Local files and online streaming are all comprehensively covered by the umbrella-like services of Kodi and the many, many set-top streaming boxes entering the market, but we'd be remiss in not covering yet another option, one that has a huge user base. We're talking, of course, about home networking, the capacity to put multimedia files on your own devices and play them at a whim on any other connected gadget. The best software for this task is Plex, an application that shares some of the features found in Kodi. Plex has a slick interface, somewhat like Kodi. The program hosts films, television, music and photos, again like Kodi. It also has scraping functions, meaning the program clicks on over to online resources when a movie is added, at which point metadata is downloaded to deliver the movie in an attractive form. DVD covers are added, as are posters and a summary of the plot. System architecture is where function diverges. A typical home theater application hosts local files and streams remote content. Plex, on the other hand, acts as a central hub for your files. It comes in two parts, a Plex Media Server and a Plex Client application. It's a little hard to understand at first, but both halves are required for the whole system to work. The server is your desktop computer or a dedicated digital box. A Chromebox can be a server, or a Raspberry Pi can do the job, though you'll need RasPlex to accomplish this device-specific action. The server consolidates the files and manages them, which means you don't even need a computer. A special centralized set of hard drives known as a NAS (Network Attached Storage) is an optimal choice on this occasion, but that's a topic for another day. The server component has to be configured for your network, which can take time depending on your technical experience. Get a computer literate friend to help, if that's what it takes. Now that the server is configured, it's time to install the client App. Newer connected televisions offer the App, as do iOS and Android mobile devices and either Windows or Mac desktop computers. Install it and let it search for your server. The point is, now that Plex is running things behind the scenes, your multimedia collection is available on every device you own, even when you're not at home. The philosophy driving this centralized media center's development is slightly different from Kodi, sure, but just as valuable in its own way, depending on the purpose of your setup.