Like many people I have lot movies, home videos, pictures and music on my computer. If I wanted to watch or listen to one of these I would have to sit in front of my PC or move what I wanted to view on my laptop and put it in to one of the TVs in my house. This was cumbersome and took time, when all I wanted to do is just sit down and watch a movie or listen to some music. First I tried sharing the folders that had media on my home network, which worked fine for music and pictures, but video was a no go. When sharing across my home network there is no buffering of the media, so if I tried to watch something that was HD (1080) it was choppy and constantly freezing. So, I starting looking for a home network media software I could use to stream locally.
Plex was the answer. Plex is a server/client software that you load on the PC or PC’s where your media is stored and on the PCs you want to watch your movie and video on. Plex also offers apps for iPhone, Android, Roku and most smart TVs, like Visio. The server software compresses the media and the client buffers it, giving you up to HD 1080 video quality, depending on the quality on the media you are streaming and it supports full surround sound across your local network. With the paid version you can also stream remotely from anywhere. Some of the apps also require paid version and some, like apple devices, you can purchase the app itself and use it for local use without the paid Plex subscription. I started off with the free version as I have a gaming PC on my living room TV and used my laptop in my bed room, all streaming from my office PC. Later, I upgraded to the paid subscription ($4.99 a month or $39.99 a year) so could use Plex on my kid TV via a RoKu device and use the apps on the other smart TV instead of the gaming PC and laptop, Have a remote is some much better.
Plex very easy to use, just follow the below link and download the service software on the PC you have your Movie, pic and music. You will have to create a login as the server software is just a back ground plug-in and the GUI is web browser based. Once you’re done both of these steps, you will use the browser interface to configure and select the folders you want to add that contain your media. You’ll then use the same link below to download the PC client “Plex Home Theater”, the client look and operate amazing! It is something you would expect to see on a smart TV, but better. You can load both the server and client on the same PC if you are just looking to have a nice interface and way to organize you media for your movie collection. The Plex Software is compatible with pretty much any movie and audio file format:
MP4 – Video Encoding: H.264, H.265 (HEVC), mpeg4, VC-1, Audio Encoding: AAC, AC3, EAC3, MP3
MKV – Video Encoding: H.264, H.265 (HEVC), mpeg4, VC-1, Audio Encoding: AAC, AC3, ALAC, FLAC, MP3
Audio – AAC, ALAC, FLAC, MP3, M4A, WAV
Android and apple apps do cost ($5 ish) and will only work in your local network when connected to WiFi when using the free Plex software/service. The Plex apps will also work with Chrome Cast (Free) and Roku, Visio amd others with the paid subscription.
The below video is a detailed look and setup tutorial of plex. If you just want the setup instruction skip to 16:00 minutes into the video.