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Combine the best of Kodi and Plex with PleXBMC Addon

written by Mike May 25, 2015

Recently I compared the benefits of both Kodi and Plex and teased that you can start using Plex with Kodi together to enjoy the benefits of both applications. Doing so brings the centralized media management feature of Plex and the customizability of Kodi, together to provide an awesome media experience. In fact, setting up a system to use both Plex Media Server and Kodi Home Theatre Software is actually quite easy – by following these instructions you should be able to have it setup in 15 minutes or less!

Integrating Kodi and Plex: How it Works

Many of you have guessed what I was hinting at in the article comparing Plex Home Theater vs Kodi Media Center – I’m sure that like me, you have found using Plex with Kodi is an effective and integrated way to package all your entertainment needs in one place for the whole family to enjoy. This setup uses two Kodi addons: PleXBMC and the Amber Skin (or any other skin that supports PleXBMC).

Kodi and Plex - Plex Movies

A view of how the Plex Movies section looks

If you are using Raspberry Pi and perfectly OK with just Plex then installing Rasplex on RPi may be enough to make you happy. [Read: Speed up RasPlex on Raspberry Pi: 4 performance tweaks]

PleXBMC Kodi Addon (Required)

PleXBMC is the Kodi add-on that connects Kodi with your Plex Media Server(s). Shout out to @hippojay, @pecinko, @magnesium, @austin1howard and others for their work on this program. The install file for PleXBMC can be downloaded from GitHub. [Read: 20 Best Kodi Add-ons in 2015 to Help you Cut the Cord]

PleXBMC Integrated Skin (Recommended)

There are two (Helix compatible) skins that I am aware of that can be integrated into PleXMBC: the Amber Skin and the Titan MediaBrowser Skin. Being a PleXMBC integrated skin means that the skin populates the movies and TV menus using the data from the Plex server(s). If you are aware of any other integrated skins please post in the comments (and include links). [Read: 6 Best Kodi Skins in 2015 to Enhance Your Media Center]

If you want to use PleXBMC with another favorite skin which is not integrated, this is still possible, it just means that you would have to launch it as a separate video add-on much like you would launch the YouTube add-on for example. This article will be using the Amber skin, but the process should be very similar for Titan MediaBrowser. I’m using Amber in this article because it is quite popular and well, it’s one of my favorite skins. I find that is:

  • light weight and fast (works well on a Raspberry Pi 1);
  • looks great and many views prominently feature fan art;
  • highly customizable menus; and
  • most importantly: it is wife friendly

I’ve included a few screenshots of how things look at the bottom of this post, so you can check out what the final product looks like before going through the installation steps. Shout out to @pecinko, @jester, @joethepartylion, @gismo112 and others for their work on the Amber skin. The install file for the Amber skin can be downloaded by following the links in this Kodi Forum post. It is also available through official Kodi repositories. [Read: 5 Best XBMC skins for Raspberry Pi]

PleXMBC Helper Script (recommended)

While it is not required to get yourself up and running, I recommended that you also install the PleXBMC helper script which is a service that allows iOS and Android Plex client apps to communicate from with the PleXMBC add-on. This allows you to ‘cast’ your library from a Plex App on your iOS or Android device directly to Kodi – much like airplay.

You can download PleXMBC Helper from GitHub. Thanks to @hippojay, @wickning1 and others for their work on this application.

Installation: Using Plex with Kodi

The first step is to get Kodi up and running on the device you wish to use:

Then you will need to install the PleXBMC add-on. If you are running the default Confluence skin, select “Programs” and then “Get More…”. You will now need to move back up the directory tree (using the “..”) until you see “Video Add-ons”. Select “Video Add-ons” and move down the list until you see PleXBMC. Now select and install it. Alternatively you can install it from the Zip files by downloading it from the link above.

Plex and Kodi - Install PleXMBC

Install PleXBMC

If you want to use the PleXBMC Helper, download it from the location above. In Kodi go select “Programs” and and move back up the directory tree until you see the “Install from Zip File” option. Select this and navigate to the location where you downloaded the PleXMBC Helper zip file noted above. Select the Zip file and the add-on will install. You will now need to do two quick things to get it working.

  1. Turn on control of Kodi by other devices via HTTP. Go to “Settings”, “Kodi”, “Services”. Under general, put in the name you wish for this device. Then under “Web Server” turn on the “Allow Control of Kodi via HTTP”. Insert a username and password.
  2. Configure PleXBMC Helper. Go to “Settings”, Kodi, Add-ons, “Enabled Add-ons” then “Services”. Select PleXBMC Helper and go to Settings. You will need to ensure that “Use XBMC Client Name” is on (it should be by default). You should now be able to ‘cast’ to your Kodi device from a Plex client app.

Next you will need to install your Plex integrated skin. As mentioned, in this case we will be using the Amber skin. Again, select “Programs” and then “Get More…” You will again need to move back up the directory tree, but this time you are looking for “Skins”. Select “Skins” and move down the list to “Amber” and select and install it. Once installation is complete, it will ask you if you would like to switch the skin – select yes. This can also be installed from the Zip file downloaded from the link above. Once you’ve switched to the skin, navigate to the settings menu and select “Go Plex” (by pressing the down arrow when on the settings menu).

Plex and Kodi - Go Plex

Activate PleXMBC integrated mode by selecting “Go Plex”

Bam! That’s it – you should be up and running with Kodi and Plex. Scroll to the left and you should see your TV shows, Movies Channels, Music, etc on your Plex Server (it may take a couple seconds to load the cover art).

Plex and Kodi - Plex TV

PleXMBC with Amber TV Shows Menu

If you don’t see your media, it might be because your Plex server is not on the same network or can not be auto discovered. You should be able to fix this by going to “Settings”, PleXBMC Settings” then “Server”. Put in your Plex account and password information.

Amber with PleXBMC Integration Screenshots:

Amber PleXBMC Menu Customization

Amber Skin Allows for Menu Customization

Plex Channels

Access your Installed Plex Channels

Kodi with Plex Movies Submenu

Movies Sub Menu (Amber using PleXMBC)

Plex Movies View Options

Great Visuals that Showcase Fan Art

Kodi Plex Music Submenu

Amber and PleXBMC Music Sub Menu

Plex Kodi Music

PleXBMC and Amber Music Menu

Plex Music Visualization

PleXBMC and Amber Music Visualization

PleXBMC Setup – Final Thoughts

That’s it – it is a pretty easy Kodi and Plex setup and should have taken less than 15 minutes. You can play with all the customization options to get the right feel for you. You can also quickly repeat this setup on all of your devices to use Kodi and Plex together and have them all connected to your central Plex library.

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31 comments

Jeremy May 25, 2015 - 8:21 am

If you like this, you should really check out Emby (specifically their Emby for Kodi addon). It integrates your Emby data natively with Kodi so you can continue to use all native Kodi addons. It really works brilliantly.

Reply
Mike June 8, 2015 - 3:40 pm

Stay tuned! More on Emby on the way!

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Dave June 18, 2015 - 1:41 pm

You can use any skin, it’s just a lot more work. You need to edit the short cut to point to the video addon PleXBMC then just pick the appropriate section. For example I set the Movie short cut to open my plex unwatched and then the over flow menu is all movies.

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Jake July 28, 2015 - 2:16 pm

Confused… It’s not listed Video-addons. Kodi team says it’s not part of their repos and not sure why these instructions indicate that it is. It’s an add-on that needs to be installed by a zip file (or installing the github repo). This is not part of Kodi by default. Can you please elaborate how you got PleXBMC to show in that Video add-on list, as it doesn’t show on mine. I have to install it from Zip.

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John August 28, 2015 - 11:22 pm

I would like to install, but it doesn’t show in the Video Add-ons Section. And I don’t know how to install from zip (the instructions for that aren’t included here). Please help!

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Robert September 9, 2015 - 1:06 pm

I can’t find it in the video add-ons either. It isn’t compatible with Kodi anymore?

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Tim September 10, 2015 - 8:55 am

I go back and forth from Plex and Kodi all the time. My latest reason is – I have added US TV On Demand’s streams to my Kodi library. Any idea on how to add them to the Plex or plexbmc library?

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Brad September 14, 2015 - 12:10 am

Can kodi be streamed to apple tv 3, using plexconnect? I can’t seem to figure out how to do it. I have plexbmc, and amber skin. I can see my movies from plex, but when I play from kodi, they aren’t streamed to my apple tv, Help!!

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Chris October 13, 2015 - 1:36 pm

Hello, is there anyway to access Kodi addons VIA Plex?

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Anand October 13, 2015 - 2:04 pm

Unfortunately, you cannot access Kodi addons on Plex. You can try Plex unofficial channels.

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Lutz October 17, 2015 - 8:21 am

Hi, do I assume correctly that you need to install Plex *and* Kodi/XBMC servers prior to adding the PleXBMC Kodi Addon?

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Anand October 19, 2015 - 12:49 pm

Yes, you need to your Plex server running before you can use the Plexbmc addon on Kodi.

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Adam November 25, 2015 - 3:07 am

Hey man you and i talked a while back but this is of extreme interest to me at the moment. i just got an android tv box and kodi all installed and am having issues getting this to work. all i can find is source code. please help us all out 🙂

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Brendan April 25, 2016 - 1:08 pm

If you have an Android TV box, why wouldn’t you just use the Plex app?

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Alejandro April 27, 2016 - 10:38 pm

Hello, one use I can think of is having your media centralized. This way, you can stream Plex movies as well as use Kodi addons never leaving the Kodi interface, which is highly convenient. Convenience is great when you’re trying to relax with your media, so this is an useful app. I’m sure I’m missing some other uses, though, but at least there’s that.

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jooka1978 December 18, 2015 - 4:25 pm

Awsome! You saved my life 🙂 Thank you!

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Luigi January 5, 2016 - 12:48 pm

Whats the best os for the machine-hardware where we install plex? i have and htpc on my home with opelec installed and i would like to use it as my media server and as plex media server for my parent and sister and for mobile device in general.

so i have to install plex on my opelec.

I’m thinking: are there openelec version with plex already installed (as rasplex for raspberry pi) ?

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Anand January 5, 2016 - 3:09 pm

You cannot install plex on openelec. You either either need Windows, Linux, Freenas, or one of the other OSes listed here: 7 Best home server software options to fit your needs

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Luigi January 7, 2016 - 6:19 pm

mmh:(

i’d like plex for “trascoding functionality on the server”, with kodi is it possibile to get this?

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Luigi January 27, 2016 - 3:24 pm

openelec is a linux distribution, if i find a way to compile pms for openelec?

this is an old discussion:
https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/94396/oe-openelec-pht-pms

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rp January 27, 2016 - 1:34 pm

does this work if I’m trying to access a shared library or is this only for local plex media server?

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Anand January 27, 2016 - 9:19 pm

I don’t use plex at this point. But i think it does.

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Joel March 23, 2016 - 12:11 pm

I assume this will work on a QNAP TVS-671 using their Kodi and Plex server apps?

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Joel March 23, 2016 - 2:16 pm

Also, am I understanding correctly that this combo leverages Plex’s transcoding muscle on the server side but just routes everything through the Kodi UI?

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Alejandro March 24, 2016 - 9:50 am

Hello, the hardware you suggested seems to be more than enough for the job. Indeed, as far as I can tell, PleXBMC acts only as a Plex client, so any heavy lifting would be done on the server side.

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steve April 18, 2016 - 1:48 pm

I have plex installed on my pc. I have kodi installed on my pc. I have plexBMC installed on kodi. I can watch plex streams (from stand alone plex) on my roku. I can watch movies (lets say from Channel 1) on my pc. But how do I use plex to stream from an add-on in Kodi? I have been trying to figure this out for hours on end but cant seem to combine plex(or plexBMC) with a video add-on in Kodi.

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Alejandro April 21, 2016 - 8:45 pm

Hello. This seems like an interesting idea, but sadly I don’t think it’s possible. Whilst Kodi is designed to be a standalone solution, Plex is designed to be a client-server software, so there’s no way (that I know of) to make Kodi behave as a client-server software. It simply wasn’t designed for it, as far as I know. Hope it helps!

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gnice3d August 25, 2016 - 4:35 pm

Correct. A Plex Client will only stream from a Plex Server. If you want to go the reverse route, you’ll need to enable the upnp service on the xbmc (Kodi) host system and grab a upnp client (Kodi or a ton of others) on the client.

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Will May 19, 2016 - 12:16 am

Is there a way to play the streams I have on Kodi through my Plex server? My plex server has no content, but I want to use kodi on my roku and ps4. any suggestions?

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Alejandro May 22, 2016 - 5:33 pm

Hello, so far I have seen the other way around: programs to play your Plex media via Kodi, but have yet to see the opposite, which would be what you are describing.

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Rishicash January 17, 2017 - 10:39 am

Great article. I hope it works for me. I have a Windows HTPC and use an Xbox 360 as an extender. There is not app for Kodi but is of course for Plex. Can I use the Plex app to access this setup so I can use the Kodi add ons?

Reply

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