Free yourself from the Plex claws

Are you a happy Plex user? Or more of an unhappy user like me? Either way, Emby (formerly MediaBrowser) is there for all you media server needs.

Before anyone asks, yes it is, open-source that is. Sources are hosted on our beloved Github. Luke Pulverenti, who appears to be the lead dev, is very active on GitHub and on the forums, meaning you can actually reach upstream, no corporate wall. Also his avatar is a picture of Sheldon Cooper, if that counts for something. Now if that’s not reason enough for you to cross over to the bright side, here are a few more:

  • You can have multiple libraries of the same kind, e.g. you can separate your series and anime instead of having a big melting pot.
  • Speaking of anime, there is a plugin to add AniDB to the metadata fetchers, simply awesome. Apart from a few exceptions, it did a pretty good job of matching my anime library, whose titles all are romanized.
  • You can store all metadata and posters, artwork and whatnot alongside your content instead of a centralized database. Meaning you can replace those by hand if you so desire, and don’t have to download everything again should you lose the database.
  • The web interface is not designed for toddlers, and comes with a real dashboard as well as a reports tab if you’re into this kind of thing. Big plus, user management is entirely local, you don’t need an account like with Plex, and access is granular enough.
  • It has Last.FM and Trakt scrobblers (haven’t tried the latter yet) and also Live TV (PVR) support for those interested.
  • It has had SSL out of the box with a self-signed cert for a while, and unlike Plex (which got SSL only recently), you can use your own cert in case you have one. Please note that self-signed certs won’t work with the Android client application, a limitation of the Android SSL implementation itself I’m told. I’m currently using Firefox when outside of my LAN.
  • Only a few specific plugins are behind a paywall, which you will most likely be able to live without.
  • As for the clients, there’s an official kodi add-on, as well as native clients for a wide variety of devices.
Emby Dashboard

Now that you’re fully convinced, you can head over to my GitHub and grab the latest emby-server PKGBUILD. There’s also a pre-built x86_64 package on my¬† [alucryd] repo.

I’ve played with it for a full week and it only crashed on me once, although in its defense I was asking too much of it at the time. I now feel confident enough to push it to [community], all I need to do things the right way is one more vote on the AUR package, so head over there and click that vote button!