Plex Media Server Review

Plex is the browser-based DLNA streaming media server reviewed by TopNetTricks this week. It can be downloaded here. Read on to get the Plex media server review.

More Free DLNA Media Servers

For a complete list of free media server software for Windows and reviews see Top Free Windows DLNA Media Server Downloads.

Plex Media Server Review

Plex is easy to install and easy to use. It is based on XBMC which is reviewed here. Plex’s strength is its ability to order you media in various ways. For example it has a special “folder” where it keeps movies or TV shows that you haven’t finished. It also keeps new media in a special folder. So its pretty easy to find movies and other media that you are most interested in.

Plex is free. The only charge for Plex is for something called PlexPass which allows you to share media or to share your media, sync media with another device, and get the Android client for Plex. PlexPass is charged on a monthly rate of $3.99 per month.

The free version of Plex is quite usable on its own. You can use it for a home theater PC or as a media server for your DLNA media player or smart TV. It is also quite usable with Android devices with DLNA players. The Plex Android app isn’t required.

This is a screen shot of the Plex user interface:
TopNetTricks Plex media server user interface

Media Formats

According to their web page, Plex supports the following audio and video formats:

Container Video Codec Audio Codec Notes
mp4, mov h264, mpeg4 aac, ac3,
eac3,mp3
No
mpegts h264 aac, ac3,
eac3, mp3, mp2
No
asf vc1, wmv3, wmv2 wmav2, wmapro,
wmavoice
No
avi mpeg4, msmpeg4,
mjpeg
mp3, ac3,
eac3, mp2
No
mpeg mpeg1video,
mpeg2video
mp2, mp3,
ac3
WMC Required
mpegts, mp4 mpeg1video,
mpeg2video
mp2, mp3,
ac3, eac3
WMC Required
asf wmav2, wmapro,
wmavoice
mp4 aac
mp3 mp3
other audio transcoded to MP3

 

Learn more about how video file types and how much bandwidth you need to support them: Video File Formats for Media Servers and Players.

Installation

The Plex installation is straight forward on a Windows PC and there is no special tweaking needed. You must create a Plex account during the installation which is free. You must also tell Plex which folders contain your media.
TopNetTricks Plex media server installation welcome screen
The Plex sign-up screen is where you assign the server name:
TopNetTricks Plex media server signup screen
This screen lets you assign your media folders:
TopNetTricks Plex media server folder selection
You can configure Plex for Internet channels:
TopNetTricks Plex media server Internet channels

Internet Media

Plex adds meta information to your media which it gets from the Internet:
TopNetTricks Plex media server meta information

Free DLNA Media Server Downloads

For a complete list of free media server software for Windows and reviews see  How to Use Windows Media Player as a DLNA Media Server and Top Free Windows DLNA Media Server Downloads.

To know if your home network is media ready read these posts: How to build a high-speed media network and How to test the speed of your home network.

Summary
Reviewer
André Roberge
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Plex Media Server
Author Rating
5
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Comments

  1. pinobot says

    So to stream media from my pc to my android device i have to pay a monthly fee of 4 dollars?
    That’s crazy.

    • Andre Roberge says

      You only have to pay for “advanced” features like sync, remote player, and sharing. Simple streaming within your home is free.

    • Charles says

      You don’t have to choose $3.99 a month. Other options are $29.99 a year or $74.99 a lifetime – which means if you pay the Lifetime – you can be grandfathered in.

  2. Jack Sheet says

    Plex media server demonstrates all of the worst aspects of programming in the 21st century. You may recall parallels with the development of MS Word. You start to write a letter, and Bill Gates says “You seem to be writing a letter. I know how to write a letter better than you, so let me reformat it for you”. And woe betide you should you disagree. Plex works the same way. Plex decides what type of libraries you want to create, and then Plex decides (based on the file name would you believe it!!) into which category Plex thinks that the file should be allotted. And woe betide you if you disagree.

  3. John says

    Initial experiments working reasonably well. Doesn’t recognize or play FLAC files. Doesn’t play WMA 5.1 files in surround, just stereo, over Chromecast. Chromecast does recognize and play ac3 Dolby surround on an mp4 video.

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