I started using Plex media server just over 1 year ago, and t first I was not sure if it would meet my needs. I wanted something that would organize my media and share it to multiple devices within my house. Now, I’m not saying that Plex is the only solution that does this, there are many others and I’ve used a few different options in the best, including Samsung Share Manager and Serviio media server, both of which worked fine most of the time, but they didn’t really jump off the stage as being above the rest of crowd.
Plex met a few conditions that I had that other solutions did not.
- Allowed sharing with others outside my home
- Allowed access to my content when away from home
- Display posters/pictures of the media, along with a description of the movie or TV show.
Plex can be broken down into basically 2 parts. The first being the Media Server part, which you will need to stream to multiple devices in your house and allow sharing of your media. The second is the App or client, be it the Plex Home Theatre(US spelling is used on their website – Theater) or an app for IOS, Android or Windows phone.
I have Plex Media Server running on a spare desktop PC running Fedora Linux, and have 9 TB of disk in a raid 5 configuration, giving me 6 TB of space to store my media. I break down the organization into Kids Stuff, TV Shows (both SD and HD), Movies (again, both SD and HD) and Music. Of course, you can organize your media any way you like, but it came in handy with my method when setting up my folders within Plex and sharing with other users, I was able to restrict access for my daughter to only the Kids stuff.
Plex Media Server can also run on Windows (32 bit and 64 bit), FreeBSD (64 bit only) and MacOS, with the Linux offerings being 32 bit or 64 bit and available in Debian or RPM packages. It can also be installed on a variety of NAS systems.
Plex clients are not free for Android, IOS or Roku, but well worth the money, though if you want them for free, consider getting a Plex Pass, which gets early access to new features along with the clients for free. GoogleTV and Samsung Smart TV’s and Blu-ray players also have access to a Plex application. Since I mentioned Plex Pass, I should say that I purchased it, mostly for early access, multiuser support, the free application for Android and to support development of Plex. I bought a lifetime pass, but monthly and yearly subscriptions are available.
I do not work for Plex, nor have I received any compensation from them what so ever, this is just my honest feedback on an awesome application that is worth checking out.