Have you ever found something that you thought you had no need for and then after using it just a bit, you find out that you absolutely love it and feel like you can’t live without it? I’ve had a lot of those things. But there was one in particular that really surprised me. It was Plex.
Plex is a utility that lets you stream your media anywhere, on any device. You can use it to watch movies, TV shows, home videos, listen to music, or just to look at pictures.
Nearly a year ago, Plex reached out to me to tell me that they had seen my coverage of the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV. The NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV is another piece of tech I never thought I’d need. The SHIELD is a streaming device that allows you to stream games, movies, and TV shows. On top of that, it can do just about anything you can do on any other Android device. Plex on the SHIELD not only allows you to watch media, but also works as a Plex Media Server. Meaning you can use it to store the media that you can then view anywhere else.
Plex was kind enough to hook me up with a no strings attached, Plex Pass account so that I could try it out. I’m not going to lie, I told them I’d check it out, but didn’t commit to doing anything beyond that. And the no strings attached deal? I haven’t heard from them since they activated it on my account. Looking back, I wish I had got started on setting up my Plex server sooner! I feel a bit guilty it took me this long to become converted and to try it out. They gave me the pass, but they have no idea that I’m doing this review!
It took me some time to set things up, but I finally set up my Plex Server. Then I started the process of moving my DVD collection to it. It took forever but I now have almost every DVD I own on it. Even better, I took my old CD collection and put it on there too. Now if I have internet access, I can watch any of my movies or listen to my music on any of my devices. If I know I won’t have internet access, I can download it ahead of time and watch it offline.
With Plex, you can cut the cord on broadcast TV too. Just hook up your HDTV antennae and then you’ll have instant access to all the over the air stations that you are available in your area. If you have cable, you can do the same thing with it! If you don’t have time to watch shows as they are being broadcast, you can take advantage of Plex’s DVR feature to record them. Then you can watch them when it is convenient for you.
And let’s say you want a little taste of cable but don’t want to have to pay for it. There are several official plug-ins that you can add to your server. They let you watch clips, and even sometimes full shows from several of your favorite channels. There’s stuff from the History Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central has a TON of full episodes, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
And that’s not all that it can do! I have young children who like to watch their shows and sometimes I’m not available to put the DVD in for them. With Plex, I was able to set them up their own account that has access to my server but prevents them from watching or listening, to things I don’t want them to. I also have a brother who lived in my basement for a while and even though he’s moved out, I still can’t get rid of him! He keeps coming around and asking to borrow things. We set him up with his own free Plex account and gave him access to my library. Now I don’t have to worry about him losing my movies! And then if he does something to tick me off, I can cut his access whenever I want.
Plex is always adding new features and their offerings keep getting better and better. I for one am sold on Plex and would recommend it without any reservations. If you had asked me a year ago if I ever thought I would use or need something like Plex, I would’ve said, “probably not”. If you were to ask me now? Now that I’ve used it, and fallen in love with it? I’d be pulling out my credit card and paying full price for the lifetime pass. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell my friends at Plex thank you for this awesome opportunity and for opening my eyes to the power and convenience of Plex!
If you would like to try Plex out for yourself you can get signed up here: Plex.tv
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Roy likes to dabble in all things Android and contributes everywhere he can. He owns the site rwilco12.com and its accompanying forum, he develops his own apps and ROM’s, is a Moderator and Recognized Developer on XDA-Developers.com and is the VP of Public Relations for AndroidFileHost.com.