Lets face it, most people today have phones that we use to take endless pictures
and videos. Then we have cameras that we also use to do the same. On top of that,
we all share pictures with each other more then ever. All of this means that many
people have a huge amount of pictures and videos and most of it is scattered all
around. Some is on phones, some on computers, some on cameras. Most people aren’t
printing many pictures so everything is just accumulating somewhere and it isn’t
organized. We share most pictures now through Facebook or other social media. What
is the BEST way to deal with all of this??
HELP, I have picture overload!
What you need is something that has a lot of storage, is easy to access, can be viewed
on your TV screens and also all of your phones and tablets. There are a lot of cloud
solutions today such as ICloud, Dropbox, Amazon, etc. But most of these either have
storage limits, monthly fees, or cannot be accessed everywhere. The ability to look
at everything on your TV screens also is critical because it allows you to see everything
beyond the small screens on your gadgets. We searched many different options and
came up with what we feel is THE BEST, it is called PLEX. Please note we are not
affiiliated with Plex in any way.
What is Plex?
We will spare you all the technical talk and keep it simple, Plex is a way to store
alll of your videos and pictures on a computer and then access it with any of your
devices, for free. Videos are the big benefit of this because they can be played
on your TV just as easily as on your devices. And most importantly, it is easy to
setup. When you first look into Plex it may seem complicated but it really isn’t.
We had it up and running in no time. The Plex website has all of the details but
here is a simple explanation:
1) You pick a computer to act as your server. This can be any computer that is connected
to your home router. If you do not regularly use the Google Chrome browser, you
should install that on your computer. Plex can work other ways but this option by
far is the best. Once you have Chrome installed, you need to add the Plex app to
Chrome. You can do this by clicking on “Apps” in chrome (to left of the screen)
and using the web store, download the free Plex App.
2) Once you run the app, it will ask you about setting up the server on that computer
and will download the server software. This is all free as well. You setup an account
that will be used on all your devices to access your server.
3) Once the server software is up and running, you now designate folders on your
computer that will hold the movies and pictures you want to share. There are other
settings on there as well that you can go through.
4) To access your new server on any device, you need to install the Plex App on that
device. This app is available on both Apple and Android. If you want to view the
videos and pictures on these devices, you will need to pay the one-time App fee of
$5. But you do not need to pay this if you only want to view the videos/pictures
on your TVs or other computers.
5) Many TVS today are “smart” TVS and they have the Plex app on them. You can also
use different video games systems such as the Playstation and Xbox to view your server.
The BEST solution we found however is using the Google Chromecast. This $35 device
is a favorite of ours because it is so easy. Aside from the other benefits it offers,
the Chromecast is great for Plex. In this case, you use the Plex App on your phone
to control the videos/pictures and you send them to the TV through the Chomecast.
The Chromecast then connects directly to the server and bypasses your phone. The
Android and Apple apps are free if you use them in this way. Videos play great and
pictures show as slide shows.
Once this done, all you need to do is make sure the computer is on. You then use
the app on your phone or your device to search for the content you want to play.
If you are using the Chromecast, you send the content to your tv and control it
with your phone. If you pay for the full app on your phone, you can watch your content
anywhere in the world as long as the server computer is on and connected to the internet.
Do you have any questions about this? Feel free to email us by clicking the contact
us link at the top of this page.