Choosing the right media server software these days has become rather difficult. The sheer number of available options alone is enough to cause enough confusion for the average user and overwhelm them with too many available options. In this article, we will go over the main definition and benefits of using media server software. We will also go over the top five best media server software for Windows in 2022.
What is a Media Server Software?
A media server software is an application that allows you to store all your media, including video, audio, photos, etc. to be stored within the program and then share it over a network of your choosing. This is useful as this can be used to stream and share these media formats over the network on any device that you want. For example, you can use your phone to upload images and videos you have taken with it onto the media server software and then access them later using your laptop or smart TV.
How Does the Media Server Work?
Essentially, a media server software is a shared server between the device you use to access the software account. It stores all your data on the allocated server that it provides for you and allows you to access all of your saved data to be accessed on this server from anywhere and using any device. There are different technical methods that these servers use to allow users to access their media. These include progressive download, pseudo streaming, adaptive bitrate streaming, and, of course, direct file download. Different encodings are also used.
What is Media Server VPS?
A media server VPS is a virtual private server that uses the host server to save the client’s media. This is different from the normal media server software that also saves the media on a server. However, a software application is used to allow the clients to access their media. Whereas in a media server VPS, you simply access the media by accessing your VPS service. A media server VPS could also be tailored to be optimized as much as possible for streaming. These media server VPS services may also come with certain media server software pre-installed, for example, Plex. You can use Cloudzy’s Windows VPS Europe to establish a media server VPS of your own.
What are the benefits of Media Server Software?
The main benefit of hosting your media server software is the fact that you can access them from anywhere and anytime. Using them is also quite conducive to saving storage space. If you wanted to have your media on multiple devices, this would consume the same amount of storage on every device. With media server software, however, a one-time upload on the host server will save you all the storage at the expense of the bandwidth usage for a one-time upload. Last but not least, the fact that you can easily share your media over a single software is also a huge benefit.
What is Streaming?
Steaming is a manner of consuming and providing audio and video content. It relies on a continuous flow of receiving the data without actually downloading the material on the client’s physical hardware. This efficient method of playback has risen to great prominence in recent years, with more and more popular streaming services becoming mainstream, such as household names like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, etc. However, certain content on these platforms is unavailable in some regions behind geo-locks. The client has to have a European account, for example, to watch a certain TV series. If this is the case for you on any streaming platform, you can use Cloudzy’s guide on how to setup video streaming server of your own!
Best Media Server and Streaming Software in 2022
Now without further ado, let’s get down to ranking the top five media servers and streaming software in 2022.
Without a doubt, Plex is a familiar household name when it comes to media server software and streaming services. Plex allows you to both watch movies and TV shows, as well as your own content that you will upload manually onto it. Plex allows a rather large number of files to be uploaded into it, which is a major plus for families looking to keep all their photos and recordings in one place. It comes on multiple platforms, supports DVR and TV, and automatically syncs all your uploads in order for them to be accessed anywhere and anytime.
Stremio is another major streaming service and media server software competing with Plex. Stremio also comes with its own host of hosted TV shows and movies that you get as part of its service. However, Stremio also gets you access to certain live TV networks as well. Stremio is known for its DLNA server that easily allows you to manage your uploads in the form of libraries and different categories. Stremio is also supported on multiple different platforms and is optimized to easily run play content on any device, including smartphones and tablets.
Kodi is known for the fact that it forgoes a lot of the advantages that other apps like Plex and Stremio have in order to exclusively bring about the ideal movie-watching experience for the users. Kodi comes with full-screen support with an interactive sub-menu that is available on multiple device types such as TVs, iOS and Android phones, and tablets. Kodi also has excellent format support for different encoded files as well as MIDI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 files. This allows you to easily upload all your files regardless of format and bitrate and have them supported at any time.
Jellyfin is free, unlike the three options that we already mentioned. However, it also does not give you access to any outside-produced content such as TV shows, movies, or music. Instead, with Jellyfin, you get to easily stream any content from your own server with ease. So if you’re looking for a pure media server software that exclusively works for your own files, then Jellyfin is for you.
Mezzmo is another media server software that comes with its own set of available content as well as support for the client to upload and use their own content at any time. Mezzmo is known for its flexibility of options, such as different language support for audio and tailored performances for home theaters, as well as its browser support. So, if you do not wish to install any program and still get all the uses of a media server software, then Mezzmo is the best for you.
All in all, there are a lot of options when it comes to the best media server software options. These options come with their own features that make them unique compared to each other and cater to certain audiences more than others. Some of them focus more on aspects that make them more oriented towards a niche user base. You can use the five mentioned cases above to get a taste of what media server software suits you best.