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In Mac and Windows Last updated: March 16, 2023
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Technological advancement has added multiple dimensions of entertainment with smartphones and powerful computers.

You can stream movies and TV series, listen to music, see your photos, and whatnot from your phone without having to visit a movie theatre or requiring separate devices for them.

The world is moving online, which has opened the doors to lots of convenience and entertainment at the comfort of your house. You can watch movies together online remotely, even watch live streaming for sports, news, etc., no matter where you live; all you need is an internet connection and some useful tools.

One such tool is a media streaming server that has made it effortless for you to watch videos and other media without any hassles or lags.

But what’s it?

Let’s find out!

What is a Media Server Software?

A media server software stores digital media such as videos, audio, images, etc., and makes them available on a network so you can view them.

It can stream any form of digital media to Network Attached Storage (NAS), smart TVs, personal computers, Apple, Android devices, etc.

To use a media server, a cloud server or a computer is required, along with software to help organize your digital media. The software comes with an intuitive user interface that makes it easy to collect and view media content at your fingertips.

You can even share the files with your family and friends or teammates in your organization. There are many media server software that you can use with Amazon Firestick, Google Chromecast, and others.

Why Should You Use Media Server Software?

Media Server Software is advantageous on both the personal and business front. As it allows you to play your media on multiple devices simultaneously, you can watch or view them anytime you want on any device. Play them right from the soft couch of your home to the office roundtable while presenting the media before your teammates.

The benefits of media server software are:

Powerful servers

Media servers act as a huge library of all your media due to powerful software built on top of the latest technologies. You can also access all the music tracks and videos you own along with the key information about them like lyrics, artists, concert data, actors, directors, etc.

It reflects the cooperation between the server and the client inside the software, making it valuable for businesses and home use.

Little or no maintenance

Don’t worry about losing your important files to mechanical wear and tear in the case of traditional hardware components. Modern servers use cloud or fanless technology to minimize these issues and safeguard your data with little or no maintenance.

Better data control and security

With your own server, you can better control your data and know about its location. It is especially beneficial for businesses. You can even set a protection mechanism to secure data and mitigate data breaches.

Higher availability

Don’t frustrate yourself with network errors and downtimes while watching your favorite shows. Most media servers are robust and make the data available with negligible downtimes.

Next, there are lots of options out there when you search for media server software. We have curated the list of best media streaming server software for you to take the pain away.

Check them out and see what works for you.


Stream live TV and DVR, favorite web shows, podcasts, and news in a single application using Plex no matter what device you use or where you are.

It allows you to watch 130+ channels for free, and you can upgrade it to get an incredible TV experience so you can record and watch local sports, news, and shows. Plex also offers 20k+ on-demand shows and movies for free from top producers like Warner Brothers, Lionsgate, MGM, Crackle, and more.

You can even curate and watch your personalized collection of music, TV, photos, and movies on any device. They also offer you a Premium plan that you can join to experience the ultimate standard in entertainment while supporting their community.

Furthermore, they have also introduced Plex Arcade as a result of the collaboration between Atari and Plex. It’s where you can play Atari classics in addition to your own game collection of emulators and ROMs on your preferred devices.


Discover, organize, and watch video content using Stremio, a modern media solution for non-stop entertainment. Be it TV shows, movies, sports, web channels, or live TV; this platform is the one-stop solution for you.

Stremio is available on Google Play and the App Store for your Android and Apple smartphones, and you can also download it on Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is effortless to install on any device and supports an infinitely extensible catalog of your favorite videos.

After installing Stremio, create your account and go to the addon catalog to install an addon you like from 50+ options, and you are all set. Next, visit the Board or Discover sections to explore video content. Stremio is open-source and, therefore, a safe software to use. Its code is available publically and can be audited even by yourself.

They never collect your data other than just essential ones to create your account and sync it. Interestingly, they also offer a Guest Mode where no data is required, and no calls will be made to their backend. However, this mode does not let you synchronize your library on multiple devices.

Stremio supports Chromecast and gives you the liberty to cast from Android mobile and desktop apps both. It is extendable beyond the addon catalog and supports many Android-based devices like Amazon Fire Stick and NVIDIA Shield. In addition to that, Stremio plays magnet links, torrent files, and HTTP links.


PlayOn Desktop provides a whole new way of watching TV and brims with interesting features that you will love. This powerful PC application is a portal to the best streaming sites collected for you into an easy-to-use video streaming interface.

PlayOn is a large media server to collect your music, videos, and photos so you can organize them beautifully to easy access. You also have the option to upgrade your plan to have a robust Streaming Video Recorder (SVR) that works as a DVR.

Using this SVR, you can stream movies and shows and watch them anytime, anywhere, and also offline. PlayOn Desktop lets you record streaming video content from the best streaming websites such as Netflix, Disney Plus, YouTube, Amazon Prime, HBO GO, Hulu, HBO Max, and more.

You can stream and cast videos easily on your streaming device. PlayOn allows you to download and record videos as MP4 files with no expiration date. You can record a complete season of your favorite show with a simple click and easily subscribe to a series, and automatically record fresh episodes.

Skip those annoying ads automatically with AdSkip while playing the recordings. Just tell it when you want to record to keep your PC and bandwidth free at peak hours. You can even transfer the video recordings to your Android, iPhone, or iPad device and watch them offline.

PlayOn Desktop lets you find video content easily, and they also offer curated recommendations for you. Stream, cast, and record movies and shows that are hand-picked by the team of PlayOn every month to provide a better user experience.

Their plans start at just $2.99/month for 50GB space, 100+ SD hours, and 10 recording credits/month.


Carry your media everywhere you go and keep enjoying your favorite video content with Emby. It brings together all your home videos, photos, and music in a single place with ease and starts converting and streaming your media automatically on the go so you can play them on your device.

Using Emby Connect, you can easily enjoy your media when you are away from home without fumbling with IP addresses. All you need to do is sign in on Emby and hit the play button. It allows you to stream and watch Live TV on any device, enjoy your recordings, and manage the DVR.

You can also control your children from accessing all the content by monitoring and controlling their sessions remotely and creating time limits, accessing schedules, and more. To get started with Emby, install the server and set it up using their user-friendly setup wizard.

You can download the Emby application across devices like Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows Tablets, and Windows Phone. Now, enter the dashboard to explore a variety of different media to plan your binge-watching session.

Enjoy videos on Emby from your living room as Emby apps are also available for Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox, Chromecast, Home Theatre PC, and more. Emby detects Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) devices on your personal network for better privacy so you can remote control and send content easily.

Upgrade to Emby Premiere to enjoy additional features like mobile sync, cloud sync, free Android applications, and cover art.


OSMC is an open-source and free media center that is designed to offer you an exceptional entertainment quotient. Here, you can enjoy music, pictures, movies, videos, and TV shows, showcasing details like the year, actors, genres, singers, directors, and so on.

They have built OSMC to be extremely user-friendly and simple to use, and yet it looks fabulous. As it is open-source, it is secure, and you can trust it. OSMC is also based on Kodi Media Center and Debian Linux.

OSMC has its own App Store that allows you to customize your video streaming experience based on your preference, all remotely. It can play most media formats like MP4 from different streaming protocols and across devices.

Furthermore, you can utilize Vero 4K+, which is the flagship device of OSMC, which plays anything you want with full 4K support, 10-bit content, HD audio, and HEVC.


Formerly called XBMC, Kodi is an open-source and free media player app. It was developed by Kodi/XBMC Foundation, which is a non-profit tech consortium. This media player is available for different hardware platforms and operating systems.

Kodi features a 10-foot interface that you can use with remote controls and televisions. It lets you view and play most of the videos, podcasts, music, and other media files easily from the internet along with local storage media.

They have a massive catalog of around 985 add-ons available, so you can tweak and customize the setup to experience uncompromised entertainment. Apart from a beautiful and easy-to-use interface, Kodi doubles the enjoyment factors with its advanced features.

Kodi works with any device you may have, including Windows, Linux, Raspberry Pi, Android, tvOS, OSX, and iOS. Organize your music collection like never before, as Kodi supports nearly all formats, party mixes, playlists, and more.

Breathe life to your movie collection with cast genres, artwork, and more instead of piling the DVDs on your shelf. Kodi is your perfect buddy to binge-watch your favorite TV shows organized seamlessly. They even allow you to manage and display your photos with slideshows or on a big screen instead of scattering the photos all over your device.

You can also choose a new skin to change the way Kodi looks on your device or install their PVR addon to record TV shows and watch them later. With Kodi, you can also stream a radio station on the internet and control it from your mobile phone or web browser.


Take better control of all your media by using Jellyfin, a volunteer-built media software. It lets you stream videos on any device using your server the way you want without any restrictions. Jellyfin allows you to collect, manage, stream, and enjoy your media stress-free.

Just run your Jellyfin server over your device to access this free entertainment software. You can keep your complete movie collection using a range of beautiful posters. Choose your movies and TV shows and let them organize the content automatically by season.

It allows you to enjoy your entire music collection by making customized playlists and listening to them wherever you go. Stream live TV and record videos by setting automatic recording to have them stored in your library. It supports web browsers and a range of devices, including Android, iOS with AirPlay, Fire TV, Android TV, Roku, etc.

You can also watch via an existing Kodi install or Chromecast. Jellyfin respects your privacy and never tracks or controls your data as they have kept their software transparent and open. Anything they collect, like crash logs, accounts, etc., are all opt-ins.

The best thing is, Jellyfin server is free for you to download and use forever with no hidden cost. You can use it for personal or company use. This open-source software has a GNU GPL license, so you can freely use it, modify it, study it, build it, or distribute it.


Subsonic is your personal media player that is super easy to use. It lets you enjoy your movies, TV series, music, and more with Subsonic apps that you can use with different devices from anywhere, or you use a browser on your computer.

The clean, intuitive interface is highly optimized for efficient browsing out of large content collections. Using the free-text search, you can find your preferred tracks quickly. It also showcases cover arts such as images that are embedded into ID3 tags.

You can create a playlist and can share it with others if you like. You can assign stars to your favorite albums, tracks, and artists and give comments and ratings to the albums. Also, control your play queue by adding, repeating, shuffling, saving, and loading the tracks.

Subsonic supports almost all media formats like MP3, AAC, OGG, and other audio and video formats streamed over HTTP. You can import and export playlists that support the formats like M3U, XSPF, and PLS.

Subsonic also works with network-enabled media players such as iTunes, Winamp, VLC, XMMS, Windows Media Player, MusicMatch, and Flash players. It displays metadata like artist, song, etc. and implements the protocol SHOUTcast, and supports the streaming of HLS videos.

You can use the Jaudiotagger library for editing and tag parsing MP3, FLAC, OGG, APE, and WMA files. Have a fully customized experience as it is available in 28 global languages, choose from 30 themes, utilize the highly configurable interface, personal avatar, automatic album list, and browse your favorite genres.

You can set your server by your own address, for example, Subsonic can work with multiple players and users simultaneously and integrates with different web services to provide you with a better experience.

Furthermore, it allows you to secure your account by supporting LDAP and using HTTP/SSL. Enjoy extra features like streaming on Sonos and Chromecast, downloading podcasts, managing radio stations and internet TV, playing your media on supported UPnP/DLNA devices, and more.


Switch to MediaPortal and transform your computer into a brand new media solution. The platform runs on standard hardware, allows you to connect your TV directly, and shows your series, photos, movies, and music, etc., dynamically.

Enjoy watching your favorite content on a big screen Plasma TV, LCD, LED TV, or Projector in the comfort of your home. You can watch, record, and schedule like a TiVo on your live TV for free. It plays movies, videos, DVDs, Blu-ray discs and allows you to listen to radio and music.

You can store pictures, home videos and create a slideshow for easy view. You can use a remote to control the playing media while sitting on your couch for more convenience. You can use MediaPortal on your mobile or web and can check the news, weather, and much more.

Use their hundreds of available skins and plugins to perform many things like monitoring your HTPC, viewing scores and movie showtimes, streaming web TV and downloading it, playing YouTube videos, Apple trailers, internet radio, and music or genre from your set playlist.

MediaPortal is straightforward to use and control and allows you to watch, read, listen and play media wherever and whenever you want without navigation difficulties. Start your free journey with them and enjoy your popcorn while watching and listening to a wide range of media.


Want to access video content for free and stream it on different devices?

Try Serviio.

Serviio is a completely free media server that lets you stream your media content like images, videos, and music on different devices like TV, games console, mobile phones, Playstation 3, Bluray player, Xbox 360, tablets, MusicPal, ROKU, Xbox One, and more.

For a better experience while playing the media, Serviio supports profiles to increase the device potential and decrease the lack of playback support of media format (via transcoding). The technology used in Serviio is Java, which is the sole reason it runs on major platforms, including Mac, Linux, NAS platforms, and Windows.

To get more access for sharing and using it on any device, you can opt for the Pro edition. You can also control it with Alexa devices and your voice. Just say what you wish to watch and let Serviio play it for you. It uses a plugin system to stream online content like live audio/video, web page content, and RSS feeds.

Another feature that you would love in Serviio is that it supports subtitles and automatically updates your media library on adding or removing media files or metadata files. You can browse from a vast option for the local library and store RAW images. Serviio supports editable renderer profiles in different devices, automatic detection, and profile assignment.

It helps you extract metadata of the media files, including local metadata, embedded tags, online metadata, Swisscenter, XBMC, and MyMovies. In addition to that, Serviio even supports video thumbnails, DVD posters, CD covers, etc. Its technology helps you minimize your task by adding files in series and mark episodes of a last viewed series.

It supports a vast number of media files including audio like MP3, MP2, WMA Lossless, OGG, ALAC, DSF, WAV, etc.; video formats like MPEG-1, 2, 4, Matroska, Flash, 3GP, WebM, RealVideo, etc.; image formats like JPEG, GIF, RAW, etc.; playlist formats like PLS, M3U, ASX, WPL, etc.; and subtitle formats like SubRip, SSA/ASS, MicroDVD, VTT, and more.


Media server software is designed to make your life easier while you stream 📺 your favorite media content. Thus, check the features and benefits of all the above-mentioned software, compare their pricing, and go for the one that’s the best fit for your personal or business use.

  • Durga Prasad Acharya
    Durga Prasad Acharya is a Freelance Technical Writer who loves writing on emerging technologies, such as AI & ML, Cybersecurity, Web Hosting, SaaS, Cloud Computing, and more. Besides writing, he’s a web designer and is passionate about… read more
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