In the bygone days of DVDs and VHS, maintaining your media library was a tedious task that took up time and space. Often you would find yourself wondering where you put your copy of Meatballs or season 1 of The Sopranos.
With digital downloads and online streaming, you never find yourself asking where you put a movie; you just pull it up on Netflix or Amazon and start watching.
However, as the digital age solves one problem another surely appears. With dozens of different ways to watch television and movies, you now run into the problem of bringing your media across different devices.
The family wants to watch The Hobbit on TV but can’t because it’s downloaded on your tablet. Pretty annoying, right? Well, let not your heart be troubled because there is a wonderful app called PLEX which just might solve your media woes.
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What is Plex?
PLEX is an all in one media hub that allows you to play media from device onto another. PLEX basically acts as a central server that syncs, organizes, and allows you to play media on any device. The best part is it’s free!
Going back to my previous example; if I had the Hobbit on my tablet and wanted to watch in on my television, all I have to do is pull up PLEX and within a few clicks the whole family is watching Bilbo and the gang romp about Middle Earth. It really is that simple; I’m not even kidding.
Plex Media Center
The PLEX interface is simple, easy to use, and beautiful; it looks very similar to Roku and Netflix’s setup. There are separate tabs for movies, television, music, and even a tab for movies/shows you haven’t finished watching yet.
If you ever get bored with your own media, PLEX offers access to a wide array of internet channels like TED Talks, Vimeo, and DailyMotion.
What isn’t so simple is the PLEX setup. While I didn’t have too much trouble setting it up myself, several reviews I came across complained about the complicated setup. If you’re not very tech-savvy, you might be disappointed to find that it’s not as simple as Netflix; but with a little patience, you won’t have too much trouble.
Would you like to know more about the PLEX setup? Read their setup guide here
While older media hubs would present everything in a scattered fashion, leaving you to do the organization; PLEX automatically tags and organizes everything for you. When adding media to PLEX, it uses meta-data from the digital file to download information about it off the internet.
For example, when you upload your digital version of Star Wars, PLEX will search the internet to find out what it is (TV or Movie), who starred in it, and what it’s about. The auto-tagging feature works about 95 percent of the time; so if you own a large media library, you’ll probably find a few files here and there with incorrect information. Overall though, the occasional hiccup in tagging isn’t enough to ruin or diminish your experience.
PLEX works with almost every device on the market; including Windows, iOS, Android, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox, and much more. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a device that doesn’t work with PLEX.
How Much Does Plex Cost?
That being said, if you want to use PLEX with your Android or Roku device you’ll have to pay $5 for each app. However, if you pay for the premium service PLEX PASS, you can get both apps for free.
As a free service, PLEX is great; as a premium service, PLEX is amazing. You can purchase their premium service, called PLEX PASS, for $4.99 a month; $39.99 a year; or $119.99 for a lifetime subscription. Here are some of the extra features you get with PLEX PASS:
- With the Cloud Sync feature, you can optimize the format of your media and upload it to cloud storage via Dropbox, Google Drive, and other supported 3rd party cloud storage services.
- Sync media to any of your devices and watch it offline at a later time; kind of like Spotify but with all forms of digital media.
- Automatically sync your photos from your mobile device to PLEX; making it easier to share memories with distant relatives.
The ability to sync your media to your mobile devices for offline play makes PLEXPASS worth it. If you plan on using it for more than a year, I would recommend getting the lifetime membership; use it for more than 15 months and it pays for itself.
Overall, PLEX and its premium service PLEX PASS is a must-have for anyone tired of jumping through hoops just to watch something that they already own.