The 4 best programs to turn your computer into a streaming media center

Windows offered media center software that gave users a central place to organize all their videos, pictures and music for a home theater setup.

Unfortunately, Windows Media Center has been discontinued, and Windows 10 and Windows 11 users must use an external program to have Media Center. However, it is important to note that media center software is not the same as media players.

If you need a program to organize all of your media files that can turn your PC into a media center and connect it to your home theater, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you’ll find the best software to turn your PC into a streaming media hub. All four programs are absolutely free. Some advanced features are paid or require a subscription.

If you don’t have time to organize your videos and music, MediaMonkey is your best bet. It doesn’t matter how messy and disorganized your music, TV and movie folders are; this software will allow you to tag and categorize your files.

features:

  • Automatically identify movies and tracks that have missing information, tags that are out of sync, or that are duplicated elsewhere.
  • Easily switch from Windows Media Player to iTunes, allowing you to import your playlists and selections from MediaMonkey and use them with any media player seamlessly.
  • The app also lets you customize the look to personalize your playlists with albums, musicians, tracks, genres, and more.
  • Quickly share files with MediaMonkey on any TV, DVD player and other UPnP/DLNA devices. It allows you to watch your favorite videos and listen to your favorite music with a few clicks.

You can easily install MediaMonkey on Windows 7, 8, 10 devices and it is fully optimized for these Windows versions. It’s also available in 15 languages ​​and won’t affect your computer’s performance.

If you’re looking for a more advanced media center, Plex is the perfect choice. It is a unique media center software that has a client-server model. This requires the Plex Media Server software, as well as an external Plex app that can be downloaded to a Windows 10 device.

features:

  • The free version limits media playback to one minute. You need to unlock it with an in-app purchase or a $4.99 monthly subscription to Plex Pass.
  • Plex is great software for organizing your picture, video, and music collections. It supports almost all music and video formats.
  • The library interface also shows your media files with biographies, plot summaries, artwork, and more.
  • Plex allows you to set up multiple user accounts and impose restrictions on unacceptable content.
  • Includes DVR recording with access to 86 of Nielsen’s most popular shows. Plus, you get online content from sources like Spike, NPR, and Comedy Central.
  • With a Plex Pass subscription, users can sync their media library across a variety of devices, including phones, tablets, game consoles, and digital media players.

You can also sync your library with other cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box. So if you have pictures, videos, and music on two other devices, you can open all your files on both using Plex apps.

Another media center that offers a centralized database is Emby. Like Plex, it has its own server and can host multiple clients. There are also apps for different operating systems and devices.

You can even easily add Emby Theater on newer Windows devices with this download page. Alternatively, you can download the app from the Windows Store.

Note: Emby is not a streaming service and does not provide you with any content. Instead, it’s a personal media server platform that lets you access your music, videos, and pictures on the go.

features:

  • To play any media, you need to pay $49.99 per year for an Emby Premiere subscription.
  • Emby’s Home Theater app provides support for recording live video and apps. With this, you can record your favorite TV shows and store them directly on your server.
  • The Emby library displays cover art and metadata, and the GUI lets you quickly browse files with advanced search tools.
  • The home theater app includes Live TV Guide and Emby DVR, which allows you to schedule TV recordings.
  • Emby includes plugins that can enhance the overall viewing experience, such as Cover Art and the GameBrowser plugin that supports the game.
  • Includes centralized database management that users can use through web-based tools. It includes 20 apps for Android and iOS devices, game consoles and digital media players such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TV.

You can compile your media files on different devices. Emby lets you sync and back up your videos, photos, and music to cloud storage.

Originally known as Xbox Media Center (XBMC), Kodi is one of the most popular media center programs on the market today. This is because it is compatible with different devices and platforms.

Kodi is an open source software and you can install it by clicking OS on this page. It is currently compatible with many OS including Windows 10, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, Apple TV OS and Raspberry Pi. It also supports all major audio and video file formats for playback and allows users to stream content from various online streaming services.

features:

  • Access a variety of TV shows and media libraries, including banners, documents and posters, with minimal configuration.
  • With Kodi’s GUI, you can watch and record live TV. The software offers extensive GUI configuration options, allowing you to customize Kodi themes or skins, screensaver, background image, home page buttons, GUI audio effects, font, add-on shortcuts and more.
  • Includes amazing music visualization effects that make music playback visually interesting.
  • Kodi includes many add-ons for audio, video, screensavers, games, weather, apps, images, and more, allowing you to enhance the software to better suit your needs.

Which Media Center Software Will You Choose?

With these programs, you can now turn your computer into a media streaming hub, giving you access to all your music, photos and videos on other devices. So, if you don’t like using different streaming platforms, you can use these apps to fulfill your media needs.

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