Plex Cloud emerges from beta, turns cloud storage accounts into media servers

Posted:
in iPhone
Plex on Thursday announced the official launch of Plex Cloud, bringing the remote media access feature out of beta for people with a Plex Pass subscription.




The option creates a cloud-based Plex Media Server, avoiding the necessity of a constantly-running computer or network-attached storage, the company said. Users have to attach their own Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive account.

Movies, photos, TV shows, and music can be uploaded, but the size of an account will dictate how much storage is available. Files must also finish uploading before streaming can start, and OneDrive users are restricted to personal accounts.

Notably, Plex stripped out Amazon Drive support during the beta. Apple's own cloud storage service -- iCloud Drive -- is incompatible.

Plex Pass costs $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or $119.99 for a lifetime subscription. Some other perks include DVR functions for broadcast TV, offline caching on mobile devices, and expanded music playback features.

Plex clients are available for the iPhone and iPad as well as the Apple TV, and on Macs via the Web. The iOS app is a free download and runs on any device with iOS 9.3 or later, but some features are gated behind Plex Pass and/or a one-time purchase.

Some other supported platforms include Roku, Android, Chromecast, Xbox, PlayStation, and the Nvidia Shield.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    dachardachar Posts: 330member
    Recently l tried to use Plex. I found it disappointing. The software would not recognise my videos. There appears to be no easy to understand installation instructions on the Plex site. The option of running from  NAS is only available if you have a NAS with fast powerful chip and the right operating system. Sadly it seems many NAS are not the right specification.  
  • Reply 2 of 9
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,258member
    dachar said:
    Recently l tried to use Plex. I found it disappointing. The software would not recognise my videos. There appears to be no easy to understand installation instructions on the Plex site. The option of running from  NAS is only available if you have a NAS with fast powerful chip and the right operating system. Sadly it seems many NAS are not the right specification.  
    I tried it long ago, and I presume they have improved the experience since I tried to set it up on a OSX 10.6 mac mini. My takeaway was I really wasn't the target audience. Someone that is a huge TV/Movie/Music consumer with a lot of travel and kids in their lives probably finds this indispensable. I did see on the Plex website they offer a service to come set it up in your home for $300.

    I also wonder about the HDHomeRun capability. The silicon dust products are intriguing and I see an Uber-esque sort of sharing opportunity. SCOTUS shot down Aereo, but I wonder if an individual could share their Plex served media in a legal way. Probably not. But if I had a "friend" in range of broadcast HDTV that would let me put an antenna and a HDHomeRun box on their roof, and connect to my Plex Cloud thru their internet connection, that would be...useful to many. Right?
  • Reply 3 of 9
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,887member
    dachar said:
    Recently l tried to use Plex. I found it disappointing. The software would not recognise my videos. There appears to be no easy to understand installation instructions on the Plex site. The option of running from  NAS is only available if you have a NAS with fast powerful chip and the right operating system. Sadly it seems many NAS are not the right specification.  
    What types of videos are you trying to use? I haven't run into any popular codecs it couldn't do.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 4 of 9
    hagarhagar Posts: 107member
    Maybe I'm an exception but I still use iTunes to manage my movies and TV shows. There are some great tools out there that import all your files into iTunes and then they are easily available on AppleTV and iOS devices. I use VideoDrive for the job: converts video tracks if necessary and adds descriptions and artwork along the way. 

    I do agree with the critics that iTunes 12 is quite counter-intuitive, but I hope that Apple will either fix it, or finally split it in multiple applications and still maintain compatibility with existing media libraries.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 900member
    I've got a lifetime PlexPass membership. I use a Mac mini as my server and a NAS to store the files. Thus avoiding the NAS processor-is-too-weak-too-transcode-video-in-real-time problem. Red Fox makes a product that can rip Blu Ray content to disc, though it must be run on a Windows machine. After ripping, a Blu Ray folder can be run through MakeMKV to produce a file that can be dropped into the Plex library. 

    Its kinda technical, but worth the effort. I don't need a Blu Ray player at every tv in my home anymore. With an Apple TV and Plex App I have access to my full collection of movies. 

    Now, cloud storage? That is a tough sell. My full-size Blu Ray transfer collection is TBs in size. Prohibitively large to store in the cloud. I'm guessing I'm not the target market for this feature. 

    jbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 9
    BlazikenBlaziken Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    polymnia said:
    I've got a lifetime PlexPass membership. I use a Mac mini as my server and a NAS to store the files. Thus avoiding the NAS processor-is-too-weak-too-transcode-video-in-real-time problem. Red Fox makes a product that can rip Blu Ray content to disc, though it must be run on a Windows machine. After ripping, a Blu Ray folder can be run through MakeMKV to produce a file that can be dropped into the Plex library. 

    Its kinda technical, but worth the effort. I don't need a Blu Ray player at every tv in my home anymore. With an Apple TV and Plex App I have access to my full collection of movies. 

    Now, cloud storage? That is a tough sell. My full-size Blu Ray transfer collection is TBs in size. Prohibitively large to store in the cloud. I'm guessing I'm not the target market for this feature. 

    Yes you can. Use can use Gsuite(Google Drive) unlimited storage for 10$ p/m.


  • Reply 7 of 9
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,015member
    dachar said:
    Recently l tried to use Plex. I found it disappointing. The software would not recognise my videos. There appears to be no easy to understand installation instructions on the Plex site. The option of running from  NAS is only available if you have a NAS with fast powerful chip and the right operating system. Sadly it seems many NAS are not the right specification.  
    Mmmm... perhaps you need to take another look.  I set up a 2012 bottom of the line Mac mini as a Plex server using a 2 TB external USB3 drive for the movies as the internal drive was too small.  This was done so as to store all my ripped kids videos for visiting grandchildren as I've long since thrown out all Blue Ray DVD gear as redundant as well as all my own HD videos made over the years.  Plex recognizes every single video format I've thrown at it and works flawlessly on our home network.  I actually have the Mac mini as a headless box attached to my Time Machine / Router via ethernet and control it via Apple Desktop Remote (Screen Sharing works just as well) when I need to for such things as software updates etc. Mostly it never needs touching, it just works.  It is extremely simply to set up and administer.  I am at a loss to fathom your issues, the set up is so simple and intuitive I didn't need to read any instructions.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,997member
    I used to have a slow ARM processor NAS. So I kept all my Movie and TV shows on the NAS and use my Windows PC to do all the heavy processing, which is really on the fly video Transcoding. This is where you take a video file that's in 1 format and convert it into a format your TV or your iPad or iPhone can view. Now you can do Direct Play and do no transcoding. If you have your video files in a native Resolution format that will be playing on the device and not need anything done to it, then you can use a much weaker NAS with a ARM CPU. I just find that pretty Limited. Many people buy a low end NAS and then use something like a Mac Mini. Because they can have a good Intel CPU and they are low powered device. You can also Remote into them from another pc. There's also the nvidia shield you can use as a Plex Media Server. https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/221099648-Limitations-When-Running-Plex-Media-Server-on-NVIDIA-SHIELD I ended up getting a used Netgear ReadyNAS 516. It has a Intel XEON Processor. Then I ended up Upgrading the 516 to a even faster XEON processor to turn it into basically a 716 NAS I also upped the EEC ram from 4 gig's to 16 gig's. So my NAS has almost 14TB with the 6 3TB HDD in it in a RAID 5 configuration. It runs PLEX great along with PlexPL, NZBGet and so on and so on. It can handle a number of Transcoding jobs at once. It also goes into low power mode when not being used and power downs late night night from 1AM to 10AM except on Weekend days where the window is shorter. The thing with PLEX is, it's pretty much all Automatic. When I put a new movie on my NAS, PLEX auto see's it in the directory, goes out and gets the artwork and all the other data and I don't have to do anything. Same goes with TV shows. Even Music!!!! It's really like my own personal Netflix service. I even have log in's for each user, just like with Netflix so if I watch something and it's now shown as watched, when someone else logs in, it's still new for them. I can watch on any TV in my house, or my iPhone or iPad, even away from my house. Really anywhere in the world with a Internet connection. I can give friends access and they can access at their house if I wanted, and pick what they have access to like a local person. I only have so much upload speed, so I can limit video quality and data speed of the stream, which I do to 720P at 3mbps, which still looks great. My Upload speed is only around 6Mbps even though my download speed is 75Mbps. I love PLEX on my AppleTV 4's. But PLEX is on everything just about. There's a lot of Flexibility. I got the Lifetime service a number of years ago when it was cheaper and it's been well worth it. I haven't tried the DVR TV Recording stuff yet as my HDHomeruns are older and not compatible so I would have to buy a new one. I was using them with Windows Media Center. Since my Windows PC was on all the time for that, running PLEX and other Apps also wasn't a big deal. This new Cloud thing. They gave me a Beta Invite but I never tried it. Again I really don't have a need as I can just stream directly from my NAS. I can even have Plex Transcode a copy to put on my iPad directly for example if I know I'm going someplace with no Internet access but still want some content to watch. Using iTunes to stream, WEAK! A tiny fraction of PLEX capabilities. There's many reasons why PLEX is thrown out all the time. If you want on the fly Transcoding, which I think is a killer feature and really needed to be practical about what you're watching, you want that ability. I have a 4K Video on my NAS I used for testing and to stream on my 1080P HDTV. My Panasonic Plasma doesn't know what 4K is, so PLEX tried to transcode it and choked. Trying to transcopde 4K to 1080P. It kept pausing and buffering because it wasn't fast enough. After I did my CPU Upgrade that actually works just fine now. Not that I want 4K videos on my NAS now. It was just a test to see performance improvement from old CPU to new CPU. This is the thing with PLEX. How many streams at once do you actually NEED? How many of those will need to transcode? The more of that, the better the CPU you need. If it's just a simple Direct play, you can run PLEX on a cheaper ARM based NAS and play your videos on it using PLEX in Direct Play mode. It's just so limiting is all. You can use a program on the PC or MAC called Handbrake and covert your Video into a format you can direct play and then you don't have to have plex transcode on the fly.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 900member
    jbdragon said:
    I used to have a slow ARM processor NAS. So I kept all my Movie and TV shows on the NAS and use my Windows PC to do all the heavy processing, which is really on the fly video Transcoding. This is where you take a video file that's in 1 format and convert it into a format your TV or your iPad or iPhone can view. Now you can do Direct Play and do no transcoding. If you have your video files in a native Resolution format that will be playing on the device and not need anything done to it, then you can use a much weaker NAS with a ARM CPU. I just find that pretty Limited. Many people buy a low end NAS and then use something like a Mac Mini. Because they can have a good Intel CPU and they are low powered device. You can also Remote into them from another pc. There's also the nvidia shield you can use as a Plex Media Server. https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/221099648-Limitations-When-Running-Plex-Media-Server-on-NVIDIA-SHIELD I ended up getting a used Netgear ReadyNAS 516. It has a Intel XEON Processor. Then I ended up Upgrading the 516 to a even faster XEON processor to turn it into basically a 716 NAS I also upped the EEC ram from 4 gig's to 16 gig's. So my NAS has almost 14TB with the 6 3TB HDD in it in a RAID 5 configuration. It runs PLEX great along with PlexPL, NZBGet and so on and so on. It can handle a number of Transcoding jobs at once. It also goes into low power mode when not being used and power downs late night night from 1AM to 10AM except on Weekend days where the window is shorter. The thing with PLEX is, it's pretty much all Automatic. When I put a new movie on my NAS, PLEX auto see's it in the directory, goes out and gets the artwork and all the other data and I don't have to do anything. Same goes with TV shows. Even Music!!!! It's really like my own personal Netflix service. I even have log in's for each user, just like with Netflix so if I watch something and it's now shown as watched, when someone else logs in, it's still new for them. I can watch on any TV in my house, or my iPhone or iPad, even away from my house. Really anywhere in the world with a Internet connection. I can give friends access and they can access at their house if I wanted, and pick what they have access to like a local person. I only have so much upload speed, so I can limit video quality and data speed of the stream, which I do to 720P at 3mbps, which still looks great. My Upload speed is only around 6Mbps even though my download speed is 75Mbps. I love PLEX on my AppleTV 4's. But PLEX is on everything just about. There's a lot of Flexibility. I got the Lifetime service a number of years ago when it was cheaper and it's been well worth it. I haven't tried the DVR TV Recording stuff yet as my HDHomeruns are older and not compatible so I would have to buy a new one. I was using them with Windows Media Center. Since my Windows PC was on all the time for that, running PLEX and other Apps also wasn't a big deal. This new Cloud thing. They gave me a Beta Invite but I never tried it. Again I really don't have a need as I can just stream directly from my NAS. I can even have Plex Transcode a copy to put on my iPad directly for example if I know I'm going someplace with no Internet access but still want some content to watch. Using iTunes to stream, WEAK! A tiny fraction of PLEX capabilities. There's many reasons why PLEX is thrown out all the time. If you want on the fly Transcoding, which I think is a killer feature and really needed to be practical about what you're watching, you want that ability. I have a 4K Video on my NAS I used for testing and to stream on my 1080P HDTV. My Panasonic Plasma doesn't know what 4K is, so PLEX tried to transcode it and choked. Trying to transcopde 4K to 1080P. It kept pausing and buffering because it wasn't fast enough. After I did my CPU Upgrade that actually works just fine now. Not that I want 4K videos on my NAS now. It was just a test to see performance improvement from old CPU to new CPU. This is the thing with PLEX. How many streams at once do you actually NEED? How many of those will need to transcode? The more of that, the better the CPU you need. If it's just a simple Direct play, you can run PLEX on a cheaper ARM based NAS and play your videos on it using PLEX in Direct Play mode. It's just so limiting is all. You can use a program on the PC or MAC called Handbrake and covert your Video into a format you can direct play and then you don't have to have plex transcode on the fly.
    Paragraphs are nice  :)
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