Best Windows Media Center Alternatives For Replacing The Obsolete Software

By Dev Gupta / May 29, 2018

Windows Media Center was packed with a number of features, allowed you to play music and videos, and browse photos too. Furthermore, the platform even allowed users to record and capture live TV. More than the features, it was the fact that it came pre-installed and did not eat up additional memory that comforted so many users. However, the software is no longer available for free. This is why we've decided to search for the best Windows Media Center alternatives.

If you want the feature now, it will cost you money. In case you were using Windows Media Center just because it was free, you should not spend money on it. The market is abuzz with free Windows Media Center alternatives. And the best part is, they are all free!

What Happened to The Windows Media Center?

Windows Media Center used to be a media hub for PCs. You could watch videos and listen to music from various folders and collection. The app was dynamic enough to record TV. And all of these tasks were interconnected in such a way that they could connect with any Windows system in the home network.

As we shifted from Windows 7 to 8, a world of things changed from one end to the other. If you thought it was just the design that changed, you couldn’t be more mistaken. Alongside some other Windows elements, Microsoft removed Windows Media Center as well.

Best Windows Media Center Alternatives - 5 Picks!

In this article, we will tell you about the five best Windows Media Center alternatives that you can trust. All of the following options are actually much more capable that WMC ever was, making us sure you're enjoying using them.

Option #1: Kodi

Kodi Home Screen
Supported Platforms Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, Smart TV platforms.
Pros Local play and live streaming; Python-based mini-games; Customizable looks.
Cons Interface could be difficult for beginners.
Visit Kodi

If you are looking for a real media center to replace WMC, Kodi should be your default option. Previously known as XMBC, Kodi is an open source and free software that has been popular with users ever since it launched. From playing locally stored files to streaming from services like YouTube, you can truly do a lot with Kodi.

In fact, you can use Kodi to go the extra mile and play Pandora Internet Radio and Spotify on it. Furthermore, you can use Kodi to record TV programmes with the help of corresponding software. This bunch of features makes Kodi a superb alternative if you have used Windows Media Center in the past.

Another great feature of Kodi that has been a favorite with fans is the ability to play Python-based mini-games. Besides the media-centric features, you can also customize Kodi in terms of its looks and productivity. A large number of skins help you tune the look of Kodi just the way you want.

Option #2: Plex

Plex Media Player
Supported Platforms Playstation, Windows, Nvidia Shield, Roku, Xbox, MacOS.
Pros Integrated media playing and storage; Expandable to a number of devices.
Cons Does not record live TV.
Visit Plex

While Plex is a good alternative to Windows Media Player, it comes with its fair share of limitations. You cannot record TV or watch live TV on this media player. However, it is still an awesome alternative to WMC, thanks to a boatload of terrific features. It supports a number of media formats and keeps all your files and data organized.

The networking feature in Plex is out of the league. You can use Plex on just about any device you have. There is also a community where like-minded media lovers can share content. If you are looking to expand your media player into a number of devices, Plex is a great theater application.

On the face of it, Plex is a great media player. However, the software also works as a great organizer of your files and media. The integrated model of online media streaming offered by Plex is one of the best you will get on a free application.

 Option #3: Media Portal 2

Media Portal 2
Supported Platforms Windows Vista or later.
Pros All-around WMC alternative; Great for Windows PC; Terrific user interface.
Cons Requires plugins for live streaming.
Visit Media Portal

Another superb Windows Media Center alternative is MediaPortal. You can do a lot of things on MediaPortal including playing media files, recording live TV, and storage of audio and video files. You can also use this application to stream media files to other PCs in your network.

Consider these features of MediaPortal in combination with its superb user interface. The organization method of the software has drawn rave comments from a large community of users. Streaming content on the web will require some effort from you though. You will need to install plugins to stream content live on MediaPortal.

While it is not evident by the looks, a lot of Media Portal features are based on Kodi. For example, you can control MediaPortal with the help of Kinect or your TV remote. MediaPortal can be particularly great for you if you have a Windows PC.

Option #4: Emby

Supported Platforms Windows, Linux, Mac, NAS, Docker, FreeBSD.
Pros Available for TV and mobile; Works well on Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Cons Not the best UI.
Visit Emby

Emby is a versatile media application that provides a lot of options for users. It mimics a number of WMC features as well. With some native apps and apps for all popular platforms, Emby is a cool option to keep your media organized. When it comes to seamlessly playing audio and video files, Emby is second to none.

Emby had a limited number of features back when it used to be called Media Browser. After the update, Emby has graduated with a number of features like Folder Sync, Cloud Sync, and playback improvements. The platform has a special feature that detects DLNA devices. Moreover, you also get parental control options on the new and improved Emby.

Emby is available in three options – mobile apps, TV apps, and the Emby server. The Emby server is available on Mac, Linux, and Windows. The TV apps are available for Android TV, Smart TV, and Chromecast.

Option #5: Universal Media Player

Universal Media Server
Supported Platforms Windows, Linux, MacOS.
Pros Solid functionality; Support for plugins; DLNA-device compatible.
Cons Some plugins might slow down the interface.
Visit Universal Media Player

Universal Media Player is a simple and intuitive option to keep all your media organized in the same place. You can access all your music, movies, and other media files on a number of devices, including your TV. This makes Universal Media player a viable alternative to Windows Media Center.

If you are looking for a WMC alternative primarily for streaming, you will like every feature of Universal Media Player. UMP supports any DLNA device that you have. In case your device does not have native DLNA support, you can carry on with the web interface without any difficulty.

To extend productivity, Universal Media Player allows you to choose from a number of plugins. For example, a plugin will allow you to integrate Google Play Music in Universal Media Player. There is another plugin that allows you to easily find information from IMDB when you are looking up media content on the web.

Which Windows Media Center Alternative to Pick?

If you have been looking for a Windows Media Center alternative for long enough, you will know that there are quite a few options out there. However, like everything else, not all the options are good for you. Here are a few factors that you should consider:

Final Thoughts

The best WMC alternative should be a combination of an organizer and a media player. With a bit of luck, you'll manage to find the perfect application. This is why we hope that our article helped you learn something new.

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