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Review

Streaming: here to stay

You might be with your friends, you might be at work, you might even be with that special someone, but, deep down inside of you, you feel THAT itch. Who are we trying to deceive here? You know that all that you want to do in that situation is to just ditch those around you, get on your sofa and keep on watching those shows, movies, series or any kind of content that you were watching the day before. It is not your fault, you can rest assured that streaming has become a big part of everybody's life nowadays, and the feeling that you keep inside is the same that they are all experiencing. At least you can all watch something together. Right?

Plex screenshot

So, if streaming is here to stay, you want to relate to it the best way you can. And what better way to do that than using Plex, a video streaming, DVR, and podcast software through which you might stream your favorite shows, podcasts, personal media, recorded shows, live TV and news to your favorite screens.

Smart stream

We are in front an all-in-one media-sharing-server that relies on your PC to distribute content to any screen (may it be big screen TV, phone, game console or tablet) within any room in your house, using it as a hub to access media you already have on devices you grant it access to. In all truth, Plex will work as the most versatile way to record your live broadcast, so even though it isn’t the easiest way, it could be the smartest.

I mean, you want to own something in the end, or otherwise you will be left with nothing at the final line. That being said, taking into account all of the internet streaming available online, it feels really comfortable to be able to have a place to aggregate all of your favorite media that you might still call your own.

The top and the bottom

Plex is truly versatile and it offers lots of features to work with. Among those, the best of them all is the automatic ad-removal, that works using some post-processing to delete commercial breaks from the actual video file. You will hardly encounter a cutoff of any actual show content, as the tools works just as it is expected to work in that regard, even though in some cases it might leave tiny bits of commercials intact. With that power you might even mutate an hour-long recording into a 20 minutes one, just like that!

On the downside, the software is still being upgraded in regard to a lot of items, and one of those is that removing commercials from recordings can take longer than expected and might probably cause a high CPU usage. So, beware, it is not THAT recommended to run multiple consecutive recordings at once or work with a way slower machine. To set up a Plex media server, you will need a relatively modern computer (at least an Intel Atom processor equivalent and higher), with 2GB or RAM or more, and you can install it on Windows, Mac and Linux.

As a plus, the software has added recently is the possibility to add a network over-the-air TV tuner to your system, and we can also flag that it is a quite extensible program. I mean, you can record several shows at one time with just plugging in a second tuner or get rid of storage space issues by plugging in second hard drive or move your recordings to a larger one. You can even store recordings on a hard drive connected to your router's USB port in order to allow anyone at home to use the drive's spare storage for other purposes. All in all, as a whole-home DVR for cord-cutters, the software ticks A LOT of the requisite boxes, including full broadcast TV quality, several ways to manage recordings and broad device support, among others.

In a nutshell

If you want a new best friend you will obtain one with the features Plex offers, because, as long as you can configure everything right, your streaming will be taking care of. So, yeah, the installation and setup process might be a little tedious, far from normal for novices, but in the end, once up and running, you will find an easy-to-use and light-weight piece of software.

by Augusto Baldi

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