Great Media Center Software

Plex offers great flexibility PHOTO FROM PLEX

Plex offers great flexibility

I’ve been using Plex for years and was absolutely thrilled to meet the chief product officer and co-founder Scott Olechowski earlier this year. Plex is my hands-down favorite media center software secret that I’m finally going to share with you. I receive numerous questions about what to use, and this is it! Here’s the perfect summertime project — create your own media server.

Plex has long been associated with movies and TV shows that people backup from DVDs or record from TV, but it’s becoming more accessible with more devices.

Olechowski shared with me that Plex has been working hard on improving its video, music and photo experiences. In a nutshell, Plex consists of two parts: an open-source front end (Plex Media Center, now known as Plex Home Theater) and a closed-source server portion (Plex Media Server).

Plex Home Theater is optimized for your big screen by supporting high-definition audio and native playback of various formats if you install it on a dedicated computer for your TV. You can run it on Windows or OSX, and, as a gee-whiz, note the Plex Media Center source code was initially forked from Xbox Media Center (XBMC). The free Plex Media Server simplifies your life by organizing all of your personal media, making it eye-appealing, and streaming it to all of your devices. You can easily turn your Mac, Windows or Linux machine into a server with the easy-to-use software.

If you’re a Plex Pass subscriber, you’ll have access to Cloud Sync, a premium feature that optimizes the media you choose and uploads it to places such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa and Box. It’s like having a media server that’s always on. Your media is reachable even when you’re offline. I can see this also turning into a backup and sync solution that helps you safekeep and share media at the same time. Keeping in tune with being available across the board, they recently added availability for Android TV, Amazon’s Fire TV and Camera Upload for Windows Phone 8 and Android (Plex Pass feature).

Overall, Plex liberates you from single-screen viewing. You can fling great content from your phone to your TV. Or keep watching that movie on your tablet when you head to bed. Pause an episode when the phone rings, skip a track you’ve heard too many times or just find out more about what you’re watching with essentially the smartest remote control.

On top of that, you can effortlessly share media with friends, so everyone can discover and enjoy your content. This is especially useful for far-away family and friends, and it will only be a touch away.

As for the mobile app, it is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. This app provides you the functionality of your Media Center/Home Theater from your device. It works in conjunction with the myPlex service and allows you to access your media from anywhere in the world. My many overseas travels have proven this function to be very effective.

Now you know the secret, and can jump on the Plex bandwagon that I’ve been on, along with millions of other users across the world.