I have heard the name “Plex” thrown around a few times recently but never thought to look into it. My mentality is there is too much out there to know everything so if I need it I will stumble upon it – then I will learn all about it. Well this just recently happened with Plex.
Before I go in to what Plex is I will tell you how I have always watched things I have downloaded. The process is pretty simple, download a film or TV show then copy it on to a USB stick, plug it into the PS3 or DVD player and watch it. This has always been the way. I have started getting sick of this. Now it is more common to only have bluray rips of films meaning the file size is close to a gigabyte the copy time is slower than the download time. I’m a patient guy but what gets me is when for some reason it copies over and get corrupt halfway through meaning I have to copy it all over again. My initial thought was to get a USB3 memory stick since my new PC has that capability which would copy three times as fast.
I knew there was another option. Stream everything over my home network directly from my PC. I have tried this many times using Windows Media Player and failed every time. It just doesn’t do it well. After some googling looking for alternative ways to stream to a PS3 I stumbled upon that name I have seen before.. Plex.
So first of all what is Plex? The Plex website gives the following description: “The free Plex Media Server simplifies your life by organizing all of your personal media, making it beautiful and streaming it to all of your devices”. My way to explain it to someone is that it is Netflix but for all of your films you have on your computer. That said it can stream more than just films and TV – it can also stream music and pictures too.
With my small exposure to Plex I am already sold. I have only used it for two hours. It is very simple to set up, just select the type of media and the folder where it all is. I just wanted to try it really quickly so just threw the new season of Sons Of Anarchy on to it. I am actually yet to try streaming to the PS3 as I wanted to watch it in bed after seeing there was a Plex App (about 3 quid). Amazing. Very quick to load, HD quality, and easy to use. It is just like Netflix is many respects.
Now I have finally found something to potentially replace the classic USB stick watching experience my plan is to use my old PC as the Plex server and also have that be the download slave freeing up my main PC from all of that.
Over all my first impressions of this software are that it is brilliant and I am shocked I nobody as every mentioned it to me before! Once I have used it for longer and on other devices I will make a more in depth post about it.