digiMoot:

Plex and Kodi Integration – PlexKodiConnect

Plex and Kodi Integration with PlexKodiConnect

On the whole, Kodi is amazing media centre software, there is no question about it. However, like anything, it has some weaknesses and there are some areas where it falls flat. Combining the power of Plex and Kodi goes a long way to bridging those gaps and make your media centre experience more seamless. Let me introduce PlexKodiConnect which will help you complete your Plex and Kodi integration.

Plex and Kodi integration has been done before with PleXBMC. However there were serious limitations as you had to use one of the very few PleXBMC compatible skins such as the Amber skin. Work has sort of halted on PleXMBC with no real updates being completed on the add-on for more than 5 years at the time of the updating of this article (November 2021).

PlexKodiConnect doesn’t have these limitations and allows you to improve your Kodi experience by providing a centralized database, database management tools and transcoding for lower powered devices. Plex also offers you the ability of improved portability between a variety of mobile (or other) devices. Read on for more details.

How Does it Work?

So how is PlexKodiConnect different and how does it work? PlexKodiConnect has been developed based on the Emby add-on for Kodi. This add-on takes all the movie and TV show information from an Emby server (similar to Plex server) and integrates it directly into the native Kodi database.

Now Croneter has taken this Emby add-on and applied it to Plex by developing the PlexKodiConnect add-on.

How Does it Improve Kodi?

So, what’s the big deal? Well the key word above was native Kodi database. PlexKodiConnect takes all the data from your Plex media server and stores it into the native Kodi database. This means that any add-on that you use, including any skin, can be used and will behave the same as always as it will think that the copied data from your Plex server is just the same as any other data which might have been added to your native Kodi database. When you click an item to play, it will point to the location on your Plex media server and play it from there. It will play through Plex as if it was any other Plex client accessing the media and will benefit from all of the Plex options available.

Using a Plex server ‘backend’ will allow you to take advantage of the features associated with the Plex media server in combination with all the features of Kodi. It really becomes the best of both worlds situation. Here are some of the advantages:

    1. Central (simple) Database – Plex has a centralized database from which all of your client devices, including those running PlexKodiConnect will access for all metadata, images and watched statuses. This simplifies setup of new devices and ensures all devices are working on the same watched status, allowing you to pick up a show in the bedroom, right where you left off in the family room. Kodi can be setup to run from a central SQL database but you have to be more of an advanced user to do that. Further this method isn’t as flexible as Plex as it becomes a challenge to sync media to a mobile device. Plex really simplifies the process.
    2. Database Management – The Plex server has an easy to use web interface through which to edit all of the information associated with each of your media files. You can change the images (fanart, poster, banner, etc) or you can change the genre of the movie (if you’re using smart playlists or other methods to filter out kids movies for example). With Kodi, I haven’t come across away to manually edit the database (if you know of a way, please post so in the comments) making it really inflexible and challenging. In my opinion this is the biggest weakness of Kodi.
    3. Client Availability – Outside of devices which you use Kodi on, you have the option of using the Plex app. It is available for a wide variety of devices including gaming systems, smart TVs and set top boxes. The Plex app I find is best for mobile devices like smart phones and tablets specifically for the features which lets you connect to your local server from outside your network and for the option which allows you to sync media from your network to watch offline (if you don’t want to use you mobile data). This is an automated process which looks at the latest unwatched episodes of a series and syncs to your device automatically.

So as you can see you get all the flexibility, stability add-ons etc associates with Kodi PLUS all the benefits of the aforementioned associate with Plex. It really is the best of both worlds. The one drawback is you need to have a server running somewhere, but there are more and more devices that can host a Plex server including routers and a NAS.

Plex vs Emby

I’ve been using an Emby server and the Emby add-on up to this point. It’s been pretty good – it is similar to Plex but open source and offers a bit more customization. However, I personally find Plex generally more stable and mature software, less resource intensive and it does seamless integration of shows to my mobile device (for use when not connected to my LAN). Until recently I have been using a Plex server for integration into my mobile devices (Android and iOS) and an Emby server to talk to all my Kodi devices. Running two separate media servers hasn’t been practical, obviously – two sets of watched statuses, two servers bogging down my hardware.

A Bonus Feature

As a bonus feature – PlexKodiConnect offers Plex Companion which allows you to cast movie, TV, music, etc right from within the Plex app for your android or iOS device. I have however been only having limited success as it often disconnects from the device and has trouble reconnecting. Hopefully this implementation will continue to improve – this would make my Raspberry Pi Kodi install for playing music to my stereo so much smoother. Keeping my finders crossed for that.

How to Install PlexKodiConnect

It’s pretty easy to install. Follow these steps from the install guide (https://github.com/croneter/PlexKodiConnect)

  1. Add a new PlexKodiConnect source in Kodi’s file manager
    • Use these settings to add a new source in the file manager (new network location):
      • Protocol: Web server directory (HTTPS)
      • Server adress: croneter.github.io
      • Remote path: pkc-source
      • Port: 443
    • Alternatively to adding the PKC source, download the repository ZIP-file directly by pushing the button below. Put the file somewhere you can find it again. Select that file in step 2.
      Kodi Leia stable version Kodi Leia beta version Kodi Matrix stable version Kodi Matrix beta version
  2. Install the PlexKodiConnect repository from ZIP file
  3. Finally install PlexKodiConnect from the new repository

Now continue to configure PKC on the first run to get started!

The Bottom Line

It’s not often something comes along that causes me to alter the setup I have in place for my media experience. However, this is on add-on which has done exactly that. Plex and Kodi integration using PlexKodiConnect has improved my experience by integrating Plex within the native databases of all my Kodi clients and has become a must add-on for me. Cronter has done some excellent work on this add-on but there are still a few peripheral features which need a bit of tweaking. All in all, I definitely recommend that you take a look at it and give it a try.

~digiMoot

Liked it? Take a second to support digiMoot on Patreon!

1 thought on “Plex and Kodi Integration – PlexKodiConnect

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *