Here is our complete guide to install and use Plex on Android, the powerful multimedia player is present on a very large number of platforms. We will detail the operation of the application and the different settings that are available. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this media player, we will make a full point.
Plex is undoubtedly one of the most powerful multimedia players on the market. If at first it seems easy to take in hand, a little time to adapt may be necessary, without forgetting that its installation is not just limited to your smartphone, your tablet or your Android TV box.
Plex allows you to view your videos from anywhere thanks to a client-server operating mode. We will detail how Plex works before going further.
Plex: what is it?
The application allows you to efficiently manage and organize your video library, for its operation you must have the application on your smartphone and a server. The latter takes the appearance of a computer (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.), a NAS or an Nvidia Shield TV box, for example.
It is the server that will organize the files and the distribution of the video streams to the clients which are smartphones, tablets, computers among others.
This mode of operation has advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you want to watch videos stored at home when you are on the move, it is better to have a good internet connection . Particularly concerning uploading, a generous bandwidth is to be preferred to have a good multimedia experience. Otherwise, it may complicate your task.
In addition, it is advisable to use a server that has a minimum of power, because Plex performs certain relatively heavy tasks for the components. In particular transcoding, the flows are reprocessed and sent to the customers. It is possible to leave the streams as they are, but then we lose a bit of interest in using Plex.
On the way to YouTube , we can include watching the same video available in 1080p 720p only if desired. Naturally, the more clients that use the server, the more the flows multiply and demand more power from the server.
Plex on android: how to install and register
Now that you understand the overall functioning of Plex, we will proceed with its installation. It’s very simple on Android, just go to our good old Play Store and voila. We put the link to download the app through the app store below.
- We will assume that this is obviously the first time you have used Plex. A subscription to the service editor is mandatory, this will allow the server you have to identify quickly and simply your smartphone and other clients. There are 3 ways to register at the time of writing, by Google, Facebook or by email.
- Once this step is validated, you will be able to use the application. It should be noted that if the Android application is free, its use is limited to 1 minute per video. To unblock this limitation, it will be necessary to make an in-app purchase. Now that you have a Plex account, we will install the server on a computer, it will be under Windows 10 as part of our example (several servers can be used).
- Once the download is complete, you will immediately install Plex Server. The options are minimal at this point, we go straight to the point. At the end, your default internet browser will launch to ask you to connect by putting your username used when registering for the service. Which brings us this time to a new chapter in our dossier.
Plex: organize your video library
- We start a central point of Plex. On your computer, now that you have successfully installed the Server, we will now be able to fill in the folders containing our videos or music. The library is distributed in this way, Home Videos, Movies, TV Series, Music, Photos … You can select one and start to configure it by adding folders.
- Then, by clicking on “ save changes ”, the server will automatically scan the file and do it regularly afterwards in case you add files, photos, music or videos . It is good to note that the metas and photos are automatically added, so you can consult the summaries of films and series. Everything is done automatically at this level.
- On the home page, on the application or on the web version, you can see that it is possible to resume an episode or a film at the exact place where it was left, if of course you have not not finished viewing. You are given the opportunity to continue watching the episodes of a series in the “ in progress ” insert . The strong point of Plex being for example to watch a film on your tablet and then continue on your TV or smartphone, using your account, simple and effective.
Plex: video playback and menu navigation
Plex has decided to completely revise its interface on Android . Indeed, the application now has a modular design making it easier to use. There is a bar at the bottom of the Home, Series, Movies, Music and More screen.
Personalization allows users to focus on the essentials. It is possible to choose the categories that you want to see displayed in the application and just activate or deactivate those that you no longer want to see there. At the bottom of the home page, users can even change the order of the categories.
The podcasts also land offering a new dimension to the application. Smartphone users will be able to use it although it is currently only available in beta. Content is already available, of course, but users can also add content if they wish.
The player is complete like the one available for videos: adjust the reading speed, favorites, etc. Of course, no Plex server is required for the proper functioning of this new feature.
- When viewing a video from the application available on our Android smartphones. We see the presence of buttons found on all video players , go forward, go back, go to the next or previous episode, player, pause.
- It is possible to adjust certain parameters such as subtitles, quality, sound and size of the subtitles in the settings menu in the form of a gear on the right.
- Finally, it is possible to broadcast the stream on Chromecast, another big strength of Plex. This allows to give another dimension to the video player, especially given the popularity of the device marketed by Google.
Plex Pass and Cloud: paid offers, other features
Against a subscription of 4.99 euros per month to 39.99 euros per year, without forgetting a single payment of 119.99 euros , you can benefit from the Plex Pass giving access to additional functionalities like the recording of TV programs, the offline sync, parental controls, more meta content and more.
Plex Cloud allows you to put your content on cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive (not pro accounts for the latter). Currently, these are the only supports that are compatible, the big strength of this solution being that you do not need a local server.
Apart from this little subtlety, users will see only fire, the operation is identical to a local server. It is good to specify that the Plex Pass is compulsory to enjoy the cloud, which represents a certain investment. Not everyone will necessarily turn to this solution.
Plex also allows you to watch television , allowing the recording of programs. Not to mention that the media player is also available on the Freebox Revolution . The possibilities are enormous and we probably forget some functions in the process. We will update this file, based on new features that will be released in the future.
Plex: Nvidia Shield TV and Android TV
We also find Plex on some NAS (Synology for example), but also on the Nvidia Shield TV . The queen of Android TV boxes offers the client and the server. The power of the machine is largely sufficient to be able to enjoy Plex in good conditions. In addition, the configuration is very simple. The operating principle is the same as on other platforms.
It is certain that not everyone has the 500 GB model of the Shield TV. The manufacturer offers to mount a network storage, a computer, a NAS or any storage medium present on the local network, thus allowing Plex to be used permanently even when the box is in standby, practical.
Why is it great?
We are now at the end of our guide, Plex is a very complete solution and its possibilities are numerous. The competitor of the Kodi multimedia player has many advantages. The editor very regularly updates its application in order to multiply the possibilities.
If its installation requires a little time, it remains relatively simple to set up. Unlike most of its competitors, Plex has chosen an operation that requires a server, a choice that will not please everyone, but has its advantages.
The multiplatform side gives great interest to the solution. Whether you have an Android smartphone, iOS, PC, tablet, Android TV box … it doesn’t matter. Those who wish can turn to the cloud to manage their library.
Plex also has DVR functions – a digital recorder. Recently, the editor proposes a grid of the programs accessible through these applications for a finer management. However, the latter is reserved only for Plex Pass members.
On your side, which media player do you use? Have you ever used Plex ? How do you find this solution compared to Kodi or VLC? Share your opinion with the site community in the comments.