davilla Wrote:XBMC for Mac is the best, Plex is an imitation that caters to eye candy. If you like eye candy, use Plex. If you want a media center application use XBMC.
I think both apps have a learning curve and Plex might be a bit simpler or seem friendlier to a person who is strictly a Mac user. They have also added in items such as a limited but useful built in help tool in the form of a video etc. These "little" items do make a difference to someone who is just starting out. Also, there is an area in video for adjusting the playback settings on movies that is dumbed down but useful with "normal, agressive" etc which sacrifices some image quality for smoother playback. This is very handy on slower systems unless you want as sharp as possible and don't mind pauses and jutter. XBMC will also let you do this but you have to manually edit an XML file.
I find XBMC to be more a purist's choice which is what I prefer usually. However, the above point about the video setting is a lesson both teams should learn from. It is far easier to have "template" screens that write back to the appropriate XML or other file than for an end user to search and modify. The template style screens can be extremely useful to not only make tweaks but a smart template would not let one put in values that would fail.
If Santa could grant me two items for XBMC (and PLEX) in 2010 it would be
1) ability to test/measure a movie file and offer up suggested setting PER a movie. The end user choice would be then stuffed into a template offered and be written back to the database. When the movie is played, that information would be used for that particular movie. PLEX has an area related to video that lets you pick how frames are handled with H.264 media files. This is very useful. Unfortunately, its either set each time or one setting for all movies. So, its half baked. Let's get a more refined way to optimize movie playback and make it easy to enter beyond editing directly the XML file (as in a template fill in).
2) I am sure some folks with a Mac Mini would like to try and install Linux and exploit the GPU. While this is a niche group, it would be good if there was a script install for Linux on the Mini akin to Asrock Ion. A Mac type isn't one to easily convince going to respositories etc but rather, would like a script to do the calls for them.
Btw, I use both Plex and XBMC. Lately I use XBMC more - about 80 percent of the time.