I have used Plex for many years on my server and I have even paid for a lifetime Plex pass. However, I no longer use Plex because I am no longer comfortable using it. I have been thinking about moving away from Plex for quite some time and about 2 months ago I sat down and spend the time setting up Jellyfin on the server and all of my clients.
So, when I started using Plex it was only focused on giving the best experience for your own ripped movie files. Today, however, Plex wants to be a hub for all your subscriptions. Making it possible to search within Plex and get results not only from your own media collection but also media from whatever subscription you have added to Plex. This is an awesome feature if that is what you want. However, I very much do not want that! I only want Plex to show my media collection and nothing else.
If it was possible to turn it off it would be less bad. Sadly, you can not. Well, you can of cause not add any subscriptions. But, plex has its own free movies that you can only hide and not remove and they will show again after an update. Even if you have turned off what can be turned off and hidden what can be hidden. Search will still show movies, that are not on the server and I just can not have that.
There seem to be only two real alternatives to Plex. Emby and Jellyfin. Emby I ruled out because it is like Plex is not open source and would, if not already, most likely go down the same route as Plex and add all sorts of “Features” that fit the corporate interests of the company behind. And I just do not see any benefit in replacing one close source program with another.
Jellyfin on the other hand is fully open-source from what I can see. I have been following Jellyfin for a few years as I expected to move to it at some point. Again because of the direction Plex has gone I have been sort of forced into moving to Jellyfin even though I don’t think Jellyfin is quite there yet.
My main issue with Jellyfin is that the UI of Jellyfin leaves a lot to be desired. It is oookay…. But, I really prefer the way Plex always has the movie categories/libraries on the left side and how the movie posters are shown. And some settings can not be set globally and have to be changed individually on every user account which is a bit annoying. For example, turning subtitles off by default. That being said my kids just took to using and navigating Jellyfin without me having to explain anything.
The feature to download/offline movies to your phone is one of the things I really miss in Jellyfin. The Android app does have the option to download the movie, But it just downloads the file, not a good solution. Especially not if it is a large movie file. Plex transcodes the movie when downloading to make the file smaller and you can play the movie within Plex. However, I am sure that the feature will be added at some point.
Another thing that the Jellyfin iOS app is missing is Chromecast support. Luckily, I only used a Chromecast in one place and that was in my shop. Here I just bought a cheap Roku stick and it works awesome as a shop media client.
I used Plex and Plexamp for my music. However, music is one area where I had to use another solution than Jellyfin. Not because Jellyfin does not handle music but because there is no integration with Sonos.
So, for my music, I use Navidrome and bonob to integrate Navidrome with Sonos. This is a very, very awesome setup. Sonos sees all my music, playlists, and all from Navidrome and it is super fast. Furthermore, because Navidrome uses the Subsonic API I have a large selection of music players to choose from. I tried a few of them and I like the open-source Amperfy music player on iOS
It has been a few months since I moved to Jellyfin and all in all I am quite happy with Jellyfin and Navidrome. I did have to move my server from TrueNAS core (FreeBSD) to TrueNAS scale (Linux) to be able to run Jellyfin but more on that in another article.