Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week
Home  /  geekspeak  /  Plex might be your one media server to rule them all

Plex might be your one media server to rule them all

If you’re sick of juggling video files and formats between gadgets then Plex Media Server could be the missing piece of the puzzle.

Talk of multimedia formats can quickly turn into acronym soup, drowning in MP4, DiVX, MOV and MKV video files along with MP3, AAC, WMA and OGG music tracks. Whether you’re ripping your own files or downloading them from the web, it can be difficult to settle on a definitive format to cater to a household full of gadgets. Centralising your multimedia collection into a single library can also be a challenge when every device has different needs.

Plex aims to bring order to chaos by acting as a central repository for all your multimedia files – serving movies and music up to your devices in their format of choice. Format hassles become a thing of the past when any file plays on any gadget thanks to Plex’s hard work in the background.

There are two parts to Plex – the server and the player or “client”. Plex Media Server is a free download which runs on Windows, Mac or Linux computers, as well as some Network Attached Storage drives from the likes of Netgear and Synology.

The Plex server software manages your library and monitors folders for new files. When it finds some, it fleshes out details such as episode titles by checking them against online databases. Plex advertises itself on your home network as a DLNA server, which makes it visible to a wide range of devices – not just computers and handheld gadgets but also many internet-enabled televisions, Blu-ray players, Personal Video Recorders, media players and games consoles. You can browse through your Plex library and click on any file to watch it.

Of course DLNA features are hit and miss across different devices, as is support for various video formats, and there are times when DLNA will leave you in the lurch. Plex’s strength is that you can also download the Plex player onto your devices, software which is guaranteed to play nicely with the Plex server. The Plex server will even transcode video files on the fly, letting you watch formats like MKV on the Plex iPhone app even though Apple gadgets don’t support MKV.

The Plex player software is available for Apple, Android and Windows Phone devices, with the ability to tap into your Plex server over the internet when you’re away from home. You can even download files from the server to your device if you’ve paid for a PlexPass.

You’ll also find Plex Home Theatre software for Windows and Mac computers, along with ports to low-powered computers like the Raspberry Pi, or you can simply tap into your Plex server from a web browser. In the lounge room you’ll find dedicated Plex apps for a range of home entertainment gear including the Xbox 360, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, Roku and some Samsung smart TVs and Blu-ray players.

It’s easy to run Plex Media Server on your computer to test it out. If it eliminates your need to shuffle files and formats then it might be worth running a dedicated Plex Media Server to live at the heart of your home network.

Share

Recent News

Generally speaking, when there’s an important update for your notebook, it’s a decent idea to install it. It may not be an update that makes an immediate obvious new feature available. Instead it may work behind the scenes to add layers of security, fix bugs or improve general performance. It’s why for the most part… More 

Samsung has long pitched its “Note” line of larger smartphones as being perfect for folks with a productivity focus for their smartphone work. A few years ago, it introduced a specific desktop dock for its Note and Galaxy S class phones, the DeX dock. Drop a qualifying Samsung phone into a DeX dock, and what… More 

For most of us, buying a new laptop is a matter of expediency, not outright tech desire. We’ll make do for as long as possible on an older system until it simply isn’t economical — or sometimes feasible — to continue working with it or repairing it. When that happens, market figures suggest that most… More 

Apple recently made some pretty large changes to its line of MacBook laptops. In recent years there’s been an array of choices, from the very small “MacBook” through the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines. Some of these had the newer butterfly keyboards and Apple’s own Touch Bar sensor, while others didn’t. If you didn’t… More