Plex: Streaming is Plex-y

Ever wish you had access to all of your movies and TV shows all the time? It would be amazing, right? Yes, there are a few streaming apps out there, but Plex comes with all the bells and whistles. Honestly, I don’t know how I survived this long without it.

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Basics

In essence, Plex is a streaming app that allows you to play all of your music and videos on your various devices. Where Plex differs from other streaming apps is its beautiful interface, smart functionality and the ability to stream videos when you are miles away from your home media server. Plex also allows you to download a movie or TV show for you to play offline, which is perfect for those long (or short) plane trips.

Plex is definitely a two-part deal. You need to download the Plex server on your computer and the accompanying Plex app in order for the thing to work. But trust me, it’s worth it. This app is A-Mazing.

Getting Started

After downloading the Plex Media Server and setting up your account (pretty basic, I promise!) and library, you can dive into the Plex app.

Welcome to the Library!

Welcome to the Library!

Your home screen will feature the different libraries you added, channels you subscribed to and your recently added items. It also features a home button and a refresh button in the lower left hand corner, and buttons for AirPlay, Server, Friends and Settings.

The Library

There are so many cool little features on here that I’m going to be hard-pressed to fit them all in this review, but don’t worry, I’ll try my hardest.

In your Library, you will have Movies, TV Shows and you can add Home Movies, Photos and Music (I added my music and photos.) When you open up your Movies folder it will pull up all of the movies that are on your Plex server.

Plex gathers all the information for your movies/TV shows and music.

Plex gathers all the information for your movies/TV shows and music.

Plex will also source the movie’s poster, short description and important facts like the rating, popularity, genre, year and movie length. When you look at the movie’s info, it will also give you the option to play, rate (you can add or subtract stars), mark as watched or unwatched and get details about the video file (frame rate, aspect ratio, etc.) Once you choose a movie you can play it on your native device, or if you have an AppleTV, you can stream it wirelessly there over AirPlay. What I absolutely love about this is that you can be working out in the gym and stream your favorite movie or TV show without breaking a sweat (well, you know what I mean).

Even American Horror Story's theme song gives me the chills.

Even American Horror Story’s theme song gives me the chills.

The TV Shows has a cool little feature in addition to what Plex does for the Movies; when you tap on a particular TV series it will start playing the theme song.

You can filter the TV Shows and Movies by Unwatched, Recently Aired, Recently Added, Recently Viewed, On Deck, Year and a number of other filters. And Plex will also keep track of where you are in a Movie/TV show across all devices if you need to stop and then resume a file.

Did you know Amanda Blank's real name is Amanda Mallory?

Did you know Amanda Blank’s real name is Amanda Mallory?

The way they treat your Music library is also pretty slick, as you can search by Artist, Album, Genre, Decade, Year, Collection, Folder and Recently Added. And when you look at the info for the artist/band it will generate a bio (which is oftentimes quite lengthy).

Your Photo library is a basic folder system; it’s definitely not the defining feature of the app.

Other Features

Channels are, well, channels that you can subscribe to such as Funny or Die, YouTube or Lens.

The On Deck feature highlights movies/TV shows that you are currently in the middle of. This is super handy if you are one of those people that will start a ton of movies and get distracted and then want to finish them a week later (… ahem.)

And Recently Added highlights all of your recently added media (it doesn’t seem to include photos) such as movies, TV shows and music.

You can also set up multiple servers, which is pretty nice, especially if you have a little bit of a movie obsession spread across various servers.

iPhone vs. iPad

Honestly, Plex works perfectly on both the iPhone and iPad. Everything is smooth, easy to use and exactly the same.

Final Thoughts

I’m absolutely in love with Plex; I think it is a really great app and I’ve been using it nonstop since I downloaded it. I think the ability to pick up where you left off in a movie or TV show is amazing and the ease with which the app works is pretty awesome as well. I love having access to my movies and TV shows, and since I typically don’t have a lot of room left on my devices, it’s perfect that I can stream. I would recommend this app to anyone who enjoys streaming media content. Basically, it’s a really solid app.


Summary

Connect and stream all of your videos, photos and music from your home computer.

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  • Tim

    Great! How do I get it set up on Apple TV? Or TV in general?

    • http://taylor.approaching.in/ Taylor

      Plex is available only on jailbroken Apple TVs at the moment, meaning Apple TV 1 & 2. If you just updated your Apple TV to iOS 6.1 (Bluetooth keyboard ability), then you’ll need to wait till Super Bowl Sunday in order to jailbreak your Apple TV 2. Apple TV 3s have no jailbreak for the mean time, the guys over @evasi0n are working on finding an exploit for it. Hope that answers your question.

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