Plexing around

Adel Gabot

plex-hero-1200-80

8:48AM

I don’t really know which app I use more these days than Plex.

I use it to watch my downloaded videos, which means movies, TV shows, short films, YouTube stuff, Vimeo stuff, music videos on the big-screen TV, which is what I do when I’m not working.

I mostly use Plex Media Server, which streams the media from my iMac’s library to my flatscreen via the PS4 or the Apple TV, and view them there via the Plex app on the whatever platform I prefer to use. There is a Plex Home Theater app on the Mac, but why watch on the puny 27″ monitor with the tinny built-in speakers when I can watch it on the big home theater?

screenshot_254

Plex is the best—well, maybe not the best, but certainly the most convenient—video player software around for us homebody videophiles, and they have apps specifically built for most of the usual platforms around: Mac, PC, iOS, Android and what have you. Best of all is, entry-level usage is free. To have other people access your library, or to use the server across the internet (and a few other perks), you have to pay a monthly fee, but for now I can live with the free version.

You just have to tell it where your media is on the home system, and it puts it all together on the main screen of the apps, subdivided into five basic categories: Movies, TV Shows, Music, Photos and Other Media. I’m afraid you can get any more specific than those five categories. You can’t separate old from new TV episodes, or classic films from documentaries or animation or short films. (Oh, well, you can’t have everything.)

Then Plex gets, or tries to get, the metadata related to your media from the internet and present them in an organized, orderly manner as much as it can—the poster, the cast, director, summary and other important stuff like that. You’ll have to tweak and modify it some, though, to get everything just right.

The look of Plex differs from platform to platform. This is how it looks on my 4th generation Apple TV:

img_0816

And this is how it looks on my PS4:

img_0815

I have to admit, it looks better on the PS4 (I like the general layout better; it’s more compact and streamlined), but it operates much better and faster on the Apple TV. To each its own. I imagine it looks different on other platforms, but it has the same general usability and functions as the other versions.

I’m tempted to go whole hog and pay for the entire package and turn my media library into a NAS of sorts, but it’s ok like this for now.

I just looove Plex.


Leave a Reply