media folders and organizes them with artwork and metadata. Browse your libraries with a gorgeous 10-foot “lean back” interface that looks stunning on a big living room TV.

MediaPortal boasts a thriving plugin ecosystem to extend your HTPC with features like:

  • Streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu via web browser
  • Live and recorded TV via HDHomeRun and other network tuners
  • Launchers for streaming services and game platforms
  • System performance monitors
  • Weather and smart home dashboards

MediaPortal Setup and Updates

MediaPortal offers two distinct versions:

  1. MediaPortal 1 (MP1): The original, stable release still receiving updates and fixes.
  2. MediaPortal 2 (MP2): The actively-developed next generation version with a new UI and architecture.

MP1 is generally recommended for most users thanks to its vast plugin library and theme support. MP2 is more of a blank slate for enthusiasts to build highly customized setups. Both versions are completely free and open-source.

Ready to build the ultimate HTPC? MediaPortal is one of the best Kodi alternatives for Windows users who want complete control over their setup. Just prepare to invest some serious time tinkering to get everything working smoothly.

7. OSMC

Osmc

OSMC (Open Source Media Center) is a free Linux-based media center OS tailor-made for Raspberry Pi boards. This Debian Linux distribution incorporates the Kodi application and a select few under-the-hood tweaks to maximize Pi performance.

OSMC makes it easy to stream videos, music, photos, games, and more from a centrally connected storage source to TV screens and other devices around the house and beyond. It incorporates the mighty cores of the Kodi media center application supported by Debian Linux.

OSMC auto-updates itself, so you always benefit from the latest improvements without needing to reflash your SD card. The custom interface minimizes system overhead while supporting a vast array of audio and video formats via hardware acceleration.

Notable OSMC features include:

  • Purpose-built Raspberry Pi distro available for Pi Zero to Raspberry Pi 4 boards
  • Kodi 19 application with support for the vast Kodi add-on library
  • DLNA server capabilities for easily streaming to compatible devices like gaming consoles
  • Auto-updating for new features, bug fixes, and security patches
  • Optimized UI skins and performance settings for lower-end Raspberry Pi hardware

OSMC breathes new life into older Raspberry Pi boards you may have collecting dust. With a cheap Pi Zero W or Raspberry Pi 3, you can build a silent, reliable Kodi streaming box for a fraction of the price of a dedicated Android TV streamer.

OSMC also officially supports the budget-friendly Vero 4K set-top Android box. This tiny home theater PC combines the media center software used in OSMC with the video playback hardware from the Raspberry Pi 4 and an Android TV-style remote for easy control.

8. Infuse 7

Infuse Devices

Infuse 7 is hands-down the slickest media center application for streaming content within the Apple ecosystem. Available on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac, Infuse delivers a unified viewing experience across all your Apple devices.

Infuse combines a gorgeous, intuitive interface with a highly-optimized playback engine supporting Dolby Vision, 4K, HDR, and lossless audio formats. The app pulls info from TheMovieDB, TheTVDB, and Google, so your libraries always have the latest titles, descriptions, and cover artwork.

Other standout Infuse features include:

  • Effortless importing from Mac, PC, NAS, Plex, and cloud sources
  • Trakt scrobbling for syncing watched history across apps and devices
  • iCloud Sync keeps your place and sends content from small to big screens
  • Instant access to IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes ratings
  • Helpful “Up Next” section for keeping track of your queue
  • AirPlay and Cast options for sending content to external displays

Infuse Plans and Pricing

Infuse offers three tiers:

  1. Infuse Free: All the core features free forever
  2. Infuse Pro Monthly: Advanced options for $2.99/month
  3. Infuse Pro Lifetime: Pay $74.99 once and own it for life

Pro plans add perks like HD audio, cloud sync, Trakt scrobbling, AirPlay, and Cast. The free version is surprisingly capable on its own, but serious streamers will definitely want to go Pro.

Disappointed with Kodi’s clunky interface on the Apple TV? Infuse is the most elegant alternative. It may not support add-ons, but the clean design and powerful playback make it my go-to for streaming on tvOS devices. Set it up once and enjoy easy viewing for years to come.

9. TogetherTube

Togethertube

Together Tube provides a virtual living room for watching and reacting to videos with friends in synced chat rooms. Hosts create public or private rooms where up to 25 participants can join from all around the world.

Inside a room, everyone sees the same screen sharing the host’s selected videos. Integrated chat and webcams let you see and react to friends in real-time – it’s just like being on the couch together. Friends can throw suggestions in the queue or vote on what to watch next.

Together Tube taps into content from:

  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • SoundCloud
  • Google Drive
  • Direct video links

Unfortunately, there’s no way to access personal media or content from subscription streaming platforms. Together Tube is more about socializing over trending online videos versus building a robust media library.

Using Together Tube couldn’t be easier:

  1. Enter a nickname and create/join a room
  2. Paste a video link to start watching
  3. Invite friends with your room URL
  4. Chat, vote, and add new videos to the queue
  5. Save the room for future hangouts

Together Tube is 100% free to use with no hidden upgrades or limits on features. It works in any modern web browser without needing to install any apps or browser extensions.

While not a true Kodi replacement, Together Tube enables easy co-viewing experiences simply not possible with offline media center applications. Catch up with far away friends and discover awesome new content as a group.

10. StbEmu (Pro)

Stbemu (pro)

StbEmu (Pro) is a powerful Android IPTV player purpose-built for streaming live TV channels and on-demand content on Fire TV sticks and Fire TV Cubes. It’s one of the best Kodi alternatives for Amazon’s streaming devices.

StbEmu is known for its vast library of free live TV channels from across the globe. The Pro version provides access to over 5,000 stations spanning movies, sports, news, and international feeds. Only a handful of other IPTV services can match StbEmu’s channel diversity.

StbEmu’s clean “leanback” interface makes browsing through the expansive channel guide a breeze with the Fire TV remote. Quickly add your go-to stations to a Favorites list for easy access later.

Beyond live TV, StbEmu Pro includes:

  • On-demand movies & shows
  • Catchup TV functionality (rewind live shows up to 7 days)
  • Parental controls
  • Quick channel switching
  • Customizable refresh rates & timeshift sizes
  • Auto-login for IPTV providers
  • Oreo TV for uninterrupted playback

StbEmu Pro is not available on the Amazon Appstore. You’ll need to sideload the Android APK file onto your Fire TV device. The installation process is straightforward – just follow these sideloading steps.

StbEmu provides an unbeatable selection of free live and on-demand content. Paired with Kodi via sideloading, it’s a cord cutter’s dream for global TV access. Use a VPN to unlock the full international channel lineup.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best alternative to Kodi?

The best Kodi alternative depends on your specific streaming needs and devices. For an all-in-one media center, Plex is the most polished solution. Emby and Jellyfin are also great choices for serving your personal media collection.

What is the safest alternative to Kodi?

For avoiding potential legal issues, Plex and Emby are the safest Kodi alternatives since they focus entirely on playing personal media files. Jellyfin is also a solid choice for its open-source transparency. Always use a VPN when streaming content from unverified sources.

Does Kodi still work in 2024?

Yes, Kodi still works great for local media streaming in 2024. However, many of the most popular third-party add-ons for unlicensed content have been shut down in recent years. The Kodi alternatives featured here provide reliable access to a wider variety of content.

Is Plex better than Kodi?

Plex is better than Kodi for most users looking for a polished, easy-to-use media center solution. Kodi still offers more customization options and add-on support. But for quickly setting up a server and streaming to any device, Plex is hard to beat.

What app will replace Kodi?

There’s no one-size-fits-all Kodi replacement that perfectly mirrors its vast add-on library. Instead, the best Kodi alternatives focus on doing one thing really well.

Plex and Emby are superb media server solutions. MediaPortal is great for HTPC setups. OSMC serves up a lightweight Kodi experience on Raspberry Pi. Experiment with a few options to find the perfect streaming setup for your needs.

Final Thoughts

Kodi isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s still the king of customization for hardcore home theater aficionados. But for most cord-cutters just looking for a reliable way to stream their media libraries and free content, the Kodi alternatives covered here offer compelling new options.

Our top picks:

  • Best Kodi-Like Experience: Stremio
  • Best Media Server: Plex
  • Best Single-Board Computer OS: OSMC
  • Best for Apple Devices: Infuse
  • Best for Social Viewing: Kast

Whether you’re managing a massive personal media library across a house full of devices or just looking for a free app to cut the cord, there’s a Kodi alternative perfectly suited for your streaming desires.

Always remember to use a trusted VPN when experimenting with new streaming apps to keep your activity secure and private. And most importantly, have fun enjoying your favorite content without limitations!