Getting To know Plex

Getting To know Plex

What is Plex?
This article is the first of a multipart series on Plex, a popular media server and app maker that has risen to prominence over the past few years. There is a bit much to cover about Plex to put in to one article. This story will inform our community about what Plex is and share information about the forms it takes.

The Basics
One of the most powerful media server programs you can find for home media is Plex. Plex can trace its roots back to XBMC and still resembles it’s ancestor in some ways but since starting
off as a project to bring Plex to the Mac platform it has become a force of its own. From it’s powerful and stable media center to its ability to send information to multiple devices Plex, which can be downloaded and fully utilized for free, is working its way on to every device that people use to enjoy their media intake from TV’s, set top boxes, tablets and phones and computers. At its heart Plex offers users a way to organize all of their digital media, movies, TV shows, pictures and music in one place and packages apps and features so that you can take the information where ever you go. Plex also offers community designed and supported channels with content from both major networks and online distributors.

What do you need to start using Plex?
New Plex users will have to download the Plex Media Server and have a device with an Plex media viewer installed. By media viewer we mean apps, channels or program depending on the platform. More on platforms and mobile devices later.

How Do you Get It?
In order to use Plex on any device (including the computer running the server) you must first download the Plex Media server. The server is available for Windows, Macintosh, Linux  and Free BSD a linux and Unix like OS. For more info on Free BSD click here. New users need only navigate to the company’s website and go to the downloads section or click here. Plex even has a version of the Plex Media Server for multiple NAS (Network Attached storage) devices including Netgear and Unraid. For more on NAS devices see this article. Once the correct version of Plex Media server is located the file can be downloaded and Plex handles the rest of the set up.

How do I watch Content Tablets TV’s and Set Boxes Oh My
Plex makes applications for multiple devices including computers. If a household has chooses to use a computer as a full-fledged media center or even just a laptop for personal viewing Plex offers the Plex Home Theater.

Plex is available across multiple Platforms
Plex is available across multiple Platforms

Plex Home Theater can be downloaded for computers running Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Once the server is set up and running on at least one computer on a home’s wireless network any other computers on the same home network can access the media server via the home theater. Plex also has an official Roku Channel which is consistently ranked as one of Roku’s 10 most popular channels. The channel, unlike the Home Theater, does cost a one-time charge of $4.99 for new users though Plex Pass members (who pay a fee for extras) can get the channel at no extra charge. There are also mobile apps for Android and IOS devices (compatible with AirPlay) along with Windows 8 phones and tablets. A Plex app can also be added to Samsung Smart TV’s and Internet connected Samsung Blu-ray players through the smart hub and starting in 2013 has been an option for LGTV owners too. The mobile apps also have a $4.99 charge.

One Set up Multiple Devices Access Points
Once the Plex media server is set up to the specifications of the user the apps for the many devices access the media and channels from the server. This means that users don’t have to go about loading their media to each device in order to watch it. Its like having a personal version of Netflix with all of your digital media. Feel free to load DVD’s, Blue-rays and digital copies of any of your media to the server, box up the physical disks and clear up space around your home theater set up. Worried about hard drive space, Plex can also be set up to read files on external hard drives attached to the computer acting as the server.

Plex Downloads Page Click Here



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