Mac OS X and iOS: The lastest update of media centre app Plex brings support for iOS devices. Here's how to get Plex going on your HTPC and your mobile.
First things first, Plex is a media centre for the Mac that's based on XBMC. The latest update brings hardware acceleration, better metadata and iOS support. Before we get started, check out the video above for a quick overview of what Plex can do.
Setting Up Plex
To get started you'll need need to get your copies of Plex for your Mac and for your iOS device(s). While Plex for Mac is a free download, Plex for iOS will set you back $6. The upside is that the iOS version works on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, with no need to buy separate apps. Once you have everything downloaded, we can get started.
When you launch Plex for the first time on your Mac, it'll ask you to locate media. You can have it locate items on local and network drives and it'll take care of the sorting for you. Once Plex has finished, it'll let you know and you're all set. Very simple.
Depending on how far you want to take it, setting up Plex for iOS can be pretty simple as well. If you're not prompted with the settings panel the first time you open the app, you can click on it on the right side. If you're on your local network and you only want to stream to devices within it, just select a machine running Plex from the list, and you're pretty much finished. If you want to set up remote streaming, however, you have a little more work to do. The possible disadvantage of using Plex remote streaming instead of an iOS app like Air Video or StreamToMe is that you have to set up port forwarding on your router. Plex offers detailed instructions on setting up remote access.
If you do set up remote access, you'll want to make sure video quality settings will work for you. Local network streaming provides the video at a respectable 2mbps. The remote default, however, is 768kbps. Depending on your upstream connection, this may be too high or not high enough. In many cases, you'll want to change this setting.
Plex doesn't need to be used as streaming device, however. It can also be used as a remote for your desktop version of Plex. The remote has the standard button layout you might expect but also has an option to use gestures instead of pushes to navigate through your media library.
Plex for Mac and iOS is available right now.