For some time now I’ve hunted for the perfect media center solution for my apartment. Let’s face it, DVDs are so last year! Digital media is where it’s at.
I’ve tried (and loved) many solutions, all the way from plain old Windows Media center to XBMC. Since my recent migration to OS X I stuck with the old faithful iTunes.. That was until now.. Featured on one of my daily RSS feeds was the latest release of Plex, it wasn’t that I hadn’t heard of Plex before – but I’d never actually downloaded and tried it out.
So off I went, downloaded and installed version 0.9.3.4 (latest at time of blogging). The install was start forward enough and was quite quick to complete. I was then greeted by Plex’s Media manager, which was a first for my media center trials.
Media manager makes it a cinch to set up your media locations, and uses its Internet links to download and update your medias metadata. Right from your movies synopsis’ to its media artwork.
What’s even more special, is the ability to choose different artwork if you’re not happy with the default.
As with most media center solutions Plex is also capable of managing your TV shows, audio and photos. Just like it does with your movies the media manager downloads and updates the meta data and artwork for your TV shows and audio.
Once you are happy with your freshly organised and professional looking media collection, it’s time to start-up the beast.
My current setup (awaiting further cash injections) is a 2010 17″ MacBook Pro with HDMI out to my LCD tv, and audio out to my Sony surround sound unit. Now my TV is quite dated now and doesn’t normally play well with my MacBook. However straight out of the box, Plex looks stunning.. With the slight exception of cutting off the RSS feed at the bottom and weather in the top right. Luckily a few tweaks in Plex’s settings soon had this rectified.
The Plex home screen is pretty similar to most media centers on the market, with a menu system on the left hand side and a selected menu related image on the right.
One thing that immediately becomes obvious it’s just how well Plex works with Apples remote control. The menu structure is easy to navigate and intuitive. Giving you everything you need to make this the perfect in media solution.
I am a massive fan of the movie selection screen, everything you need to know to make an informative choice. Displaying information such as the media quality, the movie rating, it’s synopsis and a movie poster. Now, there are other views to choose from, but I always seem to come back to this one.
Plex has a massive amount of features, and should be enough to satisfy any tech hungry mind. So why not dump your current media centre solution and give Plex a try. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed!
Not only is Plex available for download to your nice shiny Mac, but there’s also a version available for Windows users too!
Do you use something else for your media centre? Why not post its details in the comments below and we can see how it stacks up!