Microsoft's Xbox One took another step toward becoming an entertainment hub on Tuesday, when Plex announced that its app would run on the gaming console. This is a big win for Xbox One: It's the first game console the app has ever run on.
Plex has long been the go-to solution for users who store media in the cloud or on a local server at home and want to stream to other devices. Plex said it's redesigned the interface to support the For now, however, Plex will just support video; music and photo capabilities will be added later. (Xbox 360 support will be added "shortly," Plex said.)
Plex has positioned itself as the interface for connecting your stored content to something to watch it on. Plex can run on a Windows, Mac or Linux computer (even some NAS boxes) and stream the content to your iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8.1 device--or Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Google TV, and many smart televisions. Plex presents a Netflix-like interface, displaying lovely movie posters to represent a particular film, and providing contextual information about the movie or TV show, including related titles.
Several premium features are available only to those willing to pay $4.99 per month for a "Plex Pass," however, including the Xbox One and Xbox 360 support. Plex Pass also allows you to store your content in the cloud, so if your NAS fills up, you can upload your movies to Dropbox or Google Drive and stream them from there. With the new Xbox One app, however, you can use only one of these server locations at a time.
Before you can download the app, you'll need the latest Plex Pass preview release of the server (v0.9.10.3) available via the company's download site.
Why this matters: Plex doesn't come right out and say it, but the site's app is designed for ripped media, legal or not. If you're the type of person who buys the boxed set of "The Wire," for example, but who can't stand to swap DVDs in and out, Plex is for you. As for the Xbox One, the addition of Plex helps boost the platform's reputation as a home for entertainment apps and video games, without the need to pay an extra subscription fee to Microsoft--though of course, you'll be paying Plex.