Plex Media Center & Plex Media Server
I know I generally cover web design topics, tutorials, and things of that nature. Today we’re also going to cover a different kind of software, specifically Plex Media Center & Plex Media Server. We’ll start with talking about the media center portion and get to the server in a minute.
Anyone that’s ever used XBMC or the like will understand the concept immediately, especially as PMC is just a fork of XBMC itself. To be honest the media center portion is a very simplified version of XBMC, and has only limited skin support. You can also use XBMC along with the Plex plugin so that you can get the latest features from Frodo, such as default support for a Wireless Xbox 360 contoller for PC. PMC is available for Windows, OS X, and *nix based platforms. Also they have apps to connect to your server for Windows 8 Modern UI, Roku box, LG & Samsung smart tvs, iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 and 8, and Google TV. Pretty much it’s safe to assume that unless you have a Blackberry you can use Plex.
Now we’ll talk about the best part, the media server. Previously I had reviewed ownCloud, a self hosted personal cloud server you could extend with plugins to access your stuff from anywhere. It was something I was also looking into using personally as a media server by using extensions. I never got past the idea stage though because my media library is organized in a different way, and it was a ton of work to try to get XBMC and ownCloud working together just for access outside my house.
Then I found the Plex Media Server. It’s hard for my to not just blab about this software, as I’d been wanting something exactly like it for the last two years. The installation and setup is so easy my 7 year old daughter could do it. To allow access to you server from outside you home you make a myPlex account and use any of the media center apps, connected via myPlex, to get access to your files. It has it’s own version of XBMC library and file modes, except the scanning for library mode has been streamlined to actually work without having to be an anal retentive d-bag on your folder naming.
Additionally there’s a multitude of video plugins available such as CBS, Hulu, Netflix, CNN, HGTV, History Channel, etc etc.
Personally, I think it’s the easiest to use, most advanced personal media server currently available. Did I also mention it’s free? They have a subscription service, but it’s not required. The mobile apps do have a fee, but at $5 or less, and with all those features, there’s no way you should be complaining.