Well, this is a good bit of news. I first introduced the Plex media center app to you a few months ago as my Media Center app of choice, mainly because of it’s superb meta-data handling. However, the one major drawback was that the client software was only available for OSX and mobile devices, leaving Windows with just the server software. (Just to mention, we also have a comprehensive Guide To Plex that you can download or read online.)
Since then, I’ve been using a Windows machine with Windows Media Center as a PVR and haven’t really been bothered to hook up my Mac just to watch movies, so my Plex library has sat unwatched.
The great news is that Plex have finally got around to releasing a Windows client, as well as streamlining their server offerings. Let’s take a look at at it all.
Plex For Windows Client:
There’s not an awful lot to say here – the client is now available for Windows, and it’s exactly the same interface as on Mac. So if you’d like to learn about the main features of Plex in general, I suggest you check out my previous article.
MyPlex is a radical new online element to the Plex universe. It’s primary function is to allow you to privately share your movie collection with friends, though this does of course mean they’ll be using your bandwidth and you’ll need an always on server.
PlexIt Bookmarketlet and Media Queue
MyPlex also introduces the PlexIt Bookmarklet, which allows you to queue web videos to watch later on any of your MyPlex connected devices.
It requires Flash and Silverlight to be installed, but other than that it just works. Find a video you want; click the bookmarklet; it get’s saved to your Plex. Easy!
Setting It Up MyPlex:
The in-server signup process was a bit buggy for me, so if you’re having trouble, just head over to my.plexapp.com and create a new account there.
On your local Plex server, enter your sign in details and be sure to click on the “publish server to myPlex” option. If your router supports uPnP, the tests will clear and you’ll be all good – otherwise you’ll need to manually specify the port and open it with a bit of router management.
Once you’re done, refresh the Servers tab on my.plexapp.com and you should see your server listed.
Click on Share and enter the email address or username of anyone you’d like to share your entire collection with. For more finer control, uncheck the option for “Share All Sections” and choose precisely what get’s shared.
Viewing Videos In your Queue:
This confused me a little and I spent ages trying to figure out how to actually view the videos in my queue. The short answer is: go to Preferences -> System -> myPlex and enter your login.
The long answer is: if you try to do this on your existing Mac client, you won’t find the option. Curiously, the automatic update checking doesn’t indicate that a new version is available, so you’ll need to actually go to plexapp.com and download the latest (beta) client. The latest client is separate from the server, so if you download the combined package, you’re doing it wrong. Having done that, you should now see the login option.
You’ll then find the Queue on your media list.
For me, this is now the ultimate Media Centre app, bar none. myPlex sharing is a nice feature to have, but I’m not sure how many people will actually give up their bandwidth so friends can watch their movies. Queuing media from internet sources might be a big hit for some people, but it’s not something I’ll make heavy use of myself. The release of a Windows client is the most important takeaway from this though, and should open up this superb app for a lot more of you. I would strongly encourage you check it out.