I wanted to write a bit about PLEX Media Server.  If you are like us, a busy family with kids, multiple entertainment areas (and devices) in our loft, and a lot of digital media, you will be interested in PLEX MEDIA SERVER.

First a bit about our digital lifestyle:
Loads of digital videos, digital photos, and mp3s on computer.
Our entire DVD collections over (400 movies) on hard drive.
Roku box in bedroom (bought years ago) for Netflix viewing.
Xbox 360 in living room as entertainment portal.
A Jail broken Viewsonic Gtablet running Vegan in Kitchen.
and my Samsung Stratsphere (verizon).

So I found PLEX Media server by accident while searching for apps on ROKU.  I love the ROKU box and we recently (at Active MD Patient Education)  have used the ROKU SDK to develop individual channels of Customized Patient Education videos to broadcast to multiple facilities (one Miami Gastro Medical Group uses it in 17 offices).  I saw PLEX and thought I would try it – the download is free  – so worse case I thought I would waste 20 minutes of my life – as I have done numerous times with applications.

One quick download to my mac book pro and 10 minutes of linking to hard drives on our network and immediately  – all the media, broken up in folders, was available on all the devices in the house.  OK it was not that simple!  But the  ROKU installations took a minute, the XBOX 360 was immediately available and the longest part was the downloads for the viewsonic g tab and my samsung stratosphere (the only part that you have to pay for $4.99 each).

Ok, I have had some problems:
1) Subtitles do not always work right and often require messing with.
2) We run everything wirelessly in our loft, and sometimes a movie (larger files) have trouble playing, this issue is intermittent and I can not figure out why it plays sometimes and not others, hence I believe a hard wired system to tthe network might work better, more will be revealed.
3) The tablet plays sluggish at times and the phone often needs to be restarted.
4) I have not taken the time to actually create a PLEX MEDIA SERVER account online to actually stream my media to their server and back to the device.  Maybe this would solve some of the latency issues on smaller devices.

By far the ROKU works best, and I enjoy being able to access all our media  – with a Netflix like interface.  Over all this was a simple way to do what I wanted and use across multiple devices without spending any real money.  There is a lot more that can be tweaked with PLEX Media Server, including the interface style, but 80% of the time it works fine for our needs.  SO I give it 7 out of 10 stars!  Enjoy –