Plex: The Perfect Home Media Server Solution

This is an extension to some recent posts I did.  Last week, I discussed the perfect media solution for your car.  And, I discussed a great DVD ripper to help you get all of those useless DVD’s onto a hard drive.  To complement those efforts, it’s great when you are able to leverage some of your family/home media work thumb-logointo another solution that ties all of your efforts together in the home.  And, the final piece of this tech puzzle is Plex.

Plex is a great piece of software to help you showcase all of your home media.  Once you rip all of those DVD’s, you want to be able to use them at home and on the go, right?  Of course.  And, better yet, what if you could show them on your television and have the picture quality look amazing.  Even better!  That’s what Plex does.

Plex is a free service that makes money off of its premium levels of service.  Plex has apps for iOS, Android, Windows Mobile.  And, it has apps for Android TV, Chromecast, XBOX 360, PS4 and Roku.  See the list of supported apps here.

PlexWhen you login to Plex, the first step is to install the app on your computer.  Once you login, the display is really sleek and very easy to use.  Essentially, all you have to do is point Plex to a folder on your hard drive (You do so by clicking the “+” sign in the left sidebar menu.) that houses all of the DVD movie or TV files you ripped and Plex does the rest.  Plex sinks up with various databases to pull in the information for the movie.  That way, you get the cover to the movie, as well as the meta data on the movie.  In one word, it looks very “professional”.

From there, your computer’s hard drive becomes the storage and the basis for streaming all of these movies.

As I mentioned, Plex has a variety of apps on multiple platforms.  You can be halfway across the country streaming your home video or movie collection to the Plex app on your iPhone – from your home computer.

In addition to movies and television, you can also point Plex to photos or music to pull in all of your home media.  I have not used this particular feature – as I have that taken care of through some of other platforms.

As I mentioned, the core Plex product is free.  However, the premium services such as a “Watch Later” functionality where you can download the media and take it with you or access to the apps on different platforms is a premium product ($4.99/month).  This is a great value if you have a good deal of media and you would benefit from having a nicer way to view it.

I would also suggest that you keep your ripped DVD folder in a file on a service like OneDrive or Dropbox.  That way, it’s backed up – in the event that your hard drive crashes.

I have been blown away by Plex and find it to be a perfect complement to your home media system.

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