Tuesday 16 August 2016

Use Plex To Organize & Stream All Your Media

Like many people I had different media files stored in separate locations, and accessing them was an exercise in remembering what I put where, and what devices could play them.

I also have a fairly large CD collection I've acquired over the years, most of which were still sitting in a box from the last time I moved.

Then I discovered Plex and all that changed.

Plex is a media server that can import & index pretty much anything, and then give you very easy access to it all on any device or platform. Plex can stream to smartphones, tablets, PC & Mac, and gaming consoles.

I spent some time importing all my CD's and then Plex organized them, grabbed the album art, and let me make as many custom playlists as I wanted. No need to keep the CD's around, and I can stream them all from any of my devices.

Pictures? No problem, Plex will tackle those. Movies, television shows, or other video content? All covered, and Plex will take care of the transcoding in the background so you never have to worry about what can play on which device.

Still wondering if it's worth trying? Take a look at the Plex media server video for more information.

The Plex media server is free, you can download it here. In order to play content you'll need to get a Plex client for the type of device(s) you want, but the client is relatively inexpensive, usually around $4.99 and sometimes goes on sale.

Beyond just accessing your content inside your home you can purchase a Plex Pass which opens up a bunch of additional capabilities. You will be able to access all your Plex content outside your home, and share files or folders with people outside of your network. Want to give grandma read-only access to the folder with all the family pictures? Easily done with a Plex Pass.

A Plex pass also lets you sync content to your devices for offline playback, so you can take your music, videos, or pictures with you to use on a plane or other places where WiFi isn't an option.

Parental controls come with your Plex Pass, so you can ensure your children don't view inappropriate content. Perhaps Game of Thrones isn't something you want your 5yr old viewing. No problem, just lock it down, you can watch it but not the kids.

Plex offers 3 options for purchasing a Plex Pass. Monthly subscriptions are $4.99, annual subscriptions are $39.99, or you can purchase a lifetime subscription for $149.99.

The Plex developers are constantly adding new features. I haven't found a better media server yet, and the fact that the server software is free is an amazing bargain.

I've got Plex connected to my Amazon FireTV, smartphone, and ipad. getting it up and running was remarkably simple.

Plex offers a trial of their player apps with limited functionality so you can try before you buy.

If you're storing any sort of digital content (and who isn't these days) I urge you to give Plex a try.

Happy surfing!

-The Home Geek

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