Plex is a very important app in my Portable Hyperfluous Computing System (more about this System in a later article). Plex allows you to access your personal media on every device you own. It converts and streams videos and music on-the-fly, to make them optimized for the device you are using. It is similar to the Airplay system for Macs.
Plex system works like this — you install the Plex Server on the computers that house your media collection. The Plex server is available for Linux, Mac, Windows, and a number of NAS (Network Attached Storage) appliances. The Plex player is available for Macs, Windows, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, and a range of smart televisions and streaming players (like Roku). The iOS and Android Plex apps cost $5 each.
In my tests, I found Plex to be a stable app. However, I found the iOS version to reliable than the Android app.
The company has also released a new app called PlexPass (beta software) which allows you to download your content for off-line viewing. For example, you are waiting at a train station, and the train you are about to board has no Wifi. You download a movie in MKV format. Plex will convert the movie and music to formats playable on the iPhone, and send it to the device. You will then have that media available to play through Plex, while off-line. The price for PlexPass is $4 per month, $30 per year, or $75 for a lifetime membership. You purchase the PlexPass from inside a myPlex web account.
On iOS you’ll need version 5.1 or later (any Apple device after iPhone 3G or iPod Touch, 2nd generation). Plex for Android requires Android 2.2 (Froyo) and up. Plex for PlexPass requires Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) and up.
When I first installed the Plex app on an iPhone it would crash immediately upon launch. Apparently other have this problem too (see here). To get it to work, I had to uninstall the app, and restart the phone.
Unfortunately the player isn’t available for Linux (but the Plex Media server is available for Linux).
On Windows, it’s available for Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 tablets.
The Plex server is available for the Mac running at least Snow Leopard, on Unbuntu 10.04, Fedora 13 and Centos 6. To run the server on Windows you need at least Windows XP with Service Pack 3.