Android Candy: Plex

Anyone with an iPhone probably is familiar with the AirVideo application. Basically, it's the combination of a server app that runs on your Windows or OS X machine, and it serves video over the network to an AirVideo application on your phone. It's extremely popular, and for a good reason—it works amazingly well.

For a long time, there wasn't a good solution for the Android world, largely due to the way Android streamed video. Now, however, there is an incredible application for doing the exact same thing iOS users do with AirVideo. You've probably heard of Plex, but you may not know about the server/client combination it can do with Android.

Once you install the server application, which runs perfectly fine on a Linux server, you install the Plex application from the Google Play store, and your video collection follows you anywhere you have connectivity. The content is, of course, dependent on the content you have on your server, but the format in which your content is stored doesn't matter very much. Plex's server application does a great job of streaming most video formats and converting to an appropriate bandwidth on the fly.

Figure 1. Plex shows your home video collection in much the same way as Hulu or Netflix.

Figure 2. The video quality adjusts for your current bandwidth and renders crisp video even on a large tablet display.

Plex may have started out as a Macintosh-compatible competitor to XBMC, but it's evolved into an incredible video-streaming system. With Plex, you can become your own Netflix! Due to its Linux compatibility and incredible video streaming ability, Plex is this month's Editors' Choice!


Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.


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