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Plex Cloud lets you dump your home media server

All you need is a Plex Pass and an Amazon Drive subscription.
Matt Brian, @m4tt
09.26.16 in AV
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Thanks to streaming, physical formats like CDs and Blu-rays aren't as popular than they once were. Some people choose to sign up for a monthly subscription like Netflix or Spotify, while others take the DIY approach. For many years, Plex has helped people build their own media collections and stream that content to (nearly) every connected device they own. However, it required either a computer or Network Attached Storage (NAS) to do so. Today, the company has opened a new avenue in its media streaming strategy with the launch of Plex Cloud. Gone is the need for the server in the cupboard, replaced with an Amazon Drive subscription and a Plex Pass.

Plex Cloud is basically a cloud version of the Plex Media Server, eliminating electricity and maintenance costs in the process. Amazon's reliable hosting platform takes care of the storage and Plex has "worked a little bit of magic" to enable the same transcoding options that some of the better home network storage solutions provide. An Amazon Drive subscription costs $60 for unlimited storage for a year, while the Plex Pass is either $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year. In comparison, you'll likely pay around the same total cost for a year of Netflix.

While Plex has worked to enable many of the same features as the Plex Media Server, they aren't all ready for launch. The company says that Camera Upload, Mobile Sync, Cloud Sync, Media Optimizer, DLNA, and DVR are not available right away, but it will work to add them over time. Also, if you want to use your own cloud storage provider, you may have to wait. Amazon says it'll "continue to evaluate adding support for other cloud storage providers over time."

Plex has opened the Plex Cloud Beta and is already inviting people to sign up. Be aware that Plex Pass holders will be given priority over casual streamers, so if you don't get in straight away, that might be why.

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