How media server Plex works

Not too long ago, Kodi was the best kid in the class when it came to media software for managing and playing video and music. However, the competition has not stood still and more and more people are switching from Kodi to Plex. But what exactly is Plex and how does it work?

Tip 01: Kodi vs Plex

This article is not intended to denigrate Kodi. Kodi is a fantastic program with which a lot is possible. However, the user interface is not always pleasant and the program therefore often seems aimed at people who are not afraid to dive deeply into a program. Plex has a much nicer and more user-friendly interface and is available for almost all platforms. There are also disadvantages to this: with Plex you can do a little less and for the most useful functions (for example, sharing videos with other devices) you have to pay. But the basics of the program are free.

Tip 02: Install Plex

To install Plex, surf to and click on in the top right corner Downloads. Then on the page that appears, click Download and choose the right platform. You can immediately see that Plex is available for an incredible number of platforms. You will not find iOS and Android in this overview, but Plex is indeed available for these platforms, you will only have to download the apps in the appropriate app store. You can click through the installation process of Plex without any worries, you do not have to worry that all kinds of extra software will be installed unsolicited. When you start the program after installation, nothing much seems to happen at first. That's because the program loads in the system tray at the bottom right. Double-click the Plex icon to open the program (which happens in your browser, by the way). Then you need to log in or create an account if you don't have one yet. You can do that via Facebook (do you still dare?) or Google, although you still have to create a password afterwards. Immediately afterwards you are logged in and ready to use the service.

Plex's interface is completely in your browser

Tip 03: Interface

The first thing you'll notice about Plex's interface is that, as described earlier, it resides in your browser. Of course, that takes some getting used to after Kodi, but it's very nice, especially because the interface is very light and fast that way. The layout of the interface is simple. In the left pane you will find the navigation options to the various features of Plex and everything you click will open in the right pane. At the top right you will find shortcuts to, among other things, the settings of the program and your account notifications. Settings can also be found in the left pane of the home screen, but this menu is not always visible.

Tip 04: Quality

Before we get started with Plex, it is useful to first adjust some settings, so that the program works exactly the way we want it. Click the tool icon in the top right to open Plex's settings. There will be a lot of settings here that you can't make chocolate out of. We also leave that for what it is, in this case it is all about the basics. The menu Institutions has two tab levels. First you choose the part you want to adjust at the top, then you choose the subpart in the left pane. By default, you enter the main tab Web under subtab General. Here you choose the default language of the program and indicate whether you want background music (not relevant, but nice). When you click on the subtab Quality, then you can indicate whether Plex can adjust the quality itself based on your internet connection. You can also indicate what the default quality should be for streaming. If your connection often falters, you can lower this quality a bit.

Tip 05: Movie trailers

There are people who find movie trailers bloody irritating when they go to the cinema. We don't belong to that group, simply because it's nice to see what other films can be admired soon. Plex has a really simple, yet super fun feature that allows you to watch movie trailers before watching the main video. This way you still feel like you're at home in the cinema. You enable this feature by clicking the subtab Player and in the drop-down menu next to Cinema trailers to play before movies to choose exactly how many trailers should be shown. Click on the main tab Server and then on subtab Extras, then you can indicate what kind of trailers should be shown (note: for certain options in this menu you need a Plex Pass).

Plex works with media libraries just like Windows

Tip 06: Libraries

Like Kodi (and pretty much all other media software), Plex makes use of libraries. By default, the program shows two libraries, Photos and Music (we will briefly discuss each library next). When you hover your mouse over the Libraries heading, you will see a plus sign appear on the right. Click on this and you will see that you can also add other libraries yourself, such as Movies and TV Series. Suppose you want to add movies, then you click Movies, give the library a name (although the default name is Movies fine), select a language (for the movie information) and click Next one. Click now Browse to the media folder and tell Plex what folder the movie files are in. When you have done this, the items will initially have no image and information. But the program will search almost instantly and within seconds your movies will have a movie poster, synopsis in the language you specified, release date and so on. Of course, this does not apply to holiday videos, where the program simply selects a frame from the video as the cover photo.

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