Plex has been around for some time in the world of entertainment. Most of us might have passed over it for one reason or the other. But the lack of understanding of how it works may be the major reason. Here’s the good news—Plex may just be what you need to manage your digital files.
What is Plex?
Well, Plex is a digital media server or software that helps you build, manage, and access your collection of digital media files including music, videos, and even digital photo collection. What’s more, you can access your favorite videos, TV shows and even stream music via channels available on the Plex media server.
Plex has evolved over the years. It started as a simple way of playing files and has now proven to be an all-purpose media solution. It can be used for daily entertainment, whether it is your favorite music you want to stream or whether you want to watch live TV. You can manage all your media through the Plex window. It doesn’t matter where you are or what device you are using.
How does it work?
It might seem complicated when you’re setting it up but trust me, you will match the pace sooner than you think! One important trait of the Plex media server is that it can run on any platform, including Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Using the Plex app also helps you manage and access your digital media library. You can access your content either locally or from a remote PC that is running the Plex media server. Don’t get lost yet! We are about to expound on the details of how Plex works using simpler terms.
After setting up the media server, you can use any compatible device to watch your favorite movies, listen to music and even view pictures. This can be done from your computer that is running the Plex media server. You can also access your digital content via the internet by logging in to your account.
Devices and computers that can run the Plex media server
As earlier mentioned, the Plex media server can run on all the major platforms or operating systems. Here’s a list of devices that you can use to run the Plex media server:
- Any computer running on Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
- NVIDIA SHIELD.
- Compatible NAS (Network attached storage) device.
To access your videos, music, and pictures stored on a Plex media server, you can use the following devices:
- Major web browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari.
- Most smartphones and tablets, including Android, Windows, and iOS phones and tablets.
- Smart TVs from the major manufacturers, including Samsung, Sony, LG, and Toshiba.
- TV streaming devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Chromecast, TiVo, and Sonos.
- Game consoles such as PlayStation 3 & 4, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.
How to it up setup
To enjoy the services, you have to create a Plex account. You will also need to install the Plex server software on your computer. To create an account, all you have to do is follow the steps below:
- Go to Plex.tv from your computer.
- Select the Sign-Up option.
- Select Continue with Facebook, Continue with Google, or Continue with Email, depending on your preference.
- Enter your Facebook or Google information. Alternatively, you can enter your email address and enter a password, then select Create an Account.
Once you have signed up for a Plex account, all that is left is downloading and installing the Plex Media server software. Once the software is downloaded, you can stream all your favorite media files from one central device to all of your other devices. Here’s how you download and install the Plex software:
- Visit app.plex.tv/desktop. It is important to note that if you have just completed the signup process of the Plex account, then you should be on this page.
- Click on Download Plex Media Server. If you want to download on a NAS device, then choose Download for NAS Platforms and follow the instructions on the screen.
- Select the operating system your computer is using.
- Select Download.
- After the download is done, launch the Plex Media server file.
- Select Install. Click on OK if the user account control window emerges.
- Select Launch. After launching the Plex Media server, it should automatically run in the background.
As we have already mentioned, Plex is an organizational tool that lets you access your digital files from one computer on any other device that can run the Plex media server and is internet connected.
Plex also helps you go a mile further. It brings you the hottest and the most recent media in one place. This makes it easy to enjoy all your favorite videos and TV shows without much fuss. Unlike other media servers, you can also enjoy Live TV and DVR, not to mention the ever-growing catalog of great online content.
Tips for using Plex
Apart from the organization of your digital files, a few tricks here and there, you could make the most out of Plex by using plugins or unofficial channels. This will allow you to access content that was not initially accessible on the media server. Such plugins help you access content on popular TV shows such as MTV and IceFilms. Watch your favorite movies and TV shows without the need to download them.
Use a VPN for Plex
There are a few reasons why you should use Plex together with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Firstly, some of the channels accessible through Plex will have geographical restrictions placed on them. In other words, you’ll only be able to access them if you’re based in a certain location (usually the US). A VPN will allow you to connect through a server in a country of your choice, making it seem like you’re located in that country. This will let you access content far beyond what your IP address would generally allow.
The second reason is related to those unofficial plugins or channels mentioned in the previous section. Simply put, watching these channels is equal to committing copyright violations because you haven’t paid for the content. This may get you in a lot of trouble if you’re not careful! In this case, a VPN will serve to hide your identity from your ISP and protect you from troubles.
If you’re not sure what VPN to use, check out our Best VPN for Plex list where you’ll find something that pique your interest. A few good choices would be AirVPN and NordVPN
Apart from just organizing your digital files on your computer, Plex also gives you access to thousands of TV shows and videos through the plugins. Plex saves you the worry of transferring your files from one device to the other whenever you want to be entertained.