The facts that you’re reading this means you need a solution for the media streaming conundrum. If you sail in the same boat as us, then you probably have a meticulously arranged collection of movies and TV shows sitting on multiple hard drives, connected to the PC.
The question now arises as to how to get access to this entire library from your tablet? For the iPad and Android tablets, the solution is quite simple: the Plex application bundle.
What is Plex ?
Plex is an XBMC-based cross-platform media center application that will aggregate the media (music, movies, TV shows, photos, etc) in the folders you point it towards. For movies and TV shows, it also pulls the metadata from the Internet – content such as synopsis, fan art, movie posters etc.
How to install Plex ?
Plex has two main installation components: the server app and the client. The former needs to be installed on your PC. Initially, you’ll need to point the server to the folders which hold the videos and other media that you wish to share on the port-able devices. The app is capable of updating the library every time it detects a change in the contents of the folders it is monitoring, be it the addition of a new file or the removal of one. This application is free to download for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. The client app, on the other hand, receives the data from the server. This app is basically meant to access the library and view content, and within that,
You get a decent amount of tweaks and settings for Picture and sound quality. The client app is available for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). Android (tablets and smartphones) devices and Windows 8 machines (tablets, hybrids and even another laptop Ultrabook on the same network). The client app comes at a cost though, but not a very high one seeing how it’s in the region of Rs. 270 each in the respective app stores of all platforms.
How does it work?
The Plex media server can send media to devices running the Plex client. Both machines need to be connected to the same net-work. The server transcodes media on the fly, whenever needed. What this means is that even if the device isn’t capable of natively playing that file if it were sitting on its local storage, Plex would be able to stream it seamlessly. Once you have the server app up and running on the same network, open the client app on any device, and within a few seconds, the library being broadcast by the server will appear on the device.
We tried the Plex client on Android as well as iOS(which OS love you most), and the playback quality is impressive. The entire Plex set-up was able to stream a 1080p video file over a wireless “b” router to the iPad without any stutters. Yes, there was the initial 50 seconds of buffering, but smooth sailing after that during video playback, multimedia options are limited, however.