Monday, February 2, 2015

Plex - One player to rule them all.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the best personal media application for being around. Will the real content owner please stand up?

Have you ever been watching TV (if you said no already, I don’t know how you found this blog) and you see on the TV Guide that a movie you also own is about to come on? You think to yourself, “I like that movie and I want to watch it.” So you change the channel to watch The Little Mermaid. In the back of your head you also think to yourself, “I'm about to watch this with commercials even though I could just get up and put the (insert non-obsolete video medium here) in.” (BTW with plex, they will all be obsolete)

For some reason though, you end up watching it on TV. Maybe it’s because it’s too much work to get up. Maybe it’s because if you actually did take the time to get up and put your copy in, you feel committed. As if you now have to watch the whole thing, when really you just sort of wanted to watch some of it maybe.

Well Plex is the answer to this problem. But more importantly, it takes care of real problems too. #lazy

 Plex is a multimedia application that allows you to add your own content and then stream it anywhere you have an internet connection. It’s like a personal Netflix. There are however, two major differences:
1)    It’s free. (Mostly)
2)    There is not a general, online, shared library, but rather you are the curator of content for your own server.
While it is free to install Plex Media Server, (the brains behind Plex) client apps, like the Android, iOS, or Roku streaming apps cost a few bucks. Some clients are free however such as Xbox, web browser, and native mac or windows clients. There is also the more or less obvious point that since you have to possess the content, it’s not necessarily free. Although for those who know how, it often is. :)  There is also a service/product you can purchase directly from Plex Inc., called Plex pass. For beginners, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. In fact, I used Plex for about a year before I decided that I needed to buy the lifetime Plex pass, which includes some extra and prerelease features.

Plex solves a whole host of problems, including the one I mentioned above. Once you’ve setup your server (easy) and curated your content (less easy), you’ll never have to get up off the couch to put that movie on ever again.

One of my favorite purposes for Plex though is “family sharing.” I decided about last year that I wanted to purchase more movies than pirate, but to own all the good movies is really expensive. So I’ve established a group with whom I share my media library. Each of my Plex friends contributes $2 a month (handled of course through Venmo) so that I can buy a new movie and add it to the collection every month. Don’t worry I pitch in too!

With about 10 friends, it’s as if one us buys a movie every 10 months and lets everyone else borrow it. Only instead of having to worry about physically lending it, or getting it back, (which would be very hard since some of us live in Oregon) or scratching the disc, we all get to watch it whenever we want, wherever we want.

If you’re looking for a way to share movies, tv shows, home movies, music, or pictures, or if you just want someway to access all your digital movies in a well designed collection of apps, then Plex is for you. If you don’t want those things, you should download Plex which will make you want them. 



  1. Plex is fabulous. This last week I coudln't sleep becasue my teeth hurt too bad, and luckily Daniel had set me up with Plex and I watched 2 movies to get my mind off the pain. It is as easy as going to Amazon or Netflix to watch a movie.

  2. Never heard of Plex, but that is pretty awesome. I've also heard that we prefer to watch movies with commercials sometimes because it breaks up the suspense/action, etc. and gives our minds a time to relax without having to think. Our brains like the break, but we don't realize it. Awesome idea about sharing the content with friends, I need to set up a group like that.

  3. My friend/old roommate has Plex, and I never knew that it was something this popular. I love it, although we did run into issues when a lot of people were using it at the same time. I'm sure it's gotten better since 2011, when I was using it.

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