Plex — the all-in-one, network agnostic media sharing server — has come to the new Apple TV via the tvOS App Store. Though the set-up process is a little com-Plex (snicker), this is a great solution for streaming your own media to just about any device you own.
Plex comes in two versions. A free version of the media server software, and a $4.99 version called Plex Pass (more on that in a moment). Plex — even the free version — gives you one simple interface to organize all of your media: your movie and TV collection, your music library, and all of your photos and home videos.
The media sharing platform also adds descriptions, plot summaries, posters, and album covers. It also pulls in information from the Web, including Rotten Tomatoes ratings, related content, trailers and more. The app also supports advanced search options allowing those with larger personal libraries to search by actor, director and genre, among others. Music receives similar treatment with artist bios, album cover art, playlist support and granular search functions.
To use you must set up a free Plex account. Then download and run Plex Media Server on your Mac, Windows, or Linux computer and stream to your iOS, Android, Windows Phone or Windows device. Plex also works on Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku,, Android TV, Xbox, PlayStation, NVIDIA SHIELD, VIZIO, and many late-model smart TVs — and, now, the Apple TV. It’s also available on most network-attached storage devices.
Like its iOS and Mac counterparts, the Plex app for tvOS interfaces with the Plex Media Server to stream locally stored movies, TV shows, music and photos directly to Apple TV for big screen viewing. Plex even knows which movies and shows you're watching, so you can pick up where you left off or play the next episode.
You can create customized music or video playlists. You can even import existing iTunes playlists, ratings, track counts, and other details, at least in theory. When setting up the Plex Media Server, it took several attempts for it to “find” my iTunes library. I have no idea why, as it scooped up my photos, movies, home videos, and more without a hitch.
For Plex Pass subscribers, the app also includes streaming content from Vimeo, TED Talks, Soundcloud and more.
The paid version also packs a Camera Upload feature. Photos from your phone or tablet can be wirelessly synced to Plex automatically thanks to Camera Upload. You can share pics with family and friends and stream photos to different screens, and allows you to free up space on your mobile device.
Conveniently, Plex for Apple TV also supports Plex Companion, a cross-platform remote control system built into iOS and Android versions of the Plex app.
If you have any desire to watch all your personal media on ALL your devices, Plex is a solution you must look into.