Plex offers a suite of products that help people manage and organize their home-built libraries of movies and TV shows; it’s like Netflix, but for your content.
The content, of course, is stored locally – on a computer or a network attached storage – and is streamed to clients locally or over the internet. The Plex Server can also transcode content on-the-fly, and there’s a client for an overwhelming number of devices – from consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation to TV boxes like Apple TV and Android TV; there are even clients for mobile operating systems like Android and iOS.
However, there are changes in motion; back in September, Plex announced the ‘Plex Cloud,’ a feature that allows users to store their TV shows and movies on cloud storage services rather than managing a local storage.
Launched as a beta, Plex Cloud was (and still is) only available to the Plex Pass subscribers – a subscription service that costs $5 a month or $40 a year, and puts a bunch of features behind a paywall.
The Cloud Expansion
The initial launch of Plex Cloud only supported one cloud storage provider – Amazon Cloud Drive – but users demanded more; today, Plex announced the addition of three new cloud service providers, expanding the support for Plex Cloud.
Plex Cloud now supports three more cloud storage providers: Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and DropBox – these three should satisfy the majority of Plex users.
The Plex Cloud feature remains in beta, for now, as the Plex team acknowledges that they have run into a couple of “technical challenges” for the Amazon Cloud Drive implementation.
It also still requires the Plex Pass subscription.
The Legal Bit
The benefit of Plex is its organization and Netflix-like interface for content that you legally purchased as DVDs and Blu-rays. Once you have ripped this content – which is legal, for your own use – you can put this content in Plex, and stream it to your devices. But there is a quite a significant amount of users who don’t use the Plex software suite as it is intended to be used.
Plex has turned into something often used to organize and store illegally-downloaded content, like pirated shows and movies. Of course, that’s a very hard claim to prove, but that’s the general perception of it.
That’s why, storing this content on cloud storage services can also often be troublesome, as these services do not allow storage of pirated content; content legally owned by you and ripped for storage online, is still often treated as against the terms of service by the cloud storage services.
Plex’s service is quite handy – but users should probably be prepared to deal with any objections raised by the cloud service providers.